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How to Make Lean Ground Pork Tenderloin

Tons of recipes call for ground pork, but I’ve never had much luck finding lean ground pork in stores. Sure, I could swap it for ground beef, chicken, or turkey. But sometimes the pork flavor is an important part of the dish. So, I’ve been making my own ground pork tenderloin that’s as lean as it gets.

Ground Pork Nutrition Facts Comparison

Here’s a quick breakdown of 4-ounce servings of ground pork at different lean to fat ratios:

  • 80/20 Ground Pork: 280 Calories, 20g Protein, 20g Fat
  • 90/10 Ground Pork: 190 Calories, 23g Protein, 11g Fat
  • My Ground Pork Tenderloin: 160 Calories, 29g Protein, 4g Fat

Making homemade ground pork tenderloin could save a whopping 64 grams of fat and 576 calories per pound when substituted for 80% lean ground pork.

Now, let’s learn how to make it!

Step 1: Remove Silver Skin from the Pork Tenderloin

removing silver skin from pork tenderloin

Silver skin is a connective tissue commonly found on cuts of red meat like pork tenderloin and beef tenderloin. Unlike fat or another connective tissue—collagen—silver skin doesn’t break down during cooking. This creates tough and chewy bites, even when grinding meat.

Luckily, it’s super easy to spot and remove silver skin. You’ll notice its silver, almost fish scale looking appearance on the pork tenderloin. Just use the tip of a sharp knife to slide the blade right under the silver skin and slice down the pork tenderloin.

And since you’ll be slicing before grinding in the next step, it might be easier to trim any tricky bits after slicing.

Step 2: Cut the Pork Tenderloin into Smaller Pieces

slicing pork tenderloin into pieces

This will help with even grinding. You don’t want some pieces turned to a paste while others are huge chunks.

Step 3: Add to a Food Processor

pork tenderloin pieces in a food processor

While there are other methods (more on those below), grinding meat in a food processor is the fastest and easiest way to get the job done. Just be sure to use pulses as opposed to blending and scrape the sides or work in small batches for evenly ground pork tenderloin.

Other Options for Making Ground Pork Tenderloin: Meat Grinder or Knife Method

I pulled the photos below from my homemade ground chicken guide. The best way to make ground meat, in my opinion, is with a meat grinder. Shocking, I know. But don’t sleep on the old fashioned way—a sharp knife.

making ground meats with a stand mixer meat grinder attachment and by hand with a knife

The Best Method for Making a Beaucoup of Ground Meat

I use a KitchenAid stand mixer meat grinder attachment, which works like a dream and is surprisingly easy to clean. If you’re going to be making this ground pork tenderloin in bulk, which I recommend doing, it’s definitely worth the hassle and cleanup to use a meat grinder.

The Best Method for Small Batches and Minimal Cleanup

Speaking of cleanup, using a knife and cutting board is the cleanest method of the bunch. Though you will want to freeze the pork tenderloin for 30-60 minutes to make slicing easier. To make ground meat with a knife, you’ll essentially slice in grid patterns while rotating the meat.

If you’d like to see all these methods in action, watch my video below.

It also covers extra lean ground chicken and ground beef.

Step 4: Pulse 6-8 Times to Reach Desired Grind

ground pork tenderloin in food processor

Don’t overdo it. You can use a knife to tackle any stubborn chunks or pieces of hard fat or connective tissue you may have missed.

Step 5: Portion and Package or Cook

If you’re going to the trouble of making your own ground pork tenderloin or any ground meat, I think it’s smart to do it in bulk. You can also save some money by purchasing larger quantities of proteins at the same time.

two pounds of ground pork tenderloin on a cutting board

Luckily, ground meat is perfect for freezing. I like to pack a pound into a resealable freezer bag so I always have some ready to go. Be sure to get it as airtight as possible. A vacuum sealer works great. Also, to save space, you can press the ground meat flat so it’s more stackable in your freezer.

ground pork tenderloin in a ziploc bag and cooking in a pan

As for cooking your ground pork tenderloin, you can make anything from ground pork tacos, lean Mexican chorizo, chili garlic ground pork lettuce wraps, and ground pork chili to meatballs, burgers, and more. Basically anything you would make with ground meat, you could plug this in.

More ideas: 26 Ways to Use Ground Pork

chorizo tacos, ground pork rice bowls, and tacos

Okay, I hope you enjoy your ground pork tenderloin. Be sure to let me know in the comments how you use it and about all the great dishes you cook! You’ll find a printable recipe card below, in case you want to frame this and hang it on your kitchen wall.

Homemade Ground Pork Tenderloin

Homemade Ground Pork Tenderloin

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes

A guide to making lean ground pork with pork tenderloin.


  • 2 pounds Pork Tenderloin
  • 1-2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (for cooking) OR Freezer Bags (to store for later)


  1. Use a knife to trim away any silver skin and hard fat from the pork tenderloins before slicing into 2" to 3" pieces.
  2. Add the pieces to a food processor and pulse 6-8 times to reach your desired grind consistency.
  3. Transfer the ground pork to cutting board and divide into two 1-pound portions. Package in freezer bags to store for later or cook with 1-2 teaspoons of oil over medium-high heat. (Or use with any ground pork recipe as you normally would.)


See post above for tips on using a meat grinder or a knife and cutting board as opposed to a food processor.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 4 oz (raw)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 4gCarbohydrates: 0gProtein: 29g

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