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!
I made pulled pork in the Instant Pot from a pork butt for the first time on New Year's Day a few yeas 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. Then, I add different spices to leftover pork for carnitas tacos and pulled pork nachos or leftover pork chili verde.
You only need a few simple ingredients for this easy pulled pork recipe. You can find them in your grocery store or online:
- Pork butt
- 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
- Garlic cloves
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 make Instant Pot Pulled Pork
First, I like to cut the pork roast into smaller pieces before cooking it in the Instant Pot.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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 with shredded cheese and tortilla chips for delicious pork nachos!
Use 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 or chicken broth works as well.
How to Store
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!
It 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!
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 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
- 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
Nutrition information is estimated. Please do your own calculation to fit special diets.
Recipe first published in 2018 and updated in 2022
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!
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