Festive Pork Loin with Apple Cranberry Topping

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My husband grew up farming hogs before his family delved into the world of apples, so it is probably no coincidence that his favourite meat is pork. Nor is it surprising that he especially loves pork and apples together. They are a natural team – everyone knows that, even those of us who didn’t grow up raising pigs and apples in our formative years.

Many years ago, I discovered this recipe for an Apple Crusted Pork Loin.  I have made it many times when I want an entree that has significant Wow Factor. It is stunning, flavourful and out of the ordinary, without an excessive amount of care. In fact, I made it for TV celebrity chef Lynn Cawford when she joined us for an evening of “Mennonite food”. True story. I told her this is a dressed-up version of the typical sausage or ham dinner that Mennonites love to serve and eat.

Apple Crusted Pork Loin
Apple Crusted Pork Loin The original recipe without cranberries – it’s still pretty, though.

Most recently, I made it for a local youth Christmas banquet that we were catering. Before you ask, the answer is “No.” We don’t have a catering business; it is simply a hobby that we exercise occasionally for people that we really love. For this particular event, I decided to add chopped fresh cranberries and a few more spices than the original recipe has. It had a wonderful depth of flavour and the cranberries sparkled like jewels nestling in the chopped apple topping. So if you’re still dithering about which meat to serve at your Christmas dinner, look no further!

Ask your butcher for a 4-5 lb pork loin roast. This is not those little pork tenderloins, it is a round tied roast about 4 inches in diameter. Pork loin is actually a lean meat; do not overcook it or be afraid to eat it!


I have simplified the original recipe somewhat because of the amount of times I roasted larger quantities. Be sure to snip and remove the strings BEFORE topping with the apples. Just trust me on this one; you will regret it later if you don’t.

Festive Pork Loin with Apple Cranberry Topping
Updated recipe with little red bits of cranberries peeking through! Served on kale and garnished with Martin’s Apple Chips and my own pickled crabapples.

For this dish I chose to use Crispin (also known as Mutsu) apples, because they hold their shape nicely when cooked. Plus the flavour and crunch of them is phenomenal right now. I love to eat them fresh too. The Crispin is a large, firm, yellowish-green apple. 

We still have frozen Ontario cranberries from the bogs of Bala, Ontario!

Crispin (Mutsu) Apple

This post is sponsored by Martin’s Family Fruit Farm. All recipes, views and stories are my own. 


Festive Pork Loin with Apple Cranberry Topping


  • 2 tablespoons flourFestive Pork Loin with Apple Cranberry Topping
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds 
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (yes! get it if you don’t own it)
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic pepper seasoning
  • 1 boneless rolled and tied pork loin (4-5 lbs)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Apple Cranberry Topping:

  • 1 cup finely chopped unpeeled tart firm apple (Crispin, Empire, Spy)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves or allspice
  • 1 teaspoon crushed or snipped chili flakes (optional)


Important: Do Not Cover This Roast Or Any Other Loin Cuts At Any Point During Cooking. You will end up with a rubbery product that will disappoint you.

Set pork loin on a shallow foil-lined baking pan. In a small bowl, combine the flour with the seasonings. Rub them over the roast on all sides and the ends. Drizzle with oil and bake uncovered at 500° F for about 10 minutes. Lower heat to 325° F and bake uncovered for 1 1/4 hour longer.

Meanwhile, combine the topping ingredients. Remove roast from the oven; snip strings and carefully pull them out of the meat. Spread topping over the top of the roast and bake uncovered for another hour or until meat thermometer reads 160° F. You don’t want to overcook it or the meat will be dry. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing into 1/4″ slices. An electric knife works well for this. Arrange on a bed of kale and garnish with apple wedges, grape tomatoes, pickled crabapples or fresh/frozen cranberries. Serve and bask in the oohs of delight.