Marinating a pork fillet before cooking offers maximum flavour. See Mel’s recipe for sticky apricot pork fillet for her marinade recipe. It’s helpful, but not essential if your fry pan/skillet can go in the oven.

Pork fillet
A pork fillet is a beautiful cut of pork and not as difficult to cook as some people perceive


  • Marinate the pork overnight in your chosen marinade.
  • Get the pork and marinade out of the fridge about 20 min before you start cooking.
  • Remove the pork from the marinade and keep the marinade aside for now.
  • Preheat oven to 165C and heat a fry pan to a medium-high heat.
  • Drizzle and rub a little oil over the pork fillet then sear on all sides for even colour all round.
  • Take your pan off the heat. If it can go in the oven, put the reserved marinade over the pork – or put the pork and marinade in a baking dish. Cook uncovered in the oven for 20-25 min or until the internal temperature is 68C. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, see our tips below.
  • Allow the pork to rest for 5 min on a warm plate under loose foil.
  • If you wish, the marinade can be cooked down to your desired consistency to use as a sauce.
  • When ready to serve, slice the pork fillet. It can have a slight blush of pink (medium-rare) or no pink (medium) and dress with your reduced marinade.

How to check meat doneness without a thermometer

You can check by feeling the meat and comparing it to the firmness of the fleshy tissue underneath your thumb. Poke the cooked pork fillet with your finger and make a mental note of the firmness.

  • Raw meat will feel like the fleshy area between your thumb and the base of your palm when your hand is relaxed.
  • Touch the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. Rare meat has the same firmness as the area below the thumb when your hand is in this position.
  • Touch your middle finger to your thumb. Now feel that fleshy spot again. This is medium rare.
  • Medium feels like the flesh below your thumb when you press the tip of your ring finger to the tip of your thumb.
  • Well done is as firm as the area below your thumb when you press the tip of your pinky to the tip of your thumb.

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