Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

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A Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich is a tasty delight originating in the American Midwest, particularly in Iowa. It features a large, thinly pounded, breaded pork tenderloin fried to crispy, golden-brown perfection, it is known for its generous size, served on a soft burger bun that is considerably smaller than the pork itself. Common toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and mustard or mayonnaise are served alongside. This is iconic Midwestern comfort food at its best. 

Here where I live, both in Nebraska, and in Iowa, you would be hard-pressed to go to a bar or cafe and not find a pork tenderloin sandwich on the menu. It’s a Midwestern staple and my youngest son’s most favorite menu item. He deems himself a Pork Tenderloin Sandwich connoisseur, always sending me photos of the best ones. I felt like if I didn’t share how I make them at home, it would be a disservice to you, my readers. 

Nothing screams comfort food more than these saltine breaded pork cutlets fried to perfection and then served on a warm bun. Topped with your favorite sandwich or burger toppings these pork tenderloin sandwiches are irresistibly good and surprisingly easy to prepare. 

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

This hearty recipe calls for a piece of pork to be breaded and deep fried and then turned into a pork sandwich.  A true Midwest favorite, you’ll be hooked at the first bite and making this breaded tenderloin sandwich at home on a regular basis.  

fried pork tenderloin sandwich

Typically enjoyed with a side of fries, feel free to make up a side of potato salad if you aren’t keen on fries with your fried pork tenderloin sandwich. Or lighten up your plate and serve with some fresh salad greens

If you love fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, you are sure to love these too: Toasted Italian Sub Sandwiches,  BBQ Smoked Sausage Sandwiches With Kraut, or this Crispy Oven Fried Chicken In A Biscuit Sandwich. 

fried pork sandwich

Best made just before you want to eat them, these sandwiches taste way better than if you prepared them in advance. If you do want to meal prep, you can easily fry up the boneless pork chops, place them on a paper towel-lined plate to blot, and then put them in the fridge for a day or two.  When ready to eat the sandwiches, heat the pork tenderloin cutlet on a baking sheet in the oven and then assemble as you wish. 

Store leftover pork tenderloin in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months. I don’t suggest you freeze the assembled sandwiches, freeze the pork chops and buns separately.

Ingredients for this tenderloin sandwich

For complete ingredients and instructions scroll to the bottom of this post for the full printable recipe. 

  • Pork loin chops – I used pork chops that were about 1” thick.
  • Saltine crackers – These crackers are used for crispy breading.
  • Spices – I used a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and salt.
  • Flour – All-purpose white flour works well for the breading along with the crackers. 
  • Eggs – I used large eggs.
  • Vegetable oil – Vegetable oil or a mild flavored oil for frying.
  • Hamburger buns – Hamburger buns are just the right size to make pork tenderloin sandwiches.
  • For Serving: Mayo, Mustard, onion slices, dill pickle slices, fresh lettuce and tomato slices

How to make a pork tenderloin sandwich

This breaded tenderloin recipe uses simple ingredients it comes together quite easily.

Prep the chops: Butterfly each chop, cutting through horizontally, but not all of the way through. Place the pork chops in a plastic bag or between a piece of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until each is about ¼” thick. 

Crush the crackers in a zippered bag or with your food processor until they are in small pieces (not like bread crumbs) Add the seasonings to the cracker crumbs. Mix.

Set up a breading station: Pour cracker crumbs into a rimmed dish. (Small Pyrex dishes or a pie plate work great!) Add the flour to another rimmed plate. Whisk the eggs and add to another rimmed plate. 

Dredge pork chops in flour. Then in the egg mixture.

Then press into the cracker crumbs until well coated. 

Fry the Pork: Add oil to a 10 or 12-inch large skillet or frying pan, about 1/2 inch deep. Heat over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350F.

Using tongs add the breaded tenderloin into the hot oil one at a time and fry about two to three minutes per side or until golden brown. They are cooked when a meat thermometer reads an internal temperature of 145 degrees F.  

Place fried pork tenderloins on paper towels or a wire rack over a cookie sheet to drain excess oil. Sprinkle with salt.

Serve the pork cutlets on a soft bun with your choice of toppings. 

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If you love this recipe for breaded pork tenderloin sandwiches, make sure that you don’t lose it! Pin it to your favorite Pinterest recipe board before you go!

FAQs about this pork tenderloin recipe

  • How do you cook pork tenderloin so it’s not dry? It is best to follow the directions for the recipe you are making to ensure the pork tenderloin cooks properly. Make sure your oil is preheated and only start to cook the pork once the oil is ready. It is best to test for doneness a few minutes before the suggested cooking time so you don’t overcook the meat. 
  • Should pork tenderloin be cooked fast or slow? Breaded pork should be cooked quickly.
  • Can you pound pork tenderloin flat? Yes, you can pound pork flat, just use a meat mallet.
  • What’s the difference between fried pork tenderloin and schnitzel? Pork tenderloin is typically deep-fried and served on a bun while schnitzel is pan-fried and not served on a bun. 
  • Are a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich and a breaded pork cutlet sandwich the same thing?  Yes, a breaded pork cutlet is used to make a breaded pork cutlet sandwich. A Pork cutlet is a tenderized pork tenderloin chop.  

Substitutions

Remember that when it comes to making substitutions in recipes, you don’t need to be afraid to get creative and use ingredients that suit your personal taste and dietary preferences. Make it your own!

  • Some people use panko bread crumbs instead of saltines and flour. 

  • Use your favorite cracker crumbs instead of the saltines, think Ritz or Club crackers.

  • Change up the spices and a touch of cayenne pepper for a little kick or use whatever you have on hand. 

Tips & Tricks

  • Cook the pork tenderloin in the air fryer instead of deep frying

  • Sprinkle the pork chops with a touch of meat tenderizer before you cook them. 

  • Serve the sandwiches right away as they taste the best fresh. 

Breaded pork cutlets in a white serving dish

More Recipes to Love

Look no further for the ultimate breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Enjoy this recipe for a midwestern favorite at your next family dinner. 

Michaela signature

Yield: 4 servings

Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Close up of Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

A Breaded Pork Tenderloin Sandwich is a tasty delight originating in the American Midwest, particularly in Iowa. It features a large, thinly pounded, breaded pork tenderloin fried to crispy, golden-brown perfection, it is known for its generous size, served on a soft burger bun that is considerably smaller than the pork itself. Common toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, and mustard or mayonnaise are served alongside. This is iconic Midwestern comfort food at its best. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes

Ingredients

  • 4 pork loin chops, about 1” thick
  • 2 sleeves of saltine crackers, about 80 crackers, 2 cups
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3-4 cups vegetable oil, for frying
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • For Serving: Mayo, Mustard, onion slices, dill pickle slices, lettuce and tomato slices

Instructions

  1. Prep the chops: Butterfly each chop, cutting through horizontally, but not all of the way through.
  2. Place in a plastic bag or between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet until each is about ¼” thick. 
  3. Crush crackers in a zippered bag or with your food processor until they are in small pieces (not like bread crumbs) Add the seasonings to the cracker crumbs. Mix.  Pour into a rimmed dish. (a pie plate works great!)
  4. Add the flour to another shallow dish. 
  5. Whisk the eggs and add to another rimmed plate. 
  6. Dredge pork chops in flour. Then in the egg wash. Then press into the cracker crumbs until well coated. 
  7. Add oil to a 10 or 12-inch skillet, about 1/2 inch deep. Heat over medium heat until the temperature reaches 350F.
  8. Using tongs add the breaded tenderloin into the hot oil one at a time and fry about two to three minutes per side. They are cooked internally when a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F.  
  9. Place fried pork tenderloins on a wire rack to drain excess oil. 
  10. Sprinkle with salt. Serve on hamburger buns with your choice of toppings. 

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 475Total Fat: 52.5 ggSaturated Fat: 3 ggCholesterol: 196 mgmgSodium: 912 mgmgCarbohydrates: 55.5 ggFiber: 3.7 ggSugar: 6.4 ggProtein: 29.4 gg

Please note that nutrition is not guaranteed accurate.

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. This looks so indulgent and delicious!! It’s a fun way to change things up from the typical burgers we normally make. Can’t wait to try this soon!

  2. I made this for my son and he loved it! He loved the crispy pork patty. I used gluten free burger buns and was very delish.

  3. This looks like my kind of sandwich! 🙂 My family would love this. Adding this to my weekly dinner plan soon.

  4. I LOVE that you used saltine crackers in the breading for this recipe! That was such a great tip. I used pork tenderloin and made them into sliders for my son’s birthday last weekend. They were so delicious. Thanks for the great idea.

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen saltines used as breadcrumbs – a fun twist as part of this easy and super comforting sandwich.

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