Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork is an easy, comforting, and flavorful dish that comes out perfectly tender every time. Great for an easy weeknight meal or holiday dinner.
Looking for a cozy meal, break out the cranberries and make this amazing Crockpot Cranberry Pork. It's a great family or holiday meal, couldn't be easier to throw together, and is serious comfort food. With mashed potatoes or polenta and some roasted vegetables, this meal delivers.
I am a huge fan of cranberry sauce and am always looking for new, creative ways to use it that aren't just turkey. This tender cranberry pork may just be my new favorite way to use a leftover can of cranberry sauce. The pork comes out super tender from cooking low and slow in the crockpot and the tangy, sweet sauce is so so good!
It's also a great recipe to make for an easy holiday meal. It's easy to make, frees up the oven, and can feed a crowd.
Why You'll Love This Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork
There are lots of reasons I can think of to make this dish, here are just a few (I hope they convince you!):
- Cozy, comfort food: If you are looking for a comfort food, it's hard to a bowl of this super tender pork with cranberries. Over mashed potatoes, it's magic.
- Use up leftover cranberry sauce: Great for using up leftover cranberry sauce.
- Seven simple ingredients: Made with simple pantry ingredients like chicken broth, vinegar, garlic, and honey.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Pork loin: This recipe works with boneless pork loin roast, pork tenderloin, or even a trimmed pork shoulder. You can also use bone-in pork, but you will need to adjust the cooking time. It can also be made with chicken thighs as an alternative to pork.
- Cranberry sauce: Use homemade cranberry sauce or store-bought sauce. I like to use a whole berry sauce so that there is some texture. When using store-bought sauce, I like to add some fresh orange juice or orange zest to create another layer of flavor.
- Honey: Honey balances the tartness of the cranberries. Swap in maple syrup or brown sugar if you like.
- Apple cider vinegar: This adds some richness and tanginess to the dish. Swap in balsamic vinegar if you prefer.
- Chicken broth: Since pork has a mild flavor, this recipe works best with chicken broth or vegetable broth.
- Garlic: Garlic punches up the flavor in the sauce. You could also add some shallots or onions if you like.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is the easiest way to thicken up the sauce. If you don't have cornstarch, toss the pork with flour before searing it. The flour will help to thicken the sauce.
- Extras: Boost the flavor by adding herbs (rosemary or thyme are our favorites), fresh orange juice or zest, Dijon mustard, or dry onion soup mix. Just watch the salt if you add onion soup mix.
How to Make Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork
This dish comes together about 90% in the crock pot, but you can skip the first part (which is to sear the pork) before putting it in the slow cooker if you are in a rush. I like to sear it first to lock in some juices and create some of that nice brown sear on the outside. If you don't sear it first, it will be easy to shred, which is a great way to serve it, too.
1. Sear the Pork
So let's talk about that sear: First, you get out a pan or skillet large enough to hold the pork. Add some kosher salt and black pepper to the pork on all sides and put it in the skillet with some olive oil set to high heat.
Give it a nice sear on all sides. This will take about 3-4 minutes per side. You're not trying to cook the pork all the way through, just add a nice golden brown exterior.
2. Make the sauce
You can make the sauce for the slow cooker while the pork is searing if you like. Add together the cranberry sauce, honey, vinegar, garlic, and broth and mix. You can also add some herbs as well. It's delicious with thyme, rosemary, oregano, or marjoram.
3. Cook it low and slow
After the pork loin roast is seared, you add it to the slow cooker, then top the pork with the cranberry mixture you made. Set the slow cooker to cook for 2-3 hours at the high setting or 4-5 hours on low. The pork is done when the internal temperature reaches 145-150 degrees.
I then recommend you take the pork out and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. While the pork is resting, you make a slurry mixing cornstarch and water. Pour this slurry into the sauce in the slow cooker and let it all come together on the high setting for 5 minutes. The sauce should thicken as it heats up.
If you prefer not to use cornstarch, add the sauce to a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. Then simmer until it thickens up.
Once the pork has rested, slice it and serve it with spoonfuls of the wonderful cranberry sauce on top
Here are some of our favorite side dishes to serve with slow cooker cranberry pork.
- Mashed potatoes: Serve with traditional mashed potatoes or make potato cauliflower mash or mashed cauliflower for a lighter option.
- Roasted vegetables: Serve this with roasted mushrooms, balsamic brussels sprouts, roasted acorn squash, or easy roasted potatoes.
- Salads and greens: Add some greens with this shaved brussels sprouts salad or easy arugula salad.
- Rice or grains: This pork is also super tasty served on a bed of steamed rice, quinoa, farro, or barley.
Ideas for Leftover Cranberry Pork
Just like Thanksgiving foods, this dish is almost better the second time around!
- Pulled pork sandwiches: Shred some of the pork and add it to a slider roll or hoagy roll and top with more cranberry sauce, and maybe some hot pepper relish or banana peppers to round out all the flavors.
- Wraps: Add this pork to a tortilla for a wrap along with some arugula and feta.
- Pork quesadillas: This Cranberry Pork would be excellent sandwiched inside a quesadilla with your choice of cheese. Dip in more cranberry sauce...mmmmm delightful!
- Salads: I also like to slice this pork and layer it on top of some kale for a lovely kale salad. To get your bunch of kale ready, wash it, pat it dry, and slice it thin. I toss it in about a tablespoon of olive oil and a little salt and let it sit to get a little softer before making a salad out of it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the most common questions about making this cranberry pork.
The most important thing you can do to make sure pork loin comes out tender is not to overcook it. Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and take it out when it reaches 145-150 degrees. It will continue to cook as it rests.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Pork
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- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lbs lean pork loin roast, trimmed
- 1 Salt and pepper (kosher)
- 1 cup cranberry sauce (canned or homemade, whole berry)
- 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
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- Nutritional Information
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* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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