The photos in this recipe have been updated.
This Instant Pot Pork Roast Recipe is a simple way to cook a pork roast that is flavorful and tender in a fraction of the time.
The Instant Pot is an incredible tool in the kitchen for making dishes that usually take a long time. In the pressure cooker, you can drastically cut down the cooking time for dishes like this tender pork roast.
>> You might also like this Instant Pot Pork & Sauerkraut, which is a German tradition for New Year’s Day.
The best thing about this pork roast is that it goes with just about any side dish you want to serve, so you don’t have to put a lot of thought into what to make for dinner.
Which Cut of Pork to Use
There are a few different cuts of pork that make a good pork roast. You can use pork shoulder (also called pork butt), pork leg, or loin.
I cook a LOT of pork shoulder in the instant pot, for things like carnitas or pulled pork – great for pulled pork gnocchi, that benefit from slow cooking. It turns out so tender and falls apart easily to shred it.
When I’m making a pork roast that I want to be able to slice and serve with a side dish, I typically use pork leg. I mostly find pork leg weighing around 2-4 lbs, which fits nicely in the 6 – 8 qt Instant Pot and feeds around 4-8 people.
Pork leg turns out in one large pieces of meat, while pork shoulder tends to be more marbled. That’s what makes it so great for pulled pork.
The pork leg roast pictured above is a 3 pound roast that is about 5 inches thick. a 3 lb roast will cook in 90 minutes in the Instant Pot.
Pork loin is the leanest cut of meat and doesn’t have much fat. It’s also usually sold in smaller roasts that are thinner. Thus, a pork loin will cook a lot faster in the Instant Pot. Overcooking can quickly lead to dry pork. That’s why I mostly avoid this cut.
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Preparing the Pork Roast
Pork roasts generally come tied up or covered with a string netting. This is to keep the meat together in one piece while it cooks. I usually remove all of that, so I can remove the skin and fat cap. Then if the meat isn’t in one solid piece, I’ll tie it a couple of times with string to keep it together.
I find that pork shoulder is the one that needs to be tied up. Pork leg generally stays in one piece.
In most cases, the roast will come with a large fat cap and the skin left on. I like to remove those when cooking in the Instant Pot. If you were to cook this roast in the oven, it would have time for the fat to render and the skin to crisp up, but that doesn’t happen in the Instant Pot.
So grab a large knife and carefully cut the skin and fat away from the meat, trying not to cut into the meat. It’s better to leave on a little extra fat, which will help with moistness and flavor.
Applying a Dry Rub
I am a firm believer in dry rub. I put it on almost all the meats I make. If you’ve tried our super popular oven-baked baby back ribs, I use it on those. I put it on any type of meat that’s roasted, really. It’s so good.
For this roast, I always use that dry rub recipe. For a 3 lb pork, I mix up half of the amount called for in that recipe (with a few minor changes) and I use it all to generously coat the pork.
This is what you’ll need:
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder (you can leave this out if you don’t have it)
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
Pat the pork dry before putting on the rub. Get it into all the little nooks. Then let is sit for about 5 minutes.
How to Make a Pork Roast in the Instant Pot
1. Sear the Pork
Start by searing the pork on all sides. This will give the pork a nice browned and flavorful crust.
I sear the pork directly in the Instant Pot on saute mode in olive oil. Once it’s browned, about 3 minutes per side, I remove it from the pot and turn off the machine.
Be aware that the dry rub will begin to burn on the bottom of the Instant Pot if you take too long with this step. It should just take about 6 minutes. If the rub is starting to burn on the bottom, remove the roast and add more oil to the pot.
As soon as the pork is mostly browned, turn off saute mode. It will remain hot enough to finish the sear.
Remove the roast once it’s browned.
2. Cooking the Pork Roast
There will be some browned bits on the bottom of the pot from searing the pork. You need to get that up by adding liquid to the pot. Don’t do this while saute mode is still on. It’s very hot and the liquid will steam up immediately. It can be dangerous to stand over the IP when it’s that hot.
Add the broth and use a whisk to scrape the bits up. This adds great flavor to the broth, which will be used later to make the gravy.
Then put the trivet in the pot. Place the roast on top of the trivet. This is to keep the roast whole and to steam it rather than boil it. If you want, you can leave out the trivet. I just think the roast looks nicer when cooked on the trivet.
Close the Instant Pot and set it to pressure cook (or manual, depending on which version you have). The length of time you need to cook the pork for will vary depending on the size of your roast.
It is recommended that you cook a boneless pork roast for 15 minutes per pound in the Instant Pot. For a 3 lb roast, that would be 45 minutes. Cooking it this long will lead to a sliceable roast, not a fork tender roast.
If you want to slice the roast, don’t cook for longer than 45 minutes or it can become dry. If you’d rather have a fork tender roast that falls apart like shredded pork, you need to cook it for much longer, like 60 to 70 minutes. If shredded pork is what you’re after, I’d also recommend placing the roast directly into the pot, not on top of the trivet.
After the time is up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then manually release the rest of the pressure.
You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. If you’re not sure about the doneness, you can check your pork roast with a meat thermometer to make sure it’s reached the proper temperature.
If it’s under, you can turn it back on for 5 or 10 minutes.
Turning the pot back on is actually a great way to cook potatoes and carrots to serve with the roast. Just place them into the pot and cook for the extra 5-10 minutes.
2. Slice It Up and Serve It
Take the pork out of the Instant Pot and let it rest a few minutes. Then slice it into pieces, or serve it on a platter to be sliced at the table.
I like to make gravy from the broth left over in the Instant Pot. You can do that right in the pot – no need to use a separate pan. It’s incredibly flavorful and makes a really great gravy.
First, check the level of fat in the broth. If there’s a large layer of fat on the top of the broth, strain it off first. You don’t want greasy gravy! Turn the saute mode back on. Once the liquid is boiling, add a slurry of cornstarch (1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tsp cold water). Whisk it until it’s thickened.
You can then serve your pork roast with potatoes and carrots, or with mashed potatoes. Pour the gravy over the top to finish the dish.
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Instant Pot Pork Roast
- 3 lb pork shoulder
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- 1 tbsp cold water
For the dry rub
- 1/2 tbsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp mustard powder you can leave this out if you don’t have it
- 1/4 tsp dried thyme
- Trim the roast to remove skin and top fat. Pat dry.
- Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the seasonings all over the pork, coating well.
- Turn on saute mode on the Instant Pot . Add the cooking oil to the pot. When hot, add the pork roast and brown on both sides (if possible). Turn off the Instant Pot and remove the roast.
- Add the broth and whisk any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Place the trivet into the pot and lay the pork roast on top of the trivet.
- Cover the pot, lock on the lid, and make sure the valve is set to sealing. Press the pressure cook button and set the cook time to 45 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is finished, allow the pot to depressurize naturally for 10-15 minutes, then move the valve to venting to release the remaining pressure.
- To make the gravy, first skim excess oil from the top of the broth in the Instant Pot. Make a cornstarch slurry by adding the cornstarch to cold water. Turn on saute mode. When the liquid is boiling, add the cornstarch and whisk until thickened.
- Slice the roast and serve with your favorite side dish.
- A smaller roast will take less time to cook. Cook for 15 minutes per pound.
- When making gravy, do not leave the saute mode on for too long. It could get too hot and burn your gravy.
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