This is one of those meals that looks incredibly complicated but can actually be made in one skillet on a busy weeknight. The creamy gnocchi is comforting and tossed with fresh spinach before being topped with an easy pork tenderloin and finished in the oven! Dinner, like a pro with minimal cleanup.

hearty pork tenderloin in cast iron skillet with cheesy gnochi

Pork tenderloin is one of my secret weapons in the kitchen. (Almost as much as I love a quick weeknight recipe) It’s a quick-cooking cut that, as it’s name promises, cooks up tender (when handled with respect) that can be crafted into a variety of dishes and recipes.

From campfire cooking, to pan searing, or oven roasting a pork tenderloin, it’s an easy cut and I love showing people how to lean in on it.

But, first and foremost….

Pork Tenderloin is NOT a Pork Loin.

The pork loin and pork tenderloin are not the same cut. The tenderloin is much smaller and cooks at a different rate than the loin overall. They are not easily substituted in recipes and often, not even handled the same way when cooking.

For pork loins, I love butterflying them and roasting them. They are a perfect Sunday supper feature alongside mashed potatoes, and a hearty salad tossed in bacon.

The tenderloin is made for quick cooking.

The lean little pork filet, the prime choice of pork, comes in around a pound and is ideal for quick cooking. Aka, an elevated weeknight recipe champion. And is perfect for quick grilling, smoked bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin, and (a personal fall favorite) pan-searing any which way you can think to use.

(Heck, it’s one of my favorites for campfire recipes too!)

sliced pork tenderloin

Just keep in mind, the size of the cut makes for a fast cook. To keep it from drying out, I love a hot and quick cook where the outside geats seared and locks in the natural juices.

Unlike when pork used to be cooked too tough and to enjoy, the USDA recommends an internal temp of 145 degrees F for serving so that it’s still juicy with a very light pink center.

Girl Carnivore Tip: The tenderloin can be a pricy cut, often $7.99 and up at the market, so watch for sales when they drop substantially in price, or do yourself a quick kitchen favor and buy the pre-seasoned one’s to pair off with quick side dishes.

ingredients for pork and gnocchi skillet

What you need for this recipe

For this recipe, you just need a pork tenderloin, frozen gnocchi, parmesan, asiago, and mozzarella cheese. Then grab some fresh spinach, leftover cooked bacon, and a pinch of Dijon mustard.

After quickly searing the pork to help with texture and locking in flavor, everything quickly comes together in one skillet before sliding in the oven to finish off.

Sweet potato or butternut squash gnocchi is a great alternative to traditional gnocchi. Or, if you don’t like gnocchi, you can use diced sweet potato or roasted butternut squash instead. Just cook either until they are fork-tender before serving.

Close up of sliced pork tenderloin in skillet with gnocchi

Easy Pork Tenderloin over Three Cheese Gnocchi

4.50 from 2 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 27 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Close up of sliced pork tenderloin in skillet with gnocchi
This is a simple recipe for fast pork tenderloing over a creamy cheesy gnocchi loaded with fresh spinach all made in one skillet. A flawless weeknight dinner.


  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1 lbs Pork tenderloin
  • ½ Onion chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 12 oz pack frozen gnocchi
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup asiago cheese
  • 10 oz fresh spinach
  • 4 oz bacon cooked and chopped
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese


Preheat the oven

  • Set the oven to 375 degrees F while you ready everything for this dish.

Brown Pork

  • Preheat the skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
  • Add the pork tenderloin and sear on all sides, about 2 minutes a side.
  • Remove from heat and set aside.

Sautee Onions

  • Add the remaining oil to the pan and swirl to coat.
  • Add the onion and saute 5 minutes until soft.
  • Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds longer.

Fry Gnocchi

  • Toss the gnocchi into the pan and fry on all sides, until just golden.

Make Cheese Sauce

  • In a small bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and mustard.
  • Pour over the gnocchi and sprinkle with the parmesan and asiago cheese.
  • Toss to coat.

Add Spinach

  • Fold in the spinach and bacon.


  • Nestle the pork loin back into the pan and sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until cheese is melted and pork reads 140 degrees on an sinstantread thermomoter.


  • Rest for 5 minutes, when the pork reaches 145 degrees F, before slicing pork in thin strips on a bias against the grain to serve.


  • Pork can be wrapped in foil and stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • Store the gnocchi in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave with a splash of water or milk to keep moist.
  • For this recipe, I used a pre-seasoned pork tenderloin from AdaptableMeals. 


Serving: 1g | Calories: 530kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 715mg | Potassium: 931mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 4851IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 257mg | Iron: 5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Kita Roberts

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Well, Hey, Y’all.

Kita is a multi-talented individual, boasting numerous accomplishments such as being an award-winning recipe developer, world-traveled professional photographer, and journalist. As the lead creative force behind Girl Carnivore®, she is widely recognized as an authority on all things meat.


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Recipe Rating


  1. Question: I don’t have frozen gnocchi but I do have scads of shelf stable ones that I’m trying to use up. Can I sub them without giving them some time in boiling water? TIA

    1. hey hey Pamela. for shelf-stable gnocchi, I would skip boiling them and give them a quick pan fry before tossing them into this recipe. That will help to cook them and give a great texture so they don’t soften too much.
      Check this NY Times article for info on that.
      And if you need another idea to use them up, i love this braised short rib recipe over gnocchi!

  2. 4 stars
    Looks good except for the heavy cream. I buy an unmarinated pork tenderloin, cut it into 2 inch pieces, wrap in plastic, bag and store in the freezer. Whenever I want, I can remove one or two pieces, thaw and cut into medallions or strips. Fry in oil with diced bacon, remove and cover. In same pan, add onions, gnocci, mushrooms, peas etc, cover. Add small amount of chicken stock to make a sauce. Add back pork to reheat. Great for one person meals.