Get ready to drool over this super easy and juicy crock pot pork loin recipe that’s gonna fill your kitchen with the homey smells of tart cranberry, zesty orange, and a hint of cinnamon. This simple pork loin recipe is as easy as season it, sear it, then let it simmer in the crockpot.
Easy Crock Pot Pork Loin Recipe
Step aside, chicken, there’s a new dinner hero in town! This crock pot pork loin is the new easy, no-fuss favorite. This recipe effortlessly transforms a simple boneless pork roast into a hearty and satisfying meal. It’s perfect for any day of the week. Prepare for it to become a regular in your dinner lineup.
Perfectly cooked with a delightful sauce, the pork loin roast becomes the centerpiece of your dining table. The combination of whole-berry cranberry sauce and dried cranberries offers a delightful burst of flavor, while the orange juice and zest contribute a citrusy undertone that elevates the dish to new heights.
This recipe is a breeze to whip up, and even my two kids couldn’t get enough of it. It strikes the perfect harmony between sweet and savory flavors. What’s more, it’s budget-friendly requiring just a handful of basic pantry items.
Each slice of this tender, slow-cooked delight promises to be an unforgettable experience in every bite. Whether it’s a special family gathering or a cozy weeknight dinner, this crockpot pork loin recipe is sure to impress. If you are looking for another easy pork recipe try this cream of chicken pork chops recipe.
PORK ROAST IN CROCK POT
Cooking a pork roast in a crockpot is a hands-off way to achieve tender and flavorful meat. The low and slow cooking method allows the pork fibers to break down gradually, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture. To ensure even cooking, place the roast in the center of the crockpot and allow it to cook undisturbed for the recommended duration.
I’ll be honest, pork in the crockpot used to intimidate me. Every time pork was on sale I planned to make one. Then I’d be haunted by visions of my guests chewing through a meal reminiscent of seasoned boot leather. But I was determined to master the art of the perfect pork loin, the kind that would make my grandmother nod in approval. One of the most important parts of making a juicy and delicious pork loin is to make sure you are using the right cut of meat. Spoiler alert, I wasn’t!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PORK LOIN AND PORK TENDERLOIN?
Pork loin and pork tenderloin are two different cuts of meat. The pork loin is a larger, fattier cut from the back of the pig and is typically sold bone-in or boneless. It’s great for roasting or slicing into chops. Pork tenderloin, meanwhile, is a smaller, leaner cut from the muscle that runs along the backbone. It’s known for being exceptionally tender and cooks quickly, making it less suitable for the long crockpot cooking method designed for pork loin. Here’s a photo for reference so you know when you go to the store to what to look for!
OTHER NAMES FOR PORK LOIN
Do you ever go to the grocery store and get to the meat sections and are totally unprepared for the different names of the meat? I’ve got your back!
Pork loin is known by various names, depending on the specific cut and preparation. It may be referred to as a center-cut loin roast when it’s from the center of the loin, with ribs removed. A “sirloin roast” comes from the back portion of the loin, and a “rib roast” includes the ribs. In some regions, it’s simply called a pork roast when sold without the bone. Any of these options work great! Again, just don’t get a tenderloin since it is much smaller.
3 SECRETS FOR THE BEST CROCK POT PORK LOIN
- Low and Slow Wins the Race: The most crucial aspect of cooking a pork loin in the crockpot is patience. Set your crockpot to a low heat setting to allow the pork loin to cook gently over several hours. This slow cooking process helps break down the connective tissues in the meat, resulting in a fork-tender texture. Remember, rushing it with high heat will only lead to a tougher loin, so keep it low, and let time do its magic.
- Keep it Moist: Your pork loin’s best friend in the crockpot is liquid, which in this case, is a combination of cranberry sauce, orange juice, and zest. These not only add incredible flavor but also create a moist environment within the crockpot, ensuring that every slice of pork loin is juicy and full of flavor. The cranberries and citrus will infuse the meat with their natural sugars and tartness, creating a delectable contrast that enhances the pork’s richness.
- Rest and Relax: A proper rest after cooking is key to a juicy pork loin. Once the meat is cooked, take it out of the crockpot and let it rest for about 10-20 minutes before slicing into it. This pause allows the juices, which have been drawn out to the surface during cooking, to redistribute throughout the pork loin, ensuring that each slice is as moist as the last. Don’t skip this step, as it’s the secret to a perfectly moist and tender crockpot pork loin.
INGREDIENTS FOR PORK LOIN IN CROCK POT
If you’re looking for a “set it and forget it” kind of meal, this crock pot pork loin is your ticket to chill-town. We’re talking throw-in-the-pot easy with ingredients that don’t require a scavenger hunt to find. Just grab a pork loin, a can of cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, orange juice, zest, and a pinch of cinnamon. That’s it.
You just toss them all into the crockpot and let the magic happen while you kick back and relax. By the time you’re ready to eat, you’ve got a ridiculously tender pork loin that’s been hanging out with all those sweet and tangy flavors all day. Easy peasy!
- Boneless pork loin roast: The star of the dish, pork loin roast is lean and adapts well to slow cooking, which tenderizes the meat.
- Vegetable oil: Used for searing the pork, it helps to create a flavorful crust that seals in juices.
- Cranberry sauce (whole berry): Adds a tart and fruity component that complements the savory pork and helps to keep the meat moist.
- Dried cranberries: Intensify the cranberry flavor and add a chewy texture contrast.
- Orange juice: Brings acidity and sweetness, tenderizing the pork and adding citrus notes.
- Orange zest strips: Infuse the dish with bright, aromatic citrus oils, enhancing the fruitiness.
- Ground cinnamon: Offers warmth and spice, balancing the sweetness of the other ingredients.
HOW TO MAKE CROCK POT PORK LOIN RECIPE (Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below)
- Prep the Pork: Start by patting your pork loin dry with paper towels. Give it a good rub down with salt and pepper. This isn’t just for flavor; it helps get that golden-brown sear.
- Sear the Pork: Heat some oil in a skillet over medium-high until it’s sizzling but not smoking. Pop in your pork loin and let it sizzle. Turning it every couple of minutes to get a nice brown crust all over. This should take around 7 to 10 minutes.
- Mix the Magic: While the pork is cooking. Grab the cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, orange juice, orange zest strips, and cinnamon, and stir them up in the slow cooker. This fruity mix is going to be the pork’s bath for the next few hours.
- Combine and Cook: Gently lay your beautifully browned pork into the slow cooker. Tuck it in, cover it up, and let it cook on low heat. You’re aiming for that sweet spot where the pork hits 140 to 145 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. That’ll take about 3- 4 hours of low and slow cooking.
- Rest and De-Fat: Once the pork is cooked to perfection, move it to a cutting board and cover it loosely with some foil. This is the pork’s spa moment – a 10-minute rest to get those juices back where they belong. Meanwhile, let your braising liquid chill for 5 minutes, then skim off any fat that’s floated to the top. Ditch the orange zest; its job is done.
- Reduce the Sauce: Pour that flavorful liquid left in the slow cooker into a saucepan. Let it bubble over medium heat until it’s thickened up to about 2 cups, which should take roughly 12 minutes. Do a taste test and add salt and pepper if it needs a little oomph.
- Serve it Up: Slice it into half-inch pieces, and arrange them on a nice platter. Drizzle a cup of your homemade sauce over the slices and serve the rest on the side for those who want an extra hit of that sweet, tangy goodness.
And there you have it! With these simple steps, you’ll have a dish that’ll make you the MVP of your next mealtime.
VARIATIONS OF THIS CROCK POT PORK LOIN RECIPE
Here are three easy twists on the classic crock pot pork loin with cranberry and orange so you can repeat this easy recipe on your meal rotations!
- Apple Cider and Rosemary Crockpot Pork Loin:
- Swap out the orange juice and zest for equal parts apple cider. Add a couple of sprigs of fresh rosemary.
- Replace the cranberry sauce with a mixture of apple sauce and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Proceed with the same cooking method. You’ll have a pork loin that’s got a more traditional, autumnal vibe with rustic flavor.
- Spicy Chipotle Cranberry Crockpot Pork Loin:
- Add a smoky kick by stirring in a chipotle pepper in adobo sauce into your cranberry sauce.
- Mix in a teaspoon of smoked paprika with the cranberries and orange juice.
- The rest follows the original recipe. This version has the sweetness of cranberries with the deep, smoky heat of chipotle.
- Pineapple Ginger Crockpot Pork Loin:
- Instead of cranberry sauce, use crushed pineapple (with its juice) for a tropical twist.
- Grate in about a tablespoon of fresh ginger and skip the cinnamon.
- Cook as per the original recipe. You’ll end up with a zesty, tangy pork loin that’s bursting with the flavors of pineapple and ginger. Offering a fresh take on a sweet and savory classic.
CROCK POT PORK LOIN FAQS
DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE FAT BEFORE COOKING?
You do not need to remove all the fat from the pork loin before cooking. It adds flavor and moisture. However, trimming excessive fat can help avoid an overly greasy sauce. Leave a thin layer to help keep the meat tender during the long cooking process.
WHAT TEMPERATURE TO COOK CROCK POT PORK TENDERLOIN TO
Crock pot pork tenderloin should be cooked to an internal temperature of 145°F, measured with a meat thermometer. It’s important to not overcook pork tenderloin, as it’s a leaner cut and can become dry if cooked too long. Make sure to use a meat thermometer for this step!
Keep in mind that the pork will continue to cook even after you take it out of the crockpot. To account for this continued cooking during the resting phase, it’s a good idea to remove the pork when it’s 145°F, especially if you plan to let it rest for an extended period of about 20 minutes. I pull it at 140°F just to be sure it doesn’t dry out. This approach helps prevent the lean cut from overcooking and drying out, ensuring that it remains juicy and tender.
WHAT COLOR SHOULD CROCK POT PORK TENDERLOIN BE WHEN COOKED
When fully cooked, crock pot pork loin should have a slight blush of pink at its most juicy, with the majority of the meat being a pale, white color. The outside will have a nice brown crust from the searing process. Always ensure the pork loin reaches the safe minimum internal temperature of 145°F when tested with a meat thermometer. Once it reaches 145°F let it rest for 5-20 minutes to ensure both safety and juiciness. After resting, the residual heat may continue to cook the meat slightly, but if done correctly, the pork loin will retain its moisture and tenderness.
WHAT SIDES TO SERVE WITH SLOW COOKER PORK LOIN
- Creamy Mashed Potatoes: A classic side that offers a buttery and smooth texture, creating a delightful contrast with the pork loin’s rich flavor.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Their natural sweetness and soft texture provide a lovely complement to the tender pork.
- Fluffy Rice: A lighter option that’s perfect for soaking up the savory juices from the pork, enhancing the overall taste.
- Sautéed or Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Add a fresh, slightly nutty flavor to the meal, balancing the richness of the pork with their crisp, green bite.
HOW TO USE LEFTOVER CROCK POT PORK LOIN
Leftover pork loin is incredibly versatile and can be a star player in a variety of dishes. Slice it up thin and toss it into sandwiches or wraps with some fresh greens and a dollop of mustard or aioli. Cube it and stir it into fried rice or a hearty pork stew. You can also shred it and add some BBQ sauce for a quick pork slider situation, or chop it and sprinkle it over salads or into tacos for a protein-packed meal. The possibilities are virtually endless with this flavorful leftover.
HOW TO STORE SLOW COOKER PORK LOIN
To store your slow cooker pork loin, make sure it’s cooled to room temperature before refrigerating. Place it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to prevent it from drying out. Properly stored, your cooked pork loin can last in the fridge for up to three to four days. Always make sure to reheat it to at least 165°F before serving again for safety.
HOW TO REHEAT PORK LOIN ROAST
Reheating pork loin roast is best done gently to preserve its moisture. Preheat your oven to 325°F and place the pork loin in a baking dish with a splash of broth or water. Cover it with foil to trap the steam and reheat it until it’s warmed through, which usually takes about 25 minutes depending on the size of the roast. Using the oven helps to keep the pork loin from drying out as it reheats.
CAN I FREEZE LEFTOVER CROCK POT PORK LOIN?
Yes, you can freeze leftover pork loin. It’s a great way to extend its shelf life and ensure you have a quick meal on hand. Cool the pork loin to room temperature, slice it or keep it whole, and wrap it tightly in freezer-safe wrap or aluminum foil. Then place it in a freezer bag, squeeze out as much air as possible, and freeze it. Properly stored, the pork loin can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw it in the fridge overnight before reheating.
PERFECT HOLIDAY MEAL
This crock pot pork loin is your holiday ace in the hole, delivering maximum flavor with minimal fuss. It’s the perfect set-it-and-forget-it dish that lets you mingle with guests, wrap presents, or just enjoy a glass of wine while the slow cooker does all the heavy lifting. Gather the whole family around the table for this incredibly holiday-friendly crockpot pork loin recipe amidst the festive flavors of cranberry and orange. As the holiday lights twinkle, your home will fill with the mouthwatering aroma of your impending feast. By the time the dinner bell rings, you’ll unveil a main course that’s both incredibly easy and impressively delicious, making your holiday meal both merry and remarkably stress-free.
All of the ingredients I use are gluten-free. My husband has celiac disease, which means you are allergic to gluten.
You will need to make sure to use gluten-free products to keep this recipe gluten-free. Pork, cranberry sauce, orange juice, and orange zest are all gluten-free making this a naturally gluten-free dinner.
Best Juicy Crock Pot Pork Loin
- 4 pound pork loin boneless
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil for browning
- 14 oz whole berry cranberry sauce
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 3 orange peels
- 1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
- Begin by drying the pork loin with paper towels. Season generously with salt and pepper to enhance flavor and aid in achieving a golden-brown sear.
- Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Sear the pork loin, turning every 2 minutes, to develop an even brown crust all around, approximately 7 to 10 minutes.
- In the slow cooker, mix together cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and a dash of cinnamon. This will serve as the cooking liquid and flavor base for the pork.
- Place the browned pork loin into the slow cooker with the cooking liquid. Cover and set the cooker to low heat. Cook until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees, which should take about 4 hours.
- After cooking, transfer the pork loin to a cutting board. Tent loosely with aluminum foil and allow it to rest for 10 minutes, permitting the juices to redistribute. Meanwhile, allow the braising liquid to settle before skimming off the excess fat from the surface. Remove and discard the orange zest.
- Transfer the crockpot liquid from the slow cooker to a saucepan. Simmer over medium heat until it is reduced to approximately 2 cups, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Slice it into 1/2-inch-thick pieces, and arrange it on a serving platter. Ladle 1 cup of the reduced sauce over the pork slices, serving the remaining sauce on the side for an added burst of flavor.