Instant Pot Freezer Meal: Lemon Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin

updated Aug 31, 2020
Freezer Week
Instant Pot Freezer Meal: Lemon Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin

In this elegant Instant Pot meal (made straight from the freezer!), juicy pork tenderloin mingles with tart lemon, garlic, and butter.

Serves4 to 6

Prep5 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Lemon garlic butter pork tenderloin with side of asparagus and lemon wedges on toile pattern platter.
Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

When you just can’t face another boneless, skinless chicken breast, let pork take the lead. Pork tenderloin is similar to lean chicken in its ability to absorb any flavor you fancy, which in this case means lemon, garlic, and lots of butter. The pork soaks up every bit of the rich flavor for an elegant Instant Pot meal you can make straight from the freezer.

Credit: Photo: Tara Donne | Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

How to Cook Pork Tenderloin from Frozen in the Instant Pot

The brilliance behind this Instant Pot dinner is that all of the ingredients are frozen together with no advance preparation needed. With the bag of ingredients frozen inside the Instant Pot’s insert, the meal cube is easily transferred from freezer to Instant Pot at dinnertime — no thawing required.

It’ll take some time for the appliance to come to pressure (about 15 minutes) as the lemon juice, broth, and butter melt. Once the timer goes off, let it naturally release so the pork finishes cooking gently and gradually.

Don’t Mistake Pork Tenderloin for Pork Loin

Pork tenderloin is a lean, boneless cut of meat, and when cooked to the proper internal temperature of 145°F, it’s juicy, tender, and flavorful. But a quick search for Instant Pot pork recipes will likely lead you to a recipe for cooking pork loin, not pork tenderloin. Don’t be fooled. Pork loin is a different, larger cut of meat that takes longer to cook. If you follow the instructions for pressure cooking pork loin, your tenderloin will be tough and dry.

Instant Pot Freezer Meals

This recipe is part of a collection of freezer-to-Instant Pot meals. Each one is designed to be prepared in advance, frozen, and popped into the Instant Pot when you’re ready for dinner — no thawing required. And they’re made with just a few fresh ingredients! Go ahead, freeze this recipe and the others — your future self will thank you.

Instant Pot Freezer Meal: Lemon Garlic Butter Pork Tenderloin

In this elegant Instant Pot meal (made straight from the freezer!), juicy pork tenderloin mingles with tart lemon, garlic, and butter.

Prep time 5 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    medium lemon, plus more for serving

  • 4 cloves


  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2

    pork tenderloins (1 to 1 1/2 pounds each)

  • 3/4 cup

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • Serving options: freshly ground black pepper and sliced lemons


  1. Fit a gallon-sized freezer zip-top bag inside the insert of an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. Prepare the following, adding them to the bag: Finely grate the zest of 1 medium lemon (about 1 tablespoon), then juice the lemon (about 2 tablespoons). Smash 4 garlic cloves. Cut 1 stick unsalted butter into cubes. Remove the silverskin from 2 pork tenderloins. Add 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth and 2 teaspoons kosher salt.

  2. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Freeze the bag (still inside the insert) until solid, at least 6 hours or overnight. Remove the bag from the insert and keep frozen up to 3 months.

  3. To cook, remove the frozen ingredients from the bag and place in the Instant Pot. Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is closed. Set to cook under HIGH pressure for 10 minutes. It will take 14 to 16 minutes to come up to pressure. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure.

  4. Open the pressure cooker and check the pork’s temperature with a probe thermometer. The ideal temperature is 145°F. If needed, lock the lid back in place and let cook in the residual heat for 2 minutes more.

  5. Transfer the pork to a clean cutting board and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch thick slices. Transfer to a serving dish. Whisk the cooking liquid and pour over the pork. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and sliced lemons, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Freezing options: You can fit the freezer bag over an 8-inch round cake pan or other container similarly shaped to the Instant Pot insert instead.

Make ahead: The uncooked ingredients can be frozen for up to 3 months.

Storage: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days.