My Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry Glaze is so simple and elegant. This is the recipe you must make for a smaller holiday dinner. Succulent and absolutely delicious, the cranberry glaze adds a burst of sweet and tart flavor that makes this dish irresistible!
Why you'll love Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry Glaze:
- Simplicity meets elegance: An easy recipe that is also impressive for guests.
- Succulent and tender: The turkey tenderloin, cooked to perfection, melts in your mouth with each bite.
- Burst of flavors: The cranberry glaze, with its delightful blend of sweetness and tartness, elevates the dish to new heights.
- Versatility: Whether you choose the classic rosemary or the earthy sage, the dried herbs add depth and complexity to the flavors.
- Perfect for smaller gatherings: This recipe is a really great idea for intimate holiday dinners.
- Why you'll love Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry Glaze:
- What is a turkey tenderloin?
- What ingredients are in cranberry glazed turkey tenderloin?
- How do you make baked turkey breast tenderloin?
- What to serve with this cranberry glazed turkey tenderloin?
- Expert tips turkey tenderloin crock pot and in oven
- What to serve with cranberry turkey?
- How to store turkey tenderloin?
- Some other holiday recipes to try:
- Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry Glaze
Made in under an hour, this turkey recipe really is no-fuss. So even if you are set on making your traditional whole turkey this year, this could be made any night of the week. It’s that easy to put together it doesn’t have to be made just for a special occasion...it's so easy that you could pull this off any night of the week!
A gluten-free and cozy holiday dinner idea. This delicious turkey tenderloin is refined sugar free, Paleo, healthy, and could be modified for Whole30.
The glaze for turkey tenderloin is so easy to make. All you do is cook up cranberries (fresh or frozen) with fresh orange juice and coconut sugar (you could use brown sugar if you're not Paleo). It just takes minutes to cook and thicken up. Soon your tangy and gorgeous cranberry topping is ready for the turkey, and whatever is extra, gets served on the side.
What is a turkey tenderloin?
Turkey tenderloins are simply a skinless and boneless part of the turkey breast. They don’t always have it at the market. And you may find it sometimes next to the pork tenderloins. They are super tender and juicy.
It’s important to watch the time when cooking them because they could dry out. I find by marinating them in even one hour before cooking them makes them even more soft and tender.
For a small holiday occasion, this could be just the turkey you want to put together. There is no comparison to roasting a whole turkey, but this is really easy to make and not that much clean up.
What ingredients are in cranberry glazed turkey tenderloin?
Here are all the ingredients you need (full printable recipe card is below).
For the tenderloin:
- Turkey tenderloin (could sub a pork tenderloin): Main ingredient for the dish, can substitute with pork tenderloin.
- Extra-virgin olive oil: Used to coat the turkey and seasonings.
- Salt, Pepper, Sweet Paprika & Dried Herbs (Rosemary or Sage): Used to season the turkey.
For the sauce:
- Whole cranberries (fresh or frozen): Add tartness and sweetness to the sauce.
- Fresh orange juice (I used the juice of navel oranges and zest): Used for juice and zest to add a citrus flavor to the sauce.
- Coconut sugar, use regular sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar: Used as an alternative sweetener.
- Fresh ginger (about the size of a garlic clove, peeled), optional: Adds depth of flavor and slight spice to the sauce.
- Coconut Aminos (optional): Add savory umami flavor to the sauce.
- Water: Used to thin the sauce down.
How do you make baked turkey breast tenderloin?
To make the cranberry glazed turkey, it starts off by marinating the turkey in extra-virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and some dried herbs. I also added sweet paprika. I just sprinkled some on before I added to the bag (forgot to get in this photo). You could marinate it overnight.
You could also put the marinade together and pop it into a zipped lock bag 30 minutes before making it. The longer it marinades, the more time the seasoning has to infuse the turkey.
This next part of the cranberry turkey recipe is the super quick cranberry sauce. You could even make this sauce a few days ahead. It is really easy to find fresh cranberries in almost every market (as far as I know, only in the States. I know in Italy I have never heard of fresh cranberries being available).
The sauce could be as thick or thin as you like it. I made this a little thicker than usual.
What to serve with this cranberry glazed turkey tenderloin?
I served my turkey tenderloin with these Instant Pot mashed potatoes and roasted balsamic and honey Brussels sprouts. While the tenderloin is in the oven, you could roast a tray of maple soy glazed carrots, broccoli, butternut squash. Even a side dish of peas or green beans is great (the last time I made this with a side of green beans with a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil.
Expert tips turkey tenderloin crock pot and in oven
- For extra flavor, marinate the turkey tenderloin overnight for a more flavorful dish.
- Be sure to let the turkey rest after cooking for at least 5 minutes before slicing and serving, this will help lock the juices in.
- If you don't have an oven or crock pot, you can also cook it on the stove top over medium-high heat until the internal temperature reaches 160F.
- For a low-carb option, replace the cranberry sauce with sugar free cranberry sauce.
- The longer you let the sauce simmer, the thicker it will become - experiment to find your preferred consistency.
- If you want more of a glaze rather than a chunky sauce, blend the cranberry sauce after it has simmered on the stove.
- To reduce carbs, substitute coconut sugar with an artificial sweetener.
- If you don’t have fresh herbs, you can also use powdered herbs as a replacement but only use half of what is stated in the recipe because they are more potent than the fresh ones.
- If you don’t have coconut aminos, you can replace it with Worcestershire sauce.
- For a spicier version of this dish, add your favorite hot sauce to the cranberry sauce.
- Pork tenderloin can be substituted for the turkey tenderloin.
- Coconut sugar can be substituted with regular sugar or any other granulated sweetener of your choice.
- Instead of navel oranges, you could use any other citrus fruit such as lemons or limes and make a Lemon/Lime Glazed Turkey Tenderloin.
- If you don't have coconut aminos on hand, you can also use soy sauce for the same flavor profile.
- Instead of olive oil, you could also use avocado oil for a milder flavor.
- If you don't have paprika on hand, smoked or sweet paprika can easily be substituted with any other spices you may have in your pantry such as chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, etc.
- You could also marinate the turkey tenderloin in your favorite marinade before cooking. Simply pat the turkey tenderloin dry and place in a ziplock bag with the marinade of your choice. Let it sit in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or until ready to cook. When you're ready to cook, preheat your oven to 425F and bake as directed above.
- If you want to add some more flavor, you can also add some fresh herbs such as rosemary or sage during the cooking process. Simply sprinkle on top of the turkey tenderloin before baking and let it cook along with the cranberry sauce.
- To make this dish even more flavorful, you could also add in some diced onion or minced garlic during the last few minutes of cooking time. Let it cook along with the cranberry sauce before serving.
- If you're looking for a lower carb option, you can omit the sweetener in the cranberry sauce and replace it with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar or a few drops of liquid stevia. This will help to cut down on the carbs while still providing a delicious flavor.
- For an even healthier option, you can replace half of the juice with unsweetened apple juice and use 1/4 teaspoon of stevia or monk fruit to sweeten it. This will help to cut back on the sugar content while still providing a delicious flavor.
What to serve with cranberry turkey?
- Mashed potatoes>>>Luscious and creamy mashed potatoes make the perfect side dish!
- Cranberry sauce
- Sweet Corn Spoonbread >>> SO delicious! Really easy to put together.
- Roasted carrots >>> These roasted carrots have the most incredible maple soy glaze!
- A side salad of your choice
- Dinner rolls or biscuits with butter>>> These no-knead dinner rolls are just unbelievable! The easiest yeast dough...worth the effort to put together!
- Baked sweet potatoes with a sprinkle of cinnamon and brown sugar.
- Gravy or jus
- Roasted butternut squash
- Sauteed mushrooms and onions.
- Green beans >>> With caramelized coconut and a little spicy kick, you will just love these green beans!
- Roasted Brussel sprouts >>> Honey and a balsamic sauce make these Brussel sprouts extra tasty!
- Macaroni and cheese>>> I made penne and cheese and it is so tasty with a crispy topping. The kids love it!
How to store turkey tenderloin?
If you have extra cranberry sauce (that wasn't served on top of the turkey), that could be stored in an airtight plastic or glass container in the fridge for up to a week. If you have any leftover turkey, that could be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a glass or any airtight container.
Reheat any leftovers in a skillet on medium low heat (or a on a plate in the microwave).
Maybe you didn't know that turkey tenderloin is the super tender boneless, skinless part of the turkey breast. When it's cooked the right way, it is amazing!
A turkey bread tenderloin usually has bone in and skin on. The turkey tenderloin is boneless and skinless.
Yes! It is not always easy to find a turkey tenderloin. If you really want to make recipe can’t find turkey, it is totally fine to sub with pork tenderloin. Keep in mind IF using pork: Bake at 350F until pork is 150 degrees internally at the widest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes.)
It's best to use a meat thermometer and check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
Turkey tenderloins usually weigh eight ounces and one pound. What’s great is that they can be cooked up so many ways. I prefer to cook them whole, but they can be cooked up in small medallion pieces. The whole tenderloin could even be stuffed. You could cut them in even smaller pieces that make a wonderful stir-fry.
Yes! It's really easy to do. Just leave out the coconut sugar from the cranberry sauce. The sauce will have a natural sweetness from the fresh orange juice. But remember, it will be very tart.
It's best to use an instant read meat thermometer and check that the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
Turkey tenderloin will need about 50-55 minutes at 350ºF, just use a an internal meat thermometer to make sure its temperature reaches the safe to eat 165ºF.
There are recipes that require you to cover the turkey tenderloin while it bakes, however, my recipes doesn't instruct that. IF your turkey tenderloin browns too quickly, you could cover it with tin foil.
Some other holiday recipes to try:
Originally published November 2020 and updated for content September 2023.
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Baked Turkey Tenderloin with Cranberry Glaze
- TURKEY TENDERLOIN
- 1.5 pound turkey tenderloin pork tenderloin could be subbed
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoons sweet paprika
- dried herbs I used rosemary and sage, but either one alone would work
- CRANBERRY SAUCE
- 3 cups whole cranberries fresh or frozen
- 2 navel oranges juice and zest (juice should be 1/2 cup)
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar use regular sugar if you don’t have coconut sugar
- 1 sliver of fresh ginger about the size of a garlic clove, peeled, optional
- 1 Tablespoon coconut aminos optional
- 1 cup of water
- TURKEY TENDERLOIN
- The night before, or even 30 minutes before is fine, pat the turkey tenderloin dry. Season with salt, pepper, and paprika.
- Add the turkey tenderloin into a large zipped lock bag (or airtight container). Add a tablespoon of olive and if you have it in a zipped lock sealed bag, squish it all around the seasoning and oil.
- While the turkey marinates, prep the sauce.
- CRANBERRY SAUCE
- In a large saucepan, add in all the cranberry sauce ingredients. You could use a a couple of slices of the oranges to give it extra flavor (that is optional).
- Turn the temperature to high.
- When the sauce begins to boil, lower the heat. Stir the sauce a few times (it could tend to stick if it was boiling too high).
- Let the sauce simmer and it will begin to thicken. If it seems to be too thick, add a bit more juice or water.
- Stir the sauce again and let it simmer for about 10 minutes, or until all the cranberries have burst. When sauce is ready, set aside.
- When you’re ready to cook it (you could prep this the night before or even day of cooking), remove tenderloin from the refrigerator.
- Line a baking pan or a casserole with foil paper.
- Preheat your oven to 425º with the oven rack in the middle.
- Place the tenderloin in the foil lined baking pan. Place the pan on the middle rack of the oven.
- After tenderloin has cooked for about 20 mins (when there is about about 20 mins left of cooking time, spoon on 1/2 of the cranberry sauce on top of the tenderloin. Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the pan (like 2 Tablespoons).
- Lower the heat to 375F for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
- Cook until tenderloin reaches 160 degrees F in thickest part (about 30-40 minutes total).
- Remove turkey tenderloin from the oven and let rest for at least five minutes to lock in juices.
- Slice and place on a serving plate with whatever cranberry sauce and juices from the baking pan. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, if you desire.
- Serve with the other 1/2 of the cranberry sauce.
- You could also spoon on the rest of the cranberry sauce.
- If the sauce thickened too much, you could blend it.
- (Optional) Plate the tenderloin with fresh rosemary or whatever fresh herb you have on hand (thyme or sage is also nice).
- Serve with a side of roasted potatoes and your favorite green vegetables.
- Drizzle some extra-virgin olive oil into the Crock Pot.
- Place the tenderloin in the Crock Pot.
- Spoon on 1/2 of the cranberry sauce and a few drizzles of water. Drizzle on some olive oil.
- Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 4 hours or on LOW setting for 8 hours.
- Remove turkey tenderloin from the Crock Pot and let rest for at least five minutes to lock in juices.
- Slice and place on a serving plate with whatever cranberry sauce and juices from the baking pan.
- Serve with the other 1/2 of the cranberry sauce. You could also spoon the rest of the cranberry sauce on the tenderloin. Feel free to add more juice or water to the sauce and blend it if it thickened too much. Serve with your choice of sides.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- I used coconut amino acids to try to stay paleo and Whole30 compliant. If you aren't following paleo or Whole30, use your favorite tamari sauce (to stay gluten-free)or soy sauce (if you're not gluten-free).
- Refrigerate turkey within two hours and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- You could use pork tenderloin if you can't find turkey tenderloin. *IF using pork: Bake at 350F until pork is 150 degrees internally at the widest part of the tenderloin (about 25 minutes.)