This Instant Pot Pulled Pork is made with SIX ingredients and is full of flavor! With garlic, brown sugar, apple juice and seasoned well, it is the perfect mix of sweet and savory, plus fall apart tender!
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My family can’t get enough of this Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe. I don’t mean to brag — well, maybe just a little bit — but it’s one of our favorite Instant Pot recipes!
What makes it such an amazing recipe?
For starters, this dairy-free and gluten-free pulled pork recipe has a flavor that can’t be beat. The pork is cooked in a mixture of apple juice, brown sugar, and seasonings, giving it a sweet (but not too sweet) taste my kids love.
Once the pork is completely cooked it will practically fall apart without any effort — all you need is a pair of forks to get the job done.
Toss the shredded pulled pork with your favorite barbecue sauce (try my Easy Homemade Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce or this 6 ingredient Homemade BBQ Sauce) and it’s ready to eat. We love it piled high on a soft brioche bun with coleslaw and a crunchy pickle on the side.
The best part?
The pork is cut into smaller chunks and pressure cooked in your Instant Pot, cutting the cooking time down from several hours to a mere 60 minutes.
This Instant Pot pulled pork recipe is also a part of my Six Ingredient Suppers series! Every Monday I’m sharing a new 6 Ingredient Supper our family loves, complete with step by step video and a month-long giveaway that runs in our Facebook community here.
Depending on the size of your family (and their appetites), you’ll probably find that this Instant Pot Pulled Pork recipe yields leftovers that can be stored in the fridge or the freezer for future meals.
No Instant Pot? Not a problem! Check out my Crock Pot Pulled Pork Recipe or this Easy Slow Cooker Pork Loin — the cooking time for these recipes is significantly longer but the prep time will only take up 10 minutes of your time.
How to make Instant Pot pulled pork:
- Use a pork roast or shoulder: Boneless pork roast or pork shoulder is the most widely used cut to use for pulled pork. Pork shoulder is inexpensive and relatively tough with a generous amount of fat, making it an ideal cut for pressure cooking or slow cooking.
- Smaller chunks > one large roast: cutting your roast into smaller 2-4” pieces ensures that our pork will be fall-apart tender in the 60 minute cook time. It will be juicier and more flavorful, because more of the pork is exposed to the seasoning and the cooking liquid.
- Give the pork a good spice rub before cooking: Make sure you rub the pork chunks with the dry ingredients before adding the juice to your Instant Pot. This will ensure flavorful, extra-tender pulled pork once the meat has finished pressure cooking.
- Choose your liquid: I love the combination of apples and pork together, but if you don’t have apple juice, don’t sweat it (see more options below!). As long as you have enough liquid to pressure cook, you’re all set.
Variations on pulled pork:
Whether you have an Instant Pot or a slow cooker, one of the things that makes pulled pork recipes so ideal is how versatile they are!
- Experiment with your favorite dry seasonings and make a homemade pork rub or or try a commercial spice rub made specifically for pork. You can also substitute other types of juice, like in this recipe for Slow Cooker Pineapple Pulled Pork.
- Soda such as cola and Dr. Pepper can also be used in pulled pork recipes, as the pork cooks the sweetness develops depth — no one will be able to guess your secret ingredient!
- This Pulled Pork is naturally dairy and gluten free, just be sure to double check all of your ingredients if serving to guests with allergies
- I often use a pork loin in place of pork shoulder or pork blade roast as listed here. It is not typically used for pulled pork as it is a leaner cut of meat, but I find it cooks up perfectly tender in the Instant Pot and is a great inexpensive swap if you can’t find pork shoulder.
How to store leftover Instant Pot pulled pork:
Leftover Instant Pot pulled pork can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
Pulled pork can be frozen for up to 3 months in resealable freezer-safe containers or bags. To freeze pulled pork, make sure it’s cooled completely before portioning and freezing. Try to remove any excess air to prevent freezer burn and mark the pulled pork clearly with the date it’s being frozen.
Pulled pork can be frozen with or without its sauce.
To defrost leftover frozen pulled pork remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator the night before you plan on using it. Alternately, you can defrost straight from frozen in the microwave!
How to use leftover pulled pork:
Looking for a little leftover inspiration? Leftover pulled pork can be used as a base for all kinds of family-friendly meals!
- Mix with pasta for a quick ragu-like meal (add prepared or homemade tomato sauce if desired).
- Make pulled pork tacos!
- Still in the mood for Tex-Mex? Add leftover pulled pork to enchiladas, burritos, or quesadillas.
- Have a make-your-own pizza night and use leftover pulled pork on top of individual pizzas, pitas, or naan bread.
- Heat up leftover pulled pork and use it to top baked potatoes.
What to serve with Instant Pot pulled pork?
I love to serve this easy Instant Pot pulled pork BBQ-style with soft rolls and plenty of Homemade Coleslaw. This recipe for Instant Pot Baked Beans is another classic side for pulled pork — especially when you’re feeding a crowd.
Looking for more sides to go with Instant Pot pulled pork?
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Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 2-3 lb boneless pork roast or shoulder cut into 3-4 inch chunks
- 2 tablespoons seasoning salt
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 2 cups unsweetened apple juice
- barbecue sauce
- Place your pork chunks in your Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl, combine seasoning salt, brown sugar and garlic powder. Sprinkle over pork and rub to coat, turning to coat all sides.
- Add apple juice in the bottom of the pressure cooker.
- Put the lid on, turn the valve to sealing, and select Manual or Pressure Cook on high pressure and set the cook time for 60 minutes. It will take about 15 minutes for the Instant Pot to build pressure and begin the countdown.
- When the cook time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally. This can take up to 15 minutes.
- When the pin drops, open the valve and remove the lid. Use two forks to shred the pork (you can do this right in the juice or on a cutting board) and toss with your favorite barbecue sauce. Serve.
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Tried this recipe?
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joanne brunet says
this is my go to recipe it is so good thanks for sharing
Kathy Barber says
If using a 4 lb pork loin do you need to add cooking time?
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Kathy! I haven’t tested the recipe with a bigger cut of meat but I’m thinking you likely will. Maybe try 10 more minutes and then see how the internal temperature is?
Made this recipe a few times. It is a winner and good left overs also.
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Sheri! So glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for this kind review!
If I triple the meat, does the liquid amount stays the same. 2cups of Apple juice?
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi Vivian, I’ve only tested the recipe as written so it would be hard to say for sure. You would likely need to make some adjustments if tripling the meat. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes!
Do you drain the pork before putting bbq sauce or use the juices accumulated too?
Yes, drain the cooking liquids before shredding the pork. I made this with pork loin roast (very lean and not ideal for traditional pulled pork). Made in the instant pot, it was delicious!!
The Recipe Rebel says
Hi T! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review!