Maple Mustard Pork Loin is SO easy. The happy bonus is that it has company-worthy scrumptious flavor. This is a 4‑ingredient-simple slow cooker recipe that takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook. It’s also gluten, grain and dairy free.
Five minutes of prep-work nets you a savory, juicy pork loin with outstanding flavor. The mustard gives it a wonderful zing and is tempered ever so slightly by the sweetness of pure maple syrup. Cajun seasoning adds a light kick of spice that rounds out a delightful flavor profile. The pan drippings from this roast make a fabulous drizzle for serving.
You guys. C’mon. I was fairly confident the recipe would work, but this is truly delicious. It pairs with so many different sides because of the great balance between salty, sweet, savory, sour and the slightest hint of spice. They work in perfect harmony to create a taste that leaves you wanting more.
The first night we served it sliced, over a bed of creamy polenta, with some steamed broccoli. But, this Maple Mustard Pork Loin would also be tremendous with garlic mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, or even rice. It’s so versatile!
It makes perfect leftovers, too. Slice it thin for sandwiches. Shred it for a barbecue pork sandwich. Crisp in a skillet with a little butter and use it in tacos or quesadillas. Add it to pasta, potatoes or rice for a quick-fix casserole. Or even stir-fry it with some veggies and toss it over rice. The possibilities are endlessly delicious!
I can’t wait for you to enjoy it!
Pork Loin vs Pork Tenderloin
Maple Mustard Pork Loin is made with a pork loin, not pork tenderloin. The loin is a larger, roast-style cut. It does better with roasting and slow cooking methods. The loin is cut from the back of the hog. It is a lean piece of meat, however it usually has a thick fat cap on the top.
You may see it called center cut pork loin roast, center cut pork roast or pork center loin roast. In our part of the world it’s simply called pork loin. I can buy a whole loin or a half. The half is what you’re looking for for this recipe. They usually range between 3 and 5 lbs.
A pork tenderloin is not a good choice for Maple Mustard Pork Loin. It is a smaller, much thinner cut of meat. It’s from a muscle that runs along the backbone and usually only weighs about one pound. They often come two to a package, in our area. Because of their small size and leanness they are best cooked quickly.
It’s definitely important not to confuse pork loin and pork tenderloin when making a recipe. They are very different cuts of meat. The success of your recipe depends on choosing the correct one. So, just a reminder that this recipe uses a pork loin. You’re gonna love it!
Pork loin: Be sure to choose a pork loin. For this recipe you want it around 3 to 4 pounds. Don’t be scared off by that thick fat cap. It renders well and that melty fat carries seasonings and moisture down into the meat as it cooks. Excess can be removed after cooking.
Pure maple syrup: The real thing. This is so important. You’ll be extremely disappointed if you try to make this with pancake syrup. Pure maple syrup is loaded with nutrients and its own distinct flavor. It adds sweetness in a healthier way than any refined sugar. It can be Grade A or Grade B. A is taken earlier in the season, is lighter in color and has less maple flavor than Grade B. It also has fewer minerals than Grade B. Grade B has a much stronger maple flavor, is thicker and is loaded with minerals. Choose the one you like best. I had Grade A on hand when creating this recipe. But, if I can find it and afford it, I LOVE Grade B. Yum!
Stone ground mustard: The zing! Stone ground mustard is vinegary, spicy and salty all at the same time. It’s a great counterbalance for the maple syrup. And the acid from vinegar helps to break down connective tissues and tenderize the meat. The seeds add wonderful flavor and texture to the dish.
Cajun seasoning: I used my own homemade Cajun seasoning. Cajun seasoning blends can vary tremendously. So, if you want the same flavor profile as the dish I made, my homemade seasoning is the way to go. But, if you have your own favorite Cajun seasoning, you can definitely use it to create a flavor profile you are more accustomed to.
Slow Cooking Maple Mustard Pork Loin
When using a slow cooker, the general rule of thumb for most recipes is 4 hours on high or 6–8 hours on low. And overall, that typically gets you by. But, to achieve optimum results from your slow cooker, you need to treat it just like you would your oven. Adjust the time to what you are cooking. This is especially important when cooking lean pork. For beautiful, tender and juicy slices, you need much less time.
For the 3–4 pound pork loin in this recipe, I am recommending you cook it on low heat for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Begin checking the internal temperature of the meat at 2 hours. If it hasn’t reached the USDA recommended internal temperature of 145° F, put the lid back on and check again every 10 or 15 minutes.
When the temperature is right, move the pork loin to a wooden cutting board and tent it loosely with aluminum foil. It needs to rest for 10–15 minutes. It will continue to cook during that rest period and all the juices will redistribute. Trying to slice it before a rest period will result in a tougher roast and loss of all the flavorful juices. Patience is the key to tender, succulent pork.
How to Make Maple Mustard Pork Loin
- Place the pork loin in your slow cooker, fat cap up. Use a sharp knife and score a criss-cross pattern through the fat cap. The goal is to go all the way through the fat, but not into the meat. A slight cut into the meat is no big deal, though.
- Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over the top of the pork loin. Rub it into all the nooks and crannies of the criss-cross you just cut. Do the same with the Tablespoon of salt.
- Mix the maple syrup and stone ground mustard and pour it over the top of the pork loin.
- Put the lid on the slow cooker. Cook the pork loin on LOW for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. At the two hour mark, start checking for an internal temperature of 145° F. If you’re not quite there, cover the slow cooker, and continue cooking. Check every 10 ‑15 minutes to see if the meat has reached the USDA recommended temperature.
- When you hit 145° move the pork loin to a cutting board and tent it with foil for a 10 — 15 minute resting period. The rest allows the juices to redistribute through the meat and helps it to be more tender.
- Slice and serve. The pan drippings in the bottom of the slow cooker make an excellent sauce/ drizzle.
Maple Mustard Pork Loin is a simple and delicious main dish. The mustard gives it a wonderful flavor and is tempered ever so slightly by the sweetness of pure maple syrup. Cajun seasoning adds a light kick of spice that rounds out a delightful flavor profile.
- 3 to 4 lb. pork loin
- 1/3 cup pure maple syrup (not pancake syrup, the real thing)
- 1/3 cup stone ground mustard
- 1 Tablespoon Cajun Seasoning (Since every blend is a little different, I recommend the homemade Cajun seasoning I created the recipe with. If you have a favorite store-bought blend, you could definitely try it, though.)
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- Score the fat cap of the pork loin in a criss-cross pattern.
- Lay the pork loin in your slow cooker, fat cap up.
- Sprinkle the Cajun seasoning over the top of the loin and rub it into all the nooks and crannies of the scoring you just completed.
- Sprinkle the salt over the top of the loin.
- Mix together the maple syrup and stone ground mustard. Pour it over the top of the meat.
- Put the lid on your slow cooker and set it on LOW.
- Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, until the internal temperature of the loin is 145° F.
- Remove the pork loin to a cutting board to rest and loosely tent it with a piece of foil. (I actually just set my slow cooker lid over the top of it.)
- Allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. The internal temperature will keep rising as it rests and the connective tissues will relax and allow the juices to redistribute through the meat. Don’t try to carve it without the rest period or you will end up with dry pork.
- After some time to rest, carve the pork loin into slices of your desired thickness.
- Pan drippings in the bottom of the slow cooker can be served as a delicious drizzle over the meat and minced parsley is a pretty garnish.
I haven’t made this recipe in the oven, but the principles should be nearly the same. Preheat the oven to 350°, which is higher than the slow cooker. Put the roast in a roasting pan or a deep cake pan (fat cap up) and roast 20–25 minutes per pound. So for a 4 pound pork loin, it would take around an hour and 40 minutes, in the oven. You still need to check for that internal temp of 145° F and rest the meat before slicing.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours
- Category: Main Dish, Meat, Pork
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: pork loin, slow cooker, mustard, maple syrup, Cajun seasoning
Here’s another tasty crock pot pork loin, from Sarah, over at Feast for a Fraction. It’s a balsamic and brown sugar profile that is easy and delicious. too.