Last updated on April 3rd, 2022 at 06:02 pm
Cranberry Orange Pork Tenderloin is slowly cooked to tender perfection and topped with a delicious cranberry, orange, and brown sugar sauce. This is a tasty recipe for Sunday dinner or any day of the week.
For another way to cook pork in the crockpot, try our Slow Cooker Pineapple Pork Loin with garlic and soy sauce or use this easy recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Stew for something different. Instead of pork, why not enjoy these flavors on another kind of meat with this Cranberry Orange Chicken recipe.
You can enjoy this new recipe for Thanksgiving instead of the traditional turkey or for other holiday meals. It is one of those easy dinners that you can just “set it and forget it” with your slow cooker while you go about your daily activities.
The combination of sweet orange with tangy cranberries gives the pork a spectacular flavor with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Then just add a side dish of mashed potatoes or another veggie when you are ready to eat.
This is a great meal that the whole family will love, it is fancy enough to serve on special occasions and also easy enough to make it for a weeknight dinner. The meat is juicy and coated in the most amazing glaze, making it irresistible.
In addition, the sauce from this recipe is so versatile, you can use it on anything. Cook in some turkey breast, chicken breast, or any other pieces of meat for a yummy dinner.
For the step-by-step instructions and measurements, scroll down to our printable recipe card. But here are the basic ingredients:
- Pork tenderloin: You could also use pork roast or pork loin.
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil: Or whatever type of oil you prefer.
- Fresh cranberries: Frozen is okay too.
- Orange zest: Fresh or store-bought.
- Orange juice: Any brand or fresh will work here too.
- Chicken broth: You can use beef or vegetable instead.
- Brown sugar: Packed.
- Maple syrup: Any kind will do.
- Balsamic vinegar: Rice wine vinegar is also good.
- Rosemary: Fresh sprigs for serving.
How do you make cranberry orange pork tenderloin?
- Prepare: First, sprinkle salt and pepper on the tenderloin and set it aside.
- Heat: Meanwhile, using a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat until it is hot.
- Brown: Then, brown the meat over medium heat before putting it into the crock pot at low temperature.
- Cranberry mixture: After, using a small saucepan, bring the cranberries, orange juice, broth, maple syrup, and brown sugar to boiling and continue to cook for five minutes.
- Save: Pour half a cup of the mixture into a small bowl for serving.
- Add to meat: Then, combine the zest, and vinegar into the mixture and pour it over the meat.
- Cook: Last, cover and cook the meat for three hours or until a meat thermometer says 145 degrees F. Remove and let the tenderloin rest for 10 minutes wrapped in foil.
- Serve: Finally, cut the loin and serve on a serving platter with the remaining sauce.
How to serve:
Make sure you wrap the pork in foil and let it rest for at least 10 minutes before slicing and serving for best results. Then serve with a medium bowl full of our cranberry orange sauce or try one of these ideas:
- This is a spectacular main dish with cheesy green beans and a salad on the side.
- Sprinkle a teaspoon of ground cloves on top for a nice fall flavor.
- Add a bit of homemade barbecue sauce on top for a juicy BBQ tenderloin.
- Use leftovers for a pork sandwich either sliced or shredded.
- You could also add some leftover pork to a salad or a bowl of rice.
- Put a bowl of tangy cranberry sauce on your holiday table with this dinner.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between pork loin and tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin is a boneless and narrow long cut of pork that comes from the muscle of the backbone. It is typically lean with little to no fat and needs to be cooked slowly with a rub and juices, so it does not dry out.
A pork loin is a flatter and wider piece of meat that can be bone-in or boneless. This cut of pork is what they cut pork chops from, and it has a layer of fat in it to keep it from drying out. You can use loin instead of tenderloin in some recipes if you take into account the size difference.
Why is my pork dry?
The most common reason for dry pork is overcooking it. The longer you cook it, the less moisture it retains. For many years, we have been taught to cook our pork to 160, but that is not true. The USDA now recommends that pork be cooked until the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F. Do not go over that or your meat will be tough and dry.
Can I cook this in the instant pot?
You can cook this recipe in your instant pot by following all of our above instructions but place it in the instant pot instead of the crock pot. Add the cranberry mixture to the bottom of the pot and set the loin on top.
Cook on high for 12 minutes. Then, do a natural release for about 10 minutes before using quick release for the rest. Wrap it in aluminum foil and let it rest for five minutes before serving with the remaining sauce.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: If you have any leftovers from this awesome slow cooker cranberry orange pork tenderloin recipe, put them in an airtight container with the leftover sauce. It will be good in your refrigerator for three days.
- Freeze: The tenderloin can also be stored for up to 90 days in the freezer wrapped in plastic wrap and placed in a freezer bag.
- Thaw: It is best to thaw the meat in the fridge overnight before reheating.
- Reheat: Finally, you can reheat your leftovers in the microwave or oven, adding some of the juice to keep them from drying out.
More Slow Cooker Recipes:
Cranberry Orange Pork Tenderloin
- 1 3 lb pork tenderloin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 1 16 oz cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1/3 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 orange (zested and juiced)
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- sprigs of fresh rosemary
- Season the tenderloin with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- Place a large frying pan over medium heat, add oil, and once hot, brown each side of the tenderloin.
- Place the meat in the slow cooker, and turn the temperature to low.
- In a small saucepan, combine the cranberries, orange juice, chicken broth, brown sugar, and maple syrup. Stir and bring to a boil.
- Cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes or until the cranberries begin to split. Reserve about ½ cup of cranberry sauce for serving in a separate small bowl.
- To the remaining sauce, add the orange zest and balsamic vinegar. Stir until well mixed, and add the sauce on top of the tenderloin in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 4-5 hours, or until the pork internal temperature reaches a minimum of 145 degrees F.
- Let the pork rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serve it topped with the reserved ½ cup cranberry sauce and additional orange zest if desired, and garnish with rosemary sprigs.