Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork from #recipe

The cranberry sauce is chilling, the mashed potatoes are in motion and the oil is coming to a boil for our annual Christmas Day feast starring a deep-fried turkey and all the trimmings. And while I’m counting down the minutes until I pile my plate high this evening, I can’t help but start planning for the next food-filled celebration: New Year’s Eve!

‘Tis the season of slow cooker creations, and this time I’m serving up a spinoff on the most pinned Just a Taste recipe of 2013. Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork stars meltingly tender pork shoulder slow-cooked in a sauce of balsamic, honey, garlic, onions, and my secret ingredient, blackberry jam.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork from #recipe

But there’s no fork required for this party-perfect bite. Serve the pulled pork piled high atop brioche buns topped off with a serving of crunchy, cool Asian-inspired coleslaw. Or, skip the sliders and slaw and grab the tortillas for slow cooker pulled pork tacos with pickled red onions. New Year’s Eve has never tasted so good.

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork from #recipe

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork from #recipe

Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork from #recipe

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Slow Cooker Balsamic Honey Pulled Pork

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 9 hours


1 (2 1/2- to 3-pound) boneless pork shoulder
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup blackberry jam (See Kelly's Notes)
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup diced onion
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
1 recipe Asian Slaw or store-bought coleslaw
12 slider-sized buns or rolls


Trim any excess fat from the pork shoulder and place it in the slow cooker.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the honey, balsamic vinegar, jam, hoisin, chicken broth, garlic and onion, and then pour the sauce over the pork shoulder. Cover the slow cooker and cook the pork shoulder on LOW for 8 to 9 hours until it is no longer pink and is cooked throughout.

Using tongs, remove the pork shoulder from the slow cooker (reserving the liquids) and place it on a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the pork shoulder into smaller pieces. Place the pulled pork in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with 3 tablespoons of cold water to make a slurry.

Transfer the liquids from the slow cooker into a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat and whisk in the slurry. Bring the sauce to a boil and cook it until it reduces and has thickened slightly, about 3 minutes. Pour the sauce over the pulled pork, tossing to combine.

Halve the buns. Divide the pulled pork between the buns, topping the pork with a portion of the Asian Slaw, and serve immediately.

Kelly's Notes:
If you don't have blackberry jam, you can use any other variety of jam, such as raspberry or plum.

Depending on your preferences, you may want to pour only a portion of the sauce over the pulled pork. Any leftover sauce can be served with other proteins or veggies.

The pulled pork and slaw can also be served in tortillas for pulled pork tacos.

Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.


  1. says

    Looks yummy! Has anyone tried it with grape jam? Also, I don’t have hoisin sauce, what would a good substitute be?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 29th, 2013 @ 6:59 pm

      Hi TamTam! Grape jam would definitely work, but I’m afraid the hoisin is a crucial ingredient. You could try substituting additional jam for the hoisin, but I’ve never tried that before. Hope that helps!

  2. says

    These look so mouth-wateringly tasty I could eat one right now, even though it’s only 9am! I especially love the colourful effect with the Asian slaw and the whole thing seems like it would be so easy to make … just my kind of recipe.
    Thanks for this great idea!

  3. Amie says

    I’ve just bought all the ingredients ready to make this new year’s day. Very excited!

    Just wondering, as I’m going to be terribly hungover, will it be ok to pop all the ingredients in the pot tonight and refrigerate/marinade ready to slow cook in the morning?

    Many tas

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 31st, 2013 @ 10:50 am

      Hi Amie! I’ve never tried marinating the pork in the ingredients a night in advance, but as long as you keep it covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated, it should work out (although I can’t say with certainty!). Let me know how it goes, and I hope you have a wonderful New Year’s!

  4. Carrie says

    This sounds SO yummy! However, we are not pork eaters. Has anyone tried it with chicken? If so, what would the cooking time be? Thanks!

  5. Carly says

    Can you cook on high for half that time and still get the same results?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 11th, 2014 @ 11:55 am

      Hi Carly! I definitely wouldn’t cook it on “high” for 8 to 9 hours or the pork will dry out. If you’d like to use the “high” setting, I’d recommend anywhere from 4 to 5 hours, but just make sure the pork is fully cooked. Hope that helps!

  6. Carly says

    Thanks! It worked on high for 4 hours and tastes great. But my sauce isn’t nearly as thick as yours. I followed the recipe (added the cornstarch, boiled it for actually 5 minutes), any tips on what I may have done wrong? Maybe I should have just been more patient and boiled longer? :) Tasty though!

  7. says

    I’m thinking of making this for a bigger crowd this weekend. If I wanted to double the recipe would you recommend doubling all the ingredients in the list (including the vinegar, cornstarch, etc). Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 15th, 2014 @ 1:25 am

      Absolutely, Cissy! Just make sure you have a large enough slow cooker and adjust the cooking time. The sauce, when doubled, may also take additional time to thicken. Enjoy!

  8. Jamie says

    This is an AMAZING recipe – thanks for posting! I love pulled pork, but was getting sick of just doing bbq flavour, so this was so perfect. I made it on NYE in a hurry, so put it on high for 4-5 hours and it was great! I am making it again right now. The only change I made was blending the onion and garlic with the liquids beforehand, because I didn’t like the chunks – but that’s just me! Thanks again :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 18th, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed my recipe, Jamie :)

  9. Ana says

    Sounds delicious would love to try it but don’t have a slow cooker. Can this be cooked in the oven, if so what temperature and for how long?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 20th, 2014 @ 9:46 am

      Hi Ana! I’ve never tried making this recipe without a slow cooker so I can’t say for certain what the time/temp would be.

  10. Ashlee says

    I’d like to scale this recipe up to serve 8-10 people; should I double it, or just increase the amount of meat and slightly increase the amount of sauce?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 21st, 2014 @ 6:46 pm

      Hi Ashlee! I’ve never tried doubling this recipe, so I can’t say for certain, but depending on the size of your slow cooker, if you do try doubling the meat portion, I’d also double the liquids. Otherwise the pork won’t be covered and it’ll dry out. Hope that helps!

  11. Vanessa says

    I made the pulled pork recipe today and hubby and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am a huge fan of hoisin sauce and that is what inspired me to make this recipe. Will definitely make it again.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 28th, 2014 @ 10:15 pm

      So glad you enjoyed my recipe, Vanessa!

  12. Jessica says

    This was a hit for tonight’s dinner, both the pork and the slaw. I used a pork loin instead of pork shoulder, but otherwise followed the recipe as written. We will surely be making this meal again. Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 31st, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Jessica!

  13. Beth says

    I carefully followed the recipe to a ‘T’, and the sauce came out extremely liquidy. It was more of a broth than a sauce. Do I do something wrong, or is that how it is supposed to be? I even added extra corn starch and let it boil for about 10 minutes. I enjoyed the flavor, however when I think of pork BBQ’s I think of a nice thick, hearty sauce. The husband and I were rather disappointed. I will probably try this again at some point, but will consider halving the amounts of the liquids.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 3rd, 2014 @ 10:39 am

      Hi Beth – The sauce should be thick. Did you make the slurry then bring the sauce to a boil?

  14. says

    Absolutely delicious. I made this pulled pork over the weekend for friends and served it on slider buns with your Asian slaw. Tonight I plan to serve leftovers over polenta for a quick Monday night meal. Thank you for the great recipe!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 3rd, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it, Emily!

  15. Kari says

    Does it matter if the jam has seeds in it? Is it best to use seedless jam? Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 4th, 2014 @ 2:58 pm

      Hi Kari! It makes no difference whatsoever :) I’ve made it with jam that contains seeds and jam that doesn’t. Tastes great either way!

  16. Beth says

    Yes, I did. I added the slurry and let it boil for about 5 minutes. When I saw that it wasn’t thickening at all, I added even more starch and let it boil for about another 5 minutes. Still watery. I don’t know where I went wrong! =(

  17. Andy says

    OMG looks to die for… Will try it on sunday. No good buns available here in Germany, so I will make my own. So looking forward, will let you know about the result! Greetings from Hamburg!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 8th, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

      Awesome! Hope you enjoy the recipe, Andy!

  18. Gloria says

    If my pork shoulder is frozen should I defrost it first or can I put it right in?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 8th, 2014 @ 6:25 pm

      Hi Gloria – I’ve never started mine with a frozen pork shoulder, so I can’t say for certainty what would work best. Definitely increase the cooking time if you do start with a frozen pork shoulder.

  19. Carol says

    This recipe is fabulous, so tasty and I will definitely make it again. So nice to have a different recipe for slow cooked pork, a sweet and sour taste. My sauce turned out perfect, the trick is to add more cornstarch to make a thicker sauce or if you cook on the stove for a while it will reduce down thicker. Absolutely yummy!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 10th, 2014 @ 10:50 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it!

  20. Sophie says

    Hi from Australia! Thanks for the great recipe! As it so happens, I chose it because I had all the ingredients in my fridge / pantry already! Well, I’m glad I did as it turned out beautifully! Just some clarification on other people’s questions you might not have been able to answer as you haven’t tested – I used a frozen pork shoulder and defrosted it fully PRIOR to the cooking. I also did not use a slow cooker (mine is still unopened in its box from my wedding 3 years ago!) but instead used a cast iron pot (with lid) and popped it into my fan forced oven for 8-9 hours at 120c (250f). Turned out perfect. Thanks again :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — February 19th, 2014 @ 6:58 am

      Awesome! Thanks so much for these great notes about the substitutions, Sophie!

  21. says

    I made this over the weekend with Asian Slaw and served on buns with sweet potato wedges- it was such a winner! The blackberry jam and hoisin melted beautifully into the pork and everyone at the table loved it. Super easy in the slow cooker too- thanks for the recipe!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 7th, 2014 @ 1:10 am

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Tanya!

  22. Diane says

    I just finished putting everything in the slow cooker and am so looking forward to dinner tonight. That being said, this was my first time making pork and I was wondering if you have any tips for trimming the fat.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 16th, 2014 @ 10:09 am

      Hi Diane – It depends on your personal preferences, but most pork tenderloin will have only a small amount of fat/silverskin, which you can trim. But it’s not essential to trim off any of the fat.

  23. says

    I just made your recipe this weekend with a few tweaks of my own and we loved it! Thank you for sharing such a clear and easy to create method. I’ll make sure to pingback to this post when I share my version later on this month. Leah – Sharing The Food We Love

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 24th, 2014 @ 8:26 am

      So glad you enjoyed it, Leah!

  24. Amy says

    Hi, I am making this tomorrow, and i’ve just realised I have forgotten to get any jam! Is there anything I could substitute?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 3rd, 2014 @ 11:08 pm

      Hi Amy! You could use more hoisin sauce, if you have it!

  25. Luke says

    Thanks for the fantastic recipe. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a recipe which is so easy to make but has such a high taste payoff!

  26. Angela Lopez says

    OMGGGGGG… where have you been all my life?! I found this recipe on Pinterest…and am now a loyal follower!

    changed some things around to make it paleo friendly and paired it with an avocado slaw…

    so yum! (:

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 11th, 2014 @ 1:23 pm

      Haha! Thanks so much, Angela :) Welcome to Just a Taste!

  27. says

    Made this over the weekend, and the whole family loved it.

    I didn’t thicken it, so I could use it in other meals throughout the week.

    The meat was awesome in a quick quesadilla! I used muenster cheese and some sliced sweet Hawaiian onions. Then heated it up in a pan with some coconut oil until the cheese melted, the meat heated through, and the tortilla was crisp and slightly browned. Served with chopped romaine and sour cream. YUM!

    Thanks for such a great recipe!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 16th, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it :)

  28. Tina says

    OMG, this turned out amazing. The falavors are fantastic. Followed the recipe to a “T” and it was perfect. You will not be disappointed with this one. Thanks for this great recipe, will be making this again for sure.

  29. Andrea says

    ETNElLECWe made this for dinner and the sauce was really good!! However the roast seemed dry so next time we try ths recipe we are going to sear the roast first and hopefully end up with it being more moist. Excellent recipe and worth the store trip for hoisin sauce.

  30. Lindsay McAlester says

    Amazing recipe! I doubled the recipe and served to a crowd. Everyone raved over it! I made an easy Asian slaw to top the sliders along with sliced fresh jalapeños and fresh cilantro. Yummy!!!!

  31. Andrea says

    I would like to make this for lunch tomorrow. Should I cook it today and reheat tomorrow, or am I best to cook it overnight?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 18th, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

      Either way will work, Andrea!

  32. Corinne says

    I really want to try this but wanted to make a lot for a party. My slow cooker is not that big. Any instruction on how to make the pork in my oven?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — July 25th, 2014 @ 3:57 pm

      Hi Corinne! I’ve only ever made this recipe using a slow cooker, so unfortunately I don’t have any oven-specific instructions.

  33. April says

    This was amazing! I made it with pre-cooked (smoked) pulled pork from Costco (no bbq sauce). I just threw it all into a crock pot for a few hours and it was fabulous! Love the flavors!

  34. Liz says

    Made this over the weekend and it was easy and delicious! I used grape jelly because I didn’t have any blackberry and it added the right amount of sweetness. I could’ve used a little bit more salt in my batch but now I know; that’s just my personal preference. Made with the Asian Slaw which added a nice crunch – could definitely taste the flavor of sesame oil (for me a good thing). Absolutely will be making this again – thanks Kelly!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — September 22nd, 2014 @ 11:12 am

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Liz!

  35. Kim says

    My sauce turned out nothing like yours…I wish it did. I’m tired of doing the bbq route, so I tried your recipe. I also NEVER use the crockpot because of the excess accumulated liquids.
    So as I thought, I had that problem with the recipe. Could not distinguish any of the flavors. I’m better of cooking the pork by itself and throwing the sauce only at the end. Has anyone else had this problem?
    I’m sticking to cooking ribs….

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — October 4th, 2014 @ 11:57 am

      Hi Kim – Did you transfer the liquids into a saucepan and cook them with the slurry? That will thicken the sauce in minutes.

  36. says

    This was great! I followed the recipe exactly, including the Asian Slaw, which really made it. We ate them as sandwiches but the next night, I pan fried the leftover pork so it got a little crispy/carmelized, stirred in some reheated sauce, and put them in flour tortillas with a little cheddar and some more (fresh) slaw which I pan fried too. EVEN BETTER. Thanks so much for a great recipe.

  37. Jamie says

    Just curious – what did you do to make it paleo friendly? I’m guessing the hoisin is not compliant? Thanks in advance :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 10th, 2014 @ 2:36 am

      Hi Jamie – This isn’t a paleo-friendly recipe. Not sure where you read that!

  38. Tyler says

    Made this last night for friends and had left overs for lunch today. It was the best pulled pork recipe I have worked with. I used Blueberry Jam as I grabbed the wrong jar lol.. Worked out nice. I do suggest using the Asian Slaw but make sure you chop it to bits! I hate slaw and still found the Asian Slaw weird but I am bias and think anything cabbage should be banned :) Used it and loved it! Thank-you Kelly!

  39. Tonia says

    Hi there,

    I coukdn’t work out how to comment on this but am wondering how I can make this in an oven? I have a Le Cresuet but no slow cooker, would I be able to make it in the oven and at what temperature? Thanks so much in advance,

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — November 20th, 2014 @ 8:04 am

      Hi Tonia! I’ve never tried making this recipe on the stovetop so I can’t say with certainty how it would turn out or what temp/time would be best. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  40. Amber says

    Absolutely delicious recipe! I was a little dubious about the flavours but after reading other comments decided to try it. I was not disappointed! thank you :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 1st, 2014 @ 6:41 pm

      Awesome! So glad you enjoyed it, Amber :)

  41. Dave says

    Hi, if I double up on ingredients, have a 6.5ltr cooker so hopefully big enough. How long do you think it would need to cook for? Thanks

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 15th, 2014 @ 9:02 pm

      Hi Dave – I’ve never doubled this recipe so I can’t say for certainty how long it’d take to cook.

  42. Lara says

    Wondering if anyone who’s made this can help me out…I’m making this today, and I just realized I added the cornstarch to the original mixture instead of adding it later. I hoping I can just add more cornstarch when I heat it in a sauce pan. Has anyone made this same mistake or know if my plan with work, (I’m not a very experience cook, so I’m hoping someone out there is.) Merry Christmas!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — December 25th, 2014 @ 9:05 pm

      Hi Lara – I would recommend checking out the consistency of the sauce before you add any more cornstarch, otherwise it may get too thick and you’ll have to thin it. Hope it worked out!

  43. fiona says

    Hi i was just wondering if you can use anything else instead of chicken broth? mabey store bought chicken stock or water possibly??

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 12th, 2015 @ 8:31 am

      Yes, you can use stock, but you may just have to adjust the saltiness of the dish. Hope that helps!

  44. ivana says

    Dear Kelly, since I don’t have a slow cooker, do you think that it’s possible to make this beautiful meat in an oven? On low heat, for let’s say 5 hours or so. Thanks!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 25th, 2015 @ 6:53 pm

      Hi Ivana! That would definitely work, although I’ve never done it so I can’t tell you a specific oven temp or cooking time. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  45. Lauren says

    I made this in the slow cooker today. it was a hit. LOVED the marinade and how it turns into a delish asian bbq sauce. I will definitely be making this again! For those who don’t have hoisin, you can make your own with sesame oil, brown sugar, peanut butter, vinegar, soy sauce, something hot like sriracha, and garlic powder! (this is what I had to do and it turned out delicious!) we are a fam of 2 so we have lots of leftovers for the week :)

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — January 28th, 2015 @ 2:49 pm

      Awesome! So glad you’re enjoying the recipe, Lauren!

  46. Becky says

    Hi Kelly! Does the liquid have to completely cover the pork when you initially put it in the slow cooker? Mine doesn’t x

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — March 2nd, 2015 @ 9:49 am

      Hi Becky! It doesn’t need to be completely submerged :)

  47. Valerie says

    Can you use pork scotch fillet with this recipe?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — April 20th, 2015 @ 10:44 pm

      Hi Vallerie – I’m not familiar with that ingredient so I’m not sure if it would work.

  48. Mary says

    I’d like to make this for a large group of 30 or so people. Can you guesstimate how many pounds of meat I should use? Also, can I make ahead and freeze it? Thanks for any help you can give.

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — May 7th, 2015 @ 11:34 am

      Hi Mary – This recipe serves 4 to 6 people so you’d have to gauge how hungry your group may be in order to determine the amount of meat you’d need. I always error on people having big appetites :) I’ve never tried freezing it, so I can’t say exactly how it’d be, but let me know if you give it a shot!

  49. says

    Can you cook it on high in a crock-pot for half the time?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — May 15th, 2015 @ 3:39 pm

      That should work, Kirsten! All slow cookers vary in temperature, so you’ll just have to monitor it and adjust the cooking time as needed.

  50. Liz says

    Hi. Can you brown the pork like in a roast to make it a little more salty and manly?

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — June 6th, 2015 @ 1:15 pm

      Hi Liz – I’ve never tried this so I can’t say with certainty how it’d turn out, but you’d likely want to adjust the cooking time. I’ve found that you definitely don’t need to brown the meat before putting it in the slow cooker, as the flavor is amazing just as is!

  51. Patrick says

    Kelly, you nailed this — this was amazing. I went out and got blackberry jam specifically for this but didn’t realize I didn’t have hoisin, so I had to make some myself. My parents and brothers and their families all loved it!

    • Kelly Senyei replied: — August 31st, 2015 @ 10:50 am

      So glad you enjoyed the recipe, Patrick!


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