How To Make Cider Braised Pork Shoulder

As someone who enjoys cuisine, I am a firm believer that fall is the greatest season of the year. After all, delicious comfort cuisine and lovely fall fruit are very difficult to top!

Pork chops and apples, one of the most traditional fall comfort food dishes, are the inspiration for this apple cider braised pork. In order to add my own flair and make it cozier and more comfortable, I switched the conventional pork chops for pork shoulder (which richness, in my opinion, makes for an even better marriage with the sweetness of apples & apple cider!) and substituted the short pan fry for a lengthy, slow braise.

The outcome? The most perfect fall supper I could possibly imagine!

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder

The braising liquid made from apple cider gives the slow-simmered pork shoulder a sweet, tangy flavor that makes it come apart tender. It’s also a really versatile recipe! For the perfct cosy fall meal, spread the pork over egg noodles or whipped butternut squash (shown). You can also use the pork to make the most spectacular fall sandwiches for a tailgate or game day.

The best part is that ALDI carries everything you need to prepare it! I enjoy shopping at ALDI, especially in the autumn. With everything from the most cheap roasts (that always stay so juicy & tender!) to lovely high-quality seasonal goodies (hello apples, squash, & fresh apple cider! ), their selection of fall products is truly unrivaled.

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder

Apple Cider Braised Pork Recipe

This cider-braised pork will win your heart since it’s:

  • COMFORTABLE, COZY FOOD GOODNESS. Fall-seasonal apples are simmered with tangy-sweet cider to make the pork shoulder fall-apart tender. A sumptuous, comfortable meal that elevates “pork and apples”!
  • EXTREMELY EASY TO MAKE. A one-pot meal created with eight basic ingredients, including pantry staples and foods that are in season for fall and that you probably already have on hand. Additionally, the majority of the cooking time is spent doing nothing!
  • A COMPLETE FALL MEAL. Your favorite fall sides, such as an easy-to-make whipped roasted garlic butternut squash that cooks perfectly with the braised pork, may be served with the braised pork on sandwiches, with pasta, or as a side dish.

Key Ingredients

The fact that this cider braised pork dish just asks for a short list of ingredients is one of its best qualities. A rich and savory fall supper is produced when a few seasonal items are combined with some basic cupboard staples. A simple trip to ALDI will get you everything you need, including the apple cider and pork butt roast. Easy!

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
  • Certainly! Boneless pork shoulder Other names for pork shoulder are Boston Butt and Pork Butt. Half pig butt roasts from ALDI are one of my go-to purchases since they’re inexpensive, tasty, and stay perfectly juicy over a lengthy braise. For optimal flavor, make sure to get a juicy roast with great marbling!
  • Apple cider is yet another key component of pork cooked in cider. Although there are subtle differences between apple juice and cider, choosing cider, which is often a touch less sweet than juice, is generally the best choice for a dish like this. Every year, ALDI’s Nature’s Nectar Apple Cider is one of my favorite autumnale items. It is entirely comprised of apple juice and has no additional sugar. (Note: Non-alcoholic apple cider works best in this recipe; don’t confuse it with hard cider.)
  • Fresh produce: Just a few basic ingredients like garlic, which is stuffed into the pig to season the meat from the inside out while it gently cooks, and apples and onion, which braises with the pork to create depth of flavor. Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp apples are excellent choices for this recipe if you want the finest results.
  • Simple Nature Organic Chicken Broth and Burman’s Dijon mustard, which offer sharpness to balance the sweetness of the cider, and Simply Nature Organic Apple Cider Vinegar, which balances out the braising liquid, are pantry staples.

Braised pork shoulder preparation:

Do not be intimidated if this is your first time braising. It’s a straightforward culinary technique that includes gently simmering an item to produce a strong, flavorful taste. Braising works particularly well with harder kinds of meat that become fall-apart tender as they simmer, such roasts, ribs, or – in this instance – pork shoulder, because it often entails cooking “low & slow”

One of my all-time favorite dishes is braised pork shoulder. You’ll see why after you give it a try! It is a one-pot operation that produces consistently rich and savory meals that are worthy of a restaurant. It’s quite simple to put this cider-braised pork shoulder together.

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder


  • Prepare the pork first: With a paring knife, prick the garlic cloves into the huge chunks of pork butt roast. Why? ⇢ It’s simple to shorten the cooking time by braising a few big chunks as opposed to the entire roast. The garlic infuses the pork shoulder with flavor from the inside out. One of my favorite braising secrets is that it almost melts away as the meat cooks!
  • Next, sear: Heat a little amount of oil in a Dutch oven or pot with a heavy bottom. Add the pork shoulder once it’s heated and cook it for a few minutes on each side. Why? ⇢ The Maillarde reaction, a chemical process in cooking that produces a gorgeous golden brown crust on whatever is being seared, is aided by searing. Pork cooked with this browning will have a very deep, rich taste.
  • Finally, braise: Combine a fast braising liquid comprised of chicken stock, Dijon mustard, apple cider, and apple cider vinegar in a bowl. When the meat has been thoroughly browned, gently add the apple cider braising liquid to the saucepan. Bring the ingredients to a boil, cover the pan, place it in the oven, and cook the pork gently until it is completely soft. Add apple wedges and a thinly sliced onion just before the pork is done, and continue to braise for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. Why? ⇢ Compared to delicate components like onions and apples, the cooking time for hearty pork shoulder is significantly longer. Waiting until just before the pork is done cooking to add them to the saucepan ensures that the apples and onions will perfectly soften as the pig cooks.
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder


However, I find that serving this apple cider braised pork with a warm fall side like creamed roasted garlic butternut squash is my personal favorite. With almost any additional work, it gives the dish a restaurant-quality element.

whipped butternut squash with roasted garlic! This whipped butternut squash is such a simple side dish to add to your supper, especially since the oven is already on for the braised pork. A complete head of garlic and a whole butternut squash should be placed on a sheet pan and allowed to simmer with the pork gently. Both the butternut squash and the garlic will be quite soft after the braising of the pork is complete. Simply add a small bit of butter and blend in a food processor until smooth. Pretty simple!

Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder
Cider Braised Pork Shoulder

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  • 3–4 pounds boneless half pork butt roast, cut into 3–4 large pieces
  • 8–10 cloves garlic, sliced in half lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons Simply Nature Grapeseed Oil 
  • 1 1/2 cups Nature’s Nectar Apple Cider
  • 1/2 cup Simply Nature Organic Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 cup Simply Nature Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Burman’s Dijon Mustard
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, & cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season

for the roasted garlic whipped butternut squash:

  • 1 small butternut squash (roughly 2 pounds), quartered lengthwise & deseeded
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Nature Grapeseed Oil 
  • 2–3 tablespoons Countryside Creamery Unsalted Butter, cut into tablespoons
  • kosher salt & ground black pepper, to season


  • Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, ensuring a rack is positioned in the center of the oven. Gather ingredients, prepping & measuring according to the Ingredients List, above.
  • Stud the pork with garlic: Using a sharp paring knife, carefully cut a few deep slits into each piece of pork shoulder, then insert sliced garlic into each pocket. Generously season the pork with 1 tablespoon kosher salt & ground black pepper as desired.
  • Sear the pork: Add the grapeseed oil to a large, heavy-bottomed, oven-safe pot with a lid over medium-high heat (I use a 4-qt Dutch oven). Once the oil is hot & shimmering, carefully add in the prepared pork. Work in batches, as needed, to avoid overcrowding the pot (which prevents browning). Cook 3-4 minutes per side, until deeply browned.
  • Braise the cider pork: Add the apple cider, chicken broth, apple cider vinegar, & Dijon mustard to a large liquid measuring cup or bowl, whisking to combine. Carefully pour the apple cider brining liquid into the pot with the pork. Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover the pot & transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, until the cider braised pork is fall-apart tender. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to shred the pork, remove the pot from the oven & stir in the sliced onion & apples. Cover & return to the oven for 20-25 minutes, just until the onions & apples are softened.
  • Optional: Roast butternut squash & garlic: If preparing the whipped roasted garlic butternut squash, place the squash on a small sheet pan. Chop just the top off of the head of garlic, revealing its cloves. Lightly rub the garlic to loosen and remove any excess paper. Wrap the garlic in foil, lightly drizzling with oil & seasoning with a pinch kosher salt & ground black pepper before you seal the foil, completely encasing the garlic in foil. Set the foil-wrapped garlic on the sheet pan with the butternut squash. Transfer to the oven to bake alongside the apple cider braised pork for 2 1/2 – 3 hours, or until the squash is very tender. (Note: The garlic will roast in about 45 minutes, so set a timer to remove from the oven at that point!)
  • Optional: Whipped roasted garlic butternut squash: Once the squash is very tender, remove the sheet pan from the oven. Carefully scoop the squash into a food processor. Add in the roasted garlic cloves (the cloves should squeeze out of the head very easily) & butter. Run the food processor until the mixture is smooth & creamy. If needed, pour in a splash of chicken broth to loosen up the mixture as needed to reach desired consistency. Stir kosher salt & ground black pepper, to taste – I start with 1/2 teaspoon & go from there.
  • Finish the cider braised pork: Once the pork is tender, remove the pot from the oven. Carefully transfer the pork to a plate or cutting board. Use tongs or 2 forks to shred the pork into bite-sized pieces.
  • Serve: Spoon the whipped roasted garlic butternut squash over a plate. Top with cider braised pork, softened apples & onions, & braising jus as desired. Enjoy!

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