Instant Pot Pulled Pork

5 Average
This Instant Pot pulled pork is melt in your mouth tender! The pressure cooker method is the quickest and easiest way to make pulled pork. The meat comes out so juicy and hearty. Great for family dinners, holidays, feeding a crowd, and meal prep!
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This Instant Pot pulled pork is melt-in-your-mouth tender and so flavorful! The Instant Pot makes this recipe much quicker and easier than using a slow cooker. Make tender pulled pork in under 2 hours! Use the meat in sandwiches, burritos, tacos, salads, and more. It works well for meal prep and leftovers. Serve this flavorful pork at family gatherings, holiday parties, and more!

Instant Pot pulled pork.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • This Instant Pot pulled pork is tender, juicy, and savory.
  • This recipe is quick enough for a weeknight. So is this Instant Pot Carnita recipe!
  • The Instant Pot cuts down the cooking time significantly. This allows you to enjoy tender pulled pork in a fraction of the time it would take in a traditional slow cooker or oven.
  • The sealed environment of the Instant Pot ensures that the flavors penetrate deep into the meat. This creates a dish that is intensely flavorful and satisfying.
  • The Instant Pot’s precise temperature control and built-in timers make this recipe foolproof.
  • Use the meat in sandwiches, tacos, burritos, salads, and more.
  • Pair it with some roasted veggies or a side salad for an easy, healthy, and tasty meal.
  • Great for family dinners, holidays, big gatherings, and more. I serve this every year on July 4th and everyone loves it!
  • The pork is even better the next day! Great for meal prep and leftovers. Check out how much pulled pork per person to make.
  • This recipe is naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, and added sugar-free.
  • Check out this Crock Pot Pulled Pork for the delicious slow cooker version!

What is Pulled Pork?

Pulled pork is a beloved recipe made from slow-cooked pork shoulder or pork butt. It is typically seasoned with a flavorful rub and then cooked until it becomes tender enough to be “pulled” apart into strands.

The low and slow cooking method allows the meat’s fat and collagen to break down. This cooking process creates tender and juicy pork that practically melts in your mouth.

For this pressure cooker version, the cooking process is sped up. The high pressure creates equally tender and juicy pulled pork!

I grew up eating and making pulled pork quite often. This recipe is classic, nostalgic, and such a family favorite!

Pulled pork is often served with BBQ sauce in the form of sandwiches.

Ingredients & Substitutes

Scroll down to the recipe card for the full Instant Pot pulled pork recipe.

For the best results, use a boneless pork butt. Pork butt (or pork shoulder) has marbling that adds so much flavor. Bone-in pork can be used, but the cooking time will increase. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are too lean for this recipe.

Garlic powder and onion powder add a delicious hearty flavor. Feel free to use cloves of garlic if desired.

Paprika adds a tiny bit of heat.

Coconut sugar adds a delicious natural sweetness. Maple sugar is another great option!

A little chili powder also adds some spice.

Season the meat with sea salt and black pepper.

Olive oil helps sear the meat. Feel free to use avocado oil if needed.

Beef broth adds moisture and a savory flavor. Chicken broth works well too. Look for a brand with few ingredients and no added sugar or preservatives.

Choose a BBQ sauce with no added sugar, or make your own. This Homemade BBQ Sauce is so flavorful!

Lastly, a little apple cider vinegar helps tenderize the meat.

Ingredients for Instant Pot pulled pork.

Taste & Texture

The taste of pulled pork is a beautiful balance of smoky, savory, and subtly sweet flavors.

The pressure cooking process allows the meat to absorb the seasoning, resulting in a rich and complex taste.

Its texture is incredibly tender and moist, with a slightly caramelized crust on the outside.

The Instant Pot pulled pork strands are easy to shred and have a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

How to Make

Step 1

First, combine all of the seasonings. Rub this spice mix all over the pork butt.

Pork butt with seasoning.

Step 2

Add the olive oil to your Instant Pot. Press the sauté button. Once the oil is hot, carefully place the seasoned pork inside. Sear for 3 minutes on each side.

Seared pork in pot.

Step 3

Then, press cancel. Pour the broth, BBQ sauce, and apple cider vinegar on top of the pork. Secure the lid. Move the top valve to the sealed position.

BBQ sauce with meat.

Step 4

Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes. Once the timer goes off, do not touch the pot. Allow the pressure to naturally release for 20 minutes.

Step 5

After 20 minutes, carefully move the top valve to venting. Release any remaining pressure.

Step 6

Use two forks to shred the Instant Pot pulled pork. Finally, feel free to add more BBQ sauce or serve with the sauce in the pot.

Pulled pork on platter.

Expert Tips for Success

Choosing a boneless shoulder or pork butt will yield tender meat. Bone-in meat tends to be even more tender and flavorful, but the cooking time will increase.

Season generously. Rub the spice mix all over the pork to impart layers of flavor to the meat.

Utilize the sauté function. Before pressure cooking, sear the meat in the Instant Pot using the sauté function. This step helps to lock in the flavors and adds an enticing color to the final dish.

If the meat is not easily shredded using two forks, then it needs more pressure cooking time.

If using a larger piece of pork, add more cooking time. The rule of thumb is about 20 minutes per pound.

Slow Cooker Versus Instant Pot

While the slow cooker is a classic choice for preparing pulled pork, the Instant Pot offers a significant advantage in terms of time.

Slow cookers can take anywhere from 8 to 10 hours to achieve the desired tenderness. On the other hand, the Instant Pot can produce equally tender results in just about 90 minutes.

Additionally, the Instant Pot allows for browning and sautéing directly in the same pot, eliminating the need for additional cookware.

Pork on plate.

How to Serve & Store

Instant Pot pulled pork is incredibly versatile and can be served in various ways.

Pile the pulled pork on a soft whole wheat bun and top it with coleslaw for a classic pulled pork sandwich. These pulled pork nachos are fun!

Fill warm whole wheat tortillas with pulled pork, your favorite salsa, guacamole, and a sprinkle of cheese for Taco Tuesday! Check out these Carnitas Tacos for inspiration.

Top a fluffy baked potato with pulled pork, sour cream, chives, and grated cheese for a hearty and satisfying meal.

For a low-carb option, serve on top of some Cauliflower Mash. Check out these Pulled Pork Side Dishes.

To store leftover Instant Pot pulled pork, ensure it cools completely before transferring it to an airtight container. It can be refrigerated for up to 4 to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months.

To reheat, gently warm the pulled pork in a pan on the stovetop or in the microwave. Add a bit of water or broth to prevent dryness.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is pulled pork better in the Instant Pot or slow cooker?

Pulled pork is great in both the Instant Pot and slow cooker. Both methods produce tender, juicy pork. The Instant Pot is much quicker.

How long does it take to cook pork in the Instant Pot?

It takes about 90 minutes from start to finish.

Why is my pulled pork tough?

If your pulled pork is tough, it is not cooked enough. Secure the lid back on and cook for longer. Once cooked fully, it will easily pull apart.

What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?

Pork butt and pork shoulder are great for pulled pork! This is also called Boston butt. Pork loin and pork tenderloin are too lean for pulled pork.

Pork, broccoli and mashed cauliflower.

Equipment Needed

Instant Pot: This Instant Pot is great for quickly and easily making pulled pork.

You May Also Enjoy

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Enjoy this Instant Pot pulled pork recipe!

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  1. 5 stars
    This was delicious! We actually used pork tenderloin, but it still turned out perfectly for us! Thank you for the recipe!