Instant Pot Pulled Pork
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe makes the best BBQ pulled pork! The shredded pork is unbelievably tender, with a flavorful pulled pork rub and cooked in a delicious sauce. It’s perfect for making pulled pork sandwiches!
Pulled pork is one of my family’s favorite meals. Who can resist BBQ shredded pork served on a soft toasted bun?
You will especially love this quick and easy pulled pork recipe because the Instant Pot makes the most tender pulled pork in a fraction of the time. You won’t believe how easy it is to shred the pork after it pressure cooks! The same is true of these Instant Pot carnitas, another of our favorite Instant Pot pork recipes.
This Instant Pot Pulled Pork is saucy, flavorful and melt in your mouth tender. Try it with my brioche bun recipe and some coleslaw for the most delicious pulled pork sandwich.
For a make ahead meal, try my slow cooker pulled pork recipe.
What is the best cut of pork for pulled pork?
The best cut of pork for pulled pork is a boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, also called Boston butt. These cuts of pork have plenty of fat marbled throughout for flavor, and they become fall apart tender after pressure cooking.
You can also use a pork loin to make pulled pork. I have tested this recipe both with pork shoulder and with pork tenderloin. My family enjoyed the pulled pork made with both cuts of meat. A pork shoulder or pork butt creates a slightly more flavorful pulled pork because it is a fattier cut of meat. Pork tenderloin makes a healthier pulled pork because it is a leaner cut of meat.
How to cook pulled pork in the Instant Pot
There are a few simple steps to making the best Instant Pot pulled pork.
Pulled Pork Rub
Delicious pulled pork starts with the best pulled pork rub. I use a variation of my favorite pork rub recipe. It’s a combination of spices, seasonings and brown sugar, all of which you probably have in your kitchen.
Cut the pork into four pieces and trim off any excess fat. Rub the spice rub onto all sides of the pieces of pork. At this point, you can continue with the recipe and cook your pork, or you can wrap the meat tightly and refrigerate it for up to one day. The rub will act as a marinade and flavor the pork as it rests.
Now, it’s time to add another layer of flavor! Using the sauté function of your Instant Pot, brown the pieces of pork on all sides. Before adding the pork to the pot, pour in some olive oil and wait for the pot to get hot so that you get a good sear. You may need to brown the pork in batches if it won’t all fit on the bottom of the pot at once. Remove the browned pork to a clean plate.
Pulled Pork Sauce
You can mix up the sauce for the pulled pork right in the Instant Pot. First, pour about half a cup of chicken broth into the pot and use a spatula to scrape up any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. This step is important to prevent bits from burning on the bottom of the pot.
Next add the rest of the broth and some barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and brown sugar or honey. You can use store-bought BBQ sauce or my homemade BBQ sauce. Stir well and then nestle the pork into the sauce.
Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork
Pressure cook the pork for 60 minutes on high pressure. If you are using pork tenderloin, cook it for 45 minutes on high pressure. When the cook time ends, let the Instant Pot sit for 15 minutes to naturally release most of the pressure. A natural release makes the meat more tender, and the pork will continue to cook during this time.
After 15 minutes, carefully turn the steam valve to venting and allow the rest of the steam and pressure to escape. Carefully open the lid of your Instant Pot and shred the pork. If desired, you can thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry. See the full recipe with ingredients and instructions in the recipe card at the end of this post.
What to Serve with Pulled Pork
- Serve pulled pork on hamburger buns, with coleslaw if desired. On the side, try sweet potato fries, fruit salad, Instant Pot potato salad or macaroni salad.
- Try it on top of nachos or rice.
- Pulled pork is also delicious served in tortillas or lettuce wraps.
- Shredded pork is a great way to add protein to a salad.
Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe Tips:
- We like to toast the burger buns before serving with the pulled pork.
- Leftover pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. The cooked pulled pork can also be frozen for up to 2 months, wrapped airtight.
- To reheat pulled pork, heat the pork and sauce together, covered, in a saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. Or, you may place the pork and sauce in a microwave-safe dish and warm in your microwave.
More Instant Pot Recipes to Love:
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
For the spice rub:
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder/pork butt*
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 cup barbecue sauce, plus more for serving
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey, or brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon water
- 8 burger buns, for serving, toasted if desired
- In a small bowl, stir together all spice rub ingredients until well combined.
- Cut the pork into 4 pieces and trim off excess fat. Rub the pork on all sides with the spice rub.
- Pour olive oil into Instant Pot insert and turn it on saute mode. When the pot is hot, place the pork in the Instant Pot and brown on all sides. You may need to do this in two batches. Transfer the browned pork to a clean plate.
- Turn off Instant Pot. Pour about half of the chicken broth into the pot and use a rubber spatula to scrape up any browned bits off of the bottom of the pot. Add the rest of the broth, the barbecue sauce, apple cider vinegar and honey (or brown sugar). Stir to combine.
- Return the pork to the Instant Pot. Close the lid. Turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot to pressure cook at high pressure for 60 minutes.
- The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to pressurize and then the cook time will begin. When the cook time is done, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone). Then, quick release any remaining pressure by carefully turning the steam release valve to the venting position (use either the handle of a long spoon or a potholder to turn the valve).
- Transfer pork to a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, stir together cornstarch and water until dissolved. Stir the cornstarch mixture into the sauce in the Instant Pot. Turn the Instant Pot on saute and cook the sauce, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 4-5 minutes. Turn off the Instant Pot.
- Meanwhile, use two forks to shred the pork. Stir it back into the thickened sauce. Serve pork on burger buns topped with additional barbecue sauce, if desired.
- To make this recipe using pork tenderloin, reduce the cooking time to 45 minutes at high pressure. You do not need to cut the tenderloin into smaller pieces.
- Leftover pulled pork can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat on the stove, with some of the sauce, or in the microwave.
- To freeze pulled pork: Freeze the meat in some of the sauce, sealed airtight, in a container that is just big enough for the pork and sauce. If there is too much air space around the meat it is more likely to get freezer burn. Pork may be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost the pulled pork overnight in the refrigerator and then gently warm the pork and sauce together, covered, in a saucepan over low heat.
- Nutrition information is for pulled pork only, not including burger buns.
Great BBQ sandwiches! Thank you for sharing!!
That looks like an amazing recipe Kristine! Especially considering the time taken to prepare pulled pork! Agree with you, any fatty cut is great for pulled pork. Less fat often means that your pork would end up being dry.
This was amazing. Best pulled pork we’ve ever made
Well worth the effort!
Thank you Kristine
Great recipe and very good instructions. Thank you!!
This recipe was wonderful. I used a pork loin and I would definitely do that again. Love this one!
This was so good! I made it just like the recipe said. My only difference was that I doubled the recipe because I was cooking for a crowd. It just barely fit in my 6 Qt. Instant Pot and it was
fantastic! Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely make this again.
Can I adjust this recipe for a crockpot? Thanks!
I would recommend trying my slow cooker pulled pork recipe.
If I just have 2 lbs of pork loin, how long will the cook time be?
I would keep the cook time the same, but only cut your 2 pound piece of pork into 2 or 3 pieces instead of the 4 pieces stated in the recipe. Enjoy!
Thank you for this recipe! It’s perfect! I used Heinz Carolina mustard bbq sauce the first time, and a new one called Famous Dave’s devil spit bbq sauce. I can’t tell you which was better because they didn’t last long enough either time for a second taste. The family killed the sandwiches in 15 minutes both times. For real!
Thank you again!
This was perfect! I used a tenderloin and followed the above directions exactly. It came out moist and tasty. Definitely making this again!
I have a 1.5 pound pork tenderloin. Do I still cook it for 45 mins like I would a 3 pound tenderloin?
Pork tenderloin are usually smaller than pork shoulder/butt and so they won’t be 3 pounds. When I tested this recipe with pork tenderloin (about 1.5 pounds), I cooked it for 45 minutes and it worked well. With that being said, you could probably cook it for 30 minutes and it would still be fall-apart tender.
I have a bone-in pork shoulder. Will that work?
You can definitely make this with a bone-in pork shoulder, but you would probably need to increase the cook time if you can’t cut it into 4 pieces and the bone may also make it take longer to cook. If you are able to, I would try to cut it into pieces working around the bone.
I just made this last night with a bone-in shoulder. Cut it into 4/5 pieces and left the bone in one of the pieces to add extra flavor to the sauce.
I cooked for the amount of time stated in the recipe and it was still fall-apart tender!
Delicious! I used pork tenderloin and the 45 minutes were perfect. The only step I skipped was the sautéing, not my favorite thing to do, and it was still flavorful and moist. Thank you, yummy
Hi, can I use a pork loin roast to make this and if so, how much cooking time will it require?
Thanks in advance!
You can, but it may be a bit less tender than pulled pork made with pork shoulder/pork butt because a pork loin roast is leaner. I would cut it into 4 pieces as directed in the recipe and keep the cook time the same.
I used pork tenderloin for 45 minutes and it came out great!
I have a 7.5 pound pork butt. Do you know how much I would have to increase the cooking time?
I would cut it into 7 pieces, instead of 3 or 4. This way, the individual pieces of meat will be about the same size as in the original recipe. The pot may take longer to come to pressure since it will be more full, but you should be able to keep the cook time the same.
Hi! I’m using a pork sirloin. Should I do the 45 mins like a tenderloin? Thank you!
It depends on the size of your pork sirloin. If it’s only 1-2 pounds 45 minutes should work. If it’s bigger I would use the full 60 minute cook time but keep the pork sirloin whole, rather than cutting it as you would a pork shoulder. Since a pork sirloin is leaner than pork shoulder/butt it will not be as tender as pulled pork made with pork shoulder.
This was really good, thank you for sharing. We prefer a spicier, less sweet sauce, so I added one-half teaspoon cayenne to the rub, and reduced the honey to only one tablespoon. We were very pleased with the flavor.
Cooked for the time suggested. Was still bleeding in the middle. Not even close to done.
Hi Kristy, It sounds like your Instant Pot didn’t pressurize and cook properly. If you cut the 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder/pork butt into 4 pieces and pressure cook it on high pressure for 60 minutes (as directed in the recipe) it will be fall apart tender and fully cooked. When cooking with the Instant Pot, always make sure that the sealing ring is fitted in place properly, the steam release valve is set to the sealing position, and make sure that the pin pops up once the pot starts the cook time countdown. I’ve occasionally had the problem where the cook time started counting down but the pin hadn’t popped up so the pot wasn’t pressurized (and thus wouldn’t cook properly). Hope this helps!
So good! My husband said this was his favorite of all the pulled pork recipes I’ve tried. I halved the recipe, and love that your site setup makes that easy. Thanks for sharing it!
Can you put the roast in frozen
Yes, but the cook time will be longer. This recipe calls for cutting the meat into 3 to 4 pieces so it will cook to fall apart tender in 60 minutes. If your meat is frozen and in one large piece, the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your roast. I have not tested this but I would add 15 more minutes to the cook time and thermometer it after the 75 minutes to check for an internal temperature of 190F+ and do a second pressure cook if it is not fully cooked.
Way to much liquid had to serve over rice instead. But flavor is amazing.
Next time, you can stir just some of the liquid into the shredded meat, rather than using all of it. 🙂
Hello, this recipe sounds delicious! would I need to adjust the cooking time for a 2.5 lb pork butt?
If you cut a 2 to 2.5 pound pork butt into 2 equal pieces it should work well with the regular recipe cook time.
It worked perfectly! Absolutely delicious and fall apart tender. Thank you!
I made it with the pork tenderloin. The best pulled pork we’ve ever had. My family only wants this recipe now. It was so moist.
Definitely wanna give this recipe a try! However, my pork butt is is cut into smaller pieces rather than 3 or 4 big pieces. Will that change anything ??
Depending on how small the pieces are, you probably want to decrease the cook time some.
This is DELICIOUS!!!! The pulled pork was so tender and flavorful. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe!
Can I make this in my 3 quart instant pot (4 servings, not the full 8) or do I need to use a 6 quart?
If you use only two pounds of pork and cut it into two pieces that fit into your 3 quart Instant Pot it should work fine.
This was a great recipe! I had a 7.5 lb bone-in pork shoulder and I cut around the bone in chunks and did not cook with the bone. I did have some issues with the spice rub getting burnt onto the bottom of the instant pot during the saute stage but then scrubbed it down and put the pork back in. This made for a super tender, flavorful meal!
Super flavorful and delicious. I don’t usually make pork recipes, but this one was easy to follow and detailed! Everything turned out great and used the pork for nachos. The only difference is I used pork tenderloin on high for 40 minutes, and it work fine. Thanks for sharing!
My family loved this recipie. It’s a keeper.
I made this and it was super easy and delish. I made just a few tweaks…
I didn’t sear the pork first and think I’ll continue to skip this step next time.
I also used a gravy separator with the juice to remove excess fat. Put the juices back in the pot and then used the cornstarch to thicken.
Overall, great recipe and easy. Thanks for sharing!
Wait. You don’t really mean using a pork tenderloin to make pulled pork, right? A loin, maybe, but even that’s a stretch. Using a pork shoulder, though, the recipe is perfect.
I agree with you that pulled pork is best made with pork shoulder/pork butt. In a pinch a tenderloin can be used but it’s better suited to other types of cooking, such as this Honey Garlic Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin. 🙂
Excellent recipe, delicious! I would probably add less vinegar & spicy spices next time, but the flavor & timing on the IP were perfect. It really fell apart on it’s own! Thank you!
I have made this several times in my Instant Pot. The recipe is so easy to make and my grandson Braden ask me, Gramps, can you make me some of your pulled pork. Needless to say he is absolutely in heaven when I call him to come over for sandwiches.
Thanks for sharing!
Awesome! Lip smacking good.
Pulled Pork in Instant Pork was perfect. I am 78 and consider myself an excellent baker and cook, but I had not use the Instant Pot often. After reading your recipes on line for both slow cooker and Instant Pot I thought I would give it a try. You do know your stuff! I give you 10 stars! Thanks for the excellent advice in the recipe.
I’m so glad this turned out well for you! Thank you for your kind words! I’m happy that I could help. 🙂
This turned out perfect in my 3qt pot! I used 2lbs pork tenderloin and cooked it for 45 minutes. I chopped it into 6 pieces so I only let it naturally release for 10 minutes. Cut all the ingredients in half except for the broth and cornstarch slurry. Needless to say but I made my man very happy tonight!
Excellent! I’m low carb so just left out the cornstarch and used no sugar bbq sauce. It was super yummy!!!
Does the brown sugar burn when sautéing?
No, it just caramelizes on the outside of the pork.
Can you make this in the morning and keep on “keep warm” in the insta pot? I want to make it in the morning and keep it warm and not serve until dinner? Thanks in advance
Hi Ashley, I wouldn’t recommend keeping this on keep warm for more than 2 hours. For food safety, foods should be refrigerated within two hours of cooking. You could make it in the morning and refrigerate it and then warm it back up at dinner time.
Can I substitute the chicken broth for an equal amount of root beer? Or do you not recommend using it because it’s carbonated.
I haven’t tried that substitution. I have seen some Instant Pot pulled pork recipes that call for adding Dr. Pepper, though.
I tried cooking this per the recipe: made the rub, browned the meat, added the liquids… put my pressure cooker on high pressure for one hour, then let it sit off for 20min, and then took the meat out to shred it – the meat was very tough and chewy, and didn’t shred at all.
I don’t know what went wrong. 🙁 It smelled great. I didn’t know if it was safe (or even pleasant) to eat so sadly tossed it. I’d like to try again – suggestions on how to improve the end result??
Sorry this didn’t turn out for you. Instant Pot cook times can vary significantly depending on the thickness of the cut of meat you use which is why this recipe calls for a specific size, 3-4 lbs and cutting the meat into several smaller chunks. If you used a larger cut of pork or didn’t cut it into smaller pieces then it won’t be cooked to falling apart tender in the recipe time.
What if I wanted to try this but had family members that did not like BBQ sauce? I would want to just do this and those that wanted could add their BBQ sauce after it was done. What if anything would i replace the BBQ sauce during cooking time? Thanks in advance!
You can just leave out the BBQ sauce from the recipe. It will lose some flavor though.
What, if anything, can I use to substitute the chicken broth? I am making this vegetarian with jack fruit instead of the pork, and chicken broth violates vegetarianism or so I’ve heard. This recipe is easy and delicious using pork. I made it for 2 of us that aren’t vegetarian. So good, in fact, that I want to surprise the vegetarian with a version he can actually eat. Thank you! ❤
Hi Judy, I am happy to hear that you have enjoyed this recipe as written. You can substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth. I believe you would have to make other modifications to this recipe to use jackfruit instead of pork, especially regarding the cook time. I’d recommend doing some research on how to make jackfruit “pulled pork” in the Instant Pot and go from there. Good luck!
I’m a very experienced cook but new to Instant Pot cooking, and this was only the 3rd recipe I’ve tried. Pulled pork is one of my favorite meals, and this was better than anything I’ve made in a slow cooker. The spice rub and searing made it perfect! Time for me to look at the rest of your recipes now!
A great and easy recipe. I made a couple months back. My husband loved it. I am making it again now. Only I did take the sauce out before I put the meat back in. I put it in slowly and did not use it all, probably used about half if it . Anyway it was great. Erin
Great recipe! I’ve made this twice within the last couple weeks and it’s turned out flavorful and perfectly both times. Will definitely continue to use this recipe!
I had cooked a 4 lb pork shoulder in my green egg and the meat came out very tough so I’m going to try and cook it in the instant pot need to hear your Opinion should I cook it for an hour or not
Hi Jim, This recipe calls for a 3-4 pound pork shoulder, to be cut into 4 pieces before cooking. You should be able to follow the directions in this recipe to cook the 4 pound pork shoulder to tender.
How would you cook this if the Pork was Frozen?
Hi Mark, I have not tested this with frozen pork, but here is what I would try. This recipe calls for cutting the meat into 3 to 4 pieces so it will cook to fall apart tender in 60 minutes. If your meat is frozen and in one large piece, the cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your roast. I have not tested this but I would add 15 more minutes to the cook time and thermometer it after the 75 minutes to check for an internal temperature of 190F+ and do a second pressure cook if it is not fully cooked.
Hopefully I didn’t ruin it, I put all the wet ingredients in the instant pot including the cornstarch and water…I thought the rest of the ingredients went in at that point. LOL! Then I read the rest of the directions and saw that is done after it’s done cooking. Fingers crossed it turns out okay.
My family loves this recipe. It’s so good and flavorful. The cooked sauce is tasty as is so we keep the sauce “au ju”. The last time I made this my mother in law hadn’t thawed the pork all the way (it was only thawed about a 1cm around but I cut it into pieces and everything was still delicious and pulled apart very easily. Thank you so much for a delicious recipe.
Great recipe. Simple to do and best homemade pulled pork we have made. Will definitely use this recipe again.
If you have leftovers makes beautiful pizza in wood fired pizza oven. Thanks for recipe.
Hi! I have an 8lb shoulder roast. Is it ok to stack the pork on top of each other? I know it won’t all fit in my insta pot. Without having to stack on top of each other, or do you recommend I do batches instead? Thx you!
Yes, it is fine if the pork is stacked on top of each other. Enjoy!
Just made it, it was wonderful. Thank you for sharing
This the best pulled pork I have ever done,
I give this 8 stars
Absolutely delicious! The directions made this recipe easy to follow, giving perfect results. This will definitely be a family favorite.
have not tried but for now I’m giving 5 stars for how you answer people’s questions…. 5 star thank you
This was absolutely delicious!!!! I used a lot of the spice rub. As much as I could pat into the meat. My 3-4 lb. pork butt had a bone in it so I left it whole but still cooked for 60 minutes and then let it sit the 20 minute before releasing. It read 195° on instant read thermometer. It was tender and juicy. Next time I might cook an extra 5 minutes for that fall off the bone tenderness. This is my favorite pulled pork! Thank you for sharing it!!
Hello, can i make this recipe in an 8 quart instant pot?
Yes, I’ve made this in my 8 quart pot and it works perfect! Enjoy!
Excellent recipe! It was a little spicy but my 3 y/o niece was the one helping me measure out the spices so she could have been a little heavy handed on the spice 🙈.
My husband has said it has ruined all other pulled pork he would get else where!
I freakin nailed it with this recipe! I used a smokey paprika and it made it even better. Best pulled pork I’ve ever made.
I’ve made your recipe once and it was delicious!!! I was wondering what do to when I double the meat portion?
Double sauce right? But what about cook time?
Thank you! Warmly Jasmin
To make a double recipe, double all of the sauce ingredients but keep the cook time the same. I’m glad you enjoyed the pulled pork!
Wow, taste like a 5 star restaurant recipe! Will make this again.
If I’m using a 7lb pork shoulder would I increase the cooking time?
I would recommend cutting it into 7 pieces instead of 4 and keep the cook time the same. Enjoy!
Outstanding recipe and so easy! Definitely a keeper recipe!! Thank you!
This was so so good. I used Tenderloin and it was perfect. The flavors were so right on! My family is coming this week from Canada. I haven’t seen them for a year, and the first night they’re here, we’re having this recipe.
My husband was craving pulled pork sandwiches today and our favorite spot closes on Mondays and Tuesdays, so I decided to search for a good recipe. This recipe did not disappoint! It was amazing! 😍
Delicious and wicked easy! I used an 8lb shoulder cut into 5. Left the bone in for extra flavour. Rubbed it and then browned on the BBQ before throwing it in the Instant Pot.
Amazing – my husband said the best pulled pork he’s ever had. And easy!
This turned out great. Lots of flavour! Very easy to make. I used a pork loin (only because that’s what I had), still worked quite well. I will make this again!
My family and I loved this and will be making it often!