Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin is one of those meals that you can set and forget. In eight hours, you will have super tender meat that falls apart as you cut it. I have never had a pork tenderloin as tender as this.
The brown sugar balsamic glaze is sweet, tangy, and vinegary.Jump to Recipe
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How to Serve:
My Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin recipe is as versatile as can be.
You can either use a pork tenderloin or a pork butt. Pork tenderloin is one of my favorite cuts of meat because it's so naturally flavorful and tender that you just can't go wrong. Pork butt is typically a much larger cut of meat (and more expensive). It's great for shredding, which means it tends to go far in feeding a crowd of hungry people.
Second, you can eat this recipe either as pictured (sliced and on its own) or you can shred it and eat on a sandwich with coleslaw. Heck, you could even use the slow cooker pork portion of this recipe (not the sauce) as a good basis for shredded pork tacos or enchiladas.
Third, you can make my Brown Sugar Balsamic Sauce as is, which is a tangy and smooth, thin sauce. Or, you can make a cornstarch slurry to add to the sauce as it simmers to make it into a thick glaze to pour over top of the pork. If you want something more simple, you can cut out the sauce altogether and top the pork with your favorite BBQ sauce.
Paired with it are some roasted carrots and my Gluten Free Dinner Rolls recipe:
What Makes Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin so Good?
- Fresh sage or rosemary. Of course, you can also use dried depending on what you have on hand. Sage pairs well with pork, and rosemary is one of my top favorite herbs.
- Apple cider vinegar. ACV is a crucial component of this recipe. It brings out the flavor of the pork with a nice touch of acidity and it helps break down the proteins to make the pork extra tender.
- Minced garlic. Believe it or not, until a few months ago I detested garlic. I omitted it from all recipes and would not go near it. I've been incorporating it into many of my recipes now and I have to say, I'll never go back. In comparison to garlic fanatics, I do use a small amount. I prefer to use already minced from a jar, but garlic apparently can be a highly controversial topic. Do what you like, folks, do what you like.
- Light brown sugar. Adds a touch of sweetness and helps with the browning of the pork.
- Soy sauce. Adds a touch of umami and saltiness. Tip: Be sure to buy gluten-free soy sauce to make this recipe gluten-free.
Notes on Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin:
- Cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours.
- Be sure to check throughout the day to make sure there is still some liquid left in the bottom of the slow cooker. For a pork tenderloin, add ½-1 cup of water. It will not produce much of its own juice. For a pork butt, only add ¼ cup of water and keep an eye on it. Pork butts tend to produce a lot of broth.
- Optional step: For a roast, brown pork fat-side down on the stovetop first in a cast iron skillet. This helps to render the fat and give it a golden brown color. Tenderloin can just be placed right in the crockpot - it will brown up some on its own.
To make the Brown Sugar Balsamic Sauce into a thicker glaze; make a cornstarch slurry. Add equal parts water to equal parts cornstarch (you can start with 1 tbsp. of each.) Stir together in a small bowl. Add to the simmering sauce while stirring.
Slow Cooker Pork Tenderloin with Brown Sugar Balsamic Glaze
For the Pork:
- 3 lbs pork tenderloin or pork butt
- 1 tablespoon sage or rosemary (or ½ tablespoon each) fresh is best
- 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup water
- salt & pepper to taste
Brown Sugar Balsamic Sauce/Glaze
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1-2 tablespoon minced garlic
- (optional) 1 tbsp. cornstarch + 1 tbsp. water to make a slurry to turn sauce into a thick glaze
- To make a dry rub: Combine brown sugar, sage, and/or rosemary, and S&P. Rub on pork tenderloin and place in the slow cooker. Then, rub minced garlic over the top. Pour in apple cider vinegar and water to coat the bottom of the slow cooker. Set to Low and cook for 8 hours, or set to High and cook for 4 hours.
- When the pork is just about done (about 20 minutes before), prepare the Brown Sugar Balsamic Sauce. Add all ingredients to a saucepot on the stove and simmer until all of the sugar is dissolved. Optional: Add corn starch slurry while simmering to thicken the sauce into a glaze.
- Remove tenderloin from the slow cooker & slice about ½" thick, or shred. Set slow cooker to Warm and place tenderloin back inside. Pour sauce/glaze overtop, and let sit for 10 minutes to absorb the sauce. Serve.