Instant Pot Roast Pork
This Instant Pot Roast Pork will become a family favorite. The salt and pepper mixture creates a tasty crust and seasons the drippings for an out-of-this-world gravy.
This recipe and method are for a pork butt or pork shoulder. If you have a pork loin, get instructions for how to cook it in the Instant Pot over here. If you have a pork tenderloin, get instructions for cooking it in the Instant Pot here.
First, what is a Pork Butt?
The cut referred to as a butt roast or Boston Butt is actually from the front of a pig. The shoulder area to be exact. The shoulder is divided into two cuts the top rectangular part and the lower triangular part.
Historically, the top rectangular portion was a less popular cut. Butchers in colonial New England took these less popular cuts and packed them in wooden barrels for storage and transportation. The barrels used were called butts. So now you know. Interesting, right?
Now on to an easy and relatively quick recipe for pork roast. I know, this sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Pork shoulder roasts generally benefit from long cooking times. With the introduction of the Instant Pot, an updated electric pressure cooker, that has all changed. In about an hour you can have a fork-tender pork roast on the table.
Why I Love my Instant Pot for Pork Roast
There are three things that I really love about cooking a pork roast in my Instant Pot (this is the one that I have).
The first is the sauté function. Using it creates a lovely, caramel-colored layer on the pork. Which means I don’t have to pull out another pan and get it dirty. Love it!
After searing the roast, I remove it from the Instant Pot and put the trivet that was included to get the roast up out of the cooking liquid and off the bottom of the pot. I think it helps to maintain the color from the searing as well as ensuring that the bottom doesn’t burn.
The second thing that I love is the fact that once the lid is locked on and cooking time is set, I’m free to focus on something else.
Finally, the result is like a slow-braised, tender pork roast, but in the Instant Pot, it cooks in much less time.
How Long to Cook Pork Roast in the Instant Pot
When you roast a pork butt in the oven, it takes about 40 minutes per pound. The Instant Pot is MUCH quicker.
In the Instant Pot, you should cook a pork butt for 15 minutes per pound. What does that mean? That means that you set the Instant Pot to pressure cook for 15 minutes per pound. If the roast is 3 pounds, you set it to pressure cook for 45 minutes.
The roast ends up being in the Instant Pot for longer than just those 45 minutes though. Before the pressure cooking starts, the Instant Pot spends time coming up to temperature. That can take as long as 10-15 minutes.
Then, after the pressure cooking time is up, the pressure needs to be released. I do what is called a natural release for 10 minutes. A natural release happens if, when your pressure cooking time has reached zero, you do nothing. Basically, the heater of your Instant Pot stops heating at that point, and then the pressure inside slowly dissipates.
I do the natural release for 10 minutes whenever cooking meat in the Instant Pot because a quicker release results in a drastic change of temperature that can make meat seize up and get tough.
So do the natural release for 10 minutes and then switch the valve to Venting and let the remaining pressure escape. You then open up the Instant Pot and take out the roast.
In the end, a 3 pound pork roast is in the Instant Pot for about 70 minutes, which is still a lot less than if you were cooking it in the oven (that would be 3 pounds x 40 minutes = 120 minutes). And the roast has this extra tender texture from being pressure cooked to boot!
How to Crisp the Outside of a Pork Roast
One drawback of the Instant Pot is that it’s a wet cooking method, which means that you don’t get a crisp crust on the outside of your roast, even if you seared it at the beginning. The steam in the pressure cooker has made that not crusty. For sure.
Now, if you like a crisp crust on your roast you’ll need to use the oven after the Instant Pot has done its work – I have instructions for that in the recipe below. Or you can read about it in my post How to Roast Pork Perfectly.
Basically, you let the pork rest for a bit. Then put it into the oven at a very high temperature for just 10 minutes. This will make the crust nice and dark.
FYI, if you’re planning to shred the pork (like pulled pork) you really don’t need to crisp it up in the oven first.
What Should I Serve with Pork Roast?
Instant Pot Gravy is a great idea! You use the liquid that is left in the Instant Pot after you take out the roast. And you cook the gravy using the saute function of the Instant Pot after the roast is finished cooking. That way, you don’t dirty an extra pot!
What else to serve with the roast pork? If your oven is free, go ahead and make a batch of these amazing roasted potatoes too. Such a perfect dinner!
This Instant Pot recipe for pork roast will become a family favorite. The salt and pepper mixture creates a tasty crust and seasons the drippings for an out-of-this-world gravy.
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- A 2 lb. pork shoulder (also called pork butt)
- 2 cups unsalted chicken broth or water
- 1 onion cut into quarters
- 3 cloves garlic
- In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, and garlic powder and stir to combine.
- Rub pork roast with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with the salt mixture on all sides.
- Select the Sauté button to heat the Instant Pot. When “Hot” is displayed, add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the seasoned pork roast and sear on all sides, approximately 4 minutes per side.
- When roast has been seared on all sides, press Cancel and remove roast from the Instant Pot. Place on a plate and set aside.
- Add the broth or water to the Instant Pot, scraping any bits from the bottom with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula.
- Place the trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Lay the roast on top of the trivet and arrange the onions and garlic around.
- Cover pot, lock on the lid, and set the steam release valve to Sealing.
- Select the Meat/Stew or Pressure Cook button and set the cook time to 30 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle has finished, allow the pot to sit for 10 minutes, and then do a quick release by moving the valve to Venting.
- Optional Step: To crisp the crust, preheat oven to 425˚F while the roast is resting.
- Remove the pork to a sheet pan or roasting pan if using crisping method. Place in preheated oven and cook for 10 minutes.
- If not using the crisping method: Remove the pork to a cutting board.
- Carve the roast into 1/2” slices.
This post originally appeared in July 2018. It was revised and republished in September 2020.