A properly cooked pork loin can be a dramatic and flavorful centerpiece for your meal. The thing is, you’ll only achieve that wow factor with a 2-lb pork low when you know the proper 2-lb pork loin cook time for your cooking method. Timing is everything when you want to achieve a tender, juicy, and safe-to-eat result.
So let’s talk about it. Read on for a guide on 2-lb pork loin cook times across four cooking methods. By the end, you’ll be confidence you can prepare this delicious cut of meat with confidence.
What is pork loin?
Pork loin is a cut created from the tissue along the dorsal side of the rib cage. It’s one of the largest, leanest, and most tender cuts of pork. It can be sold as a bone-in roast or boneless roast.
There are two main types of pork loin cuts:
- Center-cut pork loin is the most common cut. It’s usually boneless and fairly lean. You can buy center-cut pork loin as a whole roast or sliced into pork loin chops.
- Rib end pork loin is closer to the shoulder and typically has more fat and connective tissue. As a result, it’s usually flavorful and juicy. You’d normally buy rib-end pork loin as a roast.
Pork loin should not be confused with pork tenderloin, sometimes called a pork fillet. That’s a different, smaller cut that comes from the muscle running along the backbone.
Cooking and prep tips for pork loin
1. Know the weight
The weight of the pork loin affects your cooking time. This post is specifically about a 2-lb pork loin. If yours is bigger, see these resources:
2. Have a meat thermometer on hand
Pork is best cooked to 145°F or 63°C. This is when it’s safe to eat, but also still tender and flavorful. You can remove usually remove it from heat at 140°F or 60°C, since the temperature will continue to rise while it rests.
Brining pork adds flavor and keeps the meat from drying out. If you plan ahead, this is an easy step that produces a better end result.
4. Sear first, then cook
If you want a delicious brown crust on your loan roast, try searing it first, then cooking it.
5. Rest the pork after cooking
Rest a 2-lb pork loin for at least 10 minutes, preferably 20, after you remove it from the heat. If you slice it immediately, the juices run out all over the place. Your roast will be dryer as a result.
You can cover a whole pork loin roast while it rests but tent the foil so you don’t trap the heat inside. Avoid covering pork loin chops as they may end up overcooked.
2-lb pork loin cook times
Below are cook times for roasting, grilling, slow cooking, and pressure cooking (Instant Pot) pork loin roast.
How to roast a 2-lb pork loin
Roasting is one of the most popular and straightforward methods for cooking pork loin. It allows the pork to cook evenly and develop a flavorful crust. Here are the steps:
- Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Season the pork loin. Not sure what to season it with? Try this pork rub recipe.
- Optionally, sear the pork in a skillet with a bit of oil over medium-high heat until it’s golden-brown on all sides.
- Place the pork on a rack in a roasting pan.
- Roast the pork loin for approximately 20-25 minutes per pound, or around 40-50 minutes for a 2-lb pork loin.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C) before removing it from the oven.
- Allow the pork loin to rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
For more information, see how to cook a pork loan roast in the oven.
How to grill a 2-lb pork loin
Grilling is another good way to cook a 2-lb pork loin. This method imparts a smoky flavor and beautiful grill marks.
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, around 400°F (200°C).
- Season the pork loin, and lightly oil your grill grates.
- Grill the pork loin for approximately 10-12 minutes per side, or 20-24 minutes in total.
- Check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer, ensuring it reaches 145°F (63°C) before removing it from the grill.
- Allow the pork loin to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
How to slow cook a 2-lb pork loin
If you need a foolproof cooking method, try slow cooking a 2-lb pork loin:
- Season the pork loin and place it in the slow cooker.
- Add broth or a mixture of broth and wine, until it covers about half of the pork loin.
- Cook the pork loin on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours.
- The pork loin should be tender and easily shredded with a fork when done.
- Remove the pork loin from the slow cooker, allow it to rest for a few minutes, then slice or shred as desired.
Cooking a 2-lb pork loin in an Instant Pot
An Instant Pot can also produce a tender, delicious pork loin roast. Follow these steps:
- Set the Instant Pot to Saute mode and a couple teaspoons of oil — enough to lightly coat the bottom. Brown the pork on all sides and remove.
- Turn off the Instant Pot and place a trivet plus ¼ cup of liquid of your choice.
- Return the pork to the Instant Pot. Pressure cook the roast for 25 minutes on high. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then release the valve.
- Check the temperature, rest, slice, and serve.
For more information, see how to cook a pork loin in an Instant Pot.
- 2-lb pork loin
- ½ teaspoon of black pepper
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon of salt
- 3 ribs celery (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 175°C.
- Combine ½ teaspoon of black pepper, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a small mixing bowl. Rub the seasonings mix all over your pork roast.
- Optionally, heat a small bit of oil in a skillet over medium-high. Brown the roast on all sides.
- Place the roast on a rack or atop 3 celery ribs in a roasting pan.
- Put the rack in the oven and roast the pork until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F or 63°C.
- Remove the pork from the oven and let it rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. Optionally, loosely cover the roast with foil for resting.
- Slice and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 442Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 181mgSodium: 262mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 60g
Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.
Pork loin recipes
Many of the pork loin recipes we have here on Blog Chef use pork loin chops. These are “steaks” sliced from the pork loin roast. They are often thick, sometimes 1-inch or thicker.
As with a whole pork loan roast, pork loan chops are delicious when cooked properly. They’re also quicker to make than a whole roast — about 15 minutes whether you cook them on the stovetop, in the oven, or on the grill.
Try these pork loin chop recipes for fast, easy main entrees.
Pork loin FAQs
What’s the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin?
Pork loin and pork tenderloin are two different cuts of meat. Pork loin is a larger cut from the back of the pig and can be sold bone-in or boneless. It is typically roasted and can be sliced into pork chops. On the other hand, pork tenderloin is a smaller, long cut from the muscle that runs along the backbone. It’s a leaner cut and can be cooked quickly over high heat.
How do I prevent my pork loin from drying out?
To prevent dried-out pork, use a meat thermometer to ensure the internal temperature reaches 145°F (63°C), but not much higher. Also allow pork loin chops to rest for at least 3 minutes and whole pork loin to rest for at least 10 minutes after cooking. This helps to lock in the juices. You can also try brining the pork loin before you cook it.
Should I cook my pork loin with the fat side up or down?
When roasting, it’s generally recommended to cook the pork loin with the fat side up. As the pork cooks, the fat will melt, or render, basting the pork loin and keeping it moist and flavorful.
Can I cook pork loin from frozen?
While it’s possible to cook pork loin from frozen, it’s generally better to thaw it first for even cooking. If you need to cook it from frozen, expect the cooking time to be approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for a thawed pork loin.
How long can I marinate pork loin?
You can marinate pork loin for anywhere from 30 minutes to 24 hours. If the marinade is very acidic (contains ingredients like vinegar or citrus juices), don’t marinate for more than 12 hours, as it can toughen the meat.
How can I add more flavor to my pork loin?
There are several ways to add flavor to pork loin. You can use a dry rub or marinade, inject it with a flavorful liquid, or even stuff it with herbs, spices, and other ingredients.
The key to a good pork loin roast
No matter the cooking method, the key to a perfectly cooked 2-lb pork loin getting the internal temperature to 145°F (63°C) — but not too much higher. This guarantees that the pork is cooked through and safe to eat, as well as tender and juicy.