A pile of pulled pork in a bowl, an Instant Pot in the background

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

  • Author: Christine Pittman
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Entrée
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American


Tender, mouthwatering pulled pork in under 1.5 hours. Yes, you read that right. Thanks to the Instant Pot, you can have pulled pork sandwiches or tacos on a weeknight.


  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 (4 lb.) pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 6 pieces
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil (optional)
  • 2 and 3/4 cups water
  • 3 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground mustard


  1. In a medium bowl, combine 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar, the paprika, garlic powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the black pepper. Season the pork with the spice mix. Set aside.
  2. OPTIONAL STEP: Add oil to the pot and select Sauté to pre-heat. When the indicator says Hot, add the pork shoulder pieces to the pot cooking in two or three batches. Brown on all sides. Remove from the inner pot and continue until all of the pork pieces have been browned. Set aside. Scrape up any browned bits from the pot so that they are not stuck. The Instant Pot will end up with a burn notice if any of that remains. The water in the next step can also help to remove it.
  3. Set Instant Pot to Sauté on low and to the pot add the water, tomato paste, vinegar, remaining 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, chili powder, ground mustard, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Add the pork to the inner pot. Close and lock the lid. Make sure the steam release handle is in the sealed position.
  5. Select Pressure Cook and cook on High. Set 1 hour of pressure cooking time.
  6. When time is up, turn the steam release handle to the venting position and allow steam to escape. When the valve has dropped, unlock the lid and open carefully. Remove pork to a large bowl.
  7. Switch the Instant Pot to Sauté and simmer the juices for about 15 minutes until reduced by about half.
  8. While the juices are simmering, use 2 forks to shred the pork.
  9. Add 2 cups of the reduced cooking liquid into the shredded pork and season with salt and pepper as desired.

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