Instant Pot Pork Medallions are the new pork chop and I, for one, am never going back! Juicy, tender mini pork chops smothered with the best Apricot Sauce you'll ever taste. Get ready to fall in love!
I feel inclined to tell you what inspired this recipe, so hang with me for a sec.
Pork chops. Never in my life have I voiced the phrase, “I sure do love me a good pork chop.”
Know why? Tough! No matter how I make them, they are dry, chewy, and extremely disappointing.
Granted, it might just be me, but I have tried grilling them, pan frying them, baking them, and even pressure cooking them and for the life of me, I just cannot figure out how to make it “fork tender” and “juicy”.
So thanks a lot, tender pork chop recipes all over the internet, for making me feel defeated and hopeless about my chances of ever joining your Juicy Pork Chop Club. I give up – you win.
Wanna know how many pork chops were harmed in the making of this recipe? TWELVE! And yes, I feel guilty, because of each batch we only ate a few slices and then I would toss them swearing I would never try again – and then, of course, I would try again a week later because I was sure I was close.
Well, I gave up on PC (pork chop), and I'm so happy I did, because this road took me right back to one of my favorite cuts of meat – the pork tenderloin. Always tender, forever juicy, somewhat expensive when not on sale, pork tenderloin.
My favorite butcher, Scotty, got to be the poor soul to carry me through my pork chop drama. After attempt #4, he said, “Have you ever tried a pork tenderloin medallion?”
He went on to explain that a pork tenderloin medallion is made by cutting 1 1/2 inch slices of pork tenderloin, then flattening them out with your hand or a mallet to make what looks like a mini pork chop. The benefit of doing this is that they cook quickly and will stay juicer and more tender than a pork chop.
So I tested this out, and guess what, Eureka! Pork probs are over and what I have for you today is my mother-in-law's famous Apricot-Sauced Pork Tenderloin, medallion style! You are in for a serious treat!
WHY YOU WILL LOVE INSTANT POT PORK MEDALLIONS
- TENDER: Unlike their cousin Pork Chop, pork medallions stay juicy and wonderfully fork tender. No sore jaw with these beauties!
- FAST: Pork roasts need a long cook time, but pork medallions only need 5 minutes of pressure cook time. That means 30 minutes or less meal any night of the week!
- APRICOT SAUCE: AKA Sweet, sticky, Golden Syrup of the Gods. It's very possible I ate more sauce than actual pork and I am 100% confident you will relate.
- ONE PAN PLAN: The meat and sauce cook in the same pan! Multitasking at its finest.
- MASHED POTATOES: If you haven't had the joy of sinking a fork through sticky apricots, tender pork, and fluffy mashed potatoes, you haven't lived, my friend!
HOW TO CUT A PORK TENDERLOIN INTO MEDALLIONS
First things first: Meat Cutting 101 – Pork Medallions
- Trim off the silver skin
- The tenderloin should be free of globs of fat and silver skin
- Cut tenderloin from top to bottom into 1 1/2 inch pieces
- Lay it flat on a cutting board and smash with the palm of your hand (or pound with a mallet) until it resembles a small pork chop
- Once you get to the smaller end piece of the tenderloin, just smash or pound it to resemble the size and shape of the other pieces
- You will end up with 6 – 8 pork medallions
Now that your medallions are ready, let's start cookin'!
HOW TO MAKE PORK MEDALLIONS IN THE PRESSURE COOKER
- Combine the seasonings then rub generously onto both sides of the medallions
- Get the Instant Pot very hot, then sear each side for about 2 minutes
- Add broth and scrape up browned bits
- Add remaining liquids and dried apricots
- Place pork medallions on top of apricots (this will keep all the seasonings from getting washed off); pressure cook
- When done, place pork medallions on a plate
- Whisk a cornstarch slurry into the pot juices
- Bring sauce to a bubble
- Whisk until thick; turn off heat
SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR DETAILED COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Place a pork medallion or two on a big pile of mashed potatoes and serve with a big scoop of the apricots sauce – DREAMY!
TIPS FOR MAKING THE BEST PORK MEDALLIONS AND APRICOT SAUCE
- USE A PORK TENDERLOIN: Just in case you missed my giant hints above, if you want this to be tender, go for the pork tenderloin! It tends to be more expensive than a pork chop, so whenever you see them on sale, grab three.
- OTHER PORK OPTIONS: If you happen to like the texture of pork chops, you can swap the tenderloin for 1-inch pork chops. Bone-in chops are typically more tender than boneless. I will forever prefer medallions, but even the pork chops were more tender from the pressure cooker than I've ever had with any other cooking method.
- DOUBLE IT: There is easily enough apricot sauce if you'd like to double the amount of meat in this recipe. No adjustments to the cook time are needed, but try not to layer the pork medallions directly on top of each other when pressure cooking.
- BEFRIEND YOUR BUTCHER: If you don't like to cut and prep your own meat, I highly suggest becoming good friends with a butcher and asking them to cut your medallions for you. It will make this meal come together in no time.
- TO SEAR OR NOT TO SEAR: Searing meat means more flavor, but I'll be the first to admit, that with this recipe and many others, I just throw it all in and let the pressure cooker work it's magic. There is slightly more flavor if you take the extra time to sear, but you won't be sad either way.
- DON'T WASH OFF THE SEASONINGS: You'll notice in the directions below that I stack my well-seasoned pork on top of the dried apricots. This keeps the flavor on the meat whether you choose to sear it or not.
- BRING ON THE TATERS! If you don't serve this pork over a pile of mashed potatoes, I simply can't promise you exquisite joy.
- DRIED VS FRESH APRICOTS: My thoughts are that DRIED apricots are mandatory here. They make the sauce thick and sweet without the need for a lot of added sugar. I worry that fresh apricots would make the sauce runny and bland. If you try it, let me know!
HOW TO STORE, REHEAT, AND FREEZE PORK MEDALLIONS
- Store: Cool leftovers then place leftover medallions in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I prefer to store the leftover sauce separately, but you could pour it over the pork to store as well.
- Reheat: Pork reheats the best in a skillet, but can also be warmed gently in a microwave. Be careful not to overcook and dry it out.
- Freeze: Both the pork and sauce freezes well, but are better frozen separately. Store them in freezer-safe containers or ziptop bags for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, let thaw overnight in the fridge, then reheat as instructed above.
MAKE AHEAD TIPS FOR PORK MEDALLIONS AND APRICOT SAUCE
- Cut pork tenderloin into medallions and cover them in the rub. Store in the fridge for up to two days.
- Apricots can be quartered in advance and stored in a ziptop bag.
WHAT TO SERVE WITH PORK MEDALLIONS
- Pork and Mashed Potatoes: I HIGHLY suggest these Instant Pot Creamy Mashed Potatoes.
- Pork and Sweet Potatoes: The savory pork and sweet apricot sauce is amazing over Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes.
VARIATIONS OF PORK MEDALLIONS
- Spicy Pork Medallions: Add cayenne powder to the spice mix for a spicy kick.
- Maple Glazed Pork Medallions: Swap the honey for 3 tablespoons of maple syrup for a classic maple/pork combo.
- Peachy Pork Medallions: Swap the dried apricots for dried peaches – yum!
- Pork with Plum Sauce: Plums go great with pork and would make an amazing swap for the dried apricots.
To all my fellow disappointed pork chop eaters – I'm starting a new club called the Pork Medallion Stallions and I'm inviting you all to join me in my mission of getting rid of pork's reputation of being dry and chewy.
This just might be the day that marks the last time you ever threw a package of pork chops into your shopping cart. Welcome to pork heaven. I can't wait for you to try this recipe!
MORE INSTANT POT PORK RECIPES
- Instant Pot Ribs
- Instant Pot “Smoked” Ham
- Instant Pot Paprika Pork Tenderloin Sandwich
- Instant Pot Hawaiian Barbecue Pork Tacos
- Instant Pot Easy Moo Shu Pork
TOOLS/INGREDIENTS USED TO MAKE INSTANT POT PORK MEDALLIONS AND APRICOT SAUCEPrint
Instant Pot Pork Medallions with Apricot Sauce
Juicy, tender Pork Medallions covered with a perfectly sweet Apricot Sauce.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 5 minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 6 servings 1x
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
- 1 ½ pounds pork tenderloin
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup apple cider or juice
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dijon mustard
- 7 oz package of dried apricots, quartered
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- Trim excess fat and silver skin from pork tenderloin. Cut tenderloin crosswise into 1 ½ inch thick pieces. Leave the smaller, thinner end about 2 inches long. You will end up with about 6-8 small pork medallions.
- Flip them so the cut side is down and press down firmly with the palm of your hand to flatten them to 1 inch thick. This will make them wider so they look like a small pork chop.
- Place pork on a large piece of foil for easy clean up. Combine cumin, garlic powder, smoked paprika, ginger, salt, and pepper. Rub and press the spices into all sides of the pork.
- Select saute on the pressure cooker. When it says “HOT” add oil.
- Add meat and brown top and bottom until nicely browned, about 2 – 3 minutes per side (see notes if you’d like to skip this step).
- Turn the pressure cooker off.
- Remove pork from the pot and set on a plate.
- Pour chicken broth into the pot and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom. Add apple juice, honey, apple cider vinegar, dijon, and apricots; whisk to combine.
- Place pork back in the pot, setting them on top of the apricots.
- Secure the lid and turn pressure release knob to a sealed position. Cook at high pressure for 5 minutes.
- When cooking is complete, use natural release for 10 minutes then manually release any remaining pressure.
- Set pork on a plate.
- Combine water and cornstarch. Press saute and bring apricots and juices to a simmer. Whisk vigorously while pouring in cornstarch slurry and simmer until it thickens, about 1 minute.
- Serve pork on a bed of mashed potatoes with a scoop of apricot sauce over top.
- While the browning step does add an extra layer of flavor and helps to seal the spices onto the meat, if you’d like to skip that step, this is still a very flavorful dish.
- 1 inch thick bone-in or boneless pork chops can be substituted for the pork medallions. They won’t be as tender but they are still delicious. Increase cook time to 10 minutes. Bone-in pork chops are typically more tender than boneless.
- I have not experimented with using fresh apricots.
Keywords: pork medallions, pork chops, instant pot pork recipe