Turkey Tenderloin With Lemon and Dijon Mustard

Lemon turkey tenderloin

The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu 

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 50 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
195 Calories
5g Fat
2g Carbs
35g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 195
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Cholesterol 91mg 30%
Sodium 368mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 2g 1%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 35g
Vitamin C 4mg 18%
Calcium 22mg 2%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 312mg 7%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This is a simple recipe for turkey tenderloin, but when it's finished, it is more than the sum of its parts. The combination of mustard, lemon, thyme, and garlic is delicious and transforms plain old turkey into something worthy of serving to company.

Serve this flavorful turkey dish with rice pilaf, a green salad tossed with sliced avocados and cucumbers, and some toasted garlic bread. For dessert, make a luscious chocolate cake or serve an ice cream pie.


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  • 1 (1 1/2 pound) turkey tenderloin

  • Kosher salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for lemon turkey tenderloin

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  2. Cut turkey tenderloin in half crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

    Cut turkey tenderloin

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  3. In a small bowl, combine Dijon mustard, lemon zest, lemon juice, olive oil, dried thyme, and garlic powder and mix well.

    Mix sauce

    The Spruce Eats / Diana Mocanu

  4. Place turkey in the marinade and flip to coat all sides well with the mixture. Cover and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes, or refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

    Cover and marinate
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  5. Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with sides with parchment paper and place turkey tenderloins on top.

    Place tenderloins on parchment
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  6. Roast turkey for 45 to 55 minutes or until internal temperature registers 160 F using a meat thermometer.

    Roast the turkey
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu
  7. Remove turkey from oven, cover with foil, and let stand for 8 to 10 minutes before slicing to serve. The temperature will rise to 165 F during standing time.

    Put foil over
    The Spruce Eats/Diana Mocanu


When both zesting and juicing a lemon for a recipe, it is easier to zest first and then cut the lemon in half to squeeze out the juices. Also, don't forget to wash off the lemon before zesting.

Recipe Variation

Instead of baking the turkey tenderloins, you can grill them. Remove the turkey from the marinade, allowing the excess to drip off, and place on a hot grill. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes a side, depending on thickness, until they reach 160 F. Let rest before slicing.

How to Store and Freeze

Any leftovers of cooked turkey should be placed in an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator, where it will keep for three to four days. 

It can also be frozen for up to one month. Simply store in freezer-safe bags or containers.

Do I Have to Let the Meat Rest?

It is important not to skip the step where the tenderloin rests. When you put the turkey in the oven, the heat causes the cells to contract, squeezing the liquid out and away from the heat, toward the center of the piece of meat. If you slice the turkey as soon as it comes out of the oven, all that liquid will end up on the cutting board. Waiting a few minutes allows the meat to cool slightly and the muscle fibers to relax; the juices will redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a more tender and juicy piece of meat.

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