The easiest pork roast with apples recipe! Quick prep and then relax while your oven does the work. Tender pork shoulder, braised with onions and apples makes an elegant comforting meal. Slow cooker and Instant Pot directions included!
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As the weather is turning colder we turn to braising as our favorite way to prepare both pork and beef.
Braising is a cooking technique that involves a quick sear in a hot pan, followed by a slow simmer in a flavorful liquid, such as stock, wine or beer, in a covered pot. The low temperature and slow cooking allows the collagen in the meat to break down making tough cuts, like this pork shoulder, tender and succulent.
For this pork roast with apples, we chose to braise the pork shoulder in a hard apple cider. For a non-alcoholic version try apple cider or a 50/50 mix of chicken stock and unsweetened apple juice. The pork roast comes out fall-apart tender and juicy. And the sauce… oh, the sauce. And the apples…
What Apples Should You Cook with Pork?
The best variety of apples to cook with pork are Winesaps, Braeburns, Jonagold, Fuji and Cortland apples. These variety of apples are firm, so they hold up well to cooking. The apples range from semi-sweet to tart.
For this pork roast recipe, we chose locally grown Winesap apples. Mr. Peel typically says fruit cooked with meat is a travesty but even he agreed, this was the best pork roast with apples ever! I think it was the Winesaps that won him over.
How to Make Oven Braised Pork Roast with Apples
This recipe follows the standard sear and braise in the oven. But we worked in a few unique ingredients to give this pork roast big flavor. To make oven braised pork roast with apples:
- Crisp bacon pieces in a large roasting pan. Once crispy, remove the bacon and set aside.
- Select a pork shoulder with good marbling. Preferably boneless but bone-in works as well. Thoroughly dry the pork roast and generously season with salt and pepper.
- In the same roasting pan, sear the pork shoulder on all sides. The pork should be a deep golden brown. Transfer the pork roast to a plate.
- Soften the onions and deglaze the pan with the hard apple cider and vinegar. Add back the pork roast to the pan along with the herbs.
- Cover and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours or until fork tender. Turning the pork roast halfway through.
- Remove the pork roast from the pan. Skim off excess fat and reduce the liquid by 1/3. Add the apples and cook until just softened. Stir in the reserved bacon and Dijon mustard.
- To serve, tear the pork roast into large rustic pieces. Top with apples and a small amount of the pan sauce. Serve the additional pan sauce on the side.
How to Make Pork Roast with Apples in a Slow Cooker
This pork roast recipe can be easily adapted to be made in a slow cooker. The initial prep is the same but can be done a day before.
- Fry up the bacon in a heavy bottom pan until crispy and set aside.
- In the same pan, brown the seasoned pork shoulder, then place in the crockpot with the onions, sage, hard apple cider, and apple cider vinegar.
- Cook on low for 6 hours. Add the apples, bacon, and Dijon, cook for an additional two hours. Alternatively, you can add the apples and Dijon and turn the slow cooker up to high for one hour.
- Remove the sage sprigs and serve.
How to Make Pork Roast with Apples in an Instant Pot
Don’t have a crockpot? No worries! We called the Instant Pot queen for some help. Our friend Sandy from Simply Happy Foodie put together detailed instructions for making our pork roast with apples in your Instant Pot.
- Cut the pork roast into 3 or 4 equal sized (1 lb) pieces (depending on the weight of your pork roast. A
3 lb roast, cut in 3 pieces, 4 lb roast in 4 pieces, etc.). Pat dry with a paper towel and generously
season with salt & pepper on all sides.
- Turn on the Sauté setting and add the bacon pieces. Cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp. Remove
the bacon to a paper towel and set aside.
- Add the pork to the pot and brown on all sides, about 3-4 minutes per side to get good color. Remove
to a plate and set aside. Add the onions and cook them until they just start turning translucent. If the bottom of the pot starts
to get a bit dry, add a splash of the hard cider.
- our in the hard cider and the vinegar. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to
deglaze it. Get all of the browned bits (fond) off of the bottom of the pot.
- ransfer the pork roast back into the pot along with the fresh sage leaves.
- Place the lid on the pot and set the steam release knob to the Sealing position. Cancel the Sauté
- Press the Pressure Cook (or Manual) button, or dial on Ultra. Then press the +/- button or dial to
select 65 minutes. The pot will take several minutes to come to pressure.
- When the cook cycle is finished and it beeps, let the pot sit undisturbed for 15 minutes (15 minute
Natural Release). Then turn the steam release knob to the Venting position to do a Quick Release of
the remaining steam/pressure (if for some reason the pork is not tender enough, put the lid back on,
seal it, and cook for an additional 10 minutes. If you precut the pork you should be good to go.).
- When the pin in the lid drops down, open the lid and remove the pork to a plate and tent it with foil.
Discard the sage leaves. Skim off the excess fat from the pot liquid.
- Turn on the Sauté setting and simmer the liquid until it reduces by 1/3. Add the apples and cook until
just softened. Stir in the reserved bacon and Dijon mustard. Turn off the pot.
- To Serve, tear the pork into large, rustic pieces. Top with apples and a small amount of the pan sauce.
Garnish with parsley. Serve the additional pan sauce on the side.
Please show Sandy some love by visiting her site and definitely be sure to check out all her Instant Pot recipes! I have had my eye on this Instant Pot and the first thing I am going to be making is Sandy’s Instant Pot Low Country Shimp Boil.
We think pork roast and apples pairs perfectly with polenta and green beans or broccoli. And if you like this recipe check out our sheet pan pork chops with acorn squash and cranberries. An easy weeknight meal!
Pork Roast with Apples
- 3-4 lb boneless pork shoulder roast also called a boston butt
- kosher salt & ground black pepper
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4 in pieces
- 1 large white onion, paper removed, halved and sliced
- 1 12oz bottle hard apple cider
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
- 1/3 tsp dijon mustard
- 3 tart apples, cut into 6-8 wedges each seeds/ core removed
- parsley, chopped optional
- Preheat oven to 325 F degrees. Liberally salt and pepper the pork shoulder on all sides.
- Heat an ovenproof pot large enough to fit your pork shoulder on medium heat. Add bacon. Cook until crispy. Remove bacon, set aside.
- Increase heat to medium-high. Cook pork shoulder, reducing heat as needed to prevent over-browning, until brown on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer pork shoulder to a plate.
- Add onion to pot and cook, stirring often, until onion begins to soften, about 5 minutes.
- Reduce heat and add hard apple cider and stir, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Bring to a simmer for 1 minute. Add 2 tablespoons vinegar.
- Bring to a simmer, then return pork shoulder to pot. Tuck in sage sprigs around the pork roast.
- Cover pot and transfer to oven. Braise pork shoulder, turning after 1 hour, until fork-tender, about 2 hours.
- Using tongs, transfer pork to a deep platter. Discard sage sprigs. Place the pot over medium heat on the stove and bring the liquid to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by 1/3.
- Stir in apples. Cook until just soft 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in dijon mustard and reserved bacon.
- Arrange pork, onions, and apples on a large platter. Drizzle with sauce and garnish with parsley.