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This Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe makes tender shredded pork from a pork butt or pork shoulder roast in the electric pressure cooker in about 2 hours! Use the tender meat for pulled pork sandwiches, carnitas, nachos or over mashed potatoes for an easy dinner the whole family will love!

instant pot pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and bbq sauce on a black plate

I made pulled pork in the Instant Pot from a pork butt for the first time on New Year’s Day a few years ago, and it was seriously the best pulled pork ever!

Actually, it’s one of the best Instant Pot recipes ever!

You guys, I’m talking about fork-tender pork that just melts in your mouth in only 2 hours. Yes, two hours in the electric pressure cooker– a fraction of the time it takes in the slow cooker!

Whenever I make a pork roast for pulled pork, I like to keep the seasonings as simple as possible. This way, I can make just about anything with the leftover pork.

I usually serve BBQ sauce and homemade coleslaw on the side for pulled pork sandwiches on brioche buns. Then, I add different spices to leftover pork for carnitas tacos and pulled pork nachos or leftover pork chili verde.

Ingredients

You only need a few simple ingredients for this easy pulled pork Instant Pot recipe. You can find them in your grocery store or online:

  • Pork butt — We usually cook a 6 to 8 pound pork roast
  • Water — or Coke, Dr. Pepper, or some dark soda, broth or beer
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked paprika
  • Ground black pepper
  • Yellow or white onion — use onion powder or dried minced onions in the rub if you don’t have a whole onion.
  • Garlic cloves
  • Barbecue sauce — add your favorite BBQ sauce after pressure cooking

Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork

The most popular cut of meat for pulled pork is a pork butt roast or Boston Butt roast. Butt roasts are well marbled and fattier, which adds tons of flavor.

It’s also sometimes called pork shoulder roast, although a true pork shoulder is a slightly different cut and usually sold with the skin on.

You can use a bone-in pork butt roast or a boneless pork shoulder roast. I’ve used both cuts of pork and I didn’t notice any difference in flavor.

How to Season Pork Shoulder

Make a simple dry rub to season the pork butt or pork shoulder before pressure cooking. Just mix the salt, pepper, garlic powder and smoked paprika together in a small bowl.

How to make Pulled Pork in the Instant Pot

First, I like to cut the pork roast into smaller pieces before cooking it in the Instant Pot. We usually cut the roast into 3 large chunks.

This is optional, but it helps the roast to cook evenly and fit better in the pot.

Next, season the meat all over with the homemade dry rub from the spices. We like to rub the spices into the meat so that it’s well coated before pressure cooking.

rub spices on instant pot pulled pork roast

Then, place the cut-up roast into the bottom of the pot. Add the onion and some garlic cloves along with a little water, soda pop, broth or beer.

I have made Instant Pot pulled pork with Dr. Pepper and Coke in the Instant Pot, and these sodas make the meat insanely tender!

instant pot pulled pork roast with onions and garlic

How Long to Cook Pulled Pork in Instant Pot

So, How long do you cook pulled pork in the Instant Pot? This, friends, is the $64,000 question! And honestly, you will get so many different answers.

Since we’re dealing with a thick cut of meat, you need to cook it long enough to break down the fat and connective tissues to make it as tender as possible.

Generally, the cook time for pulled pork Instant Pot is 15 minutes per pound. But, larger cuts of pork or bone-in pork roasts take more time.

I find the best Instant Pot pulled pork cooking time to be 90 minutes high pressure followed by a natural release. It’s the perfect time for making pulled pork in the Instant Pot.

Cook time may vary if you have a very large roast or don’t cut it up. I have cooked a 6 pound, 7 pound, 8 pound, 9 pound and 11 pound pork roast for the same amount of time, 90 minutes, and the meat was perfectly tender.

You can cook Instant pot pulled pork from frozen pork roast. It will just take longer to reach pressure.

fork tender instant pot pulled pork on tongs

And when the time is up, the meat is fork tender and perfectly shreddable, which is exactly what you want for pulled pork!

You can drain the cooking liquids before shredding the pork or simply shake off the excess liquid when serving.

pulled pork on a bun with bbq sauce

Variations

Make Instant Pot carnitas by using different flavors, such as a Mexican spice mixture, chili powder, and lime juice. Any leftover meat can be baked in the oven and served with shredded cheese and tortilla chips for delicious pork nachos!

If you want to add your favorite BBQ sauce while cooking the roast, don’t just stir the sauce into the shredded pork–add it to the top of the meat and let it sit.

If you mix the BBQ sauce in, the sugars in the sauce might burn during cooking. You can also add some brown sugar for a richer BBQ taste!

A favorite way to add some extra flavor to the pork is to use a dark soda, such as Dr. Pepper, Coke, or root beer, to the Instant Pot instead of water.

Using these sodas also helps the pork tenderize, due to their acidity. Beef broth or chicken broth or apple cider vinegar, or apple juice works as well.

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover pulled pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It’ll keep for about 4 days.

For longer storage, freeze leftover pulled pork for up to 6 months. This pork freezes and reheats quite well!

Leftover pulled pork also reheats well in the microwave. Pulled pork leftovers make great sandwiches, tacos, and nachos, but you could just eat the tasty meat on its own!

Cooking Tips

Tips for the BEST Instant Pot pulled pork!

Make an easy dry rub before cooking for best flavor. You can add BBQ sauce after cooking.

Cut a large cut of pork into smaller pieces for even cooking. You don’t have to sear the meat. I never sear pork before cooking, and they turn out tender and flavorful every time.

Use a liquid other than water for more flavor.

Always do a natural pressure release for pork roast or any roast for at least 15 minutes in the Instant Pot.

FAQ

Why is my pulled pork tough in the Instant Pot?

If the pork is tough after pressure cooking, it hasn’t cooked long enough. The easiest way to fix this is to cook the pork shoulder longer. Just place the meat back into the pressure cooker and cook for 15 minutes longer or until tender enough to pull apart easily. It’s difficult to overcook a pork shoulder in the Instant Pot.

Can you cook a frozen pork roast in the Instant Pot?

Yes, you can. However, if the roast is large and you can’t cut it into smaller pieces, the pressure cooker may take longer to reach pressure and the roast may take longer to cook.

5 from 26 votes

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

By: Dee
This Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe makes tender shredded pork from a pork butt or pork shoulder roast in the electric pressure cooker in about 2 hours! Use the tender meat for pulled pork sandwiches, carnitas, nachos or over mashed potatoes for an easy dinner the whole family will love!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 15

Ingredients  

  • 1 6-pound pork shoulder roast (pork butt)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 ½ cups water coke, dr pepper or broth
  • 1 yellow or white onion cut into large pieces
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
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Instructions 

  • Cut roast into 3 large pieces, and season with sea salt, garlic powder, paprika and pepper
  • Add water, then add roast, onion and garlic
  • Cover, move valve to sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 90 minutes
  • Allow natural release, and when pin drops, open lid, shred with forks, and serve

Video

Notes

Recipe made with all natural pork shoulder roast in 8-quart Instant Pot pressure cooker.
Natural release takes about 20 minutes or more. Use quick release after 15 to 20 minutes to save time.
Use your favorite soda pop for added flavor and tenderness!

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 7mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 66IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 2mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Like this? Leave a comment below!
instant pot pulled pork sandwich with coleslaw and chips

This perfect, easy Instant Pot pulled pork is one of our family favorites! I hope you enjoy this great recipe as much as we do! BBQ pulled pork sandwiches are perfect for game day!

For more easy recipe ideas and quick meals, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter and follow me on social media!

Happy Cooking,

dee signature

Recipe first published in 2018 and updated in 2023

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Recipe Rating




92 Comments

  1. Ashley says:

    Does the meat need to be thawed out first?

    1. Dee says:

      I’ve always used fresh, but you can start from frozen.

    2. Tricia a schleper says:

      Would it need to be cooked any longer from frozen?

    3. Dee says:

      I’ve never tried to make it with frozen meat, but I’ve heard that it just takes longer to come to pressure and the cook time would remain the same. Otherwise, the pasta would be overcooked.

    4. katie gammill says:

      I wouldn’t need to be cooked longer but would take longer to come to pressure (defrost happens here)

  2. Michelle says:

    I have a 6-quart Instant Pot. Would I have to adjust the time?

    1. Dee says:

      I don’t think the cook time changes, but you probably only need 1 cup of liquid for the 6 quart.

  3. Sandra | A Dash of Sanity says:

    This looks like a great weeknight meal! Yum!!5 stars

  4. Miz Helen says:

    I just pinned your delicious Pulled Pork, it looks so good. Your post is awesome and thanks so much for sharing it with us at Full Plate Thursday. Have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen5 stars

  5. carrie @ frugal foodie mama says:

    I love how quickly you can make tender pulled pork in the Instant Pot! Looks yummy! 🙂

  6. Patricia @ Grab a Plate says:

    Wow! Sooo much faster than a slow cooker. How great! You cannot go wrong with these sandwiches!

  7. Allyson Zea says:

    I am sending this to my neighbor who has been looking for a recipe like this! YUM!

  8. Katerina @ diethood .com says:

    This is definitely something I will be making soon!! My family would LOVE it!!5 stars

  9. Jen says:

    My husband is such a huge fan of pulled pork! He’s going to love this!

  10. Sabrina says:

    I’m amazed you can make pulled pork so quickly! This sounds amazing!