This post has been updated for recipe, content and photos since its original publication in 2016.
Making a rolled pork loin with stuffing is easier than you might think and this simple rolled pork loin roast with cherry apple stuffing is impressive enough for holidays and family gatherings. Try this stuffed roast pork loin for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. It’s a thrifty way to feed a group and everyone loves this cherry apple stuffed pork loin with homemade pan gravy.
There are two components to this rolled pork loin. The cherry apple stuffing and the butterflied pork loin roast. Both are simple to make and you can prepare the stuffing several days ahead of time.
You can even roll and tie the cherry apple stuffed pork loin earlier in the day and just pop it in the oven to cook about an hour before you want to eat.
Cherry apple stuffing ingredients
- Stale Italian or Sourdough bread
- Olive Oil
- Dried Cherries
- Kosher Salt
- Pork or Poultry Seasoning
- Fresh Sage Leaves
- Low Sodium Chicken Broth
This is a simple apple stuffing recipe and it makes just enough to fill the rolled pork loin with ample stuffing in every bite.
Make sure you start with several day old bread or prep the day before by cutting the bread into small pieces and letting it dry out overnight. If the bread is too soft, the stuffing can get mushy (ewww).
How to make the cherry apple filling for stuffed roast pork loin
- Sauté the onions, celery, apples, chopped dried cherries and kosher salt in olive oil over medium heat until they’re tender and the onions and celery are slightly translucent.
- Add the vegetables and pork or poultry seasoning to the stale bread and toss to combine.
- Mix the melted butter and chicken broth together and drizzle about half of it over the stuffing mixture. Toss to combine. Add more liquid until the bread has soaked up the broth mixture, but isn’t sopping wet. The bread should be damp.
- Note: You can make the stuffing to this point and keep it refrigerated for 2-3 days until you’re ready to stuff the pork loin.
Pork loin is a naturally lean cut of meat, but it will come with a bit of a fat cap and silver skin, which need to be trimmed before rolling. To do this you’ll need a very sharp knife with a pointy tip – a boning knife is good for this.
How to trim pork loin roast
- Place the pork loin on a cutting board and begin by holding the fat with one hand and carefully slicing in long strokes (not a short sawing action), while lifting the fat away from the pork. (See photo above).
- Continue to trim away the fat until you get to the silver skin. The silver skin is a chewy, thin membrane of connective tissue and should be removed.
- I’ve found that slipping the point of the knife just beneath the silver skin to dislodge it from the meat will give you enough to hold onto while you pull the silver skin away from the roast. You may have to do this several times as the silver skin on a pork roast isn’t quite as strong as it is on pork ribs (where it comes off in one long sheet).
- Don’t discard the fat – you’ll use it for roasting.
Since this is a stuffed roast pork loin, I like to butterfly the roast myself. It’s easy to do and once you’ve done it a few times, you’ll be a pro too.
What if the pork loin is already tied when you buy it?
Sometimes you’ll find pork loin roasts that are tied by the butcher.
Tied pork roasts are not butterflied, but rather, it’s the smaller, flatter end piece that are split and folded over to look like a bigger, fuller pork roast.
There’s nothing wrong with them and you can use them in this recipe, but you’ll likely have some leftover stuffing and you can skip the whole butterflying method, because it won’t work if your roast has already been cut.
How to butterfly a pork loin
- Place the pork loin on the cutting board so the length extends away from you.
- If you’re right handed, you’ll start on the right side of the roast, if you’re left-handed, start on the left. Make a long slice about 3/4″ in from the side, down the length of the roast.
- Cut until you’re about 3/4″ from the bottom of the roast (be careful not to puncture or cut completely through the meat, otherwise your stuffing can seep out when you roll it up).
- Tilt the knife into the roast at the 3/4″ mark and use long slicing motions to cut the meat into an even, flat flap.
Check out this video on how to butterfly a pork roast for more clarification.
Stuffing the butterflied pork
- To fill the roast, simply spread the cherry apple stuffing in an even layer over the meat, reaching to within 1/2″ of the edges.
- Don’t press down on the stuffing, it should be loose.
Rolling cherry apple stuffed pork loin
- You’ll roll the pork loin in the same direction as you butterflied it.
- Gently fold one end flap over the stuffing and begin to roll the pork until it’s completely secure with the seam side down.
What if I poked a hole in the side when butterflying?
If you’ve inadvertently sliced through the side wall of the meat (it happens) — then that’s the end that you’ll roll up first. Why? Because the first portion of the pork will be on the INSIDE of the rolled pork, and will cover up the mistake. You’re welcome!
Tying pork loin with stuffing
- Cut 4 or 5 pieces of kitchen string, each about 20″ long.
- Have someone carefully lift the pork loin and evenly arrange the strings on the cutting board about 2″-3″ apart.
- Place the roast (seam side down) on the kitchen string and tie them each into a simple knot.
- Do not tie the strings too tightly or it will force the stuffing out. The string should be comfortably snug but not tight. Trim the ends with kitchen sheers.
I use a high heat roasting method for this cherry apple stuffed pork loin. It sears the outside of the meat fast, cooks the inside to a perfect, moist, tender doneness, renders the reserved fat and adds a rich caramelization to the onions that line the pan.
High heat roasting
Since we’re roasting at a very high heat (500° F), you should have a clean oven, otherwise any stuck on foods or previous grease splatters will smoke.
- Scatter sliced onions and reserved pork fat in the bottom of a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Toss to coat and sprinkle with salt.
- Place the roast, seam side down on the onions and fat. Brush with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Roast for 40-50 minutes or until it reaches an internal temperature of about 135°F. As the rolled pork loin cooks, the excess fat will render and caramelize the onions (some of them will get dark, but that’s ok — it adds flavor). If you want the onions less dark, add about 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the bottom of the pan.
How to tell if it’s done.
Use a good instant read thermometer to tell when the pork roast reaches the optimum internal temperature of 135° – 140°.
Note: the pork continues to cook as it rests (known as residual cooking), which is why I pull it out 5-10 degrees before it’s reached the food safe temperature of 145° recommended by the USDA.
Best instant read thermometer
I recommend the ThermoWorks Thermapen Mk4 instant read thermometer. It’s well calibrated, has a backlight for outdoor grilling at night, it’s intuitive without any buttons or special instructions and gives accurate readings in seconds. It’s not cheap, but is well worth it to me. I believe so strongly in this product that I’m an affiliate for them.
Deglazing and making pan gravy
While the cherry apple stuffed roast pork loin rests, make the pan gravy.
- Remove the rendered pork fat (and onions if you don’t want them in your gravy). (Note: my husband swooped in and started munching the crispy bits of pork fat before I could stop him — in his defense, it’s really good).
- Remove all but 2 tablespoons of rendered fat and place the pan over a stovetop burner over medium to medium high heat. (If you don’t have enough fat, you can add enough butter to equal 2 tablespoons.
- Deglaze the pan with vinegar and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits and fond (that’s where the flavor is).
- Sprinkle with flour and mix until all of the flour is combined with the drippings.
- Add the broth, stirring constantly to blend thoroughly and bring to a boil.
- When it boils cook for one minute, then add the chopped sage and simmer for another minute.
- For a smooth gravy, place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the gravy through the strainer to remove any larger bits.
Do I have to strain the gravy?
No. If you like onion and bits of fond in your gravy, you can skip the straining.
Personally, the caramelized onions and charred bits are my favorite part, so I usually skip straining, but if you’re having company, you might want a more polished look.
Cherry Apple stuffed pork loin FAQ’s
We like to slice the stuffed roast pork loin into 1/2 to 3/4″ slices, that way you get a nice swirl of stuffing in each serving.
Yes. You can assemble the roast up to a day ahead of time, cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to cook it, remove the roast from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you put it into the oven so it can come closer to room temperature before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 300° and slice the pork roast into 1/2″ to 3/4″ slices. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable spray. Arrange the pork on the foil and lightly cover with another sheet of foil. Rewarm the pork for 10-15 minutes or until hot. Serve with any leftover gravy.
Yes. Wrap the pork well in freezer paper and freeze for up to 4-6 weeks. Defrost fully before reheating.
Yes, that would make it very festive for Christmas.
Though there’s quite a few steps to making pork loin with stuffing, none of them are particularly difficult and you can spread out the process over days if you like. That makes this special treat perfectly suited for holidays and entertaining.
What my tasters said
“Moist, tender and flavorful!”
“Love the apples and cherries in the stuffing.”
“The gravy is good enough to drink.”
What to serve with stuffed roast pork loin:
- Apple Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Simple Scalloped Potatoes
- Balsamic Dijon Roasted Mushrooms
- Browned Butter Sea Salt Mashed Potatoes
- Savory Stuffed Honey Nut Squash
More easy pork recipes
- Spicy Sweet and Savory Asian Pulled Pork
- Caribbean Jerk Smoked Pork
- Homemade Ham with Brown Sugar Mustard Glaze
- Herb Crusted Pork Loin with Pan Gravy
- Pork Tenderloin with Port and Dried Plums
Cherry Apple Stuffed Pork Loin
FOR THE PORK ROAST:
- 4 pound center cut pork loin roast (not tied) (note: if using a tied pork loin, you can skip the butterflying step and just stuff the loin before tying.)
FOR APPLE CHERRY STUFFING:
- 4 cups stale Italian or Sourdough bread crusts trimmed and cut into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 1 large stalk celery cut into 1/2" dice
- 1 large apple peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2" dice
- 1/2 cup dried cherries roughly chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons pork or poultry seasoning optional
- 2 teaspoons fresh sage leaves chopped or 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley chopped
- Pan Drippings from the pork roast
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (or balsamic vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons butter (if there's not enough fat drippings from the pork)
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
FOR THE STUFFING
- For stale bread, start a day or two before, removing the crusts and cutting the bread into small pieces. Transfer bread to a very large wide bowl or platter and let it sit out, uncovered overnight. If you have pets and are worried they’ll get into it, place the bowl in a cold oven overnight.
- In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add the onion, celery, apple, dried cherries and kosher salt. Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and slightly translucent. Add the sage and cook for an additional minute.
- Transfer the apple mixture to the stale bread and toss to mix. Sprinkle on the seasoning if using.
- Mix the melted butter with the chicken broth and pour about half of it evenly over the stuffing mixture. Toss to coat. The bread should be softened and moist but not soaking wet. Add additional broth mixture until you have achieved a moist but not wet consistency. Set aside. Note: You can make it up to this point up to two days before and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
FOR THE STUFFED PORK LOIN ROAST:
- Preheat the oven to 500°.
- Trim the fat and silver skin from the pork loin with a very sharp knife. Follow the video link in the post to see how it’s done. Then butterfly the roast by making a slice straight down, 1/2 to 3/4” in from the long side of the pork loin. DO NOT CUT THROUGH THE ROAST. When you reach about 3/4” from the bottom, shift the knife so you’re cutting and flattening out the roast until it’s 1/2” to 3/4” thick and is a large, even piece of meat.
- Spread the cherry apple stuffing evenly over the roast and use two hands to carefully roll the roast back up. Secure the pork loin by tying it with 4-5 pieces of kitchen string, ever 2 inches or so.
- Add the onions and the trimmed fat and silver skin to a roasting pan large enough to handle the roast. Drizzle with olive oil and salt and toss to coat. Spread the onions and fat into an even layer in the roasting pan and rest the pork roast on top, with the seam side down.
- Place the roast in the oven and cook for 40-50 minutes or until a digital thermometer registers 135° when put into the center of the roast. Remove the roast from the oven and transfer to a cutting board, loosely tented with tin foil to rest for 10 minutes. While the pork loin rests, make the gravy.
FOR THE GRAVY:
- Use a pair of tongs to remove the strips of fat and silver skin. (Note: you can leave the onions in the pan if you want them in your gravy, or discard). Discard all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan. If there’s not quite two tablespoons of fat, add butter or olive oil to roughly equal 2 tablespoons.
- Place the roasting pan over a burner on your stovetop and heat over medium high. Add the vinegar and stir, scraping up the fond and bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle the flour over the fat and stir until all of the fat has mixed with the fat and is completely blended.
- Add the chicken broth a little at a time, stirring or whisking constantly until blended. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring the entire time, until the gravy is slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- You can strain the gravy through a mesh strainer for a smoother gravy, or if you like it with the the bits of fond (and onion) leave them in. Slice the pork loin into 1/2” to 3/4” slices and serve with the gravy.