Instant Pot pulled pork is made with just 3 ingredients and is ready in about an hour! This tender pork is perfect for pulled pork sandwiches, sliders, nachos, tacos and more!
I am SO far behind the times, you guys.
This is embarrassingly my first Instant Pot recipe here on Family Food on the Table. 🤦♀️
It’s a confluence of factors, really.
First, I didn’t break down and get an Instant Pot until last year. I know, I know… but I had a pressure cooker and thought I should just use it more. I didn’t of course, so I finally swapped it out.
And bought this beautiful Instant Pot. Had I only known how easy it is to use and how relatively inexpensive it is, I probably would have been on that bandwagon from the very beginning.
Better late than never though, right?
So then of course, I wanted to test all the recipes and play around with it and make all kinds of different things. Tons of fun and deliciousness!
Then I finally realized, wait, I’m a food blogger. I need to retest those recipes so I can share them with you!
And we’re finally there. Finally here. Finally doing the Instant Pot thing together. And it’s gonna be great!
Today’s Instant Pot pulled pork is one of the very first things I made with my new favorite appliance.
I make a slow cooker pulled pork that we adore and enjoy fairly often. It’s soooo crazy easy and yields such tender pieces of pork that are great for sandwiches, sliders and stuffing into all manners of other fun dishes.
So I wanted to try that same idea in the pressure cooker to see if it yields tender, succulent strips of pulled pork just as well.
Spoiler alert: It does.
This pork is fall-apart tender, moist and flavorful. It cooks in a flavorful liquid bath and then gets mixed with BBQ sauce before serving.
Best part: It’s just 3 ingredients and ready in under an hour! My slow cooker can’t do that!
The very low intimidation factor with this recipe was also one of the reasons it's perfect as a beginner Instant Pot recipe!
I love, too, how very versatile this pulled pork is. We use it in so many ways and that makes it always seem new and different. Having a base recipe like that is a great way to keep dinner easy but interesting.
(Read on for some of those fun serving ideas for this pork.)
Now, I’ve got some notes, tips, substitutions and FAQs coming up below on how to make Instant Pot pulled pork. Just tryin’ to be helpful.
If you want to jump on down to the recipe, simply scroll right on through the rest of the text. The recipe card is near the bottom of the page, above the comments section.
Notes on Instant Pot pulled pork:
- This recipe calls for about 2 lbs. of pork. You can double this if you want to use a bigger cut. You’ll want to increase the cooking time, however, to make sure the pork gets nice and tender. (I’ve done this for a 3 ½ lb. piece of pork and 55 minutes to an hour seems to be a good sweet spot.)
- Once your Instant Pot is done, you need to shred the pork before adding the BBQ sauce. I do this with just two forks but you can also use a stand mixer. You can also use a knife and chop up your pork.
- Start with adding about ¾ cup of BBQ sauce and add more as needed to get your pork nice and coated. You can also add a few splashes of the leftover cooking liquid to help everything come together and stay juicy.
- Feel free to put the pulled pork back into the Instant Pot to keep it warm. Just make sure to discard all but a little bit of the cooking liquid.
Keep reading for substitutions, storage and serving ideas.
Here’s one of the most common questions I get about making pulled pork, whichever method you are using.
What pork should I use for pulled pork?
- The most common choice is pork shoulder or pork butt. They are pretty similar and have a great marbling throughout. They break down really well and become pull-apart tender. You can usually you’ll find one or the other in your grocery store and either is fine.
- If they only have a huge piece of pork, you can always ask the butcher to cut it down for you. (Or you can make a doubled up version of this recipe.)
- You can also use a boneless pork loin for this recipe, which is usually what I go with. It’s a little bit leaner but still has some fat marbling and it gets nice and tender.
- I have also used a pork tenderloin, which is the leanest option. It’s my preference for my slow cooker pulled pork, but I do like to use a fattier cut for the Instant Pot pulled pork to give it a bit more richness and to get more tender meat.
What can I substitute for Dr. Pepper?
First, let me say that you don’t taste the soda in the finished meat. I personally very much dislike Dr. Pepper and anything flavored by it (such as the lollipops my kids sometimes bring home), but I don’t get even a trace of the taste of it in the finished pulled pork.
But if you don’t want to use it, you can substitute some beef or chicken broth in the recipe. You will probably also want to use a BBQ rub on the pork to add back in some of the flavor that you’ll be skipping with the soda.
What kind of BBQ sauce should I use for pulled pork?
Pick your favorite! A homemade sauce is always amazing, but your go-to store-bought kind is great here too. You can even try a smoky or flavored BBQ sauce if you want to mix up the flavor here.
And now, let’s get to the fun part - the eating!
How to serve Instant Pot pulled pork:
- Make a pulled pork sandwich with a bun and coleslaw, either on the sandwich or alongside it. (I’m partial to my no mayo coleslaw or a basic but not super creamy coleslaw.)
- Make pulled pork sliders - great for game day eats and serving a crowd!
- Serve the pulled pork over a fluffy baked potato or baked sweet potato.
- Use the pulled pork for a pizza topping.
- Make a burrito bowl or grain bowl with rice, pulled pork, cheese, lettuce, tomato or salsa, guac and other favorite toppings.
- Use the pulled pork for nachos along with some cheddar, Colby or Monterey Jack cheese and your other favorite nacho fixings.
- Make soft or hard shell tacos with the pork and your favorite taco add-ons.
- Make pulled pork enchiladas or a pulled pork grilled cheese.
Nom, nom, nom. 😋
This makes a decent amount - enough for 8 people - so I like to have it as sandwiches on the first night then use the leftovers to make nachos or tacos another night. Two meals for one!
Speaking of leftovers, here’s a few tips on how to store them.
How to store leftover pulled pork:
- Keep the cooked pork, once cooled, in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
- You can also store the leftovers in the freezer. Place in a freezer safe container (such as a ziptop bag) - that’s labelled - and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
- You can reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave. It helps to add a little water or broth so it doesn’t dry out. I usually add some extra BBQ sauce as well to keep it moist and flavorful.
You are ready to go!
I hope you give this recipe a try, whether for an easy family dinner, game day eats or for serving a crowd at a party.
P.S. What other Instant Pot recipes would you like to see? Leave me a comment below and let me know!
Update: Check out my Instant Pot pork tenderloin recipe too; it's got an amazing gravy with it that's made right in the Instant Pot!
- 2 lbs. boneless pork loin or boneless pork shoulder/butt or boneless pork tenderloin (see notes)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- scant ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 8 oz. Dr. Pepper soda
- ¾ to 1 cup BBQ sauce (homemade or store bought)
- Rub the pork with salt and pepper on all sides. Place the pork in the Instant Pot insert.
- Pour the Dr. Pepper all around the pork.
- Seal the Instant Pot and bring to high pressure, set for 45 minutes. (It’ll take about 10 minutes to come up to pressure.)
- Once the cooking time is done, use the natural release for 10 minutes then do the quick release.
- Remove the pork to a large bowl and shred with two forks until it is completely pulled. You can also use a stand mixer to shred the pork or use a knife and chop it up.
- Add the BBQ sauce to the shredded pork, starting with ¾ cup and adding more as needed to get the pork completely coated. Add a splash or two of the cooking liquid, as needed, to get a good consistency and keep everything moist.
- Use the pulled pork for sandwiches, sliders, tacos, nachos, pizza, burrito or grain bowls and more!
This recipe calls for about 2 lbs. of pork. You can double this if you want to use a bigger cut or make more. You’ll want to increase the cooking time, however, to make sure the pork gets nice and tender, probably to about 55 minutes or an hour.
What type of pork to use?
The most common choice is pork shoulder or pork butt. They are pretty similar and have a great marbling throughout. They break down really well and become pull-apart tender. You can usually you’ll find one or the other in your grocery store and either is fine.
You can also use a boneless pork loin for this recipe, which is usually what I go with. It’s a little bit leaner but still has some fat marbling and it gets nice and tender.
You can also use pork tenderloin, which is the leanest option.
Keep the cooked pork, once cooled, in a covered container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
You can also store the leftovers in the freezer. Place in a freezer safe container (such as a tiptop bag) - that’s labelled - and freeze for up to 6 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge.
You can reheat leftovers on the stove or in the microwave. It helps to add a little water or broth so it doesn’t dry out. I usually add some extra BBQ sauce as well to keep it moist and flavorful.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 317Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 108mgSodium: 538mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 0gSugar: 9gProtein: 36g