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Apple Cider Pork Pot Roast

A plate of shredded braised pork with a small bowl of caramelized onions.
Photo by Colin Price

Apples and pork are a delicious and timeless combination. Together they create a perfectly balanced roast, savory and filling, with a touch of sweetness and not much heaviness. The apple comes in two forms—chunks of whole apples and fresh apple cider—both of which cut through the fattiness of the pork. I leave the peel on the apples because the pectin it contains adds a bit of body to the sauce and prevents the apples from disintegrating when cooked. The onion, thyme, and cider make this comforting dish especially appropriate for the holidays. However, as we need easy and satisfying food all year round, swapping citrus for the apple easily turns this into a bright springtime dish.

If you don’t have fresh apple cider, you can add a tablespoon or so of applesauce to apple juice, but the resulting sauce might lack some of the depth.


Serves 12

1 (5-pound; 2.3 kg) boneless pork shoulder (6 pounds; 2.7 kg if bone-in)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 yellow onions, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) wedges
2 cups (475 ml) apple cider
2 tart apples (I like Granny Smith), cored and cut into 2-inch (5 cm) cubes
2 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).

Step 2

Season the pork with the salt and pepper.

Step 3

Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the pork and brown well on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Step 4

Remove the pork and add the onion wedges to the pot. Cook for a few minutes, letting them get a little color but being careful not to let them burn.

Step 5

Return the pork to the pot, placing it on the bed of onions. Add the cider and 1 cup (235 ml) water and bring to a simmer, then wedge the apple pieces under the meat among the onions. Toss in the thyme.

Step 6

Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until the meat is fork-tender, shreds easily, and is a deep brown color; the apples will have caramelized.

Dinner Then Dessert Cookbook Cover by Sabrina Snyder
From Dinner Then Dessert: Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5, or 7 Ingredients © 2021 by Sabrina Snyder. Reprinted with permission by Harper Design, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Buy the full book from HarperCollins, Amazon, or Bookshop.

How would you rate Apple Cider Pork Pot Roast?

  • Apple cider is mulled apple juice. Use a baking apple if you want it to retain its shape during cooking.

    • Tecumseh

    • Cleveland

    • 2/2/2022

  • A mouthwatering hit! I used Granny Smiths apples and fresh thyme. I would add another sprig of thyme for the next round.

    • Anonymous

    • Philadelphia, Pa

    • 1/15/2022

  • This is so delicious. One guest licked his plate. I put the apples in halfway through, but the onions from the beginning.

    • Real Yankee

    • Westfield MA

    • 11/13/2021

  • Good. More salt. Much more salt.

    • Tristan

    • Raleigh, NC

    • 11/11/2021

  • What is your definition of "apple cider"?

    • Anonymous

    • 10/25/2021

  • I made this recipe and used some of the suggestions of other reviews like adding apples and onions a little later. Very delicious. Can this recipe be cooked in a crockpot?

    • Louise

    • Medford, Oregon

    • 10/25/2021

  • This is wonderful. I took the advice of Rodeogirl from Chicago and added the onions and apples halfway through, and they did retain their shape and texture. I did end up leaving the dish uncovered in the oven for another 30 minutes, to let the liquids cook down and darken. I think next time I'll brown the onions as the recipe directs, but not include them until the meat is half done. Wonderful recipe, very easy and flavorful. I will definitely make again.

    • goodqueenbess.

    • Montgomery TX

    • 10/25/2021

  • This is really good. The only thing I would change is to add the apples and onion half way through the cooking time. The onions were unidentifiable and the apples were mush, but the flavor is awesome. I also took the bone out and cut the pork in pieces 1/2 hour before it was done. I also made a sauce of cider reduction, sour cream with a tbsp of Dijon and 1 tsp of horseradish to spoon on the pork. It was incredible!!(my husband said he could eat the sauce on pancakes;)) Really great on polenta and I made a mash of sweet potato, carrot and Yukons. WOW!!!

    • Rodeogirl

    • Chicago IL

    • 10/18/2021

  • Thank you for revising intro to clarify which kind of cider.

    • Connecticutty

    • CT

    • 10/16/2021

  • This recipe was great. Everything was on sale this week so I decided to make it. I followed the recipe to the letter. After 3 hours I pulled out the bones and mixed up the meat with the sauce. I returned it to the oven for 30 more minutes. Results were perfect. I highly recommend this recipe.

    • Doug

    • Aurora Ontario, Canada

    • 10/14/2021

  • Which kind of cider -- hard or sweet/fresh? Makes a big difference!

    • Connecticutty

    • CT

    • 10/12/2021