These Pork Sliders feature perfectly cooked sliced pork tenderloin layered onto a soft slider bun with a simple maple-bourbon glaze is stunningly tasty. A stove-to-oven method gives us a sweet and smoky maple-bourbon crust, a succulent and tender interior that makes a weeknight dinner for two memorable.
It’s maple syrup season in Minnesota! Driving around the neighborhood, seeing blue bags hanging on the trunks of the maple trees collecting sap has maple syrup recipes dancing in my head. With maple-glazed pork tenderloin sliced and tucked onto slider buns this recipe has become one of our favorite welcome to spring meals.
Pork tenderloin is not always top of mind for those of us in smaller households.
Read further for tips to make this easy from scratch glaze, a stove-top-to-oven method to perfectly cook the meat and a tasty topping to create a mouth-watering pork tenderloin slider that will become a favorite way to serve pork tenderloin and make any dinner for two memorable.
Of course, this pork slider recipe can easily scale up to serve a crowd. Simply, increase the ingredient amounts in the recipe card – no math required!
For this recipe here is what you will need:
- Maple Syrup – for this recipe use grade B maple syrup. Resist the temptation to use imitation maple syrup unless you like a super sweet glaze.
- Molasses – light or mild works great, typically found next to the maple syrup at your local grocery store. I like to use Breer Rabbit (it even has a picture of the Breer Rabbit on the label) a brand my grandmother used in her pecan pies – and it does not disappoint when used in this recipe.
- Bourbon or Brandy to bring a balance of sweet and spicy with hints of caramel and vanilla -- rounding out the flavors of the sweet maple.
- Cinnamon and cloves are the spices that bring flavor dimension to the glaze. While adding a pinch of cayenne pepper for a hint of heat.
- Cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper will be mixed together, then the tenderloin will be rolled in the mixture to bond the glaze to the pork tenderloin.
- Pork tenderloin – When cooking pork tenderloin for two the right quantity will be a smaller loin that is around 1 – 1 ¼ lbs. Most pork tenderloin is sold in packages of 2 loins, so freeze the second loin for a future use.
- Whole grain mustard – A coarse texture with a tangy, peppery bite while the subtle heat of fresh horseradish rounds out the finish for the glaze. Dijon mustard is a good substitute if you do not have whole grain mustard in your pantry.
See recipe card for ingredient measurements.
How to make maple-glazed pork sliders for two
Make the glaze. For a flavorful and well balanced glaze we will mix together real maple-syrup (do not be tempted to use imitation – it will be too sweet), molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper.
Prime the tenderloin. Ensuring that the glaze bonds to the tenderloin and doesn’t run off leaving puddles of glaze on the plate.
Pat the tenderloin dry with paper towels
Roll the tenderloin in the cornstarch mixture, shaking off any excess to avoid a clumpy or gummy crust
Best method to perfectly cook pork tenderloin
Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that can easily become dry if overcooked. A two-step process of searing the pork tenderloin on the stove-top to give it a golden brown crust then roasting in the oven is a surefire way to achieve moist and tender pork tenderloin slider meat in under 30 minutes.
Sear and roast. Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet, I like using a cast iron skillet for its ability to maintain a high heat and non-stick properties that help achieve a nice golden brown sear. Place the primed tenderloin in the skillet and cook until well-browned on all sides, about 8 – 12 minutes.
Remove from pan placing on a baking rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, set aside.
Tip: Make sure to well-brown the sides to ensure the tenderloins are not pale after glazing.
Thicken the glaze. Turn up the heat to medium-high, pouring the glaze mixture into the now empty skillet, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce until there is about ¼ cup of glaze. Reserve 1 tablespoon of glaze in a small bowl and set aside. We will mix this with mustard and some more maple syrup as a finishing glaze.
Brush 1 tablespoon of glaze onto the pork tenderloin and roast in the oven until the instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees, about 12 minutes.
Now, add more glaze by brushing tenderloin with another tablespoon, continue to roast until the thickest part of the meat reaches 135 - 140 degrees, about 12 minutes.
Remove tenderloin from oven, pour over remaining glaze and let rest for about 10 minutes. Don’t cover as we want the glaze to bond to the tenderloin and not soften and run off from retained moisture that would result from covering it.
Mix together 2 Tablespoons maple syrup with mustard and reserved Tablespoon of glaze. Pour 1 tablespoon of mustard glaze over the top of the tenderloin. Slice the tenderloins into thick slices – about ½ inch.
Best buns and toppings for pork sliders
Now that the tenderloin has been perfectly cooked and sliced let’s begin building our sliders. For maple-glazed pork tenderloin meat the best buns are a brioche, potato or pretzel.
Ideas for toppings:
- Thin slices of fennel giving a fresh crisp crunch
- Thin slices of red onion for a sweet onion flavor
- Store bought fresh pineapple salsa or another fruit based salsa
- Lots of dill pickles
- Pass the extra mustard glaze
Pork tenderloin vs. pork loin
While the names are almost the same, and they are both lean cuts of meat, the difference is each cut of meat requires a different cooking methods.
Pork tenderloin, also known as a pork filet, is a thin and long, tubular cut of lean meat with very little fat. Best cooked at high heat until reaches 145 degrees.
Pork loin coming from the same loin muscle as the tenderloin, is a wide and thick rectangular cut of pork. A pork loin commonly has a thin layer of fat running along its top, called the fat cap. You will most likely find boneless pork loin at your grocery store’s meat department, but you can also purchase this piece of meat with the bone in it. This cut of meat does best when slow roasted in the oven or slow cooker.
Looking for other recipes like this? Try these:
Pork Slider Pairing
These are my favorite side dishes to serve with pork sliders with maple-glaze:
- balsamic rice with orange and dried cranberries
- deli potato salad
- deli coleslaw
Pork Sliders with a maple-glaze for two
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- ¼ cup maple syrup + 2 Tablespoons
- 2 Tablespoons molasses light or mild
- 1 Tablespoon bourbon or brandy
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch ground cloves
- Pinch of cayenne pepper
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon sugar
- 1 Teaspoon + ½ teaspoon table salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1¼ lb pork tenderloin
- 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 + ½ teaspoon whole-grain mustard
- 4 – 6 brioche slider buns sweet slider buns, potato or pretzel slider buns
- Toppings optional
- Fennel thinly sliced
- Red onion thinkly sliced
- Pineapple salsa store bought
- Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together real maple-syrup (do not be tempted to use imitation – it will be too sweet), molasses, bourbon, cinnamon, cloves and cayenne pepper. Now combine cornstarch, sugar, salt and pepper in a rimmed baking sheet. Pat the tenderloin dry with a paper towel then roll the tenderloin in the corn starch mixture, shaking off any excess to avoid a clumpy or gummy crust.
- Heat oil in a 10-inch skillet, placing the primed tenderloin in the skillet and cook until well-browned on all sides, about 8 – 12 minutes. Remove from pan placing on a baking rack placed over a rimmed baking sheet, set aside.
- Turn up the heat to medium-high, pouring the glaze mixture into the now empty skillet, scraping up brown bits with a wooden spoon. Reduce until there is about ¼ cup of glaze. Reserve 1 tablespoon of glaze in a small bowl and set aside. Brush 1 tablespoon of glaze onto the pork tenderloin and roast in oven until the instant read thermometer reads 130 degrees, about 12 minutes. Now, brush 1 Tablespoon of glaze on the tenderloin, continue to roast until the thickest part of the meat reaches 135 - 140 degrees, about 12 minutes.
- Remove tenderloin from oven and pour over remaining glaze in skillet and let rest for about 10 minutes. Don’t cover as we want the glaze to bond to the tenderloin and not soften and run off from retained moisture which would result if covered.
- Mix 2 Tablespoons maple syrup with mustard and reserved 1 tablespoon of glaze. Pour 1 tablespoon of mustard glaze over the top of the tenderloin. Slice the tenderloins into thick slices about ½”. Serve with slider buns, toppings of choice like fennel, pineapple salsa, red onion, or extra maple-mustard sauce.
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Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.