Instant Pot pulled pork


  • Prep Time25 mins
  • Total Time1 hr 55 mins
  • Makes12 servings
Instant Pot pulled pork

Photo: Roberto Caruso

Pulled pork normally takes up to eight hours of slow-cooking to get that tender, pull-apart texture. With the Instant Pot, it takes just 45 minutes.


  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika

  • 2 tbsp ground cumin

  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp pepper

  • 1 large pork shoulder, (about 1.75 kg)

  • 3 tbsp canola oil, divided

  • 1 onion, chopped (about 1 cup)

  • 1 carrot, chopped (about 1/2 cup)

  • 1 celery stalk, chopped (about 1/3 cup)

  • 5 clove garlic, minced

  • 3 tbsp tomato paste

  • 2 bay leaves

BBQ Sauce

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • 3/4 cup ketchup

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard

  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar


  • Press Sauté button, on Normal. Combine paprika, cumin, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Cut pork into 4 pieces, then coat all sides with spice mixture. Reserve remaining spice mixture. Add 2 tbsp oil to the Instant Pot. Cook 2 pieces of pork, browning meat on all sides, about 2 min per side, then return to bowl. Add remaining 1 tbsp oil to pot and repeat with remaining pork.

  • Add onion, carrot, celery and garlic to the Instant Pot; cook until softened, about 3 min. Stir in tomato paste and any leftover spice mixture and cook, 1 min. Stir in 1/4 cup water, then scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Add bay leaves, pork and any juices.

  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot. Close the pressure-release valve. Press Manual Pressure Cook button, on High, and set for 45 min (will take about 10 min to come to pressure). When cooking finishes, let stand, untouched, for 15 min (to allow some steam to release naturally), then open the pressure-release valve to depressurize, about 1 min.

  • Remove pork to a plate. Strain liquid into a measuring cup, discarding solids. Let fat separate, about 5 min, then spoon fat off the top and discard. Return liquid to the Instant Pot. Press Sauté button, on Normal, and bring sauce to a simmer. Stir cornstarch with 2 tbsp water in a small bowl, then add to the Instant Pot and cook until slightly thickened, 2 to 3 min. Add ketchup, vinegar, Dijon and sugar; cook until sugar is dissolved and sauce is thickened, about 2 min. Meanwhile, break pork into small chunks or shred with forks. Add pork to sauce and stir to coat.

  • Serve in sandwiches, tacos or grain bowls.

Nutrition (per serving)

Calories 234, Protein 25g, Carbohydrates 13g, Fat 9g, Fibre 2g, Sodium 579mg.


Place cooled pulled pork in a large freezer bag, spread in a thin layer and lay flat to freeze (up to two months). Thaw quickly in a sink of water or overnight in the fridge.

Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Whisk 1/4 cup mayo, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp honey and pinch salt in a large bowl. Add 4 cups store- bought coleslaw mix and toss to coat. Lightly toast 4 burger buns, then fill each with 1/2 cup warmed pulled pork and creamy slaw.

Pulled Pork Tacos

Shred 2 cups iceberg lettuce, and chop 2 tomatoes and 2 green onions. Warm 8 small tortillas, then fill each with 1/4 cup warmed pulled pork, lettuce, tomatoes, green onions and sour cream. Serve with lime wedges.

Pulled Pork Grain Bowl

Cook 3/4 cup of your favourite grain (brown rice, quinoa, farro, etc.), following package directions. Whisk 3 tbsp each canola oil and lemon juice, 1 tbsp honey, 2 tsp sriracha (optional) and 1/4 tsp salt. Shred 1 cup cheddar cheese, halve 1 pint cherry tomatoes and slice 1 avocado. Divide grains, tomatoes, avocado, cheese and 2 cups arugula among 4 bowls, then top each with 1/2 cup warmed pulled pork. Drizzle with dressing.

Originally published in the Today’s Parent March/April 2019 issue. Photo by Roberto Caruso.

Note: These recipes were developed using the Instant Pot Duo Plus model. Results may vary on different models.

This article was originally published on Feb 28, 2019

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