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Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

This Instant Pot pulled pork is one of my family’s favourite meals! Tender, shredded pork that is full of flavour is piled on a soft roll with homemade coleslaw. It’s so good!

We are completely and totally obsessed with this Instant Pot pulled pork. 

Easy to make BBQ pulled pork

I’ve made it at least 3 times in the last month, currently have another pork shoulder prepped in the freezer to make it again, and we are not even a little bit sick of it. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I heard cheering from the kids last week when it made yet another appearance at the dinner table.

We’re fighting over the leftovers here.

Instant Pot BBQ pulled pork

That’s how good this Instant pot pulled pork is.

And the best part? It is so simple to make that there’s really no reason why you can’t be having pulled pork for dinner in the very near future. With the leftovers for lunch the next day.

I first had a version of this pulled pork when visiting family about a year ago, and my cousin’s husband made it for dinner. It was hands down the best pulled pork I’d ever had so of course I immediately started harassing him for the recipe.

Instant pot pulled pork

This Instant Pot pulled pork recipe is very similar to his. I used the spice rub he gave me, and adapted the rest of the instructions to work for me. Mostly that’s because I don’t have a smoker which is how he cooked it, and I just wanted it to be a quicker process. 

Now I haven’t had this at the same time as his, and chances are smoking the meat and then slow cooking it for 12 hours is better then tossing it into the Instant Pot for just one hour, but…..this way is faster.

And it’s still some of the best pulled pork I’ve ever had! 

Easy BBQ pulled pork

Can you freeze pulled pork?

Yes you can freeze pulled pork. I do this all the time.

Making a larger batch is no harder then a smaller one, so if your Instant Pot is big enough you can double the recipe and freeze half for a future meal. Or if you are only cooking for 1-2 people instead of 4-6, make the full recipe anyways and freeze half.

To freeze pulled pork, prepare the recipe as directed, let the meat cool completely, and then transfer it to a large freezer bag or an airtight container to freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat it, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and reheat on low in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours, or on low heat in the microwave.

Easy, freezable, make ahead BBQ pulled pork in the slow cooker or Instant Pot.

What is the best cut of meat for pulled pork? 

A pork shoulder (also called pork butt) is the best cut of meat to use for making pulled pork. I wouldn’t recommend using a leaner cut of meat such as a pork loin roast, as the pulled pork won’t be as tender, and will likely be a bit dry when cooked this way. 

Instant Pot Pulled pork

What is the best bottled BBQ sauce for pulled pork?

Use your favourite bottled BBQ sauce here! We like PC’s Gourmet BBQ sauce, but whatever sauce is your favourite, use that. I’ve also tried this homemade BBQ sauce recipe and it’s fantastic if you feel like making your own. 

Easy pulled pork in the Instant Pot or the slow cooker

How to make Instant Pot Pulled Pork:

  • You can make this Instant Pot pulled pork with fresh or frozen meat. I like to buy the pack of two pork shoulder roasts at Costco, prepare both of them with the rub, and freeze one for later. It can then either be thawed and used, or cooked right from frozen in the Instant Pot. 
  • I use an 8 Quart Duo Instant Pot for this recipe. The same size pork shoulder should fit in a 6 quart Instant Pot just fine as mine wasn’t close to full. Just make sure that whatever size you’re using your Instant Pot is not filled past the 2/3 fill line for pressure cooking.
  • We like this pulled pork served on dinner rolls with this homemade coleslaw.
  • The leftovers can be frozen for another night, or kept in the fridge for 4-5 days. They reheat very well on low in the microwave. My kids also like it as a cold sandwich for their lunch the next day.
  • If you prefer, this can also be made in the slow cooker – Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Here are some more great pork recipes for you:

Yield: serves 8

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Easy pulled pork on a bun with coleslaw

This Instant Pot pulled pork is one of my family's favourite meals! Tender, shredded pork that is full of flavour makes the perfect easy dinner!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Chilling Time 12 hours
Total Time 13 hours 15 minutes


  • 3-4 pound (1.5-2 kg) pork shoulder roast
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 4 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons coarse black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup root beer, coke, or pepsi
  • 1 cup BBQ sauce (plus another 1 - 1 1/2 cups for tossing with the meat and serving)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar


  1. Cut the pork shoulder roast into 3-4 inch chunks, trimming any large pieces of fat off.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar, salt, paprika, black pepper, cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.
  3. Rub this spice mixture into the pork, coating the pieces on all sides.
  4. Place the seasoned meat in a large ziplock bag or in a covered dish and refrigerate overnight.
  5. The next day, pour the root beer (or Coke or Pepsi) into the insert of the Instant Pot and add the pork.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 cup of BBQ sauce, the apple cider vinegar, and the brown sugar.
  7. Pour this sauce over top of the pork in the Instant Pot.
  8. Put the lid on and turn it to the locking position. Make sure the vent is in the sealing position.
  9. Set the Instant Pot to cook at high pressure for 18 minutes per pound of pork that you are cooking. So cook a 3 pound roast for 54 minutes, a 4 pound roast for 1 hour 12 minutes.
  10. When the cooking time is complete, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes and then quick release the rest of the pressure.
  11. Remove the meat to a cutting board and shred it with two forks, removing any large pieces of fat. It should shred very easily, if it doesn’t put it back in the Instant Pot and cook for another 5-10 minutes. The pot will come to pressure more quickly the second time.
  12. Add about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid to the shredded meat, along with 1/2 - 1 cup more BBQ sauce and toss it to combine everything. Add more cooking liquid or BBQ sauce until the pulled pork is as saucy as you like.
  13. Serve the pulled pork on dinner rolls with coleslaw.


You can prep this pulled pork ahead of time by cutting up the pork shoulder and coating it in the rub, and then freezing it until you want to use it. When you go to cook it, either defrost it in the fridge for 1-2 days and then proceed with the recipe, or cook it from frozen. If you are cooking from frozen, you will need to increase the cooking time to 27 minutes per pound of meat.

You can find the slow cooker version of this recipe here: Slow Cooker Pulled Pork.

Source: Adapted from my cousin's recipe (thanks Steve and Danae!).

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 297Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 51mgSodium: 2384mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 1gSugar: 38gProtein: 13g

Nutrition Information is estimated based on ingredients used and may not be exact.

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