Slow-cooker pulled pork is a classic! If you are looking for a healthier, refined sugar-free version to make your entire family, this is it. Healthy slow cooker pulled pork can be thrown in the slow cooker in the morning and enjoyed with the whole family for dinner. This recipe also makes tons of leftovers for enjoying a second or third time around!
Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe
Slow cooker recipes have been a go-to for our family. It is just super convenient to have a meal cooked and ready for a weeknight dinner on busy days. This slow cooker salsa verde chicken is also one of our go-to recipes!
We love pulled pork, and I kept running into a problem with all of the recipes I found. So many slow cooker pulled pork recipes use brown sugar. Or, they call for a sugary jar of barbecue sauce filled with ingredients I don't want my whole family eating.
If you've been around here for a while, you know that I don't use a lot of sugar in the food that I feed our family. Generally, we have stopped eating a lot of processed sugars except for in actual desserts. So I set out to make pulled pork, I wanted to create something that was refined sugar-free.
This healthy pulled pork recipe is just that! I usually will make it the first time with rice and green beans, then serve the leftovers another night as burrito bowls or quesadillas. And the best part is I only had to make dinner once.
Why You'll Love This Recipe
The slow cooker is to the rescue on those super busy days. And you don't have to be a wildly experienced chef to make the most juicy and tender pulled pork that you will ever have. Just follow this simple recipe!
- Pulled pork is a really versatile easy dinner recipe. You can eat with you favorite sides, or turn it into tacos, quesadillas, and so much more.
- Since this great recipe makes so much food, you can throw it into your meal prep rotation. It would be perfect as healthy meal prep bowls or pork tacos. Send it lunches for work or school too!
- This is majorly as "set and forget" recipe. Just throw the ingredients into the slow cooker and let it do its thing the entire day. Before you know it, it will be dinner time and your hearty and filling meal will already be ready to hit the dinner table!
Is Pork Red Meat?
I grew up in a house that didn't eat a lot of red meat and I've always considered pork to be red meat. Depending on who you ask, it can be a coin toss as to whether or not pork is white meat or red meat.
However, according to the USDA it is technically considered to be red meat. They have said that pork is classified as livestock and all livestock is labeled as red meat. So, there you have it! Pork is red meat, and boy, can it be cooked in many tasty different ways.
These simple ingredients can all be found at your local grocery store. So grab what you need so you can be ready to make the best pulled pork recipe. Here's a handy list for you:
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- coconut sugar
- chili powder
- low sodium soy sauce
Substitution and Variations
Coconut sugar is generally considered to be healthier and is a great substitute for either brown sugar or white sugar. However, if you don't care that much about the sugar content, you could also use brown sugar instead! Especially since most people have brown sugar in their stocked pantries anyway.
Low sodium soy sauce can be swapped out with coconut aminos if you'd prefer. I'd recommend using only a teaspoon though.
Add even more flavor to this recipe with any spices you want. Garlic powder, fresh garlic, onion powder, BBQ rub, fresh herbs...the list could go on. A little splash of Worcestershire sauce would be tasty too (add a teaspoon of liquid smoke if you want to get really adventurous!)
Turn this recipe into pork carnitas by adding some orange juice and lime juice. If you do this, I would omit the water so that the carnitas are not too liquidy.
Tenderloin is the best cut of meat for shredded pork, and it is typically pretty affordable. I'd try to steer clear of subbing any other cut of pork to make healthy crockpot pulled pork.
Feel free to use chicken broth or beef broth in place of the water if you'd like something that would add more flavor.
One thing you need to know: If you like your pulled pork saucy, this is definitely not that kind of pulled pork and you'll probably want to add a little barbecue sauce to it. Grab a low-sugar or sugar-free BBQ sauce to keep things extra healthy. But if you like your pulled pork seasoned well and not dry, this should be a hit!
How to Make Healthy Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
There aren't many steps to make easy slow cooker pulled pork. But here's a guide to walk you through exactly what I do! It's so simple, I promise. You'll find yourself coming back to this easy recipe over and over again because it's just that good...and just that easy.
Here's what you'll need to do:
- Line slow cooker with a disposable liner, or spray it thoroughly with non-stick cooking spray.
- Then, mix together the coconut sugar and all of the spice in a small mixing bowl. Once combined, cover the entire pork tenderloin in the dry rub and then place it into the prepared slow cooker.
- Pour a half cup of water or chicken broth into the crockpot and then add the soy sauce.
- Cook the pork tenderloin on low in the crockpot for 6-8 hours until you can easily shred the meat with a fork.
- Use tongs and a fork to shred the pork tenderloin either halfway through cooking or at least 30 minutes before serving.
- Serve over rice, on buns as pulled pork sandwiches, or any other way that your creative mind comes up with. Add extra barbecue sauce if desired, then enjoy!
How to Store Leftover Pulled Pork
Place leftovers into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can freeze pulled pork in an airtight container or freezer bag for about 3 months.
For best results, add leftover pork into a baking dish and pour in a bit of liquid. Cover with foil and heat in the oven until warmed through. You can reheat in the microwave as well, just keep in mind that it could dry out the meat just a bit!
What to Serve with Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
For super easy meals, make some white rice or brown rice as a simple side dish. Make incredible sandwiches by piling a heaping serving of this tender pork on some buns and drizzle with a little bit of barbecue sauce.
You could also make a nice salad to go along with it. Maybe grab the supplies to make pulled pork burrito bowls or quesadillas, too!
Go classic with the sides and serve up a healthy coleslaw and baked beans with this easy pulled pork recipe. A healthy side of steamed broccoli would be tasty too. And potato salad is another classic side that would be yummy!
Make this dish extra saucy by serving it with your favorite homemade BBQ sauce or store-bought BBQ sauce. Something sweet and spicy would go wonderfully with the flavors that are already in the dish.
Tips for Success
Here are some tips and tricks for making this recipe:
- If you have a Costco membership, buy your pork tenderloin there! It's super cheap and makes so much food. We eat leftovers of this easy pork for multiple meals.
- It is important to do a slow cook on the low setting of the crockpot. Cooking on high may result in a more tough and rubbery shredded pork.
- Lock in more moisture by searing all sides of the pork tenderloin before placing it in the crockpot. It's a great way to make sure that all the juices from excess fat stay inside of the meat. This is a great way to make it extra tender!
- Make a big batch of this healthy slow cooker pulled pork recipe and then allow it to fully cool. Store and eat the next day or divide into individual portions for the easiest meal prep!
Pork tenderloin is a very lean cut of meat. It is low in fat and high in protein, plus many other key nutrients! Since this recipe is free of refined sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, it is a very healthy option. If you would like to keep it low carb, serve it with cauliflower rice or veggies. It would be a very healthy meal with plenty of beneficial vitamins and minerals!
The key to making your shredded pork perfectly tender and super juicy is cooking it low and slow. This is why making pulled pork tenderloin in the crock pot is such a success. A longer cooking time at a steady temperature ensures that pork is a great success.
It is common to apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar to pork since the acidity can help tenderize the meat. However, it is not necessary to add it to all of the healthy pork recipes that you choose to make. This recipe does not call for it and the pork always comes out super tender! So if you are not a fan of the flavor of vinegar, rest assured that you can make perfect pork without it.
More Pork Recipes
- Pan Seared Pork Tenderloin with Apples
- Grilled Pork Chops
- Italian Marinade for Pork Chops
- Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Pulled Pork Tacos
More Slow Cooker Recipes
- Slow Cooker Bacon Jalapeño Creamed Corn
- Slow Cooker Sloppy Joe Sliders
- Slow Cooker Salsa Verde Pulled Pork
- Salsa Verde Chicken
If you make and love this recipe, please leave a ★★★★★ review below! It means so much to me when you try my recipes, and I'd love to know how it goes. Please leave a comment below if you have any questions.
- 2 pounds pork tenderloin
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon chile powder
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- ½ cup water
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- Line a slow cooker with a slow cooker liner or spray with cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix together coconut sugar and spices.
- Rub dry rub over pork tenderloins and put into slow cooker.
- Pour in water and soy sauce.
- Cook on low for at least 6 hours, 8 hours preferred. If possible, use tongs to stir, pull apart meat half way through or at least 30 minutes before eating.
- Serve over rice, with buns, or over a salad! If you prefer, you can also add your favorite barbecue sauce to the pork before serving.
Brown sugar can be substituted for coconut sugar.
Coconut aminos can be substitutes for soy sauce (I'd recommend using only a teaspoon though).
Store leftovers in an air tight container with the liquid from slow cooker for up to one week or freeze right away.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 10 Serving Size: 8 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 156Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 105mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 24g