Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples is an easy dish to make when cooking for two. Thick cut bone-in pork chops are seared, then braised in the slow cooker with sliced onions, apples and figs. Seasoned with anise seed, this is a savory delight. Serve this tasty dish with mashed potatoes or polenta.
About This Recipe and Why It Works
When the leaves start turning from green to brilliant Fall colors, I start turning to my slow-cooker for easy flavor-packed savory meals.
And this Slow Cooker Pork Chops With Apples recipe couldn’t be more timely for convenience and for the season.
Tender bone-in thick cut pork chops are seared golden and seasoned with anise seed. The pork chops, tart granny smith apples, savory onions, and figs are then braised in a mixture of orange juice and red wine vinegar.
End result, you’ve got an explosion of complex flavors that will wow the palate. And a thick cut pork chop that is fall off the bone tender.
So working smarter not harder, grab that slow cooker and let’s get started.
Ingredients For Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples
- Thick Cut Pork Chops, Bone in: Bones make for an extra boost of flavor. Ask your butcher for thick center cut bone-in pork chops. How thick are center cut pork chops? They should be about 1 – 1 1/2 inches thick.
- Granny Smith Apples: Granny Smith’s are famous for their green apple flavor. With their tart flavor and acidic tang, they compliment the ingredients in this recipe. Plus they are firm and crisp and will hold up better for this long slow braise.
- Orange Juice: Orange juice not only brings an acidic factor to this recipe, but also sweet and bright flavor.
- Sweet Onions: Use sweet onions or yellow onions.
- Butter and Olive Oil: Butter and olive oil are great partners for searing meat. The butter brings that buttery flavor and the olive oil keeps the butter from burning.
- Anise Seeds: Anise seeds are closely related to fennel seeds and have somewhat of a similar flavor. Anise seeds have a more licorice like flavor.
- Figs: I would recommend using only fresh figs. I couldn’t find them for this photo, so used dried figs. Even though they added a lot of flavor to the dish, they do carry a bitter note.
- Pork Chops: You can substitute thick cut boneless butterfly pork chops for the bone-in chops called for in this recipe. If you must. 🙂
- Apples: Braeburn Apples bring the same great qualities to this recipe as do Granny Smith. They’re just slightly sweeter. Most other red apple varieties are softer and sweeter. You can use them, but they’ll be more mushy once the recipe is cooked.
- Citrus Juice: Any sweet citrus juice can be substituted for the orange juice. Apple juice is a good choice and cranberry juice would be a nice substitute.
- Anise Seeds: Fennel seeds are a great substitute for anise seed.
- Figs: If you can’t find fresh figs, I would recommend deleting them from the recipe. If you use dried Mission figs, the flavor will be bitter. But, of course you can use them.
- Dutch Oven: You can make this recipe in a Dutch Oven rather than a slow cooker. Just follow the recipe instructions, and cook in a 325 degree oven for 2 hours, or until pork chops are tender.
How To Make This Recipe, It’s Easy
The most important step in a successful braising recipe is searing and browning the protein.
Step 1: Sear the Pork Chops: For this recipe, I used both butter and olive oil. Get your pan nice and hot, then add the oils. Once the butter has melted and the bubbles start to subside, add the thick cut pork chops and sear each side for about 4 minutes per side. You want the chops to be crispy browned. Once you’ve turned the chop, sprinkle the cooked side with Anise Seed. Using the back of a fork, press the seeds into the meat while the uncooked side continues to brown.
- Step 2: No need to peel those apples, just cut them into wedges and place them into the bottom of your crock pot.
- Step 3: Place the browned pork chops on top of the apples.
- Step 4: Sprinkle those sliced onions on top of the pork chops then place the Mission figs over the onion slices.
- Step 6: After a good shake of salt, some fresh ground pepper, orange juice and red wine vinegar for the braising liquid, you’re ready to plug in that slow cooker and enjoy the aromas that fill your home.
Slow Cooker Pork Chops With Apples, FAQ’s
Yes, you can use any type of apples. Again, no need to peel them unless you want. Keep in mind, different apples bring different levels of sweetness. Which can change the flavor profile. And figs are very sweet, so keep that in mind when choosing apples.
You don’t have to. But I do recommend that you do so. Searing brings a crispy texture and an extra layer of flavor. But you can add the pork chops without that pre-sear step.
Figs are a very seasonal fruit. If you can’t find them, simply omit them from this recipe.
The pork chops will freeze just fine. Simply store them in an air tight container and freeze for up to 3 months. I’m not a fan of freezing cooked apples. The texture becomes compromised.
- Once the pork chops are tender, fish them out of the slow cooker to a platter. Using a large serving spoon, drench the pork chops with the liquid from the slow cooker. Then spoon the onions, apples and figs over the pork chops.
- Polenta or mashed potatoes make a wonderful side dish for crock pot pork chops and apples, as well as roasted sliced Delicata squash. The photo shows polenta and delicata squash.
Recipe for Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples
If you’re looking for an easy recipe for thick cut pork chops, I hope you give this slow cooker pork chops and apples a try. And if you do, please come back and give the recipe a star rating, or scroll down and leave a comment about your experience with the recipe.
And if you have a recipe for thick cut pork chops, let me know, I’d love to give it a try. I’m always looking for ideas.
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Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples and Onions
- 2 pork chops bone in, thick cut, about 1 1/2 pounds
- 1 teaspoon aniseed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 Granny Smith apples sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 yellow onion thick sliced
- 12 Mission figs cut them in half
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Heat a large heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add butter and oil. Once butter is bubbly and melted, add the pork chops. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook on one side for 4 minutes. Don't turn, just let the one side of the chop sear nice and brown.
- Turn the pork chops over, and sprinkle the browned side with salt and pepper and the anise seeds. With the back of a fork, press the anise seeds into the browned side of the pork chops, slightly crushing the anise seed.
- Cook the pork chop for four minutes. Both sides should be nice and seared.
- Spray your Crock Pot with non-stick spray and sprinkle in the apples.
- Place browned pork chops on top of the apples.
- Next layer in the slices of onions and the figs. Sprinkle the garlic over the mixture and add orange juice and red wine vinegar.
- Cook on low 6 – 7 hours.
Slow Cooker Pork Chops with Apples and Onions…It’s What’s for Dinner
Why Trust These Recipes? Lea Ann Brown has lived, worked and played in Colorado for 45 years. She has immersed herself in the Colorado Culinary space, is a Culinary School Graduate and publishes her Colorado food Blog, Cooking On The Ranch.