Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Orange Sauce

4.60 from 5 votes

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Instant Pot pulled pork is a fabulous weeknight meal that requires a little patience and even less preparation. Throw it in the pressure cooker and 30 minutes later, you’ll have mounds of juicy pork to shred and slather with my zesty, spiced orange sauce!

closeup: instant pot pulled pork slider

The Instant Pot is a shortcut to a number of classic meals: pork chops, tri-tip and roast beef, Mexican carnitas… even chicken noodle soup!

My Instant Pot pulled pork is another deliciously spiced and seasoned recipe to add to that list. Cooked down with wine, lemon juice, garlic, and ginger, you wouldn’t believe it didn’t take hours to cook down to its tender perfection.

Even without marinating, it’s juicy and moist. However, you could use this liquid as an overnight marinade for even more tender, melt-in-your-mouth results.

overhead: ingredients needed for my pulled pork recipe

But this pulled pork recipe is really all about the sauce. A sweet and spicy combination of dried red chile peppers, orange zest, cinnamon, and cloves, it’ll easily take the place of all of your favorite BBQ sauces!

Don’t have a pressure cooker? Don’t worry — I’ve included classic slow cooker instructions, too.

side view: pulled pork with orange sauce on a slider bun ready to serve

Tip From Kevin

Instant Pot or Low and Slow

The pressure cooking function helps to tenderize the meat rapidly, breaking down the collagen in a relatively short period, resulting in tender pulled pork. However, some people argue that the slow cooking method allows for a more pronounced melding of flavors due to the extended cooking time.

Ultimately, using an Instant Pot for pulled pork offers convenience and time efficiency without compromising too much on taste and texture, making it a popular choice for those who want a quicker cooking process. Oh, and don’t forget the orange sauce, it makes this sing!

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

  • Pork Marbled pork shoulder is best for any pulled pork recipe, you may also see it named at the store as “pork butt” or “Boston butt.” 
  • Lemon Juice A bit of acidity is needed to tenderize the meat. Lime juice or orange juice, both sweeter, are good substitutes. 
  • Soy Sauce – I like to use light soy sauce, but dark is certainly fine to use. In fact, a bit of dark along with the light makes a more flavorful cooking sauce! 
  • Marsala Wine – We need something fruity and dry. Madeira is very similar, and dry sherry is another great option. My recommended non-alcoholic option is grape juice. 
  • Ground Ginger & Garlic Both are most effective when grated or minced. Powdered versions will cook away and leave little to no flavor behind in the Instant Pot pulled pork.
  • Orange Juice & Zest – Orange juice is one ingredient that’s fine to purchase either fresh or frozen! 
  • Ground Cinnamon & Ground Cloves There are many spices that make a fine substitute for either cinnamon or clove, including nutmeg, allspice, and cardamom.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – Just a pinch adds just the right amount of heat, but go for two pinches if spice is what you’re looking for!
pouring orange sauce on instant pot pulled pork

How to Make Instant Pot Pulled Pork

  1. Make Cooking Sauce. Add the lemon juice, soy sauce, wine, garlic, and ginger to a small bowl and whisk. 
  2. Prep & Fill Instant Pot. Place a trivet insert in the bottom of the Instant Pot. Add the pork shoulder and pour the cooking sauce on top of it. Close the lid and venting valve.
  3. Cook. Begin cooking on the Meat/Stew setting — this defaults to High Pressure for 35 minutes. Make sure the Pot reads “sealing” to be sure it’s cooking as intended. After 35 minutes, release the vent valve and open the lid. 
  4. Shred. Use two forks to shred the pork, discarding any large pieces of fat that didn’t melt down. Cover to keep warm. 
  5. Make Orange Sauce. Cook the orange juice and zest, sugar, cornstarch, and seasonings in a saucepan on medium heat and stir until thickened. When it’s done, it’ll be thick and an almost clear, amber color. 
  6. Serve Warm. Serve the pulled pork with orange sauce while it’s still warm on fluffy slider buns
  • Instant Pot – This handy pressure cooker has many other functions, including stewing, braising, and even acting as a rice cooker!

Storing and Reheating

Transfer the pulled pork with orange sauce to an airtight container. Let it cool down before sealing and refrigerating. Eat within 4 days.

Reheat Instant Pot pulled pork on the stovetop or in the microwave along with the sauce. I would even make a bit more sauce to introduce more moisture to the leftover meat!

side view: my pulled pork recipe on a slider bun on serving paper

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my pulled pork tough when I make it in the Instant Pot?

Did you use a natural pressure release rather than a quick pressure release? Overcooked meat Instant Pot pulled pork will be tough — that 35 minutes should be sufficient. 

Be sure to open the vent valve once the timer goes off, as the meat will continue to cook the longer it stays in the pot.

It might also be undercooked. If your IP seems to be a bit too small for the cut of meat you chose, it likely is — halve the meat and cook it in rounds. Otherwise, it won’t cook all the way through.

Is pulled pork better in the crockpot or a pressure cooker? 

Ultimately, an eight-hour slow cook will cook down more of the fat in the pork shoulder than using the Instant Pot will. 

However, I’ve found that this makes only a slight difference in the overall tenderness of the meat. I truly believe one method is not better than the other — just faster!

Can I make this pulled pork recipe in the slow cooker?

Yes! Prepare the sauce as directed, then add everything to a crockpot. Cook pulled pork with cooking sauce in the slow cooker on low for 8 hours or on high for 4 hours. Make the orange sauce to spoon over and the coleslaw in the meantime.

closeup: pulled pork with orange sauce on a slider bun
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This recipe post, originally published on Kevin Is Cooking March, 2017, has been updated with new content, photos and/or video in January, 2024.

A close up of a southern pulled pork slider

Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Orange Sauce

4.60 from 5 votes
This classic Southern Instant Pot pulled pork slider recipe creates succulent pork slathered in a tangy, spiced orange sauce with coleslaw!
Servings: 8 sliders
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 35 minutes
Total: 50 minutes


  • 2 lb boneless pork shoulder also named as “pork butt” or “Boston butt” 
  • 8 brioche slider buns or 4 regular sandwich buns

Cooking Sauce:

Orange Sauce:


  • 1/2 head green cabbage shredded
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage shredded
  • 2 carrots peeled and grated

Coleslaw Dressing


  • Combine the cooking sauce ingredients in a bowl and whisk thoroughly to combine. Set aside.
  • Place a trivet in the bottom of the Instant Pot first, top with the pork and pour cooking sauce over. Close lid and venting valve, then press Meat/Stew setting to start cooking (See Note 1). See Note 2 if using a slow cooker.
  • When meat is done, release vent valve and open lid. Shred pork using 2 forks, discarding any large pieces of fat. Cover with lid to keep warm.
  • In a saucepan, place sugar, orange juice, zest, cornstarch, cinnamon, salt, red pepper flakes and ground cloves. Turn heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until thickened. The sauce should be a thick amber to almost clear color at this point. 
  • Serve sauce over pulled pork on slider buns. I prefer the brioche buns, but use what you prefer. Top with coleslaw and serve.


  • Combine both cabbages and carrots in a large bowl.
  • In another bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, celery seed. Season with kosher salt and black pepper to taste.
  • Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss gently to mix. Cover and chill in the refrigerator before serving.



  1. Use the Meat/Stew setting which is default to High Pressure for 35 minutes. Make sure the Instant Pot setting reads “sealing” and not “venting” to ensure it’s cooked properly.
  2. If you’re converting meat from a slow cooker to an Instant Pot, follow this rule: if the meat dish cooks in eight hours on low or four hours on high in the slow cooker, it will cook in 35-40 minutes in the Instant Pot.


Serving: 1slider | Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 44g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 551mg | Potassium: 544mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 134IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 47mg | Iron: 2mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Sandwiches
Cuisine: American
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
titled image (and shown): instant pot pulled pork sliders


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Amazing! Not sure what Nancy below is talking about. This was so good ands everyone loved the spiced orange sauce. 5 STARS!!!!!