This easy recipe for Apple Cider Marinated Pork Loin takes a high protein cut of pork and tenderizes it with the sweet flavor of apples and savory herbs. This oven-roasted pork is a great way to enjoy the cooler weather and pairs well with any side dish!
Pork is such a great protein to pair with the fresh and sweet flavor of apple. For whatever reason, this flavor combination is a match made in heaven and it’s even better when it’s slow-roasted in the oven to perfection.
For this recipe, you’ll take pork loin and marinate it overnight in apple cider and spices. Once it’s tenderized, a sweet dry rub is added before it’s roasted producing a sweet and savory protein that pairs well with your favorite side dishes.
What’s the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin?
Before we get into the recipe, let’s talk about the difference between pork loin and pork tenderloin so you can choose whichever cut is best for you. Pork loin comes from the back of the pig and is long and flat. Because of its location, it also has a higher fat content and is tougher meat.
Pork tenderloin is smaller and is found along the backbone of the pig so it is much leaner. While pork loin is usually roasted at a lower temperature to break down the connective tissue, pork tenderloin can be cooked over high heat and will cook quickly.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- This protein is full of fall flavor and has a sweet and savory twist.
- You can pair pork loin with any side dish for a hearty dinner.
- Pork loin is generally a cheaper cut of meat making it a budget-friendly protein.
- The marinade and dry spice rub are made with simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
Ingredients You’ll Need
- Pork Loin – A 4-5 pound pork loin will take on this marinade perfectly and slow roasts in the oven to perfection.
Pork Loin Marinade:
- Apple Cider – Gives the pork loin a sweet apple infusion that pairs well with pork.
- Maple Syrup – Adds another layer of sweet flavor with the apples.
- Dried Thyme – Infuses the pork marinade with herb flavor.
- Salt – Helps to season the pork loin and will help tenderize it.
Dry Spice Rub:
- Brown Sugar – Sweetens up the outside of the pork loin giving it a good crust.
- Smoked Paprika – Adds a layer of smoky flavor.
- Onion Powder – Infuses the pork with a mild onion flavor.
- Salt – Helps to tenderize the meat and blend with the other herbs and seasonings.
- Dried Herbs – You’ll need some dried thyme and sage to flavor the pork tenderloin.
How To Make Apple Cider Pork Loin
- Mix the wet marinade: In a medium-sized bowl, pour in the apple cider, maple syrup, thyme, and sea salt. Whisk together to combine until well incorporated.
- Marinate the pork loin: Add the pork loin to a Ziploc bag and pour the mixed marinade into the bag. Massage the marinade into the pork and remove as much of the air out of the bag as possible before storing in the fridge for a minimum of 8 hours or overnight.
- Prepare for roasting: Once you’re ready to roast the pork, preheat the oven to 325F. Line a roasting pan with aluminum foil and place a wire rack over top.
- Mix the dry rub: In a small bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, smoked paprika, thyme, sage, and onion powder.
- Season the marinated pork: Remove the pork loin from the bag and shake off any excess marinade. Make sure the pork loin is facing fat side up, and apply the dry rub on all sides of the pork loin until fully coated.
- Roast the pork loin: Place the marinated pork loin in the oven, and roast at 25 minutes per pound or until the pork loin reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
Rest and slice: Once pork loin is cooked through, remove it from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving with your favorite sides.
- Keeping pork loin moist and tender: Pork is a protein that could easily get too dry if overcooked. The best way to prevent this is with a good long marinating time. This recipe is best marinated overnight to keep it tender. Slow roasting also helps keep the meat moist as there is very little dry heat which can change the texture of pork. If desired, you can also cover the pork with a loose layer of foil to keep as many of the juices in as possible.
- Shake off the excess marinade when you’re ready to roast. This will ensure the outside gets a nice crust with the dry rub and stays tender on the inside.
- This cut of meat shouldn’t be roasted at a temperature higher than 325°F or you can risk drying it out.
- Pork is safe to eat at an internal temperature of 145°F. To make sure your pork is safe, use an instant-read kitchen thermometer to test in the center of the thickest part.
- Generally, 25 minutes per pound is the correct way to roast pork loin, but oven temperatures may vary which is another reason why a kitchen thermometer is a great investment!
This sweet and savory pork loin pairs well with so many sides. Try out any of these serving suggestions for a hearty meal!
- Slice up any leftovers and serve on top of an Avocado Salad instead of chicken.
- Makes an excellent flavor combination when served on a bet of Brie Mashed Potatoes.
- Pairs well with vegetables such as Roasted Butternut Squash or Honey Roasted Carrots and Parsnips.
- Slice some up and add it to a sandwich with Homemade Sourdough Bread.
- Serve it with sweet baked apples for dessert.
Storing and Freezing
Storing: Cooked pork will last for 3-4 days in the fridge in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag.
Freezing: If you plan to freeze cooked pork tenderloin, make sure it is unsliced if possible. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, and then in a layer of aluminum foil before transferring to a freezer-safe bag or container for 3-4 months. Let it thaw in the fridge before reheating and serving.
Can I use spiced apple cider instead?
Spiced apple cider contains the flavors of cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in most cases. You can use spice cider, but be aware that it may create a stronger flavor.
Should you roast pork loin covered or uncovered?
For best results, you can wait until the pork loin creates a browned crust on the outside, then add a layer of foil to the top in the last hour of baking to keep it as moist as possible.
Can I make this recipe with pork tenderloin?
Yes! The temperature will need to be adjusted to 375°F and will cook for 30-45 minutes generally depending on the size and how many you are cooking at once.
- 4- 5 pound pork loin
- 1 ½ cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- In a medium bowl, combine the apple cider, maple syrup, thyme, and salt. Set aside.
- Place the pork loin in a Ziploc bag or sealable container, and pour the marinade over the pork. Seal shut, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to overnight.
- When you’re ready to cook the pork, preheat the oven to 325°F, and line a roasting pan with a rack with aluminum foil.
- In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, smoked paprika, salt, dried thyme, ground sage, and onion powder.
- Remove the pork loin from the container, and discard the marinade. Place the pork on the rack of the roasting pan, and apply the seasoning rub to all sides of the pork loin.
- Bake for 25 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F on an instant read thermometer.
- After the pork is finished cooking, remove from the oven, and cover loosely with foil for 10 minutes before serving.
- See post for storage recommendations.
*The calories listed are an approximation based on the ingredients in the recipe card and a serving size of ¼ pound of pork loin. Actual calories will vary.
*For more information, tips, and answers to frequently asked questions, please refer to the post.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 18 Serving Size: .25 pound
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 269Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 6gProtein: 33g
*The calories are an estimate and are based on the ingredients and serving size listed. The calories can vary depending on the brand of product purchased.