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Roasted Pork Loin with Maple-Mustard Crust

Scott Phillips

Servings: four as a main dish, with enough leftovers to make all the remaining dishes.

Leave some fat on the outside of the pork because it browns beautifully and bastes the roast. For the juciest results, let the pork sit in the brine for at least 8 hours but preferably 16 to 18 hours. You can scatter wedges of fennel and apple in the pan to absorb the wonderful drippings during cooking. They also prevent the glaze from scorching on the bottom of the pan.

The point of this dish is to serve the pork loin on a special night with ample leftovers to make zesty, weekday meals like Grilled Roast Pork Cubano SandwichesChinese Pork & Mushroom Wraps, and New Mexican Pork & Green Chile Stew.


For the Brine:

  • 8 cups cold apple cider or juice
  • 3/4 cup kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • One 4-lb. boneless pork loin roast (or two 2-lb. loins), trimmed only if it has a thick layer of fat

For The Roast:

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 3 Tbs. whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 3/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper; more to taste
  • 1 large fennel bulb or 2 small bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Nutritional Information

  • Nutritional Sample Size based on 5.6-oz. serving
  • Calories (kcal) : 570
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 210
  • Fat (g): 24
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 11
  • Cholesterol (mg): 170
  • Sodium (mg): 1250
  • Carbohydrates (g): 25
  • Fiber (g): 3
  • Protein (g): 62


Brine the pork:

  • Combine 2 cups of the apple cider or juice with the salt, brown sugar, garlic, and thyme in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring so the salt and sugar dissolve, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining apple cider or juice and cool to room temperature. Transfer to a large container, add the pork, cover, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours and up to 18 hours.

Roast the pork:

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 450°F. In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Drain the pork and pat dry with paper towels. Brush the pork all over with the mustard mixture.
  • In a medium bowl, toss the fennel and apple with the oil, salt, and a few generous grinds of pepper. Scatter the mixture in the bottom of a large roasting pan (large enough to hold the pork with a couple of inches of space around the perimeter). Put the pork, fat side up, on top of the fennel and apples. Roast the pork until the crust just starts to brown, about 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°F and continue cooking until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the loin registers 145°F, 30 to 50 minutes more.
  • Let rest for 10 minutes and then thinly slice a quarter to a third of the pork. Serve, topped with the fennel, apple, and juices. Allow the remaining pork to cool to room temperature, wrap well with foil, and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Serve with Classic Roasted Potatoes and an Arugula & Fennel Salad.


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Reviews (22 reviews)

  • Maria_das_Neves | 04/19/2020

    I've been making this roast since it first appeared in Fine Cooking and, together with 1) Israeli Couscous with Saffron, Toasted Pine Nuts, & Currants, and 2) Brussels Sprouts Braised with Pancetta, Shallot, Thyme & Lemon, has become our de facto Easter meal. While I tweaked it a little by substituting honey for the maple syrup (the honey is thicker and adheres better to the roast to create a delectable crust), it never disappoints and has become a favorite meal. My family loves it and my daughter loves the leftovers.

  • WtMtn cook | 02/26/2017

    Disappointed. Did not crust over. Lacked flavor in spite of 16 hr. marinating. Recipe did not specify how thin to slice fennel. My 1/8" thick slices were hard. Pulling pork roast @ 145? resulted in overcooked meat--no pink at all (my thermometer is a very accurate Thermapen). The final internal temp after resting was over 150 degrees. If I try this recipe again I will pan sear for browning, then add glaze. Bake @ 450-475 for 10 minutes, then @ 325 and pull roast between 130 and 135 degrees.

  • jilliebean | 12/20/2015

    Absolutely perfect. I was hesitant to add the entire 3/4 cup of salt fearing it would be too salty. It was not. This recipe is perfect when entertaining. I serve it with warmed American Spoon Winter Compote. It is the perfect accompaniment.

  • NickyJS | 09/14/2015

    Absolutely delicious

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