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Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

I’ve always loved to cook, but that doesn’t mean I love cooking every meal, every day!

There are times when I don’t mind spending an afternoon on a more elaborate dish, like my low-carb zucchini lasagne, but most days I just want to get a meal on the table and spend my time actually eating it!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today is perfect for those days when you want to stay as far away from the kitchen as possible! (Or when work – or life – gets in the way of your intention to cook.)

I’m talking about Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

It’s full of flavor, loaded with health benefits (yes, it really is!) and takes maybe 5 minutes of prep work if you follow my slow cooker method.

This recipe has gone through many variations over the years, and what I’ve settled on takes the least amount of effort, but still tastes fantastic.

Of course, pulled pork often accompanies not-the-healthiest things (buns, barbeque sauce, starchy sides, etc), so be sure to read below the recipe to learn my go-to healthy, but still yummy, side dishes to complete the meal.

I have to say, this is one of the few slow cooker pulled pork recipes that does not need barbeque sauce to taste good. I repeat, this recipe does not need barbeque sauce to taste good! (Please, taste test it first!)

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

  • 1 4-6 lb pork butt or shoulder (ideally, from a pasture-raised pig)
  • 1 large onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar, maple syrup, or honey
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce/tamari or coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons mustard (yellow or dijon)


  1. Place onions in the slow cooker.
  2. In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder.
  3. Rub mixture over roast and place the roast in the crock-pot.
  4. In another bowl, combine your sweetener of choice, apple cider vinegar, tamari, and mustard. Pour over roast.
  5. Cover the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-10 hours (time will vary based on your slow cooker). Alternatively, cook in a covered oven-safe baking dish in the oven at 250-300 F.
  6. It’s done when the meat easily “pulls apart” with two forks.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: This recipe is also fantastic with grass-fed beef roast if you're not a fan of pork.

Leftovers (if there are any) freeze extremely well!

slow cooker pulled pork with onions

slow cooker pulled pork spices

slow cooker pulled pork

slow cooker pulled pork

slow cooker pulled pork

slow cooker pulled pork

Healthier ways to serve pulled pork:

Now I’d love to hear from you.

  • Have you tried making pulled pork? How’d it turn out?
  • What’s your favorite side to serve with it?

Until next week,

PS – In other news… I’ve had a lot of questions lately about the photos on my site. What camera do I use? Do I edit my photos? And if so, how? How did I photograph and design the cover of Real Food for Gestational Diabetes? How do I know the angles that look the best?  etc…

I don’t pretend to be a pro photographer, but I do have some tricks up my sleeve for consistently taking pretty good food photos (most of which I do with my iPhone… shhh, don’t tell!). You might not know that second to my love of nutrition is art (so much so that I minored in art in college, in part so I wouldn’t gouge my eyes out from all the science courses!).

I’ve thought about putting together a tutorial on lighting, staging, and photo angles, but really my zone of genius is making nutritious food that tastes good – not photographing it!

That’s why I was thrilled to stumble upon an (uber) affordable course that teaches you everything you need to know about taking great photos of food – and all through videos (’cause who really reads the manual that comes with their camera?!)!

If you’ve been looking to UP your food photography game, check out Food Photography School

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Lily Nichols is a Registered Dietitian/Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator, researcher, and author with a passion for evidence-based prenatal nutrition and exercise. Her work is known for being research-focused, thorough, and unapologetically critical of outdated dietary guidelines. She is the author of two bestselling books, Real Food for Pregnancy and Real Food for Gestational Diabetes.


Leave a comment
  1. Ok… Can I say I LOVE you? This looks amazing and my family is going to LOVE it! Thanks so much for sharing!

    • You bet they will! Slow cooker pulled pork is always a crowd pleaser, Melissa.

  2. Cheers to pulled pork! Can you remind us of your genius ways to make coleslaw ? My fave too!

  3. This looks amazing! I love pulled pork, but I have always hated the unhealthy sauces and sides. Thanks!

    • I’m with ya, Allison. I love pairing pulled pork with a bright, fresh vegetable dish. Helps balance out all the richness of the pork. 🙂

  4. I need this in my life ASAP! This looks delicious, thanks for the recipe!

  5. Hey, this sounds tasty…

    … I don’t know why I’m still sitting here typing, hold on while I go to the freezer…

    … Ok now the pork is in the fridge, ready to cook this tomorrow! Yummy.

    • Psst, Laura – you can throw the frozen pork right in the crock pot and get it going now if you’d like. It’ll only take an hour or two extra in the slow cooker. 🙂

  6. I love slow-cooker pork! It’s one of the few things I can cook – cause it’s so easy. My recipe is a bit easier: put pork shoulder, garlic, key lime juice and Goya Mojo sauce in cooker in the morning, eat in the evening. (OK, there’s a bit of reduction in there too.)

    • Yeah, I’ve also made simpler versions of this recipe, which is good, but not as good!

      For my food sensitivity clients who can’t have many spices at the beginning, just salt, onions, and pork does the job.

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