This Mojo Turkey Tenderloin is an easy weeknight meal. The tenderloin is marinated in a delicious garlic, citrus marinade and makes for easy meal prep! This flavorful recipe is low-carb, paleo and Whole30.
Mojo Turkey Tenderloin is so tender, and my kids just love it! The mojo marinade is pure sunshine and zest! It’s one of the easiest recipes to prep with such a flavor impact. The only work is putting together the marinade. The aromas while it is cooking up will have your mouth watering!
This really no-fuss dish all begins with a wonderful and flavorful homemade marinade that is made with garlic (lots of it!), citrus, spice and dried herbs. It’s the same mojo recipe I used on this sheet pan mojo chicken. The tenderloin marinates and all the flavors infuse together. Let the marinate do it’s dreamy work and when you’re ready to cook it up, the tenderloin is cooked to juicy perfection!
This has been a family favorite meal for a while. I even have another batch marinating to cook up tomorrow! Living near Miami, we have have been lucky to enjoy the most authentic mojos. Surrounded by Cuban coffee shops, restaurants and plenty of Cuban friends, we’ve had the best of the best!
I can’t even count how many celebrations and birthday parties we have been a part of with the delicious (and totally authentic) Cuban pork, rice and beans and all of their amazing sides (platanos, yuca…). I can even find the best Cuban coffee and pastelitos de guayaba at my local markets.
Mom used to make me jars of her marinade and then I started to make it on my own. The first thing she showed me was how easy it is to marinade in zipped lock bags! An airtight container also works fine.
This Mojo Turkey Tenderloin is:
- FULL of tasty Cuban flavors
- Ready in one hour
What exactly is a Cuban Mojo Marinade?
A mojo is a marinade that comes together with:
- olive oil
- citrus (traditionally sour oranges)
- garlic (a lot!)
It may be tricky finding the fabulous sour oranges in the States. They are pretty easy to find in the Miami area. IF you can’t find sour oranges, you could do a combination of oranges and limes. I like to add fresh cilantro to my mojo. You could leave it out (I know, not everyone loves cilantro).
I usually make it with sour oranges, but this time didn’t make it to the market I know that sells them and used oranges and limes.
This Cuban inspired recipe all begins with this simple marinade you put together.
Once you get the mojo put together. You place the tenderloins in a zipped lock back (or a storage container) and add the mojo. Use your hands (wear gloves if you like if you’re adding it to a container. I always use a zipped lock bag). If you use a zipped lock bag, just seal it very tightly, and squish the marinade all around the the tenderloins.
Now you have the tenderloins ready to be stored in the refrigerator.
What is good to serve with mojo turkey tenderloin?
Depending on whether you’re following a certain food lifestyle, there are so many ways to serve this! If you are totally no carb, paleo or Whole30, serve the turkey with cauliflower rice, broccoli, or a nice salad.
There are so many side dishes that go great with this very tasty turkey dishes!
Plantains and potatoes are also a wonderful side and are Whole30/Paleo friendly.
IF you are not following no-carb, go for the classic Cuban sides of rice and beans, fried plantains, yuca and crispy Cuban bread. WOW!
What temperature does turkey tenderloin have to be cooked to?
Use a meat thermometer to ensure that your turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165° Fahrenheit.
Is mojo turkey tenderloin freezer friendly?
Yes, this is a good recipe for freezing. Make it over the weekend and let it cool down. Once it’s cooled a bit, shred it and place it in zipped lock freezer bags (or air-tight containers). Freeze for up to 3 months and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator over night. The next day, heat up when ready to serve.
Some final sheet pan mojo turkey recipe tips:
- The longer you able to marinade the tenderloin the more flavors will be infused. I usually put it together in the morning to make in the evening (so 6 hours…sometimes I forget, and it gets marinaded 3-4 hours). Overnight is really ideal!
- You may find mojo marinades at your markets, and I have tried some of them, but they don’t compare to making your own homemade marinade.
- The mojo marinade could be used to marinate chicken, pork, lamb, and also vegetables (for the vegetarians/vegans).
- The zipped freezer bags are truly the best way to marinate the tenderloin. When you first put it in the bag with the mojo, zip it tightly closed and massage the marinade all around the tenderloin. I usually take it out 2-3 times while it marinades over the course of many hours to massage it together some more.
How to store this tenderloin?
Store any leftovers in an airtight storage container. Reheat any leftovers in a skillet on medium low heat (or a on a plate in the microwave).
Some other turkey recipes to enjoy:
- Slow Roasted Turkey Wings
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Cranberry Glazed Turkey Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese
Mojo Turkey Tenderloin
- 1/4 cup or about 6- 8 cloves of garlic peeled and minced
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro lightly packed
- 1/4 lemon juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice freshly squeezed
- 1/2 cup plus extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup orange juice freshly squeezed
- 1.5 pound turkey tenderloin pork tenderloin could be subbed
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- MOJO MARINADE:
- In a large mortar with pestle (you could pulse it in a food processor or chop the garlic up by hand), add the garlic, salt, oregano, cumin, cilantro, lemon and lime juice. Use the pestle to twist the garlic until it is smashed.
- In medium bowl, add the crushed garlic mixture with the 1/2 cup olive oil and orange juice. Use a fork to mix it all up.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper on the tenderloin.
- Transfer the tenderloin to a zipped lock bag or air-tight container.
- Add the marinade to the bag or container with the turkey tenderloin.
- If you are using a zipped lock bag, seal it tightly and move the bag closed bag to massage the tenderloin really well with the marinade.
- If it’s in a container, use your hands to massage it all over the chicken (use disposable gloves if you have on hand). Wash your hands very well after.
- Place the bag or container in the fridge and marinate for at least three hours. Even better, marinate overnight. Realistically, if you have 30 minutes-1 hour, that is fine too!
- COOK TENDERLOIN:
- Preheat oven to 400º F. On a foil paper lined baking sheet, add the tenderloins and the marinade.
- Transfer baking sheet to the middle rack of the oven and cook for 30 minutes.
- Slide the pan into the oven.
- When the turkey is halfway done, drizzle some of the marinade on top and the juices from the bottom of the pan. If it seems too dry, add 1/4 cup of water (more, if needed).
- Slide the pan into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until it’s 160 degrees internally in the thickest part (could take 30-40 minutes…every oven is different. Mine is ready in about 45 minutes in my oven). Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature at about 30 minutes. If it's not ready set your timer for another 10 minutes and then check internal temperature again.
- 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 any juices from the marinade. Serve with your favorite sides.
Use a meat thermometer and remove the tenderloin from the oven when it reaches 160°F , or just before.
Be sure to let it rest before slicing.
Do not overcook. Turkey tenderloin is really lean and will be dry if you overcook.
Add whatever juices and marinade is on bottom of the pan to the tenderloin while it rests to the sauce or pour it over the sliced turkey for extra flavor.