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Instant Pot Pulled Pork

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close up shot of Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Full of juicy and tender pork, this simple homemade Instant Pot pulled pork will be a favorite!
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Table of Contents
  1. Instant Pot Pulled Pork Ingredients
  2. BBQ Pulled Pork in Instant Pot
  3. Substitutions And Additions
  4. How To Make This Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe
  5. How To Serve Pulled Pork Instant Pot Recipe
  6. When to Serve Instant Pot Pulled Pork Tenderloin
  7. Storing This Pulled Pork In Instant Pot Recipe
  8. Why Instant Pot Pulled Pork is the Best
  9. Instant Pot Pulled PorkFrequently Asked Questions
  10. More Favorite Recipes You’ll Love
  12. Even More Recipes You’ll Love

When crafting the perfect Instant Pot pulled pork, we have created a perfect, easy-to-follow guide. At Spaceships and Laser Beams, we’ve honed our recipes through countless trials and taste tests, ensuring that each one meets our high standards for quality and flavor. With a background in developing family-friendly meals that are both delicious and easy to prepare, we bring you a foolproof method for making pulled pork in the Instant Pot that will impress your family and friends.

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Our expertise in the kitchen shines through in this instant pot pulled pork recipe. We’ve carefully selected the best ingredients and cooking techniques to bring out the rich, smoky flavors of this beloved dish. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or just starting out, our step-by-step guide will help you achieve tender, juicy pulled pork every time. You can count on us to provide detailed instructions and helpful tips to make your cooking experience smooth and enjoyable.

Experience matters when it comes to perfecting recipes, and we’ve got plenty. Our instant pot pulled pork is the result of years of culinary exploration and feedback from our loyal readers. We’re committed to sharing recipes that not only taste great but also fit seamlessly into your busy life. Join the millions who trust Spaceships and Laser Beams for reliable, mouthwatering recipes, and let’s get cooking!

close up shot of a Instant Pot Pulled Pork sandwich with bbq sauce on a plate

Instant Pot Pulled Pork Ingredients

You’ll need these simple ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 4 pounds of pork tenderloin, quartered
  • 2 cups of hickory barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of paprika
  • 3 teaspoons of onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup of apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup of chicken broth

BBQ Pulled Pork in Instant Pot

Substitutions And Additions

APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: If you don’t have apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar or even lemon juice can be used as alternatives. These substitutes will still provide the necessary acidity to balance the richness of the pork, though the flavor might be slightly different.

CHICKEN BROTH: If you’re out of chicken broth, vegetable broth, or beef broth can be used instead. Vegetable broth will keep the flavor lighter, while beef broth will add a deeper, more robust taste.

SMOKED PAPRIKA: Regular paprika or chili powder can be used instead of smoked paprika. While regular paprika won’t have the same smoky depth, it will still add a nice color and mild flavor. Chili powder will add a bit more complexity to your spice mixture.

BROWN SUGAR: Honey or maple syrup can be used as a substitute for brown sugar. These alternatives will add a different kind of sweetness and can slightly alter the texture of the sauce, making it a bit more syrupy.

GARLIC POWDER: Fresh minced garlic can be used instead of garlic powder. Use one clove of garlic for every quarter teaspoon of garlic powder. Fresh garlic will add a stronger, more aromatic flavor to the dish.

ONION POWDER: Finely chopped fresh onions can replace onion powder. Use about one small onion for every teaspoon of onion powder. This will add a bit more texture and a fresh, sweet flavor.

DRY MUSTARD: Dijon mustard or yellow mustard can be used in place of dry mustard. Use about one teaspoon of prepared mustard for every half teaspoon of dry mustard. This substitution will add a tangy, slightly more intense mustard flavor.

LIQUID SMOKE: If you don’t have liquid smoke, a small amount of smoked paprika or chipotle powder can impart a smoky flavor. Use sparingly, as these alternatives can be quite strong.

SPICY: If you like spicy pulled pork, you can add your favorite hot sauce, an extra dash of cayenne pepper, or even smokey chipotle peppers to the Instant Pot.

BARBECUE SAUCE: If you have a favorite BBQ sauce, you can use it for this recipe. If you prefer a homemade BBQ sauce, that would work as well. We recommend trying our Fireball BBQ sauce!

How To Make This Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe

STEP ONE: Grease the Instant Pot with olive oil.

STEP TWO: Place the pork pieces to the bottom of the pot.

STEP THREE: Mix the BBQ sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.

bbq sauce and brown sugar mixed

STEP FOUR: Sift all seasonings together in a separate small bowl.

all seasoning sifted together

STEP FIVE: Pour sauce and seasoning mix over the pork in the Instant Pot.

seasonings being poured into instant pot

STEP SIX: Add apple cider vinegar and chicken broth.

OUR RECIPE DEVELOPER SAYS: Chicken broth is the perfect liquid for pressure cooking pork. It adds flavor that you simply won’t get with water. 

STEP SEVEN: Place and lock the lid and set the valve to sealing.

STEP EIGHT: Press manual, and set to high pressure for a one-hour cook time. Once done, allow the pot to naturally release for ten minutes. Carefully release any remaining pressure by turning the valve to venting.

STEP NINE: Remove cooked pork to a cutting board and shred.

pork being shredded with a fork on a plate

STEP TEN: While shredding, reduce the remaining liquid in the Instant Pot by half by turning on the saute function and simmering for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

STEP ELEVEN: Add pork back to the remaining liquid and stir well to combine.

pork being added to instant pot

STEP TWELVE: Serve pulled pork on buns.

PRO TIP: Toast the burger buns before serving with the pulled pork.

pork on a sandwich with bbq sauce

How To Serve Pulled Pork Instant Pot Recipe

Instant Pot pulled pork is a versatile dish that fits seamlessly into many meal occasions. Whether you’re hosting a casual get-together, preparing a weeknight dinner for the family, or planning a festive celebration, this pulled pork recipe can be adapted to suit any event.

Its rich, savory flavor pairs wonderfully with various sides and can be incorporated into numerous meal types, making it a go-to recipe for any occasion.

How to Serve Pulled Pork from the Instant Pot

Pulled Pork Sandwiches: Serve the pulled pork on soft buns with a side of coleslaw for a classic, crowd-pleasing meal. The tangy crunch of the coleslaw perfectly complements the tender, juicy pork, adding a refreshing contrast.

Tacos: Transform your pulled pork into flavorful tacos. Top warm tortillas with pulled pork, pickled onions, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of lime. The bright flavors and vibrant colors make this a fun and delicious meal option.

Pulled Pork Nachos: Layer tortilla chips with pulled pork, shredded cheese, jalapeños, and your favorite toppings. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, then garnish with sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. This makes for a fantastic appetizer or game-day snack.

Pulled Pork Pizza: Spread barbecue sauce over a pizza crust, then top with pulled pork, red onions, and mozzarella cheese. Bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is melted. The combination of smoky pulled pork and tangy barbecue sauce makes for an irresistible pizza.

Pulled Pork Salad: For a lighter option, serve the pulled pork over a bed of mixed greens. Add cherry tomatoes, red onions, avocado, and a drizzle of ranch or vinaigrette dressing. This salad is both hearty and refreshing, perfect for a balanced meal.

Pulled Pork Sliders: Make mini sandwiches using slider buns, pulled pork, and a dab of coleslaw or pickles. These bite-sized delights are ideal for parties or as appetizers.

Pulled Pork Bowls: Create a nourishing bowl with pulled pork, rice or quinoa, black beans, corn, avocado, and a dollop of Greek yogurt. This is a great way to enjoy a balanced meal with a variety of textures and flavors.

Personal Recommendations and Pairings

Coleslaw: The tangy, creamy crunch of coleslaw is a classic pairing that enhances the rich flavors of the pulled pork. Instead of classic coleslaw, try our taco coleslaw, KFC copycat coleslaw, or pineapple coleslaw.

Cornbread: Sweet and slightly crumbly, cornbread is a wonderful side that complements the savory pulled pork perfectly. Old-fashioned Southern corn casserole is another excellent option.

Baked Beans: The sweetness and heartiness of baked beans make them an ideal match for pulled pork, adding depth to your meal.

Pickles: The acidity and crunch of pickles provide a delightful contrast to the tender pulled pork, balancing the flavors nicely.

Mac and Cheese: Creamy million dollar mac and cheese pairs beautifully with pulled pork, creating a comforting and indulgent meal.

When to Serve Instant Pot Pulled Pork Tenderloin

Casual Get-Togethers: Pulled pork is a fantastic choice for casual gatherings with friends and family. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, a picnic, or a simple dinner party, its savory and tender texture is sure to please a crowd. Serve it with an array of easy sides like coleslaw, baked beans, and cornbread to create a relaxed and enjoyable meal.

Weeknight Dinners: For a quick and hearty weeknight meal, pulled pork is a go-to option. Its versatility allows you to prepare it in advance and reheat for a stress-free dinner. Pair it with a grape salad or roasted vegetables for a balanced and satisfying dinner that the whole family will love.

Game Day Parties: Pulled pork makes an excellent addition to your game day spread. Think pulled pork sliders, nachos, or tacos—these fun and tasty options are perfect for feeding a hungry crowd while they enjoy the big game. The rich flavors and easy serving style make it a winning choice for any sports event.

Festive Celebrations: Whether it’s a birthday party, holiday gathering, or other special occasion, pulled pork can add a delicious twist to your menu. Its comforting and flavorful profile makes it suitable for a variety of festive dishes, from pulled pork sandwiches to more elaborate presentations like pulled pork pizza or bowls.

Potlucks and Picnics: Pulled pork is a popular dish for potlucks and picnics due to its ease of transportation and reheating. Bring a big batch of pulled pork to share, along with buns and fixings for sandwiches, and you’re sure to be a hit. It’s a convenient and delicious option that feeds many and requires minimal fuss.

Family Gatherings: When you have the whole family over, pulled pork can be a crowd-pleaser that requires little last-minute effort. Prepare it ahead of time and keep it warm in the slow cooker or instant pot until it’s time to eat. This way, you can enjoy time with your guests instead of being stuck in the kitchen.

Outdoor BBQs: Nothing says outdoor barbecue like pulled pork. Its smoky, savory flavor is a natural fit for grilling season. Serve it alongside grilled vegetables, corn on the cob, and refreshing beverages for a quintessential BBQ experience that everyone will remember.

By incorporating pulled pork into these occasions, you can enjoy its rich, versatile flavors in a variety of settings, making it a reliable choice for both casual and special events.

Storing This Pulled Pork In Instant Pot Recipe

IN THE FRIDGE: Store leftovers of this easy pulled pork recipe in an airtight container in the fridge.

IN THE FREEZER: You can store the leftover pulled pork in the freezer for up to four months.

REHEATING: If you happen to have leftovers, you can heat them on the stove, in the microwave, or in the oven easily without drying them out.

Be sure to save the leftover sauce and warm it with the leftovers to keep the meat juicy and moist.

Why Instant Pot Pulled Pork is the Best

Speed and Convenience: The Instant Pot significantly reduces cooking time compared to traditional slow cooking methods, allowing you to enjoy tender, flavorful pulled pork in a fraction of the time.

Consistent Results: The controlled environment of the instant pot ensures that the pulled pork cooks evenly and retains moisture, resulting in consistently tender and juicy meat every time.

Flavorful: The pressure cooking process helps to infuse the pork with rich flavors from the seasonings and sauces, creating a deeply savory and satisfying dish.

Versatility: Instant Pot pulled pork can be used in a variety of dishes such as sandwiches, tacos, nachos, pizzas, salads, and more, making it a versatile addition to any meal.

Ease of Use: The Instant Pot simplifies the cooking process with its user-friendly features, making it accessible even for novice cooks. You can set it and forget it, allowing you to focus on other tasks.

Minimal Cleanup: Cooking pulled pork in the instant pot minimizes the number of pots and pans used, leading to an easier and quicker cleanup process.

Year-Round Enjoyment: Unlike traditional BBQ methods that might be season-dependent, the instant pot allows you to enjoy delicious pulled pork all year round, regardless of the weather.

Customizable: The recipe for instant pot pulled pork can be easily adapted with different seasonings, sauces, and spices to suit various tastes and dietary preferences.

Meal Prep Friendly: Instant pot pulled pork can be made in large batches and stored in the fridge or freezer for future meals, making it an excellent choice for meal prepping and planning ahead.

Perfect for Entertaining: Its ability to serve a large number of people makes instant pot pulled pork ideal for gatherings, parties, and family events, where you want a dish that everyone will enjoy.

Comfort Food: Pulled pork is a comforting, hearty dish that brings a sense of warmth and satisfaction, perfect for cozy dinners at home.

Nutrient-Rich: Pork is a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals, making pulled pork not only tasty but also nutritious.

close up shot of a Instant Pot Pulled Pork sandwich on a plate

With a little help from the Instant Pot, you’ll have a tasty meal ready to go in a fraction of the time that it would take in the slow cooker. This Instant Pot pulled pork is a great recipe for busy weeknight meals or to take along to a potluck. The tender meat has great flavor once cooked in the yummy, smoky sauce.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Frequently Asked Questions

How do I shred pork?

To shred pork, use two forks. Holding one in each hand, use them to pull the pork apart.

Can this be made in the slow cooker?

You could make this easy recipe in the slow cooker. You’d have to adjust the cooking time, but it will still come out saucy and delicious.

What can I use pulled pork for?

Pulled pork can be used for so many different meals. Try pork sandwiches, pork tacos, or even pork sliders.

Can I freeze the pulled pork?

You can store the leftover pulled pork in the freezer for up to four months.

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close up shot of Instant Pot Pulled Pork

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

5 from 2 votes
Full of juicy and tender pork, this simple homemade Instant Pot pulled pork will be a favorite!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 pounds pork tenderloin, quartered
  • 2 cups hickory BBQ sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 teaspoons paprika
  • 3 teaspoons onion powder
  • 3 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • ¾ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup chicken broth


  • Grease Instant Pot with olive oil.
  • Place pork pieces to bottom of Instant Pot.
  • Mix BBQ sauce and brown sugar in a small bowl.
  • Sift all seasoning together in a separate small bowl.
  • Pour sauce and seasoning mixes over pork in Instant Pot.
  • Add apple cider vinegar and chicken broth.
  • Place and lock lid.
  • Set valve to sealing.
  • Press manual, set to high pressure for 1 hour.
  • Allow to naturally release for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully release and remaining pressure by turning the valve to venting.
  • Remove cooked pork to a cutting board and shred.
  • While shredding, reduce the remaining liquid in the instant pot by half by turning on the saute function and simmering for approximately 15 minutes, stir occasionally.
  • Add pork back to remaining liquid, stir well to combine.
  • Serve pulled pork on buns.


  • Chicken broth is the perfect liquid for pressure cooking pork. It adds flavor that you simply cannot get with water.
  • Toast the burger buns before serving with the pulled pork.


Calories: 606kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 64g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 197mg | Sodium: 1479mg | Potassium: 1527mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 750IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 67mg | Iron: 4mg
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Proudly Prepared by the Spaceships Kitchen

This recipe was developed, tested, cooked and photographed by the Spaceships Kitchen. From our dinner table to yours, we hope you think it's out of this world!

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  1. Marijke says

    5 stars
    Made this for lunch yesterday and it was SO good! Everyone loved it! The pulled pork was so easy to pull apart and was so juicy. Thank you so much! Definitely will be making this again in the future!


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