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Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin

Even though our daily schedule becomes more flexible once school’s out for the summer, that still doesn’t mean I want to spend hours on end in a hot kitchen.  So when we’re not grilling outdoors, odds are I’m using my crock pot.  Plenty of folks (myself included) tend to think of slow cooker meals as winter fare, and many crock pot recipes certainly fall into that category.  But there’s something to be said for coming home from work or the pool or a playdate at the park and having dinner waiting on you.  As an added bonus, said dinner didn’t even require that the oven heat up the whole kitchen!

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Honey Balsamic Pork Loin | {Five Heart Home}This Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin is delectable any time of year.  I’m actually pretty picky about my crock pot recipes.  It’s so easy for meals from the slow cooker to all end up having the same general taste and texture.  While that’s fine when you need a quick and effortless meal, the slow cooker recipes that I find myself repeating frequently are those that taste more like they could have come from the stovetop or out of the oven.  This pork loin is one of them.  Sure, the meat is juicy and flavorful — which can be said about many, if not most, crock pot meals — but it’s the glaze that really puts this dinner over the top.  And when that glaze trickles down into the juices at the bottom of the pot to mingle into a flavorful, effortless pan sauce of sorts…well, YUM.

As if that’s not enough to get excited about, this recipe makes a ton, so unless you have a very large family, leftover shredded pork has the potential to save you from cooking for another night or two (can I hear a “hip, hip, hooray”?!).  If transforming your leftovers into another meal sounds appealing to you, the possibilities are abundant: fold some shredded pork into cheesy quesadillas (Brie would be delicious!), sprinkle it over a salad (with balsamic dressing to complement the glaze!), or serve it on a bun (topped with crunchy, vinegar-based cole slaw!).  Please excuse the superfluous exclamation points.  Who knew leftovers could be so exciting?

So do yourself a favor this summer (or any other season) and break out that crock pot!  In my book, minimal effort for maximum culinary delight is a recipe for summer fun.

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin

This tender pork loin is glazed in a sweet and tangy sauce featuring honey, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce. Delicious and effortless, you'll never believe it came out of the slow cooker!

Ingredients

    For the pork:
  • 1 (approximately 3-pound) boneless pork loin
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup water
  • For the glaze:
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

  1. Place pork loin in the bottom of a large slow cooler.
  2. In a small bowl, combine sage, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle half of the spice mixture onto one side of the pork loin and press it into the meat with your fingertips. Flip the pork over and repeat on the other side.
  3. Spread minced garlic over the top of the pork loin and press down again.
  4. Pour water into the bottom of the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours.
  5. An hour before serving, prepare the glaze. In a small pot, mix glaze ingredients together until cornstarch has dissolved. Bring to a low simmer and cook, while stirring, for a few minutes or until the mixture has thickened. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
  6. During the last hour of cooking, brush roast with glaze three times. The last time, either pour all of the remaining glaze over the pork loin, or reserve whatever is left after brushing as a dipping sauce.

Tips, Tricks, & Variations

If my pork loin has a layer of fat on one side when preparing this recipe, I cook it with that side up so that the fat can melt into the meat and further moisten it while cooking. Then I carefully flip the whole loin over with some tongs before I start glazing it. This way, when we're ready to eat, we can cut away the layer of fat without losing the glaze.

http://www.fivehearthome.com/2013/06/12/slow-cooker-honey-balsamic-pork-loin/

Adapted from Let’s Dish.

More crock pot favorites!

(Click on photo to be taken to recipe.)

Slow Cooker Beef Stroganoff ~ easy crock pot meal featuring tender beef and hearty mushrooms in a sour cream sauce | FiveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sliders with Creamy Broccoli Slaw {PLUS} Printable Super Bowl Drink Tags | FIveHeartHome.com

Slow Cooker German Lentil Soup with Sausage | {Five Heart Home}

Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwich Au Jus | {Five Heart Home}

Slow Cooker / Crock Pot Chicken and White Bean Chili ~ garnish with cilantro, tortilla chips, cheese, avocado chunks, salsa, etc. | {Five Heart Home}Slow Cooker Meatball Sub Sandwiches ~ meatballs cook up in the crock pot to top tasty and effortless subs | {Five Heart Home}Let’s stay in touch!

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I always love hearing from you! ~ samantha {at} five heart home {dot} com

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Comments

  1. My husband would die to eat this for dinner one day! I’ve never been much of a pork person but I’m not gonna lie I could eat this NOW. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I hope y’all love it (and I’m sure you will)! I make this recipe probably every other week and my family hasn’t gotten tired of it yet. In fact — and I’m completely serious when I say this — I have it in the crock pot right now! Thanks so much for visiting the site! :)

  2. I couldn’t get the sauce/glaze to thicken. I doubled checked the ingredients and amounts, even increased heat and added another tbs of cornstarch, but it never thickened. What did I do wrong?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi, Alison! I’m so sorry to hear that the sauce wouldn’t thicken for you! I’ve never had that problem in all the times I’ve made this recipe, so I’m honestly not sure what went wrong.

      If you stirred the cornstarch in with the other cold ingredients and then brought the mixture up to a low simmer, it should have started thickening pretty quickly. If it didn’t get to your desired thickness initially, stirring in a bit more cornstarch should have remedied the problem (but if you stir cornstarch into an already warm/hot liquid, you need to dissolve it in a small amount of water first to make a slurry, and then stir that slurry into your hot liquid…otherwise you’ll get big lumps!).

      If your sauce thickened initially but then thinned back out, it could have been because it cooked too long, boiled, or was stirred too vigorously. These variables break down the corn starch and its ability to thicken. Do you think any of these issues could have been the culprit?

      I hope something here helps, and I hope the sauce works for you if you end up trying it again! Thanks so much for the question…have a great night! :)

      • I figured it out!

        I had the pork in for 7 hours with the .5 cup water, as you recommended. When the sauce never thickened, I poured out the water, and the poured the “sauce “(since it was more like broth, consistency-wise), in instead.

        Well, 15 minutes later, it had thickened up! So then I rotated the pork to keep getting that glaze on either side. I asked my chef friend, and he said that sometimes, depending on the type/brand/freshness of cornstarch, sometimes you have to “boil” the sauce first, then simmer. That’s what helps it thicken. And since I store my cornstarch in the fridge, it was probably fresh, but needed more than just “simmer” for heat.

        I will say, for others reading this, that the pork was SO TENDER it was literally falling apart! I was flipping it with tongs, and a side piece – about 3 inches – fell off! And then when I flipped it again, to make sure everything got marinated and whatnot, another huge piece fell off! So this recipe clearly made the meat so tender it was falling off the.. well, not bone, but falling in general!

        And the sauce, once it did thicken, was a huge hit with the family. Unlike myself, everyone else does NOT like “sweet” marinades or sauces. So something with honey in it made everyone groan. But, as it turns out, we ALL love it! It’s not sweet, but not spicy. It’s sweet enough to satisfy my unending sweet tooth, yet flavorful enough to please all the other family members that HATE sweets! What a weird dichotomy, yet everyone was happy!

        As a result, I’ve now suscribed to this blog ;) Thank you, not only for this delicious recipe, but for responding so quickly to my question AND so thoroughly!! I can’t wait to tell all my friends about your site!!!

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          I am so glad you got the sauce to thicken, Alison, and that the recipe was a hit with your family! That makes my night. :) And I really appreciate you coming back to share what worked for you so that your experience can help anyone else who might encounter the same problem.

          I’m so happy to have you as a subscriber now and I’m honored that you plan on sharing this blog with your friends. Hope you find a lot more recipes and ideas that appeal to you! Thanks again for stopping back by to share your results…have a great night!

  3. Making this for dinner tonight! I will come back and review what everyone thought! =^.^=

  4. Have you tried cooking the loin and the sauce together in the crockpot?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I have not tried cooking the pork with the sauce at the same time Pascale, because I worry about two things: (1.) the sauce may end up burning because of the high sugar content of the honey, and (2.) even if it didn’t burn, I think it would become pretty watered down over the course of the cooking time. However, these are just assumptions since I haven’t actually tried it! Please let me know how it works out if you decide to give it a go… :)

  5. Hi Samantha! I am afraid i don’t have time for the slow cooker, can i prepare in a dutch oven? thanks for the recipe!!

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Lisa! Yes, I think you could totally make this on the stovetop or in the oven in a Dutch oven or other big pot! Just glaze it towards the end of the cooking time per the directions in this recipe. It might not be quite as fall-apart tender as if you had made it in the slow cooker, but I think it will be pretty close. Please let me know how it turns out if you try it!

  6. Chris Kenney says:

    I have this in the crock pot right now. I was kind of worried about using sage, but it smells so good. I know my wife and kids are going to love it. I even invited my mom over for dinner.
    Being from North Carolina, we are pretty serious about our pork, and this one smells like a winner. I will be sure to let you know how it turns out!
    Thank you for the recipe, I think it’s going to be a keeper.

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      I hope you all enjoyed this, Chris! I don’t use sage very often either and find that it can be rather overpowering in certain recipes, but I think it complements this one perfectly. However, thyme would probably be a good substitute in this recipe for anyone who doesn’t like or have sage on hand. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment…and I hope this lived up to your high pork expectations! ;)

      • Chris Kenney says:

        Samantha,
        It turned out great! The glaze really set this recipe apart from others. The pork was really tender and it was full of flavor. This is a keeper for sure!
        One thing I might do different next time is substitute vegetable stock in the place of water, and as you mentioned, maybe try thyme or rosemary.
        You hit this one out of the park!

        • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

          I’m so happy to hear that, Chris! Thanks so much for stopping back by to let me know. :) Hope you have a great week!

  7. What do you usually serve this dish with, Rice, Pasta, Potato??? Any suggestions?

    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Hi Lou Ann! I have served this pork loin with all of those choices at different times! The gravy/sauce is one of the best parts of this recipe, so you definitely want some rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes to soak it up. It’s just a matter of personal preference. :) Thanks for the question and enjoy!

  8. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in penning
    this website. I am hoping to view the same high-grade blog posts
    from you in the future as well. In fact, your creative
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    • Samantha at Five Heart Home Samantha at Five Heart Home says:

      Thank you so much, Phoebe! I’m glad you enjoy the site and I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Best of luck with your own blog…it’s a fun adventure! :)

Trackbacks

  1. […] have enough recipes for the crock pot that use pork. I can’t wait to try this recipe for Slow Cooker Honey Balsamic Pork Loin. It seems like a really fancy meal that doesn’t take a lot of work – my favorite types […]

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