Make the most delicious Instant Pot Pulled Pork with this simple recipe! Using a pressure cooker makes it so easy to turn a pork butt, or pork shoulder, into juicy, tender, flavorful pulled pork in under an hour. This recipe is easy enough to make for weeknight dinners, but also perfect for a weekend bbq.

The pulled pork makes the most delicious sandwiches, but is also great on it’s own, stuffed in a baked potato or served as sliders at a party!

pulled pork sandwich on plate with french fries

Growing up in Oklahoma, I ate a lot of pulled pork sandwiches. My Grandpa or Dad would smoke a pork shoulder regularly on the weekends. There were also several bbq restaurants where I grew up, where we’d pick up pulled pork during the week.

While I am very biased towards my famous Smoked Pulled Pork recipe, I realize that not everyone has access to a smoker at home. That’s why I set out to create that same smoky, peppery flavor, and juicy, tender texture of smoked pulled pork in an Instant Pot.

The pressure cooker has long been a friend of cooking large, tougher cuts of meat and turning them into juicy, tender masterpieces in very little time. This is why I love the Instant Pot! A flavorful Beef Ragu or juicy pulled pork in under an hour just isn’t possible with any other cooking appliance.

Why you’ll love this recipe

  1. It melts in your mouth! This pulled pork is so juicy, tender and flavorful. You’ll fall in love at first bite!
  2. It’s so easy to make! There’s only a couple of hands-on steps, then the Instant Pot does the rest of the work for you!
  3. It’s so much quicker than cooking pulled pork in a slow cooker or smoker. With just 15 minutes of prep time and an hour in the Instant Pot, this recipe is made in 1/10th of the time it would take to slow cook or smoke a pork shoulder.
pulled pork ingredients on white wood board

Ingredients

  • Boneless pork butt or pork shoulder – the pork should be around 3 pounds in size, with the fat trimmed on the pork. Some fat is okay, and even good for adding flavor and texture to the pulled pork, but you don’t want a thick layer of fat on the pork, as that will make the pulled pork too fatty. For this recipe I do not recommend a pork loin or pork tenderloin. They’re the most lean cuts of pork and do not have enough fat on them to make flavorful pulled pork
  • Pulled pork rub – click the link to the left for the Texas-style pork rub that made my Smoked Pulled Pork recipe famous!  It’s a simple combination of 5 spices, and hint, it’s heavy on the black pepper, just like in Texas! It also includes plenty of coarse salt to stick on the pork, smoked paprika for that delicious smoky taste, and onion powder and garlic powder for flavor.
  • Olive oil – or any neutral flavored oil.
  • Beef broth – you could also use chicken broth, but I love the depth of flavor that comes from beef broth paired with the peppery, smoky pork.
  • Worcestershire sauce – just a tablespoon of this sauce adds a wonderful umami flavor to the pork.
  • Apple juice – this ingredient adds just a hint of sweetness. When preparing pulled pork on the smoker, I spray the pork with apple juice throughout the cooking process to keep it juicy and add a touch of sweetness. If you’d like to make this recipe sugar-free, omit the apple juice and add another 1/2 cup of beef broth.
  • BBQ sauce (optional) – if you like your pulled pork sauced, feel free to toss it in barbecue sauce after it cooks in the Instant Pot. The great thing about saucing it at the end is that those who like their pulled pork sauced (me!) can add sauce, and those who prefer it without sauce (my husband) can enjoy their pork without the sauce.

Instructions

I’ve included step by step photos below to make this recipe super easy to follow at home. For the full detailed recipe instructions and ingredient quantities, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post.

  1. Season the pork. Cut a pork shoulder, or pork butt, into large chunks. Place them in a large bowl and cover with the pulled pork rub. Use your hands, or tongs, to toss the pork in the seasoning until all of the pieces of pork are covered in the rub.
  2. Sear the pork. Press the “saute” button on the Instant Pot. Pour olive oil into the pot. Once the oil is hot, add half of the pieces of pork and sear on all sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove the pieces of pork from the Instant Pot and place them on a cutting board. Add the remaining half of the pieces of pork and sear on all sides for 2-3 minutes. Remove those pieces of pork from the Instant Pot and place them on the cutting board with the remaining pork. Add 1/4 cup beef broth to the Instant Pot. Scrape up any browned bits in the bottom of the pot. Press the “keep warm/cancel” button on the Instant Pot.
  1. Add the pork back to the Instant Pot. Place the seasoned and seared pieces of pork back in the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the liquid. Pour the remaining cup of beef broth into the Instant Pot. Add Worcestershire sauce and apple juice. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam release valve to “sealing”. Use the “manual” button on the Instant Pot and set it to high temperature for 40 minutes.
  1. Cook the pork. After the pork has cooked in the Instant Pot on high pressure for 40 minutes, allow the Instant Pot to pressure down for at least 10 minutes before releasing any of the remaining pressure and removing the lid. Use tongs to remove the pieces of pork from the Instant Pot and place them on a large cutting board.
  2. Shred the pork. Use the tongs, meat claws, two forks, or your hands to pull the pork apart. Honestly, it’s so tender, I simply use tongs to pull the pieces apart as I remove them from the Instant Pot. They basically fall apart as soon as they come out of the liquid.

The pulled pork can then be tossed back in the liquid in the Instant Pot and kept warm until ready to serve. It can also be tossed with bbq sauce and served immediately, or served immediately without any sauce.

Ways to serve pulled pork

We use a fork (or let’s be real, sometimes our fingers!) to dig directly into the pulled pork straight off the cutting board. If you want to use the pulled pork in a recipe, or have leftovers and want to toss it into meals throughout the week, here are a few different ways to use it in other dishes.

  • Sandwiches – probably the most popular way to serve pulled pork is in a sandwich. I like to serve it with coleslaw and pickles on a toasted brioche bun. You’ll see these sandwiches pictured throughout this post. My Mom loves the pulled pork tossed in bbq sauce and served directly on the toasted bun without any toppings. Both options are delicious! If you want to try something different and delicious, toss the pulled pork with White BBQ Sauce, instead of traditional bbq sauce.
  • Sliders – the perfect way to serve this Instant Pot Pulled Pork at a party is in the form of sliders. Toss the pulled pork with bbq sauce, then load it up on toasted Hawaiian rolls. Feel free to add coleslaw or pickles, or serve them without toppings to keep it simple.
  • Stuffed baked potatoes – use this air fryer baked potato recipe to make perfectly crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, baked potatoes. Fill them up with pulled pork and top them with grated cheddar cheese and a few diced green onions.
  • Stuffed sweet potatoes – one of my favorite dishes I’ve ever had is the “hot mess” at Pecan Lodge in Texas. It’s a giant sweet potato, filled with smoked beef and pork, cheese, chipotle cream, butter, bacon and green onions. To make it at home, follow my instructions for how to cook sweet potatoes in the oven, air fryer or microwave. Fill the cooked sweet potatoes with the Instant Pot Pulled Pork. Top with shredded cheddar jack cheese, bacon bits, and diced green onions. Finish it with a drizzle of chipotle cream sauce.
  • Pulled Pork Mac and Cheese – if you’ve ever been to the midwest or south, I guarantee that you’ve seen this on a menu! Whenever we have leftover pulled pork, I like to substitute the chicken for pulled pork in this BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese recipe, or add the pork to this basic Mac and Cheese recipe.
  • Pulled Pork Nachos – use the pulled pork to make the Ultimate Pulled Pork Nachos. They’re perfect for game day!
  • Tacos – pile the pork up in warm tortillas with slaw or roasted corn salsa. Add a drizzle of this creamy chipotle sauce, for some seriously delicious tacos!
pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw and pickles on plate

Pro tips

  • I always recommend using a 3-4 pound pork shoulder, or pork butt, for this recipe. Anything larger than 4 pounds will be hard to fit in a standard 6 quart Instant Pot, which is what I use to make this recipe.
  • You can pull the pork directly in the Instant Pot. I find it easier to shred it on a cutting board, but if you want to save on dishes (which I totally understand!) simply stick two forks in the pot and shred it right in there! You can also use a hand mixer to shred the pork directly in the Instant Pot. I only recommend this when pressure cooking 2 pounds of pork, or less. Otherwise you can end up splashing hot broth out of the Instant Pot.
  • You can cook frozen pork in the Instant Pot. If you’re planning to make this recipe at a later date with frozen pork, be sure to cut the pork into large pieces before placing it in a freezer-safe bag and into the freezer. This way, you can still sear the outside of the pork before pressure cooking it to give it extra flavor. If using frozen pork for this recipe, increase the cook time from 40 minutes, up to 45 minutes.
  • One pound of boneless pork will give you approximately 2 cups of pulled pork. Using this measurement means you’ll end up with approximately 6 cups of pulled pork if you’re using a 3 pound boneless pork shoulder. I like to use about 3/4 cup of pulled pork on a sandwich. Using this measurement means that this recipe will make approximately 8 sandwiches.
  • To add even more smoky flavor to the pork and give it more of a smoked pork shoulder taste, add 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to the Instant Pot with the beef broth and Worcestershire sauce.

What’s the difference between a pork shoulder and pork butt?

The name “pork butt” is confusing because this cut of pork does not actually come from the rear end of the pig. Actually a pork butt and pork shoulder both come from the shoulder of the pig. They can be used interchangeably in this recipe, but a boneless pork butt is the best cut of pork for this recipe.

A pork butt has more fat and marbling than a pork shoulder. This means that more fat will cook down into the meat, making it juicier and more flavorful. A pork shoulder might also be sold with the skin on, which you don’t want for this recipe.

When picking out a pork shoulder or butt at the grocery store, make sure the fat cap is intact, but there is no skin on the pork. You can purchase a bone-in or boneless pork butt, but I highly recommend buying a boneless pork butt whenever possible.

When shopping for your pork, note that a pork butt may also be called a “boston butt”. And a pork shoulder may be called a “picnic shoulder” or “picnic roast”.

Storage and reheating

Cooked pulled pork will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the pulled pork in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

To reheat leftover pulled pork from the refrigerator, you can use the microwave, oven or stove.

  • To reheat the leftover pork in the microwave, place it on a plate and cover with a wet paper towel. Microwave for 2 minutes. The wet paper towel will help keep the pork moist.
  • To reheat the pork in the oven, mix it with a little apple juice, water or chicken broth to add moisture. Place it in an oven-safe dish and pop it in a 325°F oven for 20-30 minutes.
  • To reheat on the stove, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork with a little apple juice, water or chicken broth to add moisture. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • To reheat frozen pulled pork, first thaw the pork in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Reheat it in the microwave, on the stove or in the oven, using the instructions above.
pulled pork in a bowl with large serving fork

What to serve with pulled pork

Throw an epic BBQ anytime of the year by pairing this Instant Pot Pulled Pork with any of these delicious side dishes!

pulled pork sandwich on a plate with french fries
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Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Make the most delicious Instant Pot Pulled Pork with this simple recipe! Using a pressure cooker makes it so easy to turn a pork butt, or pork shoulder, into juicy, tender, flavorful pulled pork in under an hour. This recipe is easy enough to make for weeknight dinners, but also perfect for a weekend bbq. The pulled pork makes the most delicious sandwiches, but is also great on it's own, stuffed in a baked potato or served as sliders at a party!

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut the pork shoulder, or pork butt, into large pieces.
  • Place the pieces of pork in a large bowl and sprinkle the pulled pork rub over the pork.
  • Toss the pieces of pork with the pork rub until they're fully covered, then set the pork aside.
  • Add the olive oil to an Instant Pot, turn on the “saute” function on the Instant Pot.
  • Once the oil is hot, add half of the pieces of pork and brown them on all sides for 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove the pork and place it on a large cutting board.
  • Add the other half of the pieces of pork and brown for 2-3 minutes on all sides.
  • Remove the pork from the Instant Pot and add to the cutting board with the remaining pork.
  • Add ¼ cup beef broth to the Instant Pot and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot.
  • Press the “keep warm/cancel” button on the Instant Pot.
  • Place the pieces of pork back into the Instant Pot.
  • Add the remaining cup of beef broth, worcestershire sauce and the apple juice.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to “sealing”.
  • Cook the pork on manual high heat for 40 minutes.
  • Allow the Instant Pot to pressure down for 10 minutes, before releasing any remaining pressure and removing the lid.
  • Use tongs to remove the pork from the Instant Pot, place it on a cutting board and shred.
  • Add it back to the Instant Pot with the liquid and keep it warm until ready to serve, or toss it with the bbq sauce (if desired) and serve immediately. The pork can be served sauced, or without sauce.
  • Serve as sandwiches, sliders, tacos, in baked potatoes, or baked sweet potatoes. See the blog post above for additional serving suggestions.

Video

Notes

  • The nutritional information provided does not include the optional bbq sauce. One serving equals approximately 3/4 cup of cooked pulled pork.
  • I always recommend using a 3-4 pound pork shoulder, or pork butt, for this recipe. Anything larger than 4 pounds will be hard to fit in a standard 6 quart Instant Pot, which is what I use to make this recipe.
  • One pound of boneless pork will give you approximately 2 cups of pulled pork. Using this measurement means you’ll end up with approximately 6 cups of pulled pork if you’re using a 3 pound boneless pork shoulder. I like to use about 3/4 cup of pulled pork on a sandwich. Using this measurement means that this recipe will make approximately 8 sandwiches.
  • You can cook frozen pork in the Instant Pot. If you’re planning to make this recipe at a later date with frozen pork, be sure to cut the pork into large pieces before placing it in a freezer-safe bag and into the freezer. This way, you can still sear the outside of the pork before pressure cooking it to give it extra flavor. If using frozen pork for this recipe, increase the cook time from 40 minutes, up to 45 minutes.
  • Cooked pulled pork will stay good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the pulled pork in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
  • To reheat leftover pulled pork from the refrigerator, you can use the microwave, oven or stove.

Nutrition Facts

Calories 274kcal (14%)Carbohydrates 4g (1%)Protein 33g (66%)Fat 13g (20%)Saturated Fat 4g (20%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0.1gCholesterol 102mg (34%)Sodium 1216mg (51%)Potassium 667mg (19%)Fiber 1g (4%)Sugar 2g (2%)Vitamin A 148mg (3%)Vitamin C 1mg (1%)Calcium 41mg (4%)Iron 3mg (17%)
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