Made with a homemade dry rub and a delicious braising liquid, this Instant Pot Pulled Pork is incredibly juicy, fall-apart tender, and always a crowd favorite.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork is one of my family's favorite recipes. We love to pile it up on buns and top it with homemade coleslaw for a delicious pulled pork sandwich. If I add a side of Oven Fries and Baked Beans, my family is really happy!!
Inspired by my Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe, this recipe for Instant Pot Pulled Pork is ready in a fraction of the time and the results are phenomenal. You will LOVE it!
why you will love this recipe
- Minimal Effort Required. This recipe for pulled pork takes only a few minutes of hands-on prep. The pressure cooker does all the hard work for you!
- Short Cooking Time. Compared to making pulled pork using a smoker, in the slow cooker, or in the oven, Instant Pot Pulled Pork comes together in a mere fraction of the time the other methods require.
- Feeds a Crowd. A pork roast makes a lot of meat, making this recipe perfect for using to entertain a crowd. Make the pulled pork stretch further by using it for sandwiches or wraps.
- Versatile. Not only can Instant Pot Pulled Pork be served in endless ways, but the flavor can be changed up in as well to deliver an entirely new spin on pulled pork.
Notes on Ingredients
- Pork Roast: For this recipe, you can use a pork butt, pork shoulder, or pork loin roast. This recipe is not suited for pork tenderloin. For pulled pork, most would argue a pork shoulder (AKA a pork butt) is the best option, as it is incredibly marbled and full of flavor. However, a pork loin roast is a much leaner option and still turns out perfectly tender when cooked in the Instant Pot.
- Dry Rub: I use my homemade dry rub to add the perfect flavor to this pulled pork. It is made with brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder and gives this pork roast so much flavor!
- Cooking liquid: Apple juice is my favorite cooking liquid to use when preparing Instant Pot Pulled Pork. The apple juice adds a nice sweet flavor to the pork that pairs well with the seasoning on the pork. In place of the apple juice, you can opt to use pineapple juice, beer, root beer, or even water. st
- Liquid Smoke (optional): The liquid smoke gives the meat a smokey flavor, but it is a rather processed ingredient, so feel free to omit it. The pork will be delicious with or without it.
- Barbecue Sauce (optional): After the pork has been shredded, you can toss it with your favorite store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce for BBQ pulled pork.
∗ Options for Different Flavors ∗
I love the sweet and spicy dry rub used in this pressure cooker pulled pork recipe, as it adds an incredible flavor to the pork and pairs beautifully with the addition of barbecue sauce. However, you can opt to use different spice blends to create unique spins on this classic recipe.
- Tex-Mex: Replace the dry spice rub with 2 tablespoons of taco seasoning. Cook the pork roast in pineapple juice or water and then toss with enchilada sauce or leave plain after shredding.
- Latin-American Twist: Replace the dry rub with Homemade Adobo Seasoning. Cook the seasoned pork using orange juice mixed with 1 tablespoon of soy sauce. The result is a sweet and savory Caribbean-inspired pulled pork recipe.
- Jerk Pulled Pork: Use jerk seasoning and pineapple juice to create a spicy, tangy, pulled pork with a Jamaican twist.
- Low-Carb Pulled Pork: Omit the brown sugar from the dry rub and use water to cook the pork.
How To Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork
While this is an incredibly simple recipe, if you are unfamiliar with cooking in an Instant Pot or the functions of your Instant Pot, be sure to start with How to Use an Instant Pot for the best results on this and future recipes. You will find the full recipe in detail in the recipe card below.
- Prepare the spice rub by mixing together the salt, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper together.
- Cube the pork into large chunks. This allows your pork to become SUPER tender and shred easily after pressure cooking.
- Pat the chunks of pork with a paper towel, and then liberally sprinkle the rub over the pork, massaging the rub into the pork to coat.
- Pour the juice and liquid smoke, if using, into the inner pot and then nestle the pork in the cooking liquid. It is okay if the pieces overlap.
- Cook on High Pressure for 40 minutes for a pork shoulder or pork butt or on High Pressure for 30 minutes for a pork loin roast.
- Once the cooking time has elapsed, it is very important to allow the pressure to release naturally for at least 15 minutes. If you do a quick release or pressure, your pork can become tough, making it difficult to shred.
- Place the cooked pork into a large mixing bowl and let rest for 15-20 minutes. This will help keep the meat stay super tender and juicy.
- While the pork is resting, pour the rendered cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup. You will use this liquid to flavor the shredded pulled pork and keep it super moist. Feel free to pop the cooking liquid into the freezer for 5-10 minutes, to allow the fat to solidify, making it easy to scoop and discard if desired.
- After the pork has rested, add a bit of the reserved cooking liquid, and shred or pull the pork, using two forks or a handheld mixer.
- Mix the shredded Instant Pot Pulled Pork with your favorite BBQ sauce, if desired. This meat is super flavorful without the need for added BBQ sauce.
Ways to Serve Instant Pot Pulled Pork
There are endless ways to serve pulled pork, whether as a sandwich, as a topping for pizza, in a quesadilla, or in a wrap.
- Serve Instant Pot Pulled Pork on buns and top with homemade coleslaw, and a drizzle of homemade BBQ sauce for a delicious BBQ Pork Sandwich.
- Top Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Instant Pot Sweet Potatoes with a scoop of the pulled pork and top with cheese and barbecue sauce for a delicious BBQ Pork Loaded Potato.
- Use the slow cooker pulled pork in place of the BBQ chicken in BBQ Chicken Salad, or to top pizza dough for a fun spin on pizza night.
- Use the shredded pork to make pork tacos--with or without the added bbq sauce.
- Make loaded nachos or loaded fries by topping tortilla chips or baked fries with pulled pork, cheese, and pickled jalapenos and broiling until melted.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork stores exceptionally well. You can opt to refrigerate or freeze your pulled pork once cooled to room temperature.
- Refrigerate: Allow the pulled pork to cool and then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4-5 days. Reheat it in a dry skillet over medium heat until warmed through or in a microwave-safe dish, covered with a heat-safe lid until warmed through.
- Freeze: Place cooled pulled pork into a freezer-safe bag or storage container and place it in the freezer for up to 3 months. To heat from frozen, place the frozen pulled pork in the instant pot with 1 cup of apple juice and cook on high for 10 minutes. Alternatively, thaw the pork overnight in the fridge. Once thawed, place in a microwave-safe dish and heat for-2-3 minutes per cup of pork. Add in a splash of apple juice, water, or stock to loosen up the pork if needed.
For the best results, I highly recommend cutting the pork into large chunks before pressure cooking. Not only does this speed up the cooking process and results in more tender meat, but it also allows for more surface area to be coated in the dry rub, creating more flavorful meat. If you opt to NOT cut the pork into chunks, you will need to cook on High Pressure for 40 minutes per pound if cooking a pork butt or pork shoulder, and on High Pressure for 30 minutes per pound if cooking a pork loin roast.
Yes! The beauty of using your Instant Pot is that you can cook frozen cuts of meat safely. If your frozen pork roast is already cubed, add 10 minutes to the cooking time. If your frozen pork roast is not cubed, you will need to cook for 50 minutes per pound for pork shoulder or pork butt and 40 minutes per pound for pork loin.
More Delicious Instant Pot Pork Recipes
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Instant Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
- Instant Pot Ribs
If you enjoyed this recipe for Instant Pot Pulled Pork, I would love for you to leave a comment and review below.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- 2 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
- 3 to 4 pounds pork roast (pork shoulder, pork butt, or pork loin) cut into 3-4 inch chunks
- 1-½ cups apple juice
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional
- 1-2 cups barbecue sauce optional
- In a small bowl, combine the salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, cayenne, and brown sugar together in a small bowl.
- Cut the pork roast into large chunks that are each about 3 to 4 inches in size and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Starting with half the rub, sprinkle the rub over the pork and use your hands to rub the seasoning blend evenly into the pork, adding additional rub as needed.
- Pour the apple juice and liquid smoke, if using, into the inner pot. Add in the seasoned pork.
- Place the lid on the pressure cooker, ensuring the lid is locked or the venting knob is closed. Set to cook on high pressure for 40 minutes if using pork shoulder or pork butt. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes if using a pork loin roast. To set the cooking time, hit manual or pressure cook and then use the +/- buttons to adjust the timer.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let the pressure release naturally for AT LEAST 15 minutes.
- After pressure has been released, remove the chunks of pork from the Instant Pot and place them into a large mixing bowl. Let the pork rest for 15-20 minutes before shredding.
- Pour the cooking liquid into a glass measuring cup over a fine mesh strainer. If you would like to remove some of the fat that had rendered into the cooking liquid, place the liquid into the freezer for 5-10 minutes. The fat will rise and solidify, making it easy to scoop out and discard.
- After the pork has rested, pour ¼ cup of the strained cooking liquid over the pork. Shred the pork using 2 forks, a handheld kitchen mixer on medium-low speed, or a stand mixer on low speed with a paddle attachment. Add in additional cooking liquid and/or barbecue sauce as desired.
- Serve as desired.