How to Make Pulled Pork in an Electric Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot Pulled Pork)

What requires only a handful of ingredients and doesn’t take hours to prepare? Pulled pork made in your electric pressure cooker, that’s what!

Vertical image of a bowl of plain pulled pork in front of a kitchen appliance, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

Pretty much everyone loves pulled pork, you know? It’s one of those meats that whenever I serve it, my husband and anyone else who might be present grabs as much as possible to devour.

It’s fantastic for parties or game day entertaining, but it also works so well as a weeknight dinner that can feed a family for a few nights in a row.

And don’t worry, no one gets bored with pulled pork, because it’s a jack of all trades. You can use it in sandwiches, tacos, soups, enchiladas, burritos, dumplings, and so much more.

Vertical image of an Instant Pot appliance behind a white bowl filled with flaky cooked meat and a metal fork.

Now, I spent my childhood in Kansas City, so I was brought up with the mindset that the best meat can only come straight from the grill after being cooked for hours. And at home, I always thought that cooking for 8 plus hours in the slow cooker was the only way to get the juiciest results, like what I do for my chili rubbed pork roast.

Boy was I proven wrong when I first made this dish in my Instant Pot!

The result was tender, juicy, and beyond satisfying. I couldn’t believe that such fantastically delicious meat could be ready to enjoy in just a little over an hour, from start to finish.

Let me tell you, this entree didn’t last long in my house after I made it for the first time. My husband I gobbled it up, at lightning speed!

Vertical image of a large white bowl filled with a plain pulled pork and a metal fork.

It’s hard to believe that it only takes an hour in the pressure cooker to achieve such succulent and flavorful results, but it’s true.

When it comes to selecting the right cut of meat for this recipe, I think a shoulder roast is the best option to choose.

I like to go with a boneless and skinless cut, but if your butcher or local grocery store only has bone-in cuts available, you can use those too. It will just take a little more time on the prep side to cut the meat off the bone.

Vertical close-up image of flaked pork meat.

The recipe itself is super easy to make. You start by browning the chunks of meat to bump up the final flavor. This leaves some browned pieces on the bottom of the pressure cooker insert that are mixed into the sauce, and it’s just so tasty that way.

Then you brown the onions and add everything back to your appliance. In just an hour, you will have a heaping helping of tender meat that falls apart when you touch it.

Thankfully, the shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat. This makes it the ideal option when you want to serve a crowd, or spend one afternoon making something that you can use in various combinations a few nights in a row. Try my simple technique for making a plain pork shoulder in the electric pressure cooker, if you don’t want to make this particular pulled pork recipe.

Vertical image of tacos filled with meat and topped with cheese and tomato garnishes.

This is a killer way to meal prep for the week. You can use it to prep lunches, or you can make something different for dinner all week long.

Some of my favorite ideas for using homemade pulled pork include:

  • Topping a regular or sweet baked potato with the meat, veggies, and your favorite sauce
  • Making tacos, with your favorite kind of tortillas and toppings
  • Stirring it into scrambled eggs with some cheese
  • Adding it to macaroni and cheese (my personal favorite!)
  • Mix it with a spicy pepper tomato sauce and crunchy tortilla chips for chilaquiles
  • Topping sliders or beef patties with it for an indulgent shake-up on burger night

The options are endless, people!

How to Make Pulled Pork in the Electric Pressure Cooker

Ready to dive in? The process is simple, and the results of pressure cooking this tasty entree are so rewarding.

This method requires an appliance with a capacity of 6 quarts, or larger.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 4-pound boneless, skinless pork shoulder
  • 1 small onion
  • 4-5 tablespoons spice rub
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Step 1 – Chop Meat, Slice Onion, Make Spice Rub, and Measure Remaining Ingredients

Horizontal image of cubed uncooked meat, sliced onions, and assorted seasonings in bowls.

Cut one 4-pound boneless, skinless pork shoulder roast into 4-inch pieces. Set aside.

Peel and slice a small onion.

Make a spice rub, if you choose to do so based on the suggestions below. Otherwise, you can use something store bought. You will need 4 to 5 tablespoons total of spice mix.

Measure out 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, 1 cup of chicken broth, and 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar.

Step 2 – Add Spice Rub

Horizontal image of raw seasoned pork cubes.

Spread the pieces of shoulder evenly with the spice mixture, rubbing it all over each piece. Press the spice rub into the meat well to ensure that it sticks.

Step 3 – Brown Pork and Onions

Horizontal image of browned thinly sliced onions.

Turn on the Saute setting on your electric pressure cooker.

Once it’s hot, add the vegetable oil. You could use any neutral oil, such as grapeseed, or even avocado or olive oil if you like.

Brown the pork pieces on all sides in batches, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove browned pieces to a plate.

Add the onions and saute until they are softened and starting to brown, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour in the broth and vinegar, using a wooden spoon to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the insert. These are what’s known as “fond,” and they’re super tasty!

Turn off the Saute function.

Step 4 – Pressure Cook

Horizontal image of browning large cubes of meat.

Add the pork back to the pot. Secure the lid on top. Cook on Manual on High pressure for 60 minutes.

Quick release the pressure when done. Transfer the pieces to a rimmed baking sheet or cutting board.

Step 5 – Shred Meat and Cook Down Sauce

Horizontal image of a baking sheet with shredded cooked pork and two metal spoons.

Turn the Saute function on again. Bring the sauce mixture to a simmer until it has reduced by half, about 7 to 10 minutes. Turn off the pressure cooker.

Use two forks to shred the meat. Add it back to the pressure cooker insert with the reduced liquid. Stir to coat well. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed, or add extra sauce and flavorings as desired.

Horizontal image of brown liquid and flaky meat in a metal bowl.

Serve or use in your choice of meals and combinations. This makes a great filling for sandwiches at a party – just keep it warm on the counter with a selection of rolls and some homemade slaw nearby!

What Spice Mixture Should I Use?

The options for seasoning pulled pork are wide and varied. You can use whatever spice combination you like, making it at home or buying it from the store.

Horizontal image of a white bowl filled with flaked cooked meat with a fork inserted in the bowl.

Here are some suggestions for homemade options that you can make just for this recipe. Be sure your spice rack is organized and well-stocked!

If you want BBQ pulled pork, this is the seasoning combo to try:

For Latin flair for use in tacos, burritos, etc., try this mix:

  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

To use it in egg rolls, stir fry, or other Asian dishes, try this combination:

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons red pepper flakes

An Italian seasoning mix is great for adding this to macaroni and cheese or serving it on sandwiches:

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 2 teaspoons dried rosemary

Horizontal image of three meat tacos garnished with tomatoes and cheese in front of a kitchen appliance and a white bowl of cooked meat.

Do you need more how-to’s and recipe ideas for what to make in your electric pressure cooker? Check out a few more of our meaty favorites next:

How will you flavor the pork when you try this cooking method? Tell us in the comments below!

Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.

About Meghan Yager

Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.

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