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 in the oven. It makes an impressive and delicious meal.
» You might like these Easy Instant Pot Lamb Chops.
Why You’ll Love It
- Time Efficient: 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.
- Goes With Anything: 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. Try mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted cauliflower, green beans, or crispy roast potatoes.
>> You might also like this Instant Pot Pork & Sauerkraut, which is a German tradition for New Year’s Day.
What Our Readers Are Saying
Rosanne says: This is my 2nd time making this roast. So very good! Guests are impressed and so easy!
Chenée Lewis says: Delicious! And so easy to make in the Instant Pot. Thanks for an amazing recipe!
Why Use An Instant Pot
The Instant Pot is one of the most useful kitchen appliances you can buy, because it drastically cuts down on the cooking time for developing flavors in soups and stews, getting tough cuts of meat tender, and even baking a cheesecake. And there are many accessories that will help you get more out of your Instant Pot.
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, pork butt, or pork leg. All 3 of these cuts have enough fat to create a moist and delicious roast, when cooked to 190+ degrees in the Instant Pot. That makes it a pretty foolproof option, because you don’t need to worry too much about the timing.
You can also use a pork loin. It’s a leaner cut of meat from the area between the shoulder and the back legs, which is known for being particularly tender and well-suited for roasting. When you roast pork loin, it’s important to avoid overcooking it since it doesn’t have a lot of fat. You’ll want to cook it just until it reaches the safe internal temperature for pork, which will ensure it stays juicy and flavorful. Note that the time needed to cook a pork loin will be LESS than pork shoulder or butt.
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-pound roast will cook in 45 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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Ingredients You Need
- Pork roast – Here we are using a pork leg. This cut of meat really benefits from pressure cooking. It turns out so tender. You could use a pork shoulder or pork butt as well. Cooking times will vary.
- Cooking oil – The first step to cooking this roast is to brown the outside on saute mode. This helps add great flavor.
- Dry rub – Paprika, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, mustard powder and thyme. Every cut of meat can be elevated by the addition of a dry rub. It adds flavor and depth.
- Beef broth – Adding broth helps deglaze the pan. It gets the brown bits of flavor off the bottom of the pot that can be used later to make gravy.
- Cornstarch and water – When mixed together this makes a slurry that will thicken the gravy.
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 160-190 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.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long do I cook a pork roast in the Instant Pot?
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. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. If it’s under, you can turn it back on for 5 or 10 minutes.
If you want a more tender, fall-part type of pork and you’re using a shoulder or butt, you should cook it to 190 degrees to get that texture. At 160, it might still feel a little “tough”, because the connective tissue hasn’t had time to break down yet. Continue cooking it if this is the case.
If you’ve cooked a smaller Instant Pot pork roast and it’s gone well beyond 190 degrees, it might be dry, particularly if you are cooking a pork loin, which is not fatty enough to become tender, like a shoulder or butt will.
Why is my pork roast tough?
You may not have cooked it long enough. It becomes tender when the connective tissues break down. Usually this occurs at 190-200 degrees F for larger cuts of meat with adequate fat content. If you’re cooking a loin roast or pork tenderloin, you might end up with a tough roast if you’ve overcooked it.
To make tender, delicious pot roast, be sure to use pork butt or shoulder.
Do I have to sear the pork before cooking?
While not necessary for cooking we highly recommend it. Searing the outside adds immense flavor to the pork. It will also add flavor to the broth that you use to deglaze the pot and use for cooking. We like to use this flavorful broth to make gravy to serve with the roast.
Other Pork Recipes to Try
- Sweet & Sour Pork Chops
- Oven-Baked Tomahawk Pork Chops
- Easy Pork Belly Sandwiches
- Baked BBQ Pork Belly Slices
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Instant Pot Pork Roast
- 3 pound pork shoulder other cuts or sizes will affect cook time (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
For the dry rub
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard powder you can leave this out if you don’t have it
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- Trim the roast to remove any skin and the top layer of 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. Note that the time will vary for larger/smaller or leaner cuts. See notes before proceeding.
- 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.
- As a general rule, you should pressure cook your roast for 15 minutes per pound.
- If using a pork loin, cook for 10 minutes per pound.
- The cook time of 45 minutes in the recipe card applies to a 3-pound pork leg, shoulder, or butt. You will need to increase the cook time for a larger roast, and decrease the cook time for a smaller roast.
- 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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Laura is a home cook, with 25 years experience behind the stove, who spends an extraordinary amount of time in the kitchen cooking. She loves making new recipes and finding wonderful new things to eat, both at home or abroad. She spends a lot of time researching, crafting, and perfecting her recipes and currently has a cookbook in development.