A healthier Instant Pot pulled pork recipe cooked in a sweet, tangy, spicy and smoky sauce made without packaged ingredients such as soda or ketchup. Paleo & clean eating.
I played around with the recipe, adding some tomato sauce and spices, and was absolutely blown away by the flavor! Smoky, sweet, tangy, a bit spicy and just plain delicious…how could I not share it with you?
I particularly love that this pulled pork recipe is made without pre-packaged ingredients full of chemicals…like ketchup or barbecue sauce. Of course we do enjoy those items on occasion, but for a recipe that we will consume for 2-3 days, I’m happy to keep the ingredients list nice and clean!
We love this healthier Instant Pot pulled pork recipe because
- it has a clean (and short) ingredient list
- it requires no pre-cooking, so you can dump everything in the Instant Pot and let it do it’s job
- it makes a big batch of pulled pork, so you can enjoy it for multiple meals through the week
How to make pulled pork in the Instant Pot
The BEST thing about this recipe is that you can cook it later in the day…normally you have to cook your pork shoulder low and slow for many hours. Thanks to the Instant Pot, this cook time is cut way down…to about 2 hours total time.
You can use a boneless or bone-in pork shoulder for this recipe. I spend about 10 minutes trimming off the excess fat on the pork shoulder, as there is plenty of fat marbled into the meat to keep this pulled pork nice and tender.
Some recipes call for browning your pork shoulder before pressure cooking it, but I found this recipe to be PLENTY flavorful without this step!
How to make pulled pork in the Instant Pot:
- Place all the spices, tomato sauce, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar in the insert of a 6 quart Instant Pot and stir up.
- Add the pork shoulder in. Turn to coat.
- Put the lid on, seal the valve, and pressure cook for 1.5 hours. For smaller (2lbs) pork shoulder, I could get away with 60 minutes cook time, but for a larger 3 lb pork shoulder I had to put it back in for another 30 minutes to get it to shred.
- Do a quick pressure release, or let it naturally release for 10-20 minutes (this recipe is pretty loosey goosey).
- Remove the pork shoulder from Instant Pot to a large bowl, shred and return to the sauce in your Instant Pot. Enjoy!
Can I cook this pulled pork recipe in a slow cooker? Yes! Find my Crock Pot Pulled Pork recipe here!
What cut of pork is best for pulled pork? I have always used pork shoulder (aka: pork butt or picnic), since it is typically quite tough and benefits greatly from ‘low and slow’ to tenderize. Since there is quite a bit of fat on a pork shoulder, it doesn’t dry out over a long cook time like some cuts do. However I recently heard that pork loin makes a great lighter pulled pork and I want to test this out soon!
Can I freeze this pressure cooker pulled pork recipe? YES! This can be frozen in one of two ways: 1) as a freezer crockpot meal (assemble all ingredients in a freezer bag before cooking, then thaw and dump everything into the IP before cooking), or 2) freeze the cooked pulled pork for 1-2 months.
How to serve this pressure cooker pulled pork recipe?
- on a bun with a quick cabbage slaw
- in a Pulled Pork Meal Prep Bowl
- in Pulled Pork Enchiladas
- in Tacos with Kale & Brussels Sprouts Slaw
- in Pulled Pork Burrito Bowls
- in Pulled Pork Stuffed Zucchini Boats
Tips & equipment for Instant Pot pulled pork
- I used my 6 quart Instant Pot; this recipe has not been tested in an 8 quart
- I recommend trimming any large pieces of fat from the pork shoulder before cooking
- looking for more Instant Pot recipes? Try these 7 Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipes, this Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower, or this Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin with Soy Ginger Sauce
Healthier Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe
- 13.5 oz can of tomato sauce 398 mL
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2-3 lb pork shoulder
- In the base of a 6 quart Instant Pot, stir together all ingredients except the pork shoulder.
- Add the pork shoulder, flip it over to coat in the sauce.
- Put the lid on the Instant Put, set the valve to 'sealed' and pressure cook (high pressure) for 90 minutes. When the 90 minutes is up, release pressure immediately, or you can allow it to release naturally for 10-20 minutes.
- Remove the pork shoulder from the pot, shred with a couple of forks, and place back in the Instant Pot.
- Pulled pork may be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.