We’re getting to that cozy time of year when the best plan is to snug into your warm kitchen and cook thoughtful, homey recipes like Crockpot Pork Roast.
Lean pork roast slow cooked with vegetables and apples in a sweet and savory maple balsamic sauce, this crock pot pork recipe is meat-and-potatoes comfort with a lighter seasonal touch.
While we often think of the slow cooker first for tougher, fattier cuts of meat (Slow Cooker Pulled Pork), it can also work famously with leaner cuts like Crock Pot Pork Chops and today’s tender pork loin.
Tuck some seasonal vegetables in with the meat—I opted for crockpot pork roast with potatoes and carrots, plus apples for good autumn measure—and you have an all-in-one, make-ahead dinner that can do so many things.
- It feeds a crowd.
- It yields tasty leftovers (pork sandwich anyone?).
- It pleases picky eaters, and
- This recipe will warm your belly and soul on a chilly night.
How to Make Crockpot Pork Roast
Once the pork is browned in a skillet (worth it for the caramelization and yummy sauce it creates, trust me!), this recipe is largely hands-off.
Depending upon your slow cooker model (this is mine) and the weight of your pork roast, your cooking time may vary.
See the tips below to make sure you do not overcook the pork.
Avoiding Dry Pork Roast
To keep pork from drying out in the crock pot, follow these rules.
Do not overcook it. This is the first and most important rule.
- Unlike tough, fatty cuts of meat, leaner cuts like pork tenderloin and pork loin do not become more tender the longer they cook.
- Some crock pot models run hotter than others, so it can be difficult to pinpoint how long to cook pork in a slow cooker. Check your meat early—you can always cook it longer, but once it is overdone, it’s hard to go back.
- A 3-pound pork loin will take 2 to 3 hours to cook in a crock pot on low.
Use an instant read thermometer to check the pork for doneness.
- This thermometer is my absolute favorite and well worth the price for the lightening fast read time and dead accuracy. That said, an inexpensive one like this is still effective and will save you from overcooking your meat.
- Pork is considered done at 145 degrees F. I remove mine 5 to 10 degrees early and let it rest. The carryover cooking will bring it to a safe temperature.
Slow cook on LOW.
- It is better to cook pork roast in the crock pot on LOW heat.
- High heat in the slow cooker will dry out the meat on the outside before the inside finishes cooking, no matter how early you check it.
Sauce it up.
- This slow cooker pork roast with vegetables and gravy creates its own sauce (no brown gravy mix here!). If you cook the meat a little too long, spooning that sauce generously over the meat will help rehydrate it. Plus, it tastes delicious!
- Best Pork Sauce Ever: Don’t miss the sticky apricot glaze on the Slow Cooker Pork in The Well Plated Cookbook!
- You also could top your pork with Mushroom Gravy.
- Pork Roast. Pork roast is a lean, tender cut of pork. It is mild on its own, meaning it can easily take on flavors in a wide variety of recipes.
Pork tenderloin and pork roast are NOT the same cut and you cannot interchange one for the other without altering the cook time and process. Pork roast is larger than pork tenderloin.
Other names for pork roast can include: loin roast, center cut pork roast, pork center loin roast (or some combo of those words), pork center cut rib roast, pork loin center rib roast, and pork loin rib half… you get the idea.
- Veggies. Red onion adds beautiful color, and carrots provide a hint of sweetness. The Yukon gold potato adds a delightful, creamy element to the dish. Plus, this mixture of veggies is rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins.
- Granny Smith Apple. Tart, flavorful, and firm enough to hold up during the slow cooking process.
- Cornstarch. Helps create a beautifully browned exterior on the pork that locks in its juices.
- Spices. For pork roast seasoning, I used black pepper, salt, and dried thyme. They add delicious flavor to the outsides of the pork roast.
- Crockpot Pork Sauce. The scrumptious pork sauce is made from chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and cinnamon. It’s a balanced, satisfying blend of sweet and savory with a hint of warmth.
- Whisk the sauce ingredients together.
- Add the vegetables and apple to a slow cooker.
- Stir the cornstarch, salt, thyme, and pepper together, then rub it onto the pork.
- Sear the pork on all sides in a skillet. Lay it on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.
- Pour the prepared sauce into the skillet, scraping up any browned bits. Let simmer, then pour it over the pork.
- Cook on LOW. Pork takes about 2 to 3 hours in the slow cooker. Transfer the pork to a serving plate and let it rest.
- Stir the remaining crockpot ingredients and cook on HIGH for about 20 minutes.
- Cut the pork crosswise. Serve with vegetables and sauce. ENJOY!
Pair this slow cooker pork roast recipe with Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Sangiovese.
- To Store. Refrigerate pork roast and vegetables in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- To Reheat. Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- To Freeze. Freeze pork roast and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
Meal Prep Tip
Whisk the sauce ingredients together up to 1 day in advance. Cover and store it in the refrigerator. Chop the potato, carrots, and onion up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate them in an airtight storage container.
Leftover pork slices are delicious served alongside Instant Pot Mashed Sweet Potatoes, Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes, or Mashed Butternut Squash. Add some protein to a salad (like Apple Walnut Salad) by tossing in diced leftover pork, or use the slices to create a hearty and tasty sandwich.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
- Slow Cooker. For making this crock pot recipe on repeat.
- Cast Iron Skillet. Creates a beautiful sear on the pork.
- Spatula. Made from heat-resistant rubber.
This old-fashioned pork roast in the slow cooker reminds me of Sundays after church at my Grandma Dorothy’s, when she always had a home-cooked meal ready.
It felt like magic back then, but I now know that Grandma planned ahead for us.
This healthy slow cooker recipe will help you bring that same, cared-for feeling to those you love too.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, I do not recommend cooking this recipe on high heat. You can overcook a pork roast in a slow cooker very easily, and cooking on high will cause the outside of the pork to cook long before the inside is finished.
If you want your slow-cooked meat to taste great, sear it first. While you don’t have to brown a pork roast before putting it into the crock pot, browning helps create a mouth-watering caramelization on the outsides of the pork, seals in moisture, and forms the base for the sauce, called “fond” (hello, browned bits!). It truly makes the recipe taste extra special and is well worth the extra step.
Yes, you’ll add some liquid to the slow cooker for this pork recipe. A sauce is poured over the pork and veggies just before you seal the slow cooker. It helps make this into a slow cooker pork roast with gravy, as the liquid we add at the beginning turns into a gravy-like sauce that you can serve over the pork.
Crockpot Pork Roast
FOR THE PORK AND VEGETABLES:
- 1 small red onion thinly sliced
- 4 medium carrots scrubbed and cut into 1/4-inch coins, coins halved if large
- 1 medium Yukon gold potato scrubbed and 1/2-inch diced
- 1 medium Granny smith apple scrubbed and 1-inch diced
- 1 center cut pork loin roast 2 to 3 pounds
- 1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
FOR THE SAUCE:
- 1/2 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- In a medium bowl or large measuring cup with a spout, whisk together the sauce ingredients: broth, vinegar, maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and cinnamon. Keep near the stove.
- In the bottom of a 6-quart or larger slow cooker, scatter the onion. Top with the carrots, potato, and apple.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch, salt, thyme, and black pepper. Rub all over the outsides of the pork, pressing as much to adhere as you can.
- In a large cast iron or similar sturdy-bottomed skillet, heat the oil over medium high. Once the oil is hot and shimmering (make sure it’s hot!), add the pork. Sear on all sides until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Place on top of the vegetables in the crockpot, nestling it down inside them slightly.
- Return the skillet to medium heat. Pour in the sauce mixture (be careful, it will splatter). With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, scrape up any browned bits of pork stuck to the pan (this is FLAVOR). Let simmer, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Pour over the pork.
- Cover and cook the pork on LOW for 2 to 3 hours, until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 140 degrees on an instant read thermometer (pork is considered done at 145 degrees F. The carryover cooking during resting will bring it to temperature). Remove to a large serving plate. Cover and let rest.
- While the pork rests, stir together the vegetables, apples, and sauce in the crockpot. Cover and turn the heat to HIGH. Let continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes more.
- Cut the pork crosswise into slices of desired thickness. Serve with the vegetable mixture with the cooking liquid spooned over the top.
- TO STORE: Refrigerate pork roast and vegetables in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days.
- TO REHEAT: Gently rewarm leftovers in a baking dish in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.
- TO FREEZE: Freeze pork roast and vegetables in an airtight freezer-safe storage container for up to 3 months. Let thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
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