Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Balsamic Honey Glaze

Slow CookerBalsamic VinegarPork Roast

The season of the slow cooker has arrived, and this slow cooker Balsamic Honey Pork Loin is a must-make recipe! Eat it sliced with cooking liquid spooned over the top or reduce the liquid to make a scrumptious pan sauce. It’s a bit of a flavor twist, but you will love it and keep coming back for more!

Photography Credit: Nick Evans

We are solidly in slow cooker season, and the first thing people usually toss in the slow cooker is normally a pork butt, or something similar, but allow me to present to you the slow cooker pork loin! It cooks up tender and creates a flavorful pan sauce.

I sear the outside, just before putting it in the slow cooker, so you still get the crispy caramelized outside with tender, moist meat. The cooking liquid made from a combination of juice from the pork, honey, and balsamic vinegar can be spooned over the pork just before serving or reduced and thickened to create a sweet and tangy glaze.

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WHAT IS PORK LOIN?

It’s important to understand the difference between a pork loin and a pork tenderloin to make this recipe.

Pork loin is fattier and much thicker than the tenderloin. You can find it bone-in or boneless, but I usually choose boneless for this recipe so it’s easier to slice and serve. Pork loins are more flexible and therefore better to slow cook.

A tenderloin is a much leaner and thinner cut of meat that has almost no fat on it. Tenderloins are usually best cooked at high temperatures—on the grill or in a blazing hot cast iron pan.

I do not recommend substituting a pork tenderloin in this recipe.

Two pork loins are set next to each other in a crock pot to show how to make slow cooker pork loin.

PORK LOIN IS PERFECT FOR A SLOW COOKER

I prefer to sear the pork loin on high heat, and then finish it in my slow cooker. Searing it gives me beautiful caramelization (and flavor) on the outside while the slow, low heat of the slow cooker yields fully-cooked, rich, and tender meat

It is possible to overcook pork loin in a slow cooker, so this isn’t a set it on high then leave for your 10-hour workday kind of recipe. If it goes for too long it can get chewy and sinewy—not good.

HOW TO MAKE HONEY BALSAMIC GLAZE

You could honestly skip the glaze step if you are short on time. The pork is great sliced right out of the slow cooker with some of the juices spooned on top.

If you have a couple of minutes, pour off some of the reserved cooking juices and bring them to a simmer with some cornstarch and water slurry. It will thicken as it simmers and it’s SO delicious spooned over the sliced pork.

TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING THIS RECIPE A SUCCESS

There are a few steps that are worth nailing to make this recipe work.

  • Get a good sear on the pork. It helps deepen the flavor.
  • This is not a slow cooker recipe to make before work and return to 8 to 10 hours later.
  • Most slow cookers have a low and high heat. I prefer cooking this on high heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Ultimately, it’s done when the pork reaches around 140˚F. After that, you can keep it warm in the slow cooker until serving but try not to overcook the pork as it can dry out.
  • The glaze helps keep the pork juicy if you do happen to overcook slightly. It’ll still be delicious if you slice it thin and serve it with the glaze.

Spooning sauce over slices of Glazed Slow Cooker Pork Loin.

MORE FLAVOR COMBOS FOR PORK LOIN

I picked one of my favorite flavor combos (honey and balsamic), but there’s a wide range of seasonings you could use as a base for this. Here are a few ideas:

  • Chipotle peppers and honey
  • Ginger, garlic, and soy sauce
  • Apple cider vinegar and brown sugar

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PORK LOIN

I like to serve this with a starch and a veggie. Some sort of rice or mashed potato is nice to serve the pork on and a veggie on the side. Roasted cauliflower, steamed broccoli, or pan-seared asparagus are nice options.

TIPS FOR USING UP LEFTOVERS

You probably will have leftovers for this pork unless you are feeding a crowd. It stores best as a whole loin rather than sliced. It reheats beautifully though and you can use it in a bunch of ways.

Pork loin stores well in the fridge for up to five days and reheats well in a 350˚F oven until the pork loin is heated through, about 15 minutes. You can also reheat individual slices in a microwave in 30-second bursts, but the pork loin will dry out slightly in the microwave.

I like leftover pork loin sliced thinly on lunch sandwiches or in wraps or even a thin slice on a breakfast sandwich!

Thick slices of Easy Pork Loin are shingled on a platter.

MORE GREAT PORK RECIPES

Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Balsamic Honey Glaze Recipe

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Total time: 3 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6-8

Ingredients

  • 1 (2-3 pound) pork loin
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock or water
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 4 cloves garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cold water

Special equipment:

  • Slow cooker

Method

1 Prep the pork loin: Season pork loin all over with salt, pepper, and thyme.

2 Sear the pork loin: Set a large skillet (cast iron works best) over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to the skillet.

Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the pork loin fattiest side down, and sear pork loin for 5-6 minutes, then flip and sear on the other side for an additional 5-6 minutes.

Seasoned pork loin roasts next to each other on a platter to show how to make slow cooker pork loin. Two pork loins next to each other in a cast iron skillet to make a Glazed Slow Cooker Pork Loin.

3 Transfer the meat and deglaze the pan: Transfer the seared pork loin to a large slow cooker along with any juices in the skillet. If there are any stuck bits in the pan, deglaze the pan with a splash of stock and add to the slow cooker.

4 Slow cook the pork: Add stock, vinegar, honey, and smashed garlic to the slow cooker. Cook pork loin on high heat for 2 1/2 to 3 hours until the pork loin reaches 140˚F-145˚F in the thickest part of the loin.

Two pork loins are set next to each other in a crock pot to show how to make slow cooker pork loin.

5 Make the honey balsamic glaze: Into a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, add 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid from the slow cooker and bring to a simmer. (If you don't have enough liquid from the slow cooker to reach 1 1/2 cups, just top it off with more stock.)

In a separate small bowl, whisk together cornstarch with water and whisk into the simmering glaze. Once the sauce glaze has thickened, this should only take a couple of minutes, remove it from the heat.

Glaze for an Easy Pork Loin is dripping off a spoon.

6 Serve: When you’re ready to serve the pork loin, slice into 1/4- to 1/2-inch slices. Pour the glaze over the slices.

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Nick Evans

Nick has been writing delicious recipes for the home cook for almost a decade. He lives in Denver, CO and embraces a delicate balance of diaper changing, trail running and beer drinking. His website is Macheesmo and his first book is Love Your Leftovers.

More from Nick

6 Comments / Reviews

No ImageSlow Cooker Pork Loin with Balsamic Honey Glaze

Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Beth

    Hi, this looks so good! Can I use maple syrup in lieu of honey? Thank you.

    Show Replies (1)
  2. jennifer

    The sauce was the best part. Cooking on high for that long definitely would have dried out the meat – I turned it down at about the 2 hour mark and it was ok. Thought the meat would be more flavorful.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  3. Susan

    Just tried this. I had a 2.33 lb. pork loin. It wasn’t a tenderloin, but admittedly, there wasn’t much fat on it. Cooked in the crock pot for 2-1/2 hours on high, per instructions, definitely no longer than that. I should have started checking the temp at 1-1/2 hours, maybe even earlier. At 2-1/2 hours, the temperature was up to 200+. Good flavor – just used the juices to spoon over and almost as a dip, due to dryness, but way overcooked.

    xxxxxyyyyy

    Show Replies (1)
Thick slices of Easy Pork Loin are shingled on a platter.Slow Cooker Pork Loin with Balsamic Honey Glaze