Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

Favorite FallHolidayMake-aheadPork Roast

We LOVE this pork loin roast stuffed with chopped apples, walnuts and cranberries. So festive, perfect for holiday entertaining!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Looking for a festive roast for a special dinner or a holiday celebration? This cranberry apple stuffed pork loin presents beautifully, and is easier to pull off than it looks. Really!

I first made a version of this roast a decade ago with my father. The original recipe we had came from a grocery circular, but the instructions fell a little short on the how to actually stuff the roast part. It also included croutons, which frankly, are hard to use for this type of stuffing. (Panko or breadcrumbs work much better.) So our roast back then wasn’t exactly a thing of beauty.

But this one is.

And the reason? Because we are properly butterflying the roast.

It can be tricky to butterfly a pork roast (see our tips below) if you are attempting it for the first time, but all you need is patience (a sharp knife helps too). Even if your pork cutting skills aren’t perfect, you can still make it work. You’re going to cut the roast so that it rolls out flat, which you can then stuff and roll back up.

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin

The stuffing ingredients are classic for the holiday season—apple, walnuts, cranberries, breadcrumbs, shallots, maple syrup, and rosemary—and work wonderfully with the roast.

When the roast is done, make sure to save any pan drippings! Drizzle them over the cut roast slices, or use them to make gravy.

Tips for butterflying the pork roast

  • Chill the roast: Chilling the roast in the freezer for 15 to 20 minutes will make it easier to cut.
  • Use a sharp knife with a long blade: A sharp knife that can make smooth long cuts makes all the difference!
  • Make slow, shallow cuts: Making shallow cuts will give you more control as you cut the roast.
  • Keep the knife parallel to the board: After the first angled cut, keep the knife parallel to the board as you cut the roast. Eventually you’ll be able to open the roast out like a book!
  • Pound to an even thickness: After you’ve cut the roast open, put it between two pieces of plastic wrap and use a meat pounder to pound the roast to a more even thickness, which will make it easier to stuff and roll.

Recipe and photos updated, first published 2006.

Cranberry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin Recipe

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  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Chilling the pork roast before cutting will make the roast easier to cut.

Ingredients

  • 1 boneless pork loin (about 3 to 4 pounds)
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup panko or homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 cup peeled, chopped tart green apples
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary

Special equipment:

Method

1 Preheat oven to 450°F.

2 How to butterfly the pork loin: Place the pork loin roast fat side down on a cutting board. Note that one long side of the pork loin roast will be thicker, and one side thinner.

Using a sharp knife, make a long cut an inch or so from the edge from the thinner long side of the roast at about a 45° degree angle, stopping a half inch from reaching the bottom of the roast.

Then angle the knife so that it is flat, parallel to the cutting board, and make slow, shallow cuts into the roast, along the same line.

As you cut, you can open up the top part of the roast like a book. Keep making slow, even cuts until you have "rolled" the roast out completely.

3 Pound the butterflied roast to an even thickness: With the pork roast unfolded, cover with 2 layers of of plastic wrap.

Pound with a meat mallet to flatten to a somewhat even thickness. Remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle the pork with salt and pepper and set aside.

4 Make the filling: Place the panko and stock in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Stir in the apples, walnuts, cranberries, shallots, maple syrup and rosemary.

5 Roll up pork roast with filling: Spread the filling over surface of the pork, leaving an inch margin around all sides except for the fat layer side—with that side leave a 2-inch margin.

Starting with the end of the roast rectangle that does not have the fat layer on the bottom, roll up the roast.

6 Secure with kitchen string. Tie the roast in 1 to 2 inch intervals with cotton kitchen string.

At this point you can wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate if you are making ahead.

7 Bake: Coat the bottom of a roasting pan with cooking spray or a little olive oil. Place the roast in the pan and cook at 450°F for 15 minutes to brown the top, then reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Cook uncovered, for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pork reaches an internal temperature of 140°F.

8 Rest and serve: Tent the roast with foil and let it rest for 10 minutes. Remove the kitchen string and slice into 1/2-inch thick slices to serve.

Save the pan drippings! Serve with pan drippings or use the pan drippings to make gravy. See How to Make Gravy.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

Recipe adapted from one in a Raley's Supermarket circular in the early 2000s.

30 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • John

    I’ve made this several times. It’s good, but in my opinion it sometimes can be a bit dry, and overcooked on the outside by the time it’s done on the inside.

    This year (Christmas eve) I got much better results doing this: I butterflied the loin the night before and dry brined it (ie, laid it flat in a pan, sprinkled with 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt per pound and let it sit in the refrigerator overnight). This salts the meat and helps it retain moisture. A couple of hours before cooking, I took it out and let it come to room temperature, while making the stuffing. When it was time to start cooking, I rolled it up with the still-warm stuffing (no additional salt). The internal temperature of the rolled-up loin was about 75 degrees.

    I cooked it on my Traeger grill, using apple wood pellets. Low temperature at first (maybe 225) then eventually up to 325, until the internal temperature of the loin was about 135. About an hour and a half total. I don’t think the cooking temperature is critical. Better slower than too fast.

    It was perfectly done all the way through, and juicy. With the light apple smoke flavor, it was the best ever.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Dyann DeGennaro

    This was a good recipe. I would make it again.

  • Cindy

    i made this tonight for New Years Eve. It turned out beautifully! I served it with scalloped potatoes and green beans. Thanks for the helpful directions. Happy New Year!

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Plancher

    Tasty and easy to make recipe, really love it, especially with the roasted walnuts! Thanks for it. ;)

  • Roxy

    For dietary reasons, can I substitute maple syrup for Splenda brown sugar?

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