Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (Best Breaded Iowa Recipe)

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Pork Tenderloin Sandwich is a Midwestern favorite, and our Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich recipe will knock your socks off! Fluffy, warm buns topped with crisp veggies and mouthwatering, juicy, breaded pork loin chops. You can make this fabulous meal in less than 30 minutes!

Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich recipe.


Crispy chicken sandwiches are super popular right now, but they’re no match for a juicy and flavor-packed breaded pork sandwich!

And this one is huge. The pork chop won’t even fit on the bun… Just the way we like it!

ingredients for pork tenderloin sandwich.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

This sandwich recipe got its start in the “Hoosier” state – Indiana – at the restaurant Nick’s Kitchen, in Huntington. 

It’s super  popular across the Midwest though, including Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois.

The recipe varies a bit from state to state. Being that Chad is from Iowa, we love the Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich recipe! It’s literally golden brown perfection. 

It’s a bit different from Indiana’s version – Iowa tenderloin is made with boneless pork loin chops rather than pork tenderloin, so they are a little smaller in size.

When I want to layer on the sauces and toppings, I like to use a pretzel bun.

Try it out – I promise you’ll love it! If you are looking for a quick and delicious meal try this air fryer burger recipe.

center-cut pork loin chops.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pork Loin Chops – Go with boneless cuts that are about 1-inch thick – we’ll flatten and tenderize them later.
  • White Pepper – I use this when I want a deeper, earthier flavor, and it’s great to use in creamy soups and gravies, where you don’t want to see those little black specks. 

    But, if black pepper is all you have, it’ll work just fine.
  • Paprika – Cayenne and chili seasoning are a couple of good substitutes for extra spiciness, if you’re into that.
pork chops in egg mixture.

Take Your Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches to The Next Level!

Using simple ingredients, you can created the perfect fried pork tenderloin sandwich! 

  • Toppings to Try – Instead of raw red onions, make caramelized onions – they are fabulous! 

    Lettuce and tomato, of course, are always good, and I’ve heard native Midwesterners swear by a slice of swiss cheese on top!
  • A Classic Crust – The original Indiana recipe includes crushed oyster crackers for the breadcrumbs. 

    I personally don’t think crackers lend as much flavor or hold up for the best crunch, but feel free to try if you want the traditional taste and texture! 

    Saltines work, too.
  • Sauces to Slather On! BBQ sauce is always killer. Ranch dressing or a barbecue ranch sauce add a nice cool freshness. 

    Or try a sweet honey mustard or a spicy chipotle sauce!
fried pork chops in skillet.

Storing and Reheating Breaded Pork Tenderloin

Cooked pork can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.

This is a freezer-friendly pork tenderloin recipe, too! (be sure to store the leftover piece of tenderloin in an airtight container) 

You can freeze the cooked meat for up to 3 months. If you want to freeze them breaded but uncooked, you can do so for up to 5 months.

I recommend reheating in the oven at around 400°F on a layer of foil. The microwave always works in a pinch, but won’t bring the same crunch back to the crust.

The key to reheating leftover pork tenderloin so that the breaded tenderloin is crunchy and delicious is to use the air fryer.

Add the piece of pork tenderloin to the air fryer basket and reheat. This will give the sandwich back that crunch! 

fried pork chops on cooling rack.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich FAQ

How do you flatten pork tenderloin? 

You want to butterfly the cut beforehand, getting it nice and even. You’ll then tenderize the pork with a meat mallet, wrapped in plastic wrap to keep things nice and neat, until the meat is ¼“ thick. 

What condiment goes well on a pork sandwich?

A breaded pork tenderloin sandwich is a hearty sandwich where the condiments stand out. Adding ketchup and mustard is a great way to have a flavor, and mayonnaise is never a bad idea. 

Don’t forget that other toppings like sliced onions and pickles are key ingredients for making breaded pork tenderloins. 

To really create the full recipe, add your favorite bun and enjoy! I love a soft bun to pair with this comfort food, but you can use brioche buns, crusty sandwich rolls, and even simple hamburger buns as well. Fried slices of pork tenderloin create an easy dinner recipe with all types of options! 

Can I use a different coating for these pork cutlets? 

While I’m all about keeping it simple with the egg mixture and flour, you can use other options for that crispy crunch. Egg and cracker crumbs are popular, as are crushed-up oyster crackers. You can also make fun pork sandwiches by using pork rinds as well. Bread crumbs are often used as well – but it’s all about personal consumption. (I think that crushed saltine crackers are a little too rich to use for the crumb mixture – but you might love it! )

Just be sure to set up your breading station so that you have your egg wash and flour mixture ready to dip and use. If you’re using other options, have them in a small bowl and in the right order so that you cut down on any excess drip. 

bite out of Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich.

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pork tenderloin sandwich with onion and pickles.

pork tenderloin sandwich.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich (Best Breaded Iowa Recipe)

Donna Elick
Pork tenderloin sandwich is a Midwestern favorite! Our Iowa style pork sandwich recipe creates juicy pork loin chops with crispy breading.
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Total Time 22 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine American
Method Stovetop
Servings 4


  • 4 boneless pork loin chops, 1-inch thick
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
  • 4 cups vegetable oil

For Serving

  • 4 buns
  • 1 large red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 pickle chips
  • condiments of choice, (mayo, mustard, etc.)


  • Butterfly the pork loin chops and place each one between two pieces of plastic wrap. Using a meat mallet, pound each chop to a thickness of ¼-inch.
  • Using 3 rimmed plates or pie plates, set up a breading station. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and spices, then transfer the mixture to one of the plates. In the second plate, whisk the eggs. Add panko breadcrumbs to the third plate.
  • Dredge one pork chop through the flour, then the egg, and lastly, the panko bread crumbs, being sure to completely coat both sides of the meat at each station.
  • Transfer breaded pork to a baking sheet with a wire rack set over it. Repeat, one at a time, with remaining chops.
  • Add enough oil to the skillet to cover the bottom and come up the sides ½-inch. Place skillet over medium heat and bring to a temperature of 350°F. If you don’t have an instant-read cooking thermometer, you’ll know the oil is hot enough when it starts to shimmer.
  • Using tongs, carefully slide 2 pork chops into the hot oil. Cook on the first side until the bottom is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Use the tongs to flip the breaded pork tenderloin chops over and fry for an additional 2 minutes. Remove chops from the skillet and set on the wire rack to drain off excess oil. Repeat with remaining pork chops.
  • Serve breaded loin chops warm on buns with condiments and toppings of choice. Enjoy!


Serving: 1 | Calories: 2512cal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 233g | Saturated Fat: 38g | Cholesterol: 183mg | Sodium: 1231mg | Sugar: 6g | Fiber: 4g | Calcium: 152mg | Iron: 5mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Iowa pork tenderloin sandwich recipe.

Originally published October 2022, updated and republished December 2023

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  1. 5 stars
    These are delicious! I remember back in the day, A@W Rootbeer Restaurant in Illinois had this on the menu. They were wonderful and when I saw this I just had to try and repeat that taste. Great recipe. I highly recommend this recipe to everyone who loves a good sandwich.

  2. I have found that you can cut out one step by drying the sliced and pounded chops and then mix the flour and egg together and finish with the Panko. Works like a charm.

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