Best Instant Pot Pulled Pork [Video]
Instant Pot Pulled Pork is cooked to tender perfection in a beer BBQ sauce and served with crunchy coleslaw on sesame seed buns. Whether you serve these for dinner with some delicious side dishes or as a quick snack, the delicious pulled pork recipe will soon be your family’s favorite.
For more pork recipes, try our Instant Pot Pork recipe with white wine, brown sugar, and chicken broth or this Instant Pot Apple Cider Pork Chops recipe served with potatoes and carrots. Instant Pot Balsamic Pork Tenderloin with fresh herbs and homemade balsamic sauce is also delicious.
Best Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork is one of the most frequent meals I make in my Instant Pot. First, it’s super easy to make, full of flavor and it can be served in so many ways. I love a juicy and tender pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw. This recipe has been perfected to be your go-to when you need a delicious pulled pork sandwich.
This instant pot pulled pork recipe uses basic ingredients and can be changed to fit your family’s tastes. For example, if you like spicy food, you can add some extra chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes. And if you want it sweeter, you can add some granulated sugar or honey.
This pork recipe is one of the best ways to use pork shoulder, but you can also use a different cut of meat. In fact, you could also make pulled beef using sirloin, chuck roast, or brisket. In addition, why not use chicken stock instead of beer, soda, or water to make the sauce?
Seasoned with garlic, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, and chili powder, this pulled pork has the right balance of sweet, and savory with just a touch of heat. So good, I just can’t have only one sandwich! This is the perfect recipe to make if you are short on time, but want the same delicious flavor of slow-cooked pulled pork.
Here are the ingredients needed for this instant pot pulled pork recipe. Scroll down to our recipe card for precise measurements and directions.
- Boneless pork shoulder: Cut into three or four pieces.
- Barbecue sauce: You can use your favorite brand or make your own BBQ sauce.
- Liquid of choice: We used beer, but you can use water, beef broth, chicken broth, Dr. Pepper, or Coca-Cola.
- Seasonings: This recipe calls for onion powder, smoked paprika, ground thyme, ground mustard, and cinnamon.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Brown sugar
- Liquid smoke
- Minced garlic
- Chili powder
- Sesame seed buns
- Barbecue sauce
How to make the best instant pot pulled pork from scratch?
- Make the sauce: To begin, combine all the ingredients for the BBQ sauce in a large bowl.
- Add: Then, put the pork shoulder pieces in the instant pot and pour the BBQ sauce on top.
- Cook pulled pork: Next, close and lock the lid, making sure the valve is pointing to the seal position. Select high pressure and cook for one hour (60 minutes on your timer).
- Release the pressure: After the instant pot timer goes off, let it naturally release for 10 to 20 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
- Shred the pork: Remove the instant pot pulled pork from the pot and place it in a dish. Use two forks to shred the meat.
- Pour out the BBQ sauce: Next, pour the cooking liquid out of the pot and measure out two cups. Put this to the side in a small bowl.
- Sauté the pork: Immediately, set your instant pot to sauté and put the shredded pork back in with the remaining BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup of cooking liquid, stirring until it is combined.
- Simmer: Lastly, bring it to a simmer, tossing and stirring frequently. Pour another 1/2 cup of cooking liquid in if needed.
- Serve: Finally, serve your pressure cooker pulled pork immediately on sesame seed buns with our homemade creamy coleslaw.
Recommended Pressure Cooking Time:
The cooking time might vary based on how thick the pork shoulder pieces are cut. In my opinion, it’s better to “undercook” the meat than overcooking as you can add additional cooking time later. Below you can find the general cooking time:
- Meat cut into 8 pieces: roughly 55 – 60 minutes pressure cooking time.
- If it’s cut into 4 pieces: roughly 60 – 70 minutes pressure cooking time.
- If it’s cut into 2 pieces: roughly 70 – 80 minutes pressure cooking time.
Why make Pulled Pork using your Instant Pot:
This Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork is juicy and flavorful and if you want to add some heat just add more chili powder when you cook it, or some Sriracha sauce at the end.
- Making Pulled Pork in the pressure cooker will take you only a few hours, a fraction of the time actually from what would take you to use your crockpot, oven, or smoker. The pulled pork is ready to serve in under 2 hours.
- It is a great alternative if you don’t own a smoker or crockpot.
- Perfect for an emergency situation and satisfying a pulled pork craving whenever it hits.
- Dirtying one pot only, super easy to prep and clean.
How to make slow cooker pulled pork:
- Mix: First, mix the BBQ sauce ingredients in a large bowl.
- Add to the slow cooker or crock pot: Then, add the pork shoulder to the crock pot and pour the barbecue sauce on top. Give it a stir with a wooden spoon to mix it all together.
- Set the slow cooker: Next, set the slow cooker for three hours on high or six hours on low.
- Shred the pork chunks: After the time is up, remove the pork chunks and shred them with two forks before returning them to the slow cooker.
- Save some sauce: Then, pour about one cup of the cooking sauce into a container to save for reheating food later.
- No grease: Last, remove the grease from the top of the juice and then mix what is left with a cup of barbecue sauce. Pour it on the pork and stir before serving on buns with coleslaw.
- Pork loin: Feel free to use another cut of meat such as the pork loin, pork tenderloin, pork butt, or pork roast.
- Garlic powder: Adding garlic powder to this pulled pork recipe gives your shredded pork flavorful pulled pork that blends well with the other herbs and spices.
- Add veggies: Add your own favorites such as chopped onions, peppers, or chilis.
- Extra spicy: If you enjoy spicy food, sprinkle some cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes in the sauce.
- Pulled beef: You can switch the pork for a cut of beef to make instant pot pulled beef. You can use chuck roast, brisket, sirloin, or whichever cut of beef you like.
How to serve:
Pulled pork sandwiches go great with anything on the side such as french fries or mashed potatoes or you can make them for your next game day party. Here are some awesome ideas you can try:
- I like serving it the traditional way, on hamburger buns, and topped with my famous homemade bbq sauce.
- Sprinkle some parmesan or shredded cheese on top before serving.
- This instant pot pulled pork recipe would make an excellent filling for tacos, enchiladas, and burritos on Mexican food night.
- As a side dish to this instant pot pulled pork recipe, try our oven-roasted sweet potato fries or super cheesy macaroni and cheese.
- In addition, our Garlic Roasted Potatoes or Scalloped Potatoes go really well with this cookout staple dish.
- Another way to serve this flavorful pulled pork is by adding it to a casserole or salad.
- Shredded pork roast can also be used for our hearty slow cooker pork stew.
- Instant pot pulled pork is also a tasty addition to chili or soups.
- You could even add your extra instant pot pulled pork to this slow cooker pork goulash.
- Why not add some of your leftover pulled pork to a pizza for a new way to enjoy your pie.
- You can use your leftover instant pot pulled pork in this scrumptious Moo Shu Pork recipe.
Frequently asked questions
What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?
Use good quality meat, preferably organic boneless pork shoulder. It has a little more fat to it and is also inexpensive. When cooked under pressure you end up with succulent, moist, and very flavorful meat. You can also try my IP Kalua Park, it’s to die for!
We chose a boneless pork shoulder roast for its tenderness and flavor. It has a little more fat to it and is also inexpensive. When cooked under pressure you end up with succulent, moist, and very flavorful meat.
No matter what cut of pork you use, when you pressure cook it, it will be tender enough to make pulled pork recipes. Some of the common choices include pork butt, tenderloin, and pork loin.
Also, sometimes I used pork loin. It’s not as fatty, but if you are looking for a leaner version it works well. Hence, it won’t be as tender and “melt in your mouth”, as it’s a leaner cut of meat.
What can I use instead of liquid smoke?
Liquid smoke is really smoke that has been made into a liquid. Using the smoke from smoking meat, this common flavoring is often used in barbecued meats and dishes. You can use chipotle powder, smoke tea, or smoked paprika in a pinch.
Is meat more tender when you pressure cook it?
Pressure cookers will make meat tender if you cook it properly no matter what kind of meat it is. For this instant pot pulled pork recipe, the pressure traps the steam inside. Also, it cooks the meat quickly but with a high amount of moisture to keep it tender.
Is pulled pork better in the instant pot or slow cooker?
Both cooking processes will make your pulled pork tender and delicious. It depends on how much time you have and how you want to do it. Making flavorful pulled pork in the instant pot takes about an hour and using a slow cooker takes about six or eight hours.
Should you Brown the Pork first?
This is totally up to you. If I have extra time, I would brown the pieces. Also, this bumps the flavor up a bit.
However, if you are short on time, simply skip this step. The end product will be just as delicious. Keep in mind, that when cooking frozen meat, you’ll want to skip browning it, as frozen meat does not brown well.
How to Cook frozen pork in the Pressure Cooker?
Simply follow the recipe card steps below, and add 5 minutes per pound of meat if cooked frozen. In addition, please note that it will take longer to come to pressure.
How to store leftovers:
- Store: According to the US Department of Agriculture’s food safety guidelines, leftovers can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for three-four days with the remaining cup of cooking liquid.
- Freeze: To freeze leftover instant pot pulled pork, use a freezer bag or another airtight container. If properly stored in the freezer at 0 F degrees or less, the pork will last up to 6 months, however, I prefer to store mine only for about 3 months, after that it changes its texture.
- Thaw: For best results, put leftovers in the fridge to thaw overnight before reheating.
- Reheat: Reheat your instant pot pulled pork in the microwave with some of the reserved cooking liquid. Another option is to add it to a large saucepan over medium heat, and heat it up, stirring occasionally. If needed add more bbq sauce or scoop up extra liquid if there is too much. Stir well to combine to make sure it heats up uniformly.
More delicious Instant Pot recipes:
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork cooking tips:
- Although browning the pork is not necessary, browned pork does add extra flavor. Just use a bit of olive oil in the bottom of the instant pot set on saute and brown each of the pork chunks.
- Molasses gives your instant pot pulled pork a subtle caramel flavor that blends well with the BBQ sauce.
- What kind of liquid you use for this instant pot pulled pork recipe is completely up to you. Some people use water because they want the full taste of the BBQ sauce. However, adding your favorite beer, soda, or broth can make a big difference.
- Also, be sure to keep some unused cooking liquid in an airtight container to use when reheating your pressure cooker pulled pork.
- In addition, remember that the cooking time may vary depending on the size and make of your instant pot.
- Make sure to use your favorite barbecue sauce, I usually choose a honey-based barbecue sauce or bourbon, the latest is by far my favorite.
- Also, I don’t like using water when I cook pork. Usually, I add beer, and here again, you can use your favorite. My go-to is a beer like Yuengling’s.
- Alternatively, if you don’t want to use alcohol, you can replace the beer with soda. Something like Coke or Dr. Pepper works well.
- Always save some cooking liquid, and store the pulled pork in an airtight container in the fridge. I always top it with some cooking liquid to keep it moist.
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
- 3-4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder cut into 3-4 pieces
Sauce for Pressure Cooking:
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 1/2 cups beer of choice Coke, Dr. Pepper or water/ beef broth
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon chili powder use more for a spicier pulled pork
- 1 teaspoon ground thyme
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
After Pressure Cooking:
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1/2 leftover cooking sauce
- 6 Sesame seed buns
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- Combine all the "Sauce" ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to fully combine.
- Add the pork pieces to the Instant Pot and pour the sauce on top of them.
- Lock the lid, and make sure the valve points to seal. Select High Pressure and cook for 60 minutes. When the pork is done the cooking and you hear the beeping sound, do a 10-20 min natural pressure release. Release manually the remaining pressure and carefully remove the lid.
- Gently remove the pork from the pressure cooker, add it to a large, dip dish and shred it using two forks.
- Strain the cooking liquid and reserve about 2 cups.
- Select Sauté and add the shredded pork back to the cooking pot, add the remaining 1 cup of barbecue sauce and ½ cup of the cooking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer, stirring and tossing frequently. If needed add another ½ cup of cooking liquid.
- Serve pulled pork immediately on buns, if desired top with coleslaw and more barbecue sauce.
- Store in the refrigerator the remaining 1 cup of cooking liquid, you can use it to reheat the pulled pork, in case it needs more liquid.
- Store pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.