Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

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Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork can be made in just over an hour, resulting in super flavorful pork that can be shredded and used to make so many delicious dishes.

pulled pork sandwiches

Why You’ll Love It

  • There’s no need to heat up your kitchen to braise a pork shoulder anymore. The Instant Pot does all the heavy lifting for this perfectly tender pulled pork.
  • It’s one of the easiest things to make and since it can be made in large quantities, it’s possible to make multiple meals from one pot.
  • Pulled pork is so versatile. This tender and flavorful meat is perfect for a wide range of dishes, from sandwiches and tacos to nachos and salads.

Kathryn Donangelo says: 5 stars This recipe is amazing and so easy! The pork was delicious and so tender. I love my IP and so glad we tried this, thank you!

Angela says: 5 stars I will NEVER use the crock pot again to make pulled pork. The pork came out so tender and fall apart.

Which Cut of Pork to Use

My favorite cut of pork to use for this recipe is pork shoulder (also called pork butt). I cook a LOT of pork shoulder in the instant pot. It turns out so tender and falls apart when you shred it, because it has just enough fat marbling throughout to not be dry.

I prefer to buy pork shoulder that is boneless. If you can’t get it boneless, you can always remove the bone yourself before cooking, or cook it as is and remove the bone later. If the pork shoulder you buy has a large fat cap or skin on, you’ll want to remove both before cooking.

Pork Leg – Pork leg usually comes in one big chunk, where shoulder is more marbled. It can turn out slightly more dry than shoulder, which is why I usually choose shoulder instead of pork leg, but it’s still a good choice.

Pork loin – Pork loin is the leanest cut of meat and doesn’t have much fat. It’s also usually sold in smaller roasts that are thinner. Pork loin will cook a lot faster in the Instant Pot. Overcooking can quickly lead to dry pork. That’s why I mostly avoid this cut.

pulled pork sandwiches

» You might also like this Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Boneless pork shoulder – Boneless pork shoulder, also called pork butt, skin and fat cap removed
  • Dry rub seasonings – Paprika, salt, ground black pepper, garlic salt, and oregano.
  • Beef or pork stock – The Instant Pot uses liquid to help it come up to pressure. It also helps to deglaze the pan to avoid a burn notice. You could use apple juice or water as well.
  • Onion – Yellow or white onion work best.
  • Cooking oil – Olive oil is usually our oil of choice. Use your favorite.
  • BBQ sauce – Optional

Equipment Needed

Instant Pot Duo Plus
  • Instant Pot – I use a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo Plus to make all of my recipes, but you can use any size or brand of electric pressure cooker. If you’re using an 8-quart pot, you will need to adjust the amount of liquid accordingly, as it requires more water to build steam.

Expert Tips to Follow

  • Don’t skip the step of searing the pork. It adds so much depth of flavor.
  • Remove the pork from the Instant Pot to shred it where you have room to work. This will also help drain some of the cooking liquid from the meat making it better for sandwiches.
  • You can use a pork shoulder, butt, leg, loin or belly. Remove skin, fat cap, and any bones.
  • If you don’t wish to use the dry rub, sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning salt.
  • Make sure to turn sauté mode off before you deglaze the pot.

How To Cook Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Step 1: Prep the Pork

Raw Pork shoulder

Pork roasts generally come tied up or covered with a string or netting. This is to keep the meat together in one piece while it cooks. You’ll want to remove those things, then rinse the meat with cold water and pat it dry with a paper towel.

Cut the meat into 3-4 smaller chunks, rather than cooking it whole. This will help the meat break down faster and results in a more flavorful and moist pork.

Step 2: Add a Dry Rub

dry rub

I always use a dry rub on the pork to give it maximum flavor and seasoning. I love to mix up a batch to keep on hand for all kinds of things. This all-purpose dry rub is our number one favorite though this dry rub for pork would be great to use here.

Mix up your dry rub and rub it generously on all parts of the pork.

Step 3: Sear on Sauté Mode

dry rub pork

Searing the pork on all sides before pressure cooking it will give those browned edges that you’re used to seeing on pulled pork that’s braised or smoked. This is where all that maximum flavor comes from, so don’t skip this step.

The great news is that you can sear the pork directly in the Instant Pot on sauté mode. There’s no need to dirty another pot.

Turn on sauté mode and let it get hot, about 3-4 minutes, then add the olive oil. When the oil is shimmering, add the pork and brown it for about 3 minutes per side. You want to get some nice browned crust on it, so don’t turn it too fast.

However, do be aware that the dry rub will begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot if you leave it too long. It should just under 10 minutes to sear all sides of the pork. As soon as it’s close to done, turn off sauté mode, so it can cool down before the next step.

browning pork

Step 4: Pressure Cook the Pork

There will be some browned bits on the bottom of the pot from searing the pork. You need to get that up by adding liquid and deglazing the pot. Don’t do this while sauté mode is still on. It’s very hot and the liquid will steam up immediately and can burn your arm if you’re not careful.

Let the pot cool down slightly, then pour in the broth and scrape the bits up with a spatula. This adds great flavor to the meat as it cooks.

Important Note: If you don’t get the browned bits up from the bottom, it’s possible you’ll get a burn notice a few minutes into cooking. If you do get the burn notice, just turn off the pot and get those browned bits up before you restart it.

Close the Instant Pot lid and set it to pressure cook (or manual, depending on which version you have) for 50 minutes of cook time.

instant pot pulled pork

After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. It will take about 15 minutes. If there’s still pressure left after 15 minutes, do a manual pressure release.

Step 5: Shred It and Serve It

Take the pork out of the Instant Pot and let it sit without the liquid for about 10 minutes. This will dry it up a little, so it’s not wet, which is ideal for uses like pulled pork sandwiches. The meat should fall apart quite easily when you pull it or shred it with a fork.

instant pot pulled pork

Now that it is pulled you can use it to make whatever you want. I love to serve it on a bun slathered in this smoky bourbon BBQ sauce and coleslaw. Yum!

Can I Cook the Pork From Frozen

You can make pulled pork from a frozen pork roast in the Instant Pot. However, you will need to adjust this recipe slightly to get the best outcome. Since the meat is frozen, it won’t take a rub well, and you won’t be able to sear it first, so you will lose some flavor in the process. However, it can be done.

If cooking from frozen, put the broth and all the spices from the rub into the inner pot and stir it up. Place the roast in the liquid. Close the lid and set to pressure cook for 90 minutes. This extended time is necessary not only because the meat was frozen, but because it’s in a full roast, rather than smaller pieces.

If after 90 minutes and a natural pressure release, the meat is not fork tender, cut the roast in half or in 4 pieces and pressure cook it again for 10-15 minutes, depending on how firm it is.

How Much Pulled Pork to Serve Per Person

As a rule of thumb, you should plan to have about 1/3 to 1/2 pound of pulled pork per person if it’s the main dish. This means that if you’re hosting a party of 10 people, you’ll need about 3 to 5 pounds of pulled pork. However, keep in mind that this is just a starting point.

The amount of pulled pork per person can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the number of guests, the other dishes you’ll be serving, and whether you want leftovers.

pulled pork shoulder

What to Serve With Pulled Pork

You can serve this Instant Pot pulled pork with any side dish you like. That’s the best part – they go with everything.

Try serving them with these sides that you can also make in the Instant Pot:

How to Store and Reheat

Storage

Be sure to let it cool, then cover it and store it in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Freeze pulled pork up to 3 months in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag.

Reheat

Oven: Use an oven safe dish, cover with a lid or foil and bake at 325° F (162°C) until the internal temperature reaches 165° F (74°C). 

Stovetop: Place the pulled pork in a saucepan over low heat, adding a bit of water, broth, or bbq sauce to keep the meat moist. Stir occasionally until the internal temperature reaches 165° F (74°C). 

Always use a food thermometer to check that reheated pork reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before consuming. And trust your senses: if the pork smells off or has changed in texture or color, it’s time to say goodbye.

Pulled Pork Recipes to Try

I make pulled pork every couple of weeks because it is so versatile. I love these pork recipes. Try a few of them and let us know what you think in the comments down below!

Questions About the Recipe

What is the best cut of pork to use for pulled pork?

The best cut of pork for making pulled pork is typically the pork shoulder, specifically the pork butt or picnic roast. These cuts are well-marbled with fat and have a good balance of lean meat and connective tissue resulting in the perfect texture for pulled pork.

Can you overcook pulled pork in the Instant Pot?

While it’s difficult to overcook pulled pork in an Instant Pot, it is still possible if you significantly exceed the recommended cooking time. If you cook it for an excessively long time, the meat could become mushy or lose some of its texture.

How long should pulled pork be cooked for?

This recipe uses a 3 pound pork shoulder and cooks for 50 minutes in the Instant Pot. Keep in mind that larger cuts may require more time, while smaller ones will require less.

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pulled pork sandwiches

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

This Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe results in super flavorful pork.

Note: Made in a 6-qt Instant Pot

5 from 24 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Pressurizing Time 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 6 servings
Calories 322 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
 

  • 3 pound (1 kg) boneless pork shoulder skin and fat cap removed
  • 1 tablespoon (7 g) paprika
  • 1 teaspoon (6 g) salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1 g) black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3 g) garlic salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon (0.5 g) oregano
  • 1 cup (237 ml) beef or pork stock
  • 1 small onion but into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon (15 ml) cooking oil

Instructions
 

  • Remove any skin and fat from the pork shoulder, rinse in cool water, pat dry, and cut it into large chunks.
  • Combine the paprika, salt, pepper, garlic salt and oregano in a small bowl. Coat each piece of pork with the rub.
  • Heat the Instant Pot on Saute mode and add the cooking oil. When hot, sear the pork chunks on all sides until browned (about 3 mins per side). Remove from the pot.
  • Add the beef stock to the pot and whisk rapidly to scrap all the browned bits off the bottom. Add the pork and onions to the pot.
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing.
  • Select the Pressure Cook button and set to 50 minutes. When finished, allow the pressure to release naturally (about 15 minutes). Remove the meat and let stand in a bowl with no liquid for 5 minutes. Shred with a fork.

Notes

  • You can use a pork shoulder, butt, leg, loin or belly. Remove skin, fat cap, and any bones.
  • If you don’t wish to use the dry rub, sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning salt.
  • Don’t skip the step of searing the pork. It adds so much depth of flavor.
  • Remove the pork from the Instant Pot to shred it where you have room to work. This will also help drain some of the cooking liquid from the meat making it better for sandwiches.
  • You can use a pork shoulder, butt, leg, loin or belly. Remove skin, fat cap, and any bones.
    If you don’t wish to use the dry rub, sprinkle with salt and pepper or seasoning salt.
  • Make sure to turn sauté mode off before you deglaze the pot.

Nutrition

Calories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 52gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 136mgSodium: 784mgPotassium: 965mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 51IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 26mgIron: 2mg
Keyword Pork
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8 thoughts on “Easy Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

  1. Kathryn Donangelo says:

    5 stars
    This recipe is amazing and so easy! The pork was delicious and so tender. I love my IP and so glad we tried this, thank you!

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