This tender and flavorful crock pot cranberry pork tenderloin is slowly cooked to perfection in a citrus cranberry sauce. Great for holidays or easy dinners!
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Table of Contents
- About Crock Pot Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
- Pork tenderloin vs Pork loin
- Can you use pork loin instead?
- How long should you cook pork tenderloin in a crock pot?
- Can you overcook pork tenderloin in a crock pot?
- How long is pork tenderloin good for?
- Can you freeze cooked pork tenderloin?
- What to serve with pork tenderloin
- Notes & tips for crock pot cranberry pork loin
- More great crock pot recipes
- Other recipes for holiday dinners
- How to make pork tenderloin in a crock pot
- Recipe Details
About Crock Pot Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
Holiday dinners are the most hectic time of the year, and it’s always helpful when you can whip up recipes that won’t monopolize the oven.
So, naturally, I love utilizing my crock pot as much as possible, and this crock pot cranberry pork tenderloin is one of my five-star favorites. It has all the flavors of fall (orange and cranberry) marinated within a tender, fall-apart pork tenderloin.
Plus, it’s ready within six hours (even when cooked on the recommended “LOW” setting) and, of course, the leftovers are delicious for days.
Pork tenderloin vs Pork loin
Despite the similar names, these are two separate cuts of meat – although they do come from a similar area on the pig.
Pork loin comes from along the back of the pig, between the shoulders and the ham (rump). It’s a wide and flat cut of meat that can either be boneless or bone-in.
Pork tenderloin is a long, narrow, boneless cut of meat that comes from within the same area as pork lion. Technically, the tenderloin is surrounded on three sides by potential pork loin cuts. The tenderloin is the muscle that runs next to the backbone.
If you’d like to read more about these different cuts, check out this article: Pork Loin vs Tenderloin: Decide Which is Ideal.
Can you use pork loin instead?
Yes, you totally can!
I’ve made this recipe with both cuts of meat and loved them equally. The fact that this dish is cooked in a crock pot helps eliminate some of the intricacies of cooking either cut since the nature of this cooking method ensures that the meat will be tender and juicy.
How long should you cook pork tenderloin in a crock pot?
This recipe recommends cooking on LOW for four to five hours, and even though it’s easy to adjust the cook time for HIGH (typically this would be half as long as LOW) I highly recommend sticking to the LOW cook time.
The beauty of this recipe is how the meat marinates while cooking, and you lose some of that when the cooking time is sped up. The pork tenderloin will be cooked to the same doneness on HIGH as it will on LOW, but it will be far more tender and flavorful when given the extra time to cook on LOW.
Can you overcook pork tenderloin in a crock pot?
When pork is overcooked, it typically becomes dry, tough, and chewy. The good news here is that this can be hard to accomplish with a crock pot, especially if you’ve managed not to peek and kept the lid secured while looking. Crock pots have a reputation for sometimes making meats too tender, not the other way around. So as long as you stick to the recommended cook times, the pork should have a fall-apart consistency when done.
The main problem you want to avoid is turning your crock pot to the “warm” setting once cooked. I know this can be a convenient way to leave the dish until it’s ready to be served (it’s what the setting was designed for) but the warm setting will still expose the pork to more heat than intended. Over time, moisture will escape the crock pot and the meat will, inevitably, dry out, especially for the pieces that are sitting above the line of cranberry sauce.
How long is pork tenderloin good for?
Once cooked, this cranberry pork tenderloin can be stored in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to three to four days.
Can you freeze cooked pork tenderloin?
Yes, you totally can!
For quality purposes, I’d recommend freezing the pork tenderloin whole, without cutting, in freezer bags or a sealed container. Cutting the pork (and especially storing the pieces in individual containers) will reduce the surface area, making the pork more prone to dryness from freezing.
Once frozen, pork can typically last up to six months.
When ready to eat, allow the pork to thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Thawed pork tenderloin can be warmed up in the microwave or in your crock pot on the WARM setting for 30-45 minutes.
What to serve with pork tenderloin
Even though this pork tenderloin is flavorful on its own, it can be paired with just about any classic side dish.
Some of my favorites include:
- Crock Pot Creamed Corn
- Homemade Muffins
- Brown Sugar Glazed Carrots
- Egg Salad
- Baked Boston Brown Bread
- Cranberry Sauce
- Deviled Eggs
- Chicken Salad with Grapes
- 3 Bean Salad
- Bacon Beer Cheese Stuffing
- Irish Colcannon
- Cheesy Herb Stuffing
- Waldorf Salad
- Buttermilk Cornbread
Notes & tips for crock pot cranberry pork loin
- If you’re in the market for a new crock pot, I recently discovered this one and I’m seriously impressed. It has three sizes in one!
More great crock pot recipes
Other recipes for holiday dinners
How to make pork tenderloin in a crock pot
This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.
Step 2 – Heat some olive oil in a large, wide skillet. Season the pork tenderloin with salt and pepper, then sear all of its sides. You can make the sear as golden brown or as dark brown as you like, so long as all sides are opaque. As you can see in the pictures, I prefer a more golden brown sear.
Step 3 – Place the seared pork tenderloin in your crock pot, then drizzle the cranberry sauce on top. Use a spoon to move the sauce around, covering the pork as much as you can.
Step 4 – Cover and cook!
Step 5 – Serve and enjoy!
Crock Pot Cranberry Pork Tenderloin
- Heat olive oil in a wide skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork tenderloin to skillet and season with salt and pepper. Sear all sides of pork tenderloin until golden brown (or darker if you prefer) typically 2-5 minutes per side.
- Place browned pork tenderloin in the bottom of a 6 quart crock pot or similiar size. Pour cranberry mixture on top, spooning sauce as needed so that it fills all the sides and between the pieces of meat.
- Cover crock pot and cook on LOW for 4 to 5 hours (or until a meat thermometer reads 145 degrees F). For best results, cook on LOW; however, if time is an issue, can be cooked on HIGH for 2 to 3 hours.
- Transfer pork tenderloin to a serving platter. Garnish with orange slices and fresh thyme (optional). Cover plate with foil and let sit 20 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.