Pork Tenderloin with Figs and Onions

Pork tenderloin, seared in butter, then roasted, served with caramelized onions and sauteed fresh figs.

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4-6


  • 2 pork tenderloins, about a pound each
  • Salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1 white or yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
  • 8-10 mission (dark) figs, quartered
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley
  • 1-2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Black pepper


1 Salt the pork tenderloins well and set them out at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Heat the oven to 300°F.

2 Slice the onion into strips lengthwise (from the top to the root end). Cutting the onion this way helps keep the pieces hold their shape. (See How to caramelize onions for a visual).

3 Sear tenderloins on all sides: Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Pat the tenderloins dry with paper towels. Place the tenderloins in the pan and sear on all sides, until nicely browned.

4 Finish cooking tenderloins in oven: Remove the tenderloins to an oven-proof pan, and place in the oven at 300°F. Cook for 15-20 minutes, until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of the tenderloins reaches 140°F. Then remove from oven and let rest.

5 Sauté onions, add sugar and balsamic: While the tenderloins are roasting, add the onions to the sauté pan along with the other tablespoon of butter. Sprinkle with salt. Toss to combine and sauté for 3-4 minutes.

Add the sugar and balsamic vinegar, and toss to combine again. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.

6 Add rosemary and figs: Once the onions have softened and browned, add the rosemary and figs. Increase the heat to medium-high and stir to combine. Sauté 2 minutes, stirring often.

7 Remove from the heat. Mix in the parsley and lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste.

8 Slice the pork tenderloins into 1/4-inch thick slices and serve alongside the onions and figs.

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  • Nadine

    A friend came by with a small plate of fresh figs yesterday–a real treat as we live in Northern VA and not too many grow figs). I had made a pulled pork and had served it with cole slaw. Tonight I didn’t have enough leftover cole slaw, so I decided to make the figs and onions beside the pork instead. I didn’t have all the ingredients handy (no parsley or fresh lemons on hand) but this was fantastic–so much better than the coleslaw at a side. Hubby loved it too.


  • Pamela whitehead

    Can I use dried mission figs. Fresh figs are hard to come by where I live.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Pamela, I haven’t tried making it with dried figs, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Depending on how dry the figs are, you may want to rehydrate them in a little water or sherry, and slice them more thinly than just quartering them.

  • Dawn

    INCREDIBLE recipe!!! This week we found some early season figs in our local supermarket in France. I had a spare pork tenderloin in the freezer, so this recipe had to be on the menu. I made a couple of minor changes. First, I seasoned the pork with salt and also Herbes de Provence, as I couldn’t get my hands on any fresh rosemary, and I didn’t want to add (hard) dry herbs to the briefly cooked onion/fig mixture. Secondly I substituted half of the butter for olive oil, partly for health, and partly because in my hands, the butter is less likely to burn when I do this. Third, I set our mini convection (fan) oven to 155C (~325F). I checked the meat temperature after 20 mins, it was 120F. It needed another 8 mins to reach 135F, at which point I removed it, rested it (covered with foil) for 10 mins and then saw a perfect 145F in the thickest part of the meat.

    We served the pork with the fig sauce and some fingerling potatoes. Oh my, we were in gourmet heaven! Somehow the figs took on a complex honey flavor, almost like very expensive artisan Lavender flower honey. Absolutely fabulous meal, thank you so much for sharing this wonderful recipe.

  • Justin

    This was. AMAZING

  • Elise Lafosse

    This was excellent. My husband loved it. Loved the fig and onion dressing. Am making it again next week! Thank you. Elise

  • Vic

    Wow! Made this last week with Mission Figs from Whole Foods Market… the family said it was one of the best things that I’d ever made them for dinner! I added a few more figs than called for, and should have added more onions too… they went quick. Now I need a cast iron skillet to better brown the pork :)

  • Melissa

    Made this last week and thought it was ok, except the rosemary does not go with the other flavors in my opinion and I really would leave that out next time, as well as salt. Pork is salty enough. I felt that the rosemary just clashed and overpowered the rest of the the Stonewall fig and onion spread is better and easier anyway.

    • Dawn

      Your salt issue with the pork may be due to the type of tenderloin you are using, not this recipe. Unfortunately, many supermarkets “enhance” their pork by injecting a brine solution with so-called “natural flavors”. The meat is effectively partly pre-seasoned, and therefore you probably only need half of the salt in most recipes. However, here in France, and also in good stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joes, you can buy unenhanced pork, which tastes much better in my opinion. However, you will then need the extra salt. If you are not sure whether your pork is enhanced or not, it should be labeled, often in tiny writing, and the ingredients list should show something like Pork, Salt, Natural Flavors.

  • Hydra

    Yum! Thanks. I had some pork tenderloins in the freezer with no direction to go with them. I got figs at the farm stand without any ideas. So awesome timing with this recipe! My onion had gone bad, so I just used the shallot I had on hand. But the best part was the tenderloin. I’ve never made a tenderloin so delicious. The figs were just gravy (literally?). :)

  • nick L

    Just made this recipe. It is fantastic. I would have doubled the amount of fig/onion; I’m pretty sure I’m going to run out after the first loin!


  • Sukogirl

    Can you make this with dried figs?

    Good question. If I were to try it with dried figs, I would reconstitute the figs by soaking them in a little water (or maybe sherry) first. If you do play with the recipe using dried figs, please let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • elise lafosse

    Hello, I am planning to make this recipe and your fig galette recipe this weekend. I do not know a whole lot about figs, but don’t they have some sort of skin on them? I take it you do NOT peel the skin for either the pork tenderloin recipe or the fig galette recipe?

    My first introduction to fresh figs was only recently while on a sailing trip in Croatia. Figs abounded in that part of the world and we were eating fresh figs every day! So now I want to make these recipes and called Whole Foods and happily found they had mission figs. I do remember eating the figs skin and all but am just checking we do not have to peel the skin from the figs.

    Also one other question, I was going to halve the pork tenderloin recipe to 1 pork tenderloin, so I assume the rest would be halved as well?

    You are correct, you do not peel the figs. You may want to cut the hard tip off, the part that connects to the stem. Regarding halving the recipe, I love the figs so much I would just make them as directed and have more to go with the pork! ~Elise

  • gaeablue

    I made it last night, and I have to say, it was great! The only change was from tenderloin to pork chops and I let the figs get saucier almost like a glaze and acompanied it with couscous. I can wait for the next dinner party to show off!

  • sparran

    This was the best pork tenderloin I have had. Used Truvia instead of sugar but other than that went right by the recipe. Can’t wait to get into the leftovers. Thank you, will be making it again soon.

  • A French Cook

    I’ve never been disappointed by any of your recipes, Elise. This one is definitely another keeper. My guests loved it.

    Thanks so much for your amazing blog!

  • Will M

    Very good recipe – I made it last night. I found a couple of tweaks really helped it: honey instead of sugar (same quantity), about 3 tablespoons of chopped + soaked dates (added a few minutes before the figs), and freshly ground nutmeg on the tenderloin before it’s seared.

    Much appreciated.

  • Lana

    We recently moved to Southern California, and I am still mesmerized by all the fruit trees around. I bought a tiny fig tree which suffered for a couple of weeks on my patio, but now it is flourishing.
    My mother comes from the area of Europe that was heavily influenced by Austro-Hungarian cooking, and serving sweet or sweet-and-sour fruity compotes and preserves was a commonplace for her. I love the combination of caramelized onions and sweet figs with pork.

  • Susan

    I had to come back to tell you how much we enjoyed this dish for dinner tonight. The figs and caramelized onions are a natural together…and with pork, supreme. It was so, so good. Now I see why you whipped up a batch to have for lunch! It’d be good with your Anna Dama bread along with some soft cheese, too! Will definately be making this again. Thanks, Elise.

  • Libby

    Hello! I made figs and onions to go with roasted chicken tonight. I made one change: instead of adding sugar at the beginning to help caramelize the onions, I added a couple of mashed overripe figs. After the onions were nicely cooked, I added the rest of the figs and finished as directed. The resulting mixture was a little more goopy than yours, but it tasted amazing. It went really well with roasted chicken, too. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • Julie (Bananas for Bourbon)

    I made something very similar to this using the Stonewall Kitchen vidalia onion fig sauce. I used it to glaze grilled pork loin, and served it with caramelized onions over polenta. Delicious flavor combination!

  • SPB

    Great sounding recipe, but you’re going to have a very cold pork tenderloin. May I suggest searing the tenderloin, then holding it till the fig/onion mix is made, the putting the tenderloin in a 450 deg. oven, where it will cook more quickly. You could then let it sit for a few minutes while you re-warm the fig/onion.

    You could do it that way. A lower degree oven will be more easy to keep from over cooking the tenderloins. We had no problem with the pork being cold. It was done resting just about the same time that the figs were done cooking. ~Elise

    • catherine cope

      I picked a couple of cups of late figs before breakfast and had a gourmet dish for dinner. My timing worked perfectly tonight, everything came off together. The onions didn’t take as long as anticipated. This is one of the most delicious meat/fruit pairings I have ever served. Thank you so much. I’m sending it to my sister tonight.