How To Cook a Pork Roast in the Slow Cooker

How To Cook a Pork Roast in the Slow Cooker

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Meghan Splawn
Jan 11, 2019
(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Pork loin roast, with its golden, tender crust and moist, supple center, stars as the centerpiece of holiday tables and dinner parties alike. Its large size, however, means it can easily dry out in the oven, which is why we now turn to the slow cooker for a fail-proof way to cook pork loin roast for a crowd.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast

If you like, like me, have struggled to cook a pork loin roast that isn't bland or dry, this recipe is for you. This straightforward technique uses the slow cooker to cook a crowd-sized pork loin roast (about five pounds) to perfect juicy tenderness without any hands-on effort. Start this pork loin roast four to five hours before dinner, and make your sides and dessert while the pork cooks. This pork loin roast also holds well, so you can greet guests before slicing and serving.

Get started here: 3 Important Things to Know When Buying a Pork Loin & Everything About Pork Loin Roast: How to Buy It and Cook It to Perfection

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Essential Steps for the Best Slow Cooker Pork Loin Roast

  • Add the apples and onions first. Before you brown the pork loin, preheat the slow cooker and add a layer of sliced apples and onions. This not only adds flavor to the finished pork, but it also keeps the pork elevated and away from the slow cooker's heating element, helping it cook more evenly.
  • Brown the pork loin. Browning the pork on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker gives it a gorgeous caramel color and adds a ton of flavor. I love using a cast iron skillet for this, but you can any wide pan that can accommodate your particular roast.
  • Deglaze the pork pan with cider and vinegar. After you transfer the pork loin to the slow cooker, deglaze the pan with apple cider and a little apple cider vinegar. Pouring this liquid over the pork slowly steam the pork roast in the slow cooker.
  • Cook the pork to 145°F. Slow cook the pork loin roast for 4 to 5 hours, but check the internal temperature starting at 4 hours. You want the loin to reach 145°F.
  • Rest the pork before slicing. Before slicing the pork loin roast, rest the pork loin — out of the slow cooker — for 15 minutes. Slice the roast into 1/4-inch-thick slices before serving with the apples and onions.

Plus a few to avoid: Mistakes to Avoid When Making Roasted Pork Loin

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman | Kitchn)

Holding and Serving the Pork Loin Roast

If you need to keep the pork loin for up to an hour before serving, turn your slow cooker to low and return the uncut pork loin to the slow cooker where it will hold temperature while it waits for the sides to be finished or for you to greet guests.

Crock-Pot Pork Roast

Serves 10 to 12

Prep time: 25 minutes ; cooking time: 4 hours to 5 hours

What You Need

Ingredients

  • 3

    small green apples, cored and cut into 1-inch-wide wedges

  • 1

    large red onion, peeled and cut into large chunks

  • 1

    (5-pound) pork loin roast, trimmed and tied

  • 2 teaspoons

    kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 cups

    apple cider

  • 1 tablespoon

    apple cider vinegar

  • Equipment
  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Chef’s knife and cutting board

  • Large (12-inch) cast iron skillet

  • Tongs

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • 6-quart or larger slow cooker

  • Wooden spoon or spatula

Instructions

  1. Fill and preheat the slow cooker. Place the apple and onion in a 6-quart or larger slow cooker and turn the slow cooker to the LOW setting to heat while you prepare the pork.

  2. Salt and brown the pork loin. Season the pork loin on all sides with the salt. Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high. When the pan is hot, add the pork loin and brown on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn the pork slightly (about a quarter turn or 2 to 3 inches) and brown that area for about 3 minutes. Repeat on the remaining sides of the pork, browning for a total of about 15 minutes.

  3. Move the pork loin to the slow cooker. Nestle the pork loin on top of the apples and onions in the slow cooker.

  4. Deglaze the pork pan. While the cast iron skillet is still warm but off the heat, add the apple cider and apple cider vinegar and scrape with a wooden spoon or spatula to release any browned bits from the pan.

  5. Pour the apple cider mixture over the pork loin. Pour the mixture from the pan over the pork, apples, and onions in the slow cooker.

  6. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Cover the slow cooker and cook on the LOW setting until a probe thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the loin reaches 145°F, 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

  7. Turn the slow cooker to warm and rest for 15 minutes before slicing. Turn the slow cooker off or to the WARM setting and let the pork loin rest for 15 minutes.

  8. Purée the apples and onions for sauce (optional). If desired, purée the apple and onion mixture with an immersion blender or in a stand blender into a smooth sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

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