Instant Pot Pork Shoulder

Instant Pot pork shoulder shredded

The Spruce / Diana Rattray

Prep: 10 mins
Cook: 70 mins
Pressure/Build Time: 25 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 8 servings

This simple recipe yields tender shredded melt-in-your-mouth pork, a perfect base for adding seasonings, and ideal for making delicious sandwiches, tacos, and egg rolls. Normally, pork shoulder takes several hours in the oven or slow cooker, but when made in the Instant Pot, the pork cooks in just over an hour, so there's no need to save this dish for the weekend. Plus, using the saute setting allows you to sear the meat first to create a deep brown crust, which will add to the flavor and texture.

Pork shoulder is a relatively tougher cut of meat compared to the rib or loin. However, that makes it more affordable and, when cooked properly—typically "low and slow"—it becomes fork-tender, perfect for shredding and adding to a variety of dishes.

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder (Boston butt or picnic)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion (cut into quarters)
  • 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 cup chicken stock (unsalted or low sodium)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Instant Pot pork shoulder
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  2. Slice the pork shoulder into 3 or 4 large chunks.

    Raw pork shoulder cut into chunks
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  3. Select the sauté function and heat the oil in the Instant Pot inner pot. When the oil is hot and shimmering, add the pork pieces. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning to brown on all sides.

    Seared pork shoulder pieces in the Instant Pot
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  4. Add the onion, garlic, 1 teaspoon of the kosher salt, the pepper, and chicken stock.

    Instant Pot with pork shoulder, onions, and garlic
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  5. Secure the lid on the pot and turn the steam release vent to the sealing position. Choose the pressure cook or manual button (high pressure) and set the timer for 60 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure come down naturally for 10 to 20 minutes. 

    Instant Pot valve on the sealing
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  6. With a slotted spoon, remove the pork to a bowl and set it aside to cool. Strain the liquids in the Instant Pot through a mesh strainer. Skim off the fat and discard the solids. Return the defatted liquid to the Instant Pot. Taste the liquid and adjust the seasonings.

    Cooked pork in a white bowl
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  7. Shred the pork and return it to the Instant Pot. Select the sauté function and cook until the pork is hot.

    Heating the shredded pork and juices
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  8. Transfer to a serving bowl. Alternatively, switch to the "keep warm" setting and serve the pork from the Instant Pot.

    shredded pork with bbq sauce and kaiser rolls
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray
  9. Serve the pork in warm buns or taco shells with garnishes and enjoy.

    Shredded pork or pulled pork sandwiches with side of coleslaw and extra sauce
    The Spruce / Diana Rattray

How to Store

The shredded pork freezes beautifully, so don't worry if it seems like too much food. Freeze the leftover shredded pork in well wrapped small portions to enjoy in future meals and sandwiches.

Recipe Variations

  • Mexican Pork Carnitas: Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried oregano and 1 1/2 teaspoons of dried cumin to the pork along with the garlic and replace half of the chicken stock with orange juice. Serve in taco shells or soft tortillas with your favorite taco garnishes.
  • Southern-Style Pulled Pork: Finish the pork by tossing it with barbecue sauce or North Carolina vinegar sauce and serve on soft, warmed buns with coleslaw and sliced dill pickles for fabulous pulled pork sandwiches.

Can You Overcook Pork in the Instant Pot?

It is more common to undercook pork in the Instant Pot than overcook it. If the meat seems tough, it is most likely undercooked and needs additional time.