Raise your hand if you're a huge fan of simple, healthy slow cooker recipes! This recipe for crockpot pork chops with sauerkraut checks all the boxes for a nutritious, comfort-food-style weeknight dinner.
With a simple ingredient list and German flavors from the combo of tangy sauerkraut, tart thinly sliced granny smith apples, and the sweetness of onions, it's an easy dinner that's Whole30, keto-friendly, and gluten free.
Ingredients needed for crockpot pork chops with sauerkraut
— Pork chops (thick cut): You can use boneless or bone-in pork chops for this recipe. Keep in mind, though, that bone-in pork chops usually are more tender and have better flavor!
— Yellow onion: Sliced onions are such an easy win for this recipe. They pair so well with apples and sauerkraut, and add more veggies and a touch of sweetness.
— Spices: Garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, thyme, and celery seed are all used to add flavor to the pork chops themselves. It's a pretty basic spice combo; you likely have all of it in your cupboard already! But if you're short on celery seed, you can omit that.
— Sauerkraut: I recommend opting for a high-quaity brand that you've already tried so you know you love the flavor! My all-time favorite is Bubbies.
— Apples: My top choice for this recipe are Granny Smith! I love the balance of tart, sweet flavor with briney sauerkraut. Plus, they don't turn to mush when cooked.
How to make slow cooker pork chops
As I'm sure you've guessed, this recipe is ridiculously easy — as slow cooker recipes should be!
SEAR THE MEAT (Optional): While this step is optional, I do recommend it for truly tender and juicy crockpot pork chops. You'll heat a skillet over medium-high heat, then sear the unseasoned pork chops for about 1 minute on each side. The goal isn't to cook the pork chops through, but to get some nice bronzing action on the outside of the meat.
If you sear the meat, I also recommend sauteeing the onions for a few minutes in the same skillet. I like to do this to ensure the onions are soft when served — I am not a big fan of slightly crunchy onions, and in my opinion the longer onions are cooked, the better they are!
SEASON THE MEAT: Combine all the spices in a small dish, then sprinkle on both sides of the pork chops.
ADD EVERYTHING TO THE SLOW COOKER: Make a bed of sauerkraut on the bottom of the slow cooker. Place the seasoned pork chops on top. Cover the pork chops with the apples and onions.
COOK: Set the crockpot to LOW and cook for 3-4 hours! Start checking at 3 hours. When the pork chops reach 145 degrees F, they're done.
How long to cook crockpot pork chops
On LOW: 3-4 hours, until the pork chops reach 145 degrees F.
Pork is prone to overcooking — just a little too long, and you'll end up with dry, tough meat.
For that reason, pork cooks pretty quickly in a slow cooker! It only takes 3-4 hours on LOW to cook pork chops, depending on the thickness of the chops.
Because pork cooks relatively quickly in a slow cooker, I definitely do NOT recommend cooking on HIGH. Stick to low and slow.
If you need to cook it faster, I recommend adapting to a cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. Saute everything but the chops, then push to the edges of the pot and add the pork chops. Roast in the oven at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.
Can I put pork chops in the slow cooker raw?
Like many slow cooker recipes, you can certainly toss all the ingredients into the crock, cover it, and let it cook.
But if you really want to kick it up a notch, you'll do 10 minutes of extra prep.
For truly spectacular slow cooker pork chops, I always recommend searing the pork chops before slow cooking. Just like steak! It seals in the flavor and you get those wonderful-looking seared outer edges.
To sear pork chops, just preheat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops and cook for 3 minutes on either side.
If you do that step, though, why not take it one step further and sauté the onions before adding them to the pot?
Again, this is entirely optional and is likely just my personal tastes — I love the sweet buttery flavor or sautéed yellow onion, and that just won't happen if you throw them raw in the slow cooker.
Once you're done searing the chops, reduce heat and add a little olive oil. Scrape up any bits from the pork chops. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
THEN add everything to the crockpot and cook accordingly.
Like I said, optional...but worth it!
Why are my pork chops tough and dry?
More than likely, the pork chops are overcooked.
It's so easy to overcook meat in the slow cooker, since the counter appliance is known as the "set it and forget it" machine.
Avoid overcooking the meat, and it'll taste SO much more tender and juicy!
Here are a few more tips for perfectly juicy pork chops in the slow cooker:
— While you CAN cook this on HIGH, I recommend cooking on LOW.
— Sear the pork chops before putting them in the slow cooker.
— Opt for thick-cut, bone-in pork chops. Thin pork chops will likely cook too quickly.
How to prevent dry pork chops in the slow cooker
I'll admit — I typically choose make recipes like this in a Dutch Oven because it's so easy to dry out meat with slow cookers.
But I've found a few tips and tricks to help you make amazing, tender pork chops in your crock pot!
— Adjust cook time based on the thickness of your pork chops. The pork chops available to me are just over an inch thick — but the thicker, the better in my opinion! Grab thick cut chops if you can.
— The type of pork chops matters. If you can find them, get pork shoulder chops or pork sirloin chops. Boneless pork chops are not the best in slow cookers, because they're lean. Fatter, marbled meat works better for slow cooking. However, the only sustainably-sourced pork chops I could find are boneless pork chops — and they worked just fine!
— Cook it low and slow! I don't recommend adjusting this recipe for cooking on high. Low and slow is imperative to tender crock pot meat!
Can I use frozen pork chops for this recipe?
Yes, you can.
You'll just need to adjust the cook time to 3-4 hours on HIGH.
Again, you're looking for that 145 degrees F temp. I also still suggest searing the pork chops, even though they're frozen or partially defrosted!
What to serve alongside pork chops with sauerkraut
Need to know what else to prep for dinner? Here are some ideas!
— Apples go well with pork chops! While this recipe already has apples, you can go all in and serve with applesauce.
— Roasted potatoes or sweet potatoes are both another great choice! My favorite quick way to make them: Oven-Roasted Potato Rounds.
More gluten free pork recipes
Did you try this recipe? I'd love to hear what you think! Comment below or tag me on Instagram.Print
Simple and tender, these slow cooker pork chops with apples, onions, and sauerkraut make an easy weeknight meal! Spend a few minutes more to sear the pork chops and sauté the onions before adding them to the slow cooker for best results.
- 2 thick cut pork chops, boneless or bone-in (¾ to 1 inch thick)
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon oregano
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon thyme
- ⅛ teaspoon celery seed
- 16 ounces sauerkraut (I use Bubbies)
- 1 granny smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
- OPTIONAL: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork chops, searing for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to plate and reduce heat to medium. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to the skillet. Add the sliced yellow onions, sautéing for 3-5 minutes or until softened and slightly translucent.
- Combine salt, garlic powder, oregano, black pepper, thyme, and celery seed in a small dish. Sprinkle pork chops with spice mixture.
- Add everything to the slow cooker, starting with sauerkraut, then seasoned pork chops, and finally sliced apples and onions. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, until pork chops reach an internal temparture of 145 degrees F. Serve pork chops with apples, onions, and sauerkraut mixture on the side.
Keywords: slow cooker pork chops, pork chops with sauerkraut