We’re getting to that cozy time of year when the best plan is to snug into your warm kitchen and cook homey recipes like Crockpot Pork Roast. Lean pork roast, tender carrots and potatoes, and a warm, sweet, savory sauce come together for a satisfying slow cooker dinner.
Why You’ll Love This Easy Crockpot Pork Roast Recipe
- The Pork is Flavorful and Succulent. To ensure the most exceptional flavor, we’re browning the pork in a skillet before adding it to the slow cooker (this trick works for my Baked Pork Tenderloin recipe too). It caramelizes beautifully (aka flavor) and creates a yummy sauce that helps keep the meat moist.
- It Utilizes a Leaner Cut of Meat. 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 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 pork loin. Crockpot Ham with easy Brown Sugar Ham Glaze is another fabulous recipe with meat in the slow cooker.
- It’s an All-in-One Meal. I tucked some seasonal vegetables in with the meat (I opted for slow cooker pork roast with potatoes and carrots, plus apples for good autumn measure). Like my Instant Pot Pot Roast, this crockpot pork roast feeds a crowd, yields tasty leftovers, and pleases picky eaters. Serve it over brown rice, or with Garlic Mashed Potatoes.
How to Make Crockpot Pork Roast
- 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.
- Prepare the Sauce. A liquid measuring cup works well for this.
- Scatter the Onion in the Slow Cooker. Add the vegetables and apple on top.
- Prepare the Cornstarch Mixture. Rub it onto the pork.
- Sear the Pork. Lay it on top of the vegetables in the slow cooker.
- Add the Sauce to the Skillet. Scrape 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.
- Cook on HIGH. Stir the remaining crockpot ingredients and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Slice the Pork. Serve crockpot pork roast with vegetables and sauce. ENJOY!
- 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.
What to Serve With Crockpot Pork Roast
- Vegetables. This roast would be tasty with Roasted Broccolini, Sauteed Mushrooms, or Grilled Corn.
- Salad. Brussels Sprouts Slaw, Arugula Salad, and Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad would all pair well with this recipe.
- Applesauce. Pork and applesauce are a perfect match! Try Crockpot Applesauce or Instant Pot Applesauce.
- Mashed Potatoes. From Mashed Sweet Potatoes to Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes, you can’t go wrong with this crowd-pleasing side!
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.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
- Don’t Overcook the Pork. Unlike tough, fatty cuts of meat, leaner cuts like pork tenderloin and pork loin do not become more tender the longer they cook. A 3-pound pork loin will take 2 to 3 hours to cook in a crock pot on low. Check early to be safe.
- Use What’s in Season. Shake things up by swapping the veggies in this recipe for other seasonal produce items like parsnips, diced rutabaga, small-diced sweet potatoes or butternut squash, and Brussels sprouts.
- Cook on LOW. I do not recommend setting your crockpot to high for lean cuts like pork loin. 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.
- When in Doubt, Sauce. 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. You can also top your pork with Mushroom Gravy.
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°F on an instant read thermometer (pork is considered done at 145°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°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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Frequently Asked Questions
In a word, no. Pork tenderloin is so lean that it does not do well with slow cooking (I have tried). Try this Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin, Stuffed Pork Tenderloin, Air Fryer Pork Tenderloin, or Grilled Pork Tenderloin instead.
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.