Slow Cooker Pork Loin

This Crock Pot Pork Loin recipe is outrageously juicy with the best sauce – plus it’s prep ahead friendly!

This Crock Pot Pork Loin will blow your mind!  The pork loin is ridiculously melt-in-your-mouth-tender from a simple brine and dripping with flavor from slow cooking directly in the sensational sauce – and the best part is, the slow cooker does most of the heavy lifting!  As far as sauces, choose from either buttery honey citrus sauce or buttery berry citrus – both 5-star winners.  This crock pot pork loin is company pleasing and holiday worthy but family friendly and everyday easy!  As much as you love this slow cooker pork loin recipe the day off, it makes fantastic leftovers as well.  I’ve included detailed instructions, tips, tricks and everything you need to know to make the BEST pork loin every time!

Pork is an underrated protein that emerges buttery tender with the correct preparation.  In fact, when my husband was eating this pork loin roast, he stated, “If I close my eyes, I would think this was steak!”  In other words, you need more pork in your life!  Start with this fanatic crock pot pork loin then try my garlic butter pork tenderloin, chili Dijon pork tenderloin, blackberry hoisin pork tenderloin, and pork tenderloin with pineapple glaze.

top view of crock pot pork loin on a white platter with potatoes and broccoli


 

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Pork Roast in Crock Pot

Can you believe Christmas is around the corner?  While many will be reaching for honey ham, brown sugar ham or maple ham for their Christmas dinner, I wanted to bring you an alternative that was seeping with flavor, can be prepped the day ahead and frees up the oven – enter slow cooker pork loin!

up close of crock pot pork loin sliced on a white platter

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PORK LOIN AND PORK TENDERLOIN?

Before you make this crock pot pork loin recipe, it’s important you purchase pork loin and NOT pork tenderloin – they are not the same.  If you use pork tenderloin, you will need to brine for only 20 minutes and cook for less time.

  • Cut of Meat:
    • Pork loin roast comes from the back of a pig, starting from the shoulder and running to where the animal’s leg begins. 
    • Pork tenderloin comes from the loin of the pig, which runs from the hip to the shoulder.
  • Size:
    • Pork loin is long and cylindrical in shape. A whole loin weighs up to 20 pounds, which is then cut down into various chops and roasts.  Pork loin roast can be cut to order anywhere from 3 to 5 pounds.
    • Pork tenderloin is thin and small, usually 1-2 pounds; it usually comes in a pack of two tenderloins.
  • Texture and flavor: 
    • Pork loin roast is mildly flavored and relatively lean but can become extremely tender when cooked low and slow. 
    • Pork tenderloin gets its name for a reason – it is one of the most tender cuts of pork because it comes from a muscle that doesn’t receives much, if any, exercise.
  • Cooking Method:
    • Pork loin should be slow slow-roasted in order to become tender. It should not be cooked quickly or roasted at high temperatures. 
    • Pork tenderloin cooks quite quickly at higher temperatures, anywhere from 350 degrees to 425 degrees F.

What are other names for pork loin?

Pork loin goes by a few different names and can be a few different cuts, so don’t be confused when you go to the grocery store.  When a recipe calls for pork loin, it is referring to the most common cut of pork loin: top loin roast which is boneless from the end of the loin near the sirloin/rump.  This cut of pork loin may also be called “center cut pork loin roast,” “center-cut pork roast,” “center loin roast,” or “pork loin center.”

Pork loin from the shoulder area can contain bones and is called “pork loin center rib roast,” “pork loin roast center cut,” or “pork loin rib half.” 

For this crock pot pork loin recipe, we want boneless pork loin roast.

front view of slow cooker pork loin sliced, showing how juicy it is

THE SECRET TO THE JUICIEST PORK LOIN


The best crock pot pork loin recipe has to be the JUICIEST and you will be BLOWN AWAY at how juicy this pork is! The secret? Brining the pork loin. You are probably familiar with brining a turkey, but brining pork will change your life.

Brining produces tender, juicy pork loin roast every single time because it actually changes the molecular structure of the pork without having to prep and plan ahead with an overnight marinade – just 90 minutes will do the trick, but you are welcome to brine overnight if you prefer.

How does it work?  The salt accomplishes two things: 1) hydrates the cells of the muscle tissues via osmosis; 2) allows the cells to hold on to the water while they are cooked by breaking down the proteins so they can no longer contract when cooking.  This means less water will be squeezed out and lost, resulting in juicier pork loin.  

If you’ve never brined any protein before, don’t be intimidated – you are simply immersing the pork loin roast in a salt solution, similar to a marinade.  To brine pork loin, you will combine the following in a large disposable bag:

  • kosher salt
  • warm water
  • apple cider vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • bay leaves
  • ice cubes
  • pork
  1. First, you’ll mix the kosher salt and warm water to dissolve the salt.
  2. Next, you’ll add the vinegar, brown sugar, bay leaves and ice cubes.  The ice cubes cool the water back down so it’s ready to receive the pork.
  3. Lastly, you’ll add the pork.

Quick tip about brining – Do NOT evenly swap table salt in your brining solution for kosher salt or your pork will be too salty.  You will need half as much table salt as kosher salt. 

What you’ll need for Pork Loin in Crock Pot

WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A PORK LOIN ROAST?

You can purchase pork loin in the meat section of your grocery store or from the butcher counter.  When I picked it up last time, there weren’t any displayed, so I simply asked the butcher and he had one in back – so when in doubt, ask! Pork loin is typically $1.50-$2.50, so less than $10 to feed a crowd a restaurant worthy dinner.

  • Weight:  Pork loin roast weighs 3-5 pounds and comes single in a package. Please note this is different than pork tenderloin that can also weigh 3 pounds but contains TWO pork tenderloins in a package (each weighs 1-1 ½ pounds) – so choose the correct cut of pork! Pork loin and pork tenderloin vary in size and cooking method, so they should not be directly substituted for each other. 
  • Packaging:  You will want to look for pork loin roast that is NOT packaged in a rub or marinade because we are going to brine and season the meat ourselves.  This way, we not only control the flavor, but we can control the amount of salt and eliminate the oil in the marinade. 
  • Color:  When choosing pork loin roast, look for a meat that’s pinkish-red in color with some marbling.  It will also come with a thin layer of fat on one side.  Avoid pork loin that is pale in color or has dark spots on the fat.
  • Storage:   The sooner you cook your newly purchased pork loin, the fresher it will be, although it will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator.   If storing longer than three days, transfer the pork loin roast to the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator 24 hours before using. 

Pork Roast in Crock Pot variations

This crock pot pork loin recipe is fabulous as is or you can use the basic cooking technique and make it your own.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Brine:  mix up the brine by adding peppercorns, rosemary and/or thyme.  You can swap the vinegar for orange juice or red wine vinegar.
  • Spice rub:  can be made with any mix of spices or you can play with the ratios – swap the chili powder for paprika, add additional pepper, chipotle chile powder, go Cajun, etc.
  • Sauce:  you virtually can use anything here!  Pick a sauce from your favorite recipe and add it to the slow cooker.  You can also play with the current sauce and mix up the flavor profile by using either honey or pure maple syrup, and swapping the apricot/berry preserves for raspberry, strawberry, apple, jalapeno jelly, etc.

Tips for the best Pork Loin in Crock pot


Brining pork is the first step to achieve the best pork loin roast of your life, but it also is elevated by some other key steps.  Here is how to make the juiciest crock pot pork loin recipe:

  • Rinse pork loin: after you brine the pork loin, rinse it thoroughly to remove excess salt. You can always add salt after cooking but it’s hard to take away!
  • Sear before cooking:  searing the pork loin roast creates the Maillard reaction resulting in rich, deep, complex flavor and locks in the juices.  It also prevents the surface of the pork loin from becoming dehydrated when cooked for an extended period of time.
  • Braise in sauce: braising means cooking a tougher cut of meat gently in liquid until it is succulent and buttery tender.  In this crock pot pork loin recipe, the pork loin is slow cooked directly in the sauce to create a hot steaming environment that locks in all the juices so the surface doesn’t dry out.  It also infuses the pork loin with loads of flavor as it cooks.  The acid from the orange juice and balsamic vinegar also help breaks down the meat while it cooks, yielding an even more tender result.
  • Cook slowly: pork loin roast is a lean cut of meat so it needs to be cooked low and slow to give the protein time to break down. You don’t want to cook on high because this setting will boil the pork loin instead of braise it.   
  • Butter:  adds richness and flavor to an otherwise extremely lean pork.  The pads of butter on top of the pork loin melt as it cooks, essentially self-basting the pork in buttery moisture.  The crock pot traps the butter so it seeps back into the pork as it sits in the buttery sauce. 
  • Don’t overcook: pork loin roast is extremely lean so it can dry out very easily when overcooked.  Use your meat thermometer and check your pork frequently towards the beginning of the cooking window (2.5 hours) so it doesn’t become dry and chewy.   
  • Use a meat thermometer:  the only accurate way to check your pork loin temperature is with an instant read thermometer.  It will save you all the guessing and deliver perfectly juicy pork every time.   
crockpot pork loin recipe sliced on a platter with broccoli anad potatoes

How to make Pork Loin in Crock Pot

Crock pot pork loin is very simple to make but it is not a dump and run recipe, so you’ll want to plan a couple hours ahead for the brine or you can brine and sear the pork a day ahead of time.  Here’s how to make the best pork loin roast every time:

  • Brine pork loin for juiciness.  Mix the kosher salt with warm water in order to dissolve the salt, then mix in the cider vinegar, brown sugar and ice cubes. Add the pork and brine for 90 minutes up to overnight.  The brining process increases the moisture capacity of the pork for outrageously juicy pork every time.
  • Submerge pork in brine. The only real trick about brining pork loin roast, is that it’s larger than a freezer size bag so you’ll need a bag large enough to enclose it.  You can use an oven/turkey roasting bag or even a plastic grocery bag.  I find it helpful to place the bag in a large bowl to stabilize it and secure the bag by folding the edges around the rim of the bowl (see photo below). This will prevent the brine contents from pouring out while mixing.
  • Dry before seasoning. When your pork loin is done brining, rinse in cool water and pat dry with paper towels. If you don’t rinse your pork, it will be too salty – so don’t forget this step!  It is important the pork loin is quite dry after brining so the rub will stick it.
  • Season generously. Mix chili powder, garlic powder, salt, onion powder, paprika and pepper together then rub onto all sides of the pork.  These spices create a wonderful flavor base for any sauce direction you want to go.  We will add the herbs directly to the sauce so they don’t burn when we sear the pork.
  • Sear for flavor and moisture.  Heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat and swirl the pan to evenly coat the bottom of oil.  Don’t substitute olive oil for vegetable oil because we need an oil with a high smoking point. You will want to use a large cast iron skillet and squish the pork loin roast in the best you can.  Sear the pork loin roast until golden on all sides.
  • Whisk sauce in slow cooker.  This saves you one extra bowl to wash!
  • Slow cook on low.  Add the pork loin to the slow cooker and spoon the sauce on top.  Top pork with butter then cook until pork loin registers between 145- and 150-degrees F (63 and 65 degrees C) at the thickest part of the meat, 2 – 4 hours depending on size. This means the pork will be juicy and slightly pink in the middle. Do NOT overcook or your pork will not be as tender and juicy.
  • Rest for 15 minutes.  Remove pork from the slow cooker and let rest for 15 minutes while you thicken the sauce.    While the pork loin roast cooks, the juices are forced away from the heat to the middle of the meat.  The resting time allows for the redistribution and reabsorption of the juices throughout the whole pork loin.
  • Thicken sauce to syrupy consistency. Drain all of the liquid from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan.  Whisk cornstarch with water then whisk into saucepan.  Simmer until thickened.  It is important to adjust the sauce to taste.  Some like it sweeter, some like it tangier.  For sweeter, add additional honey or maple, for tangier, add additional orange juice.
  • Serve.  Slice pork and serve with sauce.
a collage showing how to make pork loin by 1) brining pork loin, 2) seasoning pork loin roast with spice rub,3) searing pork loin, 4) whisking sauce together in a glass bowl, 5) adding pork loin to crockpot with sauce
top view of crock pot pork loin cooked

DO I NEED TO REMOVE THE FAT BEFORE COOKING?

Pork loin comes with a thin layer of fat on the top.  I recommend trimming all of it off except a thin layer.  The thin layer of remaining fat will create a self-basting effect along with the butter as it breaks down and drips over the meat, resulting in extra juicy and extra flavorful pork, with little surface fat remaining after roasting.

If you leave thicker fat on the pork loin, most people will trim it off as they eat, along with the wonderful caramelization and browning flavors created by the Maillard reaction.

Cooking time for Pork Loin in Crock Pot

Pork loin is a very lean cut of meat so it should be cooked LOW and slow.  Please do NOT cook your pork loin on high in the crock pot.  Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours.  In general, smaller pork loins (3 pounds) will take closer to 2 hours and larger pork loins (5 pounds) will take closer to 4 hours). Note that this pork loin cooks faster than other recipes because it is brined first.

There are several factors that contribute to cooking time such as size of pork, width of pork, size of slow cooker, type of slow cooker and age of slow cooker.  When I made my honey balsamic pork for party (years ago, pre-pandemic) using 12 different slow cookers – they were all done at different times!  I have also cooked this recipe multiple times and my pork loin roast required different cooking times each time due to the varying sizes.  Moral of the story – use an instant tread thermometer and check at 2 hours then as needed.

What temperature to cook Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin to

Pork loin roast is a lean cut of meat, so it is important not overcook it; overcooked pork loin is dry pork loin. The USDA guidelines state that pork can be safely consumed when cooked to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F with a resting time of three minutes, however, anywhere from 145-160 degrees is considered acceptable.   

Your pork loin roast will increase in temperature anywhere from 5-10 degrees as it rests, so I remove my pork from the crock pot as soon as it hits 145 degrees. To check the temperature of your pork loin, insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. 

I HIGHLY recommend an instant-read meat thermometer if you don’t own one. They are a small investment and come in handy ALL the time to eliminate all of the guess-work. You simply cannot make perfectly cooked pork loin roast without one.  As long as you keep your instant read thermometer handy – your pork loin will be one of the juiciest pieces of meat you’ve ever sunk our teeth into.  

What should Slow Cooker Pork Loin look like when done?

Your crock pot pork loin is safe to consume when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F.   This means it will be slightly pink inside which is OKAY.  

This 145-degrees temperature is 15 degrees less than the old standards of 160 degrees F which would mean the pork would be completely cooked through without any pink.  The research shows, however, that 145 degrees F is the same safety-wise as cooking pork to 160 degrees F AND yields much more tender pork.

This is what your pork will look like with the allotted 5-minute resting time:

  • take pork out at 145 F, will rise to 150 F – slices will be somewhat pink and moist
  • take pork out at 150 F, will rise to 155 F – slices will be a little pink and moist
  • take pork out at 160 F, will rise to 165 F – slices will not be pink but still should be relatively moist

What sides to serve with Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin

This crock pot pork loin recipe pairs beautifully with practically everything! It also is made in the slow cooker which frees up the oven for favorites such as Million Dollar Macaroni and Cheese, and Roasted Parmesan Broccoli along with any of the following:

What sauce goes well with this Pork Loin Crock Pot Recipe

The sauce for this slow cooker pork loin elevates this recipe from ordinary to extraordinary.  I have included two sauce options.  The first option, Honey Citrus, is made with honey, apricot preserves (my favorite secret ingredient), orange juice, balsamic vinegar, splashes of soy sauce and Dijon mustard and a bevy of herbs including parsley, basil, thyme and rosemary.  The sauce is bright, sweet and tangy and the best part is you can use as little or as much as you’d like to glaze the pork loin roast depending on how strong of flavor you like.

The second sauce option is Berry Citrus which is made with the same ingredients as the Honey Citrus except the honey is swapped for pure maple syrup and the apricot preserves is swapped for blackberry preserves.  It’s sweet, tangy with a berry forward flavor that I adore. 

So, basically, if you want honey and orange to be the dominant flavors, go Honey Citrus, if you want blackberry to be the dominant flavor, go Berry Citrus. Both are wonderful – just different.  You can even try swapping the apricot/blackberry preserves for raspberry, strawberry or apple preserves to mix up the flavor profile, but I have not tried any of these options.  

Once the slow cooker pork loin is done cooking, the sauce will be a little thin.  We will thicken it while the pork loin roast is resting by whisking it with a cornstarch slurry in a small saucepan and simmering to a syrup like consistency.  There will be quite a bit of sauce at this point which you can use on sautéed or roasted veggies – yum!  You can even freeze the sauce in portioned bags to use on protein or veggies later.

How to make this Pork Loin Crock Pot Recipe ahead of time

To make ahead, brine the pork loin, season and sear the pork loin, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or refrigerate in the crock pot insert up to one day ahead of time.  You can also whisk the sauce ingredients together and store separately.  When ready to cook, add the sauce to the slow cooker and proceed with the recipe.  Your pork will take an additional 30 minutes or so to cook because it’s starting cold.

HOW TO USE LEFTOVER PORK LOIN

If you are fortunate to have leftover pork loin roast, it reheats beautifully or you can repurpose in sandwiches, wraps, eggs, omelets, hash browns, breakfast enchiladasbreakfast casserolessalads, pastas or pasta salads, rice, soups (amazing in ramen!) or plain!

up close of pork loin sliced on a platter

How to store Slow Cooker Pork Loin

HOW LONG IS LEFTOVER PORK loin GOOD FOR?

Leftover pork loin should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. When properly stored, pork is good up to 5 days.

How to reheat pork loin roast

  • Stove:  heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat along with a splash of water. Add sliced pork loin in a single layer and heat through, flipping halfway.
  • Microwave: transfer sliced pork loin to a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1 minutes, then continue to microwave for 20-second intervals, if needed.

CAN I FREEZE LEFTOVER PORK LOIN?

Yes!  You can freeze pork loin whole, chopped or in slices.  Frozen pork loin roast should be used within 3-4 months.

Pork Tenderloin Crock Pot FAQs

Should I flip pork loin in slow cooker?

It is not necessary to flip pork loin in the slow cooker. The gentle cooking method, with its low heat and long cooking time, allows for even heat distribution and consistent cooking throughout the meat, ensuring the pork loin cooks evenly without the need for flipping.

Is it better to cook pork in a crock pot on high or low?

Pork is best cooked on low in the crock pot because it is a lean cut of meat and needs extra time for the proteins to break down. Additionally, the gentle, low heat promotes slow, even cooking, helping to preserve the moisture and tenderness of the meat. Cooking pork on high can boil the meat instead of braise it, causing it to dry out and become tough.

Do you have to put liquid in slow cooker with pork?

Yes, adding liquid when cooking pork in a crockpot is essential to maintain moisture and prevent the meat from drying out. The liquid helps to create a steamy environment, ensuring tender and succulent results. Additionally, the liquid seeps deep into the pork, injecting it with flavor while cooking.

Can pork be a little pink?

Yes, pork is safe to consume when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 145 degrees F which means it will be slightly pink inside.
This 145-degrees temperature is 15 degrees less than the old standards of 160 degrees F which would mean the pork would be completely cooked through without any pink. The research shows, however, that 145 degrees F is the same safety-wise as cooking pork to 160 degrees F AND yields much more tender pork.

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up close of slices of slow cooker pork loin roast showing how juicy it is

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Pork Loin Crock Pot Recipe

This Crock Pot Pork Loin will blow your mind! The pork loin is ridiculously melt-in-your-mouth-tender from a simple brine and dripping with flavor from slow cooking directly in the sensational sauce – and the best part is, the slow cooker does most of the heavy lifting! As far as sauces, choose from either buttery honey citrus sauce or buttery berry citrus – both 5-star winners. This crock pot pork loin is company pleasing and holiday worthy but family friendly and everyday easy! As much as you love this slow cooker pork loin recipe the day off, it makes fantastic leftovers as well. I’ve included detailed instructions, tips, tricks and everything you need to know to make the BEST pork loin every time!
Servings: 8 -10 servings
Total Time: 5 hours
Prep Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours 30 minutes

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Ingredients

  • 3.5-5 pounds pork loin roast trimmed of excess fat (NOT pork tenderloin)
  • 4 tablespoons butter sliced into 4 pads

Brine

  • 6 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup kosher salt (or ¼ cup table salt)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Spice Mix

  • 1 TBS EACH chili powder, garlic powder
  • 1 tsp EACH onion powder, paprika, salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Honey Citrus Sauce (or Berry Citrus in Notes)

Add later

Instructions

  • In an oven roasting bag (or grocery bag, whatever will fit pork) mix salt with warm water until dissolved. Whisk in brown sugar, vinegar, bay leaves and ice, then add pork. Brine pork in the refrigerator for 90 minutes up to 24 hours (90 minutes is long enough to work wonders!). RINSE pork very well and pat very dry.
  • Whisk together all of the Spice Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Evenly rub pork all over with spice mix; set aside.
  • Lightly grease 6 qt. or larger slow cooker. Add all of the sauce ingredients and whisk to combine; set aside.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat. When oil is very hot and just smoking, add pork loin (squeeze it in). Sear each side of the pork until golden, then transfer to prepared slow cooker.
  • Spoon sauce over pork then top with pads of butter. Cook on LOW for 2 – 4 hours (check early) until pork registers between 145- and 150-degrees F (63 and 65 degrees C) at the thickest part of the roast. This means the pork will be juicy and slightly pink in the middle. Start checking the pork early, you don’t want to accidently overcook it. Smaller pork loins will take closer to 2 hours, larger pork loins will take closer to 3.5 hours.
  • Transfer cooked pork to a cutting board and tent with foil; let rest for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, drain all of the liquid into a medium saucepan. Whisk cornstarch with water then whisk into saucepan. Simmer until thickened. Taste and adjust to taste – additional honey for sweeter, orange juice for tangier.
  • Slice pork and serve with sauce and salt and pepper to taste.

Notes

 SAUCE OPTION 2 – BERRY CITRUS

If you want honey and orange to be the dominant flavors, go Honey Citrus, if you want blackberry to be the dominant flavor, go Berry Citrus. Both are wonderful – just different.  You can even try swapping the apricot/blackberry preserves for raspberry, strawberry or apple preserves to mix up the flavor profile (although I have not tried any of these options).  
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup (may sub honey)
  • ¼ cup blackberry preserves
  • 3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried basil,  dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp EACH dried oregano, dried thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional for a kick)
ADD LATER
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
 

Tips and Tricks

  • Use pork loin, not pork tenderloin. Pork loin and pork tenderloin vary in size and cooking method, so they should not be directly substituted for each other.  Pork loin can also be called “pork loin roast” “center cut pork loin roast,” “center-cut pork roast,” “center loin roast,” or “pork loin center.”
  • Please brine! The juiciest pork loin is brined pork loin – it will blow your mind! The brining process increases the moisture capacity of the pork for outrageously juicy pork every time. 
  • Brining salt. Do NOT evenly swap table salt in your brining solution for kosher salt or your pork will be too salty.  You will need half as much table salt as kosher salt
  • Submerge pork in brine. The only real trick about brining pork loin roast is that it’s larger than a freezer size bag so you’ll need a bag large enough to enclose it.  You can use an oven/turkey roasting bag or even a plastic grocery bag.  I find it helpful to place the bag in a large bowl to stabilize it and secure the bag by folding the edges around the rim of the bowl (see photo in post). This will prevent the brine contents from pouring out while mixing.
  • Cook on LOW. Pork loin roast is a lean cut of meat so it needs to be cooked low and slow to give the protein time to break down. You don’t want to cook on high because this setting will boil the pork loin instead of braise it.   
  • Don’t overcook. Pork loin is extremely lean so it can dry out very easily when overcooked.  Brined pork also cooks more quickly than non-brined pork (that is why this recipe has shorter cooking times than you might be used to).  Use your meat thermometer and check your pork frequently towards the beginning of the cooking window (2.5 hours) so it doesn’t become dry and chewy.   
  • Use a meat thermometer. The only accurate way to check your pork loin temperature is with an instant read thermometer.  It will save you all the guessing and deliver perfectly juicy pork every time.   

MAKE AHEAD

To make ahead pork loin ahead of time, brine the pork loin, season and sear, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate or refrigerate in the crock pot insert up to one day ahead of time.  You can also whisk the sauce ingredients together and store separately.  When ready to cook, add the sauce to the slow cooker and proceed with the recipe.  Your pork will take an additional 30 minutes or so to cook because it’s starting cold.

How to store and reheat

  • Storage: leftover pork loin should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
  • Freeze:  you can freeze pork loin whole, chopped or in slices.  Frozen pork loin roast should be used within 3-4 months. Thaw before reheating.
  • Stove:  heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat along with a splash of water. Add sliced pork loin in a single layer and heat through, flipping halfway.
  • Microwave: transfer sliced pork loin to a microwave-safe dish and microwave for 1 minutes, then continue to microwave for 20-second intervals, if needed.

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70 Comments

  1. Charles Taylor says

    This one of best tutorial I have read on cooking pork, just great information.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Charles, I appreciate it!

  2. James Welsh says

    Can you brine for over 90 Mins? I usually brine overnight so wondered if you had experience of that? Looks good for dinner tomorrow night!

    • Jen says

      Hi James, I am following Cook’s Illustrated guidelines here for 90 minutes (you will be amazed at how juicy it becomes!) but yes, you can brine pork loin for up to 24 hours.

  3. Pat says

    My husband loved this! You should have seen his face :)) Thanks for all of the great information and tips for getting a terrific result.

    • Jen says

      You’re so welcome Pat, I’m so pleased it was such a hit! Thank you!

  4. Kate says

    I made the blackberry maple version for New Years Day. The taste was wonderful! I brined it for 90 minutes and then cooked the 4 lb pork loin for 3.5 hrs on low in my crockpot. I should have checked sooner because I overcooked it, however we still enjoyed it. What’s your recommendation on timing for cooking it in a Le Creuset?

    • Jen says

      I’m so sorry it was overcooked Kate! Hopefully next time it will be perfect. Are you asking about timing for baking in a Le Creuset?

  5. Donna says

    Can u cook vegetables with meat in crockpot?

  6. Ashley says

    Loved the pork! Served it over rice with roasted vegetables. total hit! And….I’m a beginner trying new things!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for the awesome review Ashley! I’m so pleased this pork loin was such a hit! I hope you continue to love trying new recipes!

  7. Lisa says

    Looks delicious! Is there anything else I can use besides the orange juice?

    • Jen says

      Hi Lisa, you could also try pineapple juice. Enjoy!

  8. Jennifer P says

    This was a really helpful guide to brining, something I had never done before. My pork loin turned out well, although I *did* forget about the note saying that brined pork cooks quicker, so it was SLIGHTLY dryer than it should have been; I originally checked after 2 hours, then the next time I checked was an hour-ish later, and I should have been doing 30 minute intervals. But that’s okay! You can’t even tell once the sauce is on. I look forward to trying again so that the pork can achieve its full juicy potential!

    • Jen says

      I’m sorry it was overcooked but thankfully the sauce helped. Hopefully next time it will be perfect!

    • Rhonda says

      I have a question for you…my meat says pork tenderloin and it weighs 5 pounds. It does not include the word roast, so is it ok to use for this recipe?

      • Jen says

        Yes, that should work great!

  9. Karen M says

    I followed the recipe very closely because I am not a good cook and I don’t eat meat. I brined it overnight and I used Polanar All Fruit seedless raspberry and the honey in the sauce. The sauce was very good. I believe the roast it was a hit, tender and juicy. I made it for friends who are recuperating from COVID. My husband liked it, too. I served it with roasted potatoes and carrots, lettuce salad, and yeast rolls.

    • Jen says

      You’re entire meal sounds fabulous Karen and you are so thoughtful to make it for recovery friends! I’m so pleased everyone loved it!

  10. Angie Davis says

    Hands down, the best pork tenderloin I have ever had! My family loved it and went back for seconds. I will definitely be making this again and again. Thank you.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, I’m so pleased this was such a it!

  11. Susan Garrett says

    Made this yesterday and it was great – having sandwiches tonight! I used orange marmalade and some red wine.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Susan, I’m so pleased it was a winner!

  12. Vivian C says

    Had Company over and I made this recipe for Supper tonight. And it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely be making it again.

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for taking the time to comment Vivian, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

  13. Trude says

    I was looking for a different way to cook our usual pork and this turned out sooo yummy! The prefect way to change up meal prep!

    • Jen says

      Awesome, thanks so much Trude, I’m so pleased it was a hit!

  14. Jim says

    You are without a doubt my go to for recipes! Everything I’ve made has been delicious. This pork loin with honey citrus sauce was excellent and the sauce was great on sweet potatoes as well think you so much.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much for making my day Jim! Love your idea of using the sauce on sweet potatoes – yum!

  15. Fran says

    Hi Jennifer, l followed your recipe almost to a T, l didn’t have any Apricot Reserve so l substituted it with Apricot Jam.I cut the recipe in half because my pork loin was 2 pounds.My cooking time on Low was 1 hour and 55 minutes.. The pork loin tasted great and my husband loved it.This recipe will be a keeper. Thanks for sharing your recipe with others.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Fran, I’m so pleased you loved it! Thanks for making my recipes! xo

  16. Andrea says

    I want to make this for a group of about 40 people. Is there enough sauce that I could I pour the thickened sauce back into the crockpot and put the sliced meat in it so that the people could grab their slices out of the warm sauce? Any other ideas for keeping the meat warm while serving? Thanks for your help.

    • Jen says

      Hi Andrea, yes, I believe there is enough sauce for that. I’m so impressed at your hosting skills!

  17. Liya says

    Everytime I’ve made pork loin, even in the crockpot, it’s always been on the dry side. But this turned out prefect. I was skeptical about the sauce because it did seem a bit adult-ish for my two year old but she loved it. So did my husband. Thumbs up

    • Jen says

      Awesome Liya, I’m so glad everyone loved it!

  18. Karla W says

    I’m not very good at leaving comments, but had to after I made this! This is sooo good!! We have been trying to find new things to cook and it’s so hard to find things that everyone will like. I made this pretty much like the recipe. I brined it for about 3 hrs. I made the honey citrus sauce and at the end I discovered I did not have any cornstarch so I just put it in a pan and let it simmer on med-high heat while stirring for about 10 min and it thickened some on its own. My husband is not very big on sauces but I did drizzle a little on his and after we started eating he got up and took his plate with him and I asked him what he was doing and he said he was getting more sauce! BIG HIT at my house!! Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Karla for taking the time to comment! I love that even your non-saucy husband loved this one!

  19. Katherine says

    This was fantastic. However, for my husband it was too sweet. I made it with pure maple syrup. I also strained the herbs before making the gravy. I give it 5 stars for fabulous flavor!

    • Jen says

      Thanks Katherine! If you ever think a dish is too sweet you can balance it with a little acid – lemon juice, lime juice, red vinegar, cider vinegar, etc.

  20. Kristine Boydstun says

    Made this for Easter dinner today–with scalloped potatoes and green beans. Rave reviews! That sauce is incredible!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Kristine, I’m so pleased everyone loved it! Happy Easter!

  21. Candice says

    For the make-ahead instructions, can you freeze (instead of storing in the refrigerator) the brined and seared roast and the sauce separately, defrost them in the frig overnight, then add both to the crock pot to cook the roast?

    • Jen says

      Great question, yes! That will work great!

  22. Melanie Maxwell says

    This was insanely good! I have trouble with pork being too dry, so I’ve been trying different methods and recipes. This one is IT! So juicy and tender, and the sauce was delicious. I didn’t have any preserves or orange juice so I just left both out and added a little extra honey. Super yummy once it was thickened up.

    I also made this in the oven because my husband bought the most ginormous pork loin I’ve ever seen and it wouldn’t fit in a slow cooker. I googled what temp a slow cooker is on low (200F) and baked it in a large turkey roaster with the lid on. It took 3 hours to get to 150 internal temp which was perfect.

    • Jen says

      Yay! I’m so happy to hear this is a winner and that the substitutions worked well! Thank you so much, Melanie!

  23. Sheila says

    Just made this for our Labor Day gathering. It was really good! I didn’t have apricot preserves so used orange marmalade instead. I also used honey, but added a touch of maple syrup when I thickened the sauce.

    • Jen says

      Thank you, Sheila! I’m so glad the substitution worked and that you enjoyed this recipe!

  24. Bobby says

    Fantastic recipe. Followed to a tee except I used blueberry preserves because that is what I had. Next time I’ll double the sauce.

    • Jen says

      Thanks Bobby! I am glad you loved it, and you can never go wrong with more sauce!

  25. Kathy Wadsworth says

    This recipe is delicious! The seasonings in with the pork make the gravy out of this world. I always like to dip any of my meat and some kind of sauce, but this gravy was all I needed. This recipe is a show stopper for entertaining. Thanks for sharing.

    • Jen says

      Thank you so much! I am so glad you found this recipe to be a winner!

  26. Jill says

    What a fabulous recipe. We all loved it and it will be used as the “go-to” for pork. I followed directions to a “t” and can’t think of a change I’d want to make. I will certainly be trying more of your recipes. Thank you so much for sharing!

    • Jen says

      Wow! I’m so glad that it will become a repeat! Thanks Jill for the kind review 🙂

  27. Ann Mehrman says

    Love all your recipes…this looks delicious
    Could you please clarify what you mean by “grocery bag” for marinating: “In an oven roasting bag (or grocery bag, whatever will fit pork) mix salt with warm water until dissolved.” My grocery bags are paper or are plastic that won’t hold liquid or be food safe.

    • Jen says

      Thank you! You can wash and dry a normal plastic grocery bag or you can get an oven roasting bag if that works better for you!

  28. Betty says

    In step 5 you call it a tenderloin butIm sure you didn’t mean to

    • Jen says

      You’re right, thanks for catching that! Fixed!

  29. Frieda Grischkowskt says

    I fixed the Pork Loin Crock Pot recipe yesterday, following the recipe to the “t”. It turned out absolutely fantastic, and my dinner guests all loved it, too. Will definitely go into my “favorites” folder.

    • Jen says

      I love hearing that! I’m so glad that it’s a keeper!

  30. Bit Stuben says

    I’ve made this a few times now and it always delivers. I even took a prepared pork loin to my daughters house 700 miles away for our Christmas dinner. I’m returning now to look for other slow cooker recipes on your website! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad this always comes through for you! I hope you find other slow cooker recipes you love!

  31. Rhonda Cutrara says

    I would like to know the measurements you use for the honey citris sauce. I could not find it on the website.

    • Jen says

      Press the “Jump to Recipe” button at the top of the page and it will take you to it!
      I included it here as well:
      1/2 cup honey (may sub pure maple syrup)
      1/4 cup apricot preserves
      3 tablespoons orange juice
      2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
      1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
      1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
      1 tsp EACH dried parsley, dried basil, dried rosemary
      1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried thyme
      1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional for a kick

  32. Shelley says

    We have done this recipe a couple of times now. It is very tasty and makes great leftovers as well!!

    • Jen says

      I am so glad you have been enjoying it! Yummy leftovers are the best!

  33. Melissa Healander says

    Made this last night and it was the best pork I’ve ever made I think! Only had 90 minutes to brine so not sure if longer would have been even better…Loved the sweet sauce. My husband said he could put it in a wine glass and drink it. Lol By some miracle I had apricot jelly in the refrigerator, but no orange juice, so I squeezed four clementines into it and that seems to have worked! I had a 7+ pound roast that I cut in half. Cooked on low in the slow cooker for about 2 1/2 hours to reach 145.

    • Jen says

      Your sweet sauce sounds delicious, I love your creativity! I’m thrilled that it was such a success!

  34. Tracy Copeland says

    This came out absolutely awesome. I will be definitely making this again. I posted this on my Facebook account and Instagram and everyone was like oh my God please save a spot at your dinner table for us. What is that recipe? Everyone loved it well for us who actually got to eat it it was fantastic. Thank you for a wonderful recipe.

    • Jen says

      Thank you for taking the time to let me know how you enjoyed it! I’m so glad it was such a hit!