This versatile and easy Asian pulled pork recipe can be used to make rice bowls, Asian pork tacos, sliders, or sandwiches. Tender pieces of pork are spiced to perfection with the Asian flavors of soy sauce and sambal chili paste, making every flavor-packed bite worth savoring. Using the Instant Pot guarantees perfect results every time, and it’s super easy. [Oven instructions are also included.]
Table of Contents
This Instant Pot Asian pork recipe is so flavorful that you’ll find yourself making it over and over. I use the meat to make sandwiches, tacos, and rice bowls. I also like to use it in Asian soups like pho and ramen.
Asian pulled pork in the Instant Pot is a great recipe for meal prep. You can make the pork, freeze it in smaller batches in quart-size freezer bags, and thaw the meat in the refrigerator the day before you plan on using it.
The recipe calls for pork shoulder. Pork shoulder cooks really well in the Instant Pot because it’s a fatty meat, which is what the Instant Pot is best at. If you use tenderloin or other lean meat, the results aren’t as good because the meat gets dried out.
What I like most about this recipe is how easy it is. Just add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and start pressure cooking. That’s it!
Here are some Instant Pot pork recipes you might enjoy:
– Instant Pot Char Siu Pork Barbeque
– Instant Pot Pork Soup with Hatch Chiles
–Instant Pot Pork Tacos – Carnitas
Tips and Substitutions
The seasoning level in this recipe is perfect for me. However, if you’re sensitive to salt, you might decide to reduce the quantity of soy sauce. Use 1/3 cup of soy sauce and 1/2 cup of broth.
If you’re making this recipe in the Instant Pot, it’s best to use fattier and tougher cuts of meat because they cook superbly in the Instant Pot. I like to use pork shoulder, which is also known as pork butt.
If you use pork shoulder, cut it into two or three large pieces. The smaller you cut the pork, the less time it takes to cook. If you choose to keep the pork in one large piece you might need to pressure cook it for 90 minutes or longer.
Boneless country-style ribs come from the same cut as pork shoulder and also work well in this recipe. They’re rib-like pieces of marbled pork, about 2 to 3 inches thick, and since they’re already cut into smaller portions, you can reduce the pressure cook time to 30 minutes if you want to. The step-by-step photographs in this recipe show country-style ribs.
Sambal oelek (pronounced saam-baal oo-leck) is an Indonesian chili paste that tastes great with anything! You can substitute it with 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes or another hot sauce. Sambal is thicker and coarser than sriracha sauce.
Sriracha is an acceptable substitute, but it is sourer. Another option is chili garlic sauce or Thai chili paste. Some hot sauces have more vinegar than sambal oelek.
If you want to make it yourself, find out more about sambal oelek and how to make it.
The spiciness of the recipe as written is quite mild, but if you’re concerned you can reduce the chili paste quantity.
You can reduce the quantity of brown sugar if you wish. I like the balance the sugar provides. You can substitute brown sugar with granulated sugar or honey.
Separating the Fat
When the pork is done cooking, you’ll notice quite a bit of fat in the remaining liquid. It’s best to remove as much of this fat as possible. There are a few ways to do this:
- Skim the fat off the top with a large spoon.
- Use a fat separator.
- Refrigerate the liquid until the fat solidifies and remove the fat from the surface.
How to Serve
- Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat.
- Place desired amount of shredded pork in the frying pan and press down gently.
- Pour 2 to 3 Tbsp of the juices from the Instant Pot over the meat to moisten the pork while it’s cooking.
- Fry the pork mixture until it is browned and crisp on the bottom. Don’t flip the meat over, just fry it on one side, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- To serve, place pork in a heated corn or flour tortilla and add your choice of fillings such as pickled onions, cabbage, cilantro, sesame seeds.
- Add jasmine rice, brown rice or other grain such as farro to a bowl.
- Arrange sauteed vegetables and shredded pork over the rice.
- Drizzle reserved sauce over the pork.
- Top with a fried egg.
- Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
I haven’t had any issues with the Burn message. The soy sauce and broth contribute to the minimum liquid requirement, and the meat also releases liquid. If your Instant Pot is prone to getting the Burn error, add an extra 1/4 cup of broth.
Yes, you can substitute bone-in pork shoulder for the boneless. The cooking time remains the same.
This recipe is best with a fattier cut of pork. Pork tenderloin or pork loin will yield dry results.
You could add more sambal oelek or some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
Reduce the quantity of chili paste if you want a milder sauce.
Yes, you can double the recipe. Keep the cooking time the same.
If you’re making it in the Instant Pot, since this recipe has a minimal quantity of liquid already, halving it might give you the Burn error. You might be able to get away with it if you’re using a 3 quart Instant Pot. If you’re just baking it, yes you can halve the recipe.
All Instant Pot models and other brands of pressure cookers such as Ninja Foodi can be used to make this recipe. If you’re making it in an 8 quart Instant Pot, you might need to increase the quantity of liquid.
Yes, this recipe can be frozen. Freeze it in gallon Ziploc bags for up to three months.
Add some sauteed vegetables to the pulled pork to reduce the saltiness. Next time, reduce the quantity of soy sauce to 1/3 cup.
I often pressure cook the pork ahead of time and store the sauce separately from the pork until I’m ready to use it.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
Asian Pulled Pork – Ingredients
- Pork shoulder
- Soy sauce
- Brown sugar
- Sambal oelek
- Sesame oil
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to Make Instant Pot Asian Pulled Pork (Step by Step Instructions)
- Marinate the pork shoulder
- Pressure cook
- Release pressure
- Shred the pork
- Saute the pork (optional)
Marinate the pork shoulder
- Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sambal oelek, brown sugar, and chicken broth in the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Add the pork to the sauce.
- Coat the pork with the sauce.
In the above photographs, the pork is 2-inch thick country-style ribs and a 30 minute pressure cooking time is sufficient. If you’re using pork shoulder that has been cut into large (4 to 5 inch) chunks, pressure cook for 60 minutes.
Instant Pot Duo Pressure Cook 30 minutes
- Close the lid and make sure steam release handle is in ‘Sealing’ position
- Press ‘Manual’ (or ‘Pressure Cook’) and ‘+’ or ‘-‘ until the display reads ‘30′ (30 minutes).
Instant Pot Ultra Pressure Cook 30 minutes
- Close the lid.
- Select Pressure Cook mode and adjust the time to 30 minutes (00:30).
- Press ‘Start’.
Pressure Cooking Process (Duo and Ultra)
- Instant Pot display will change to ‘On’.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down to 0; it will then switch to ‘Keep Warm’ mode and display ‘L0:00’ or ’00 00′ and begin to count up the number of minutes since pressure cooking completed.
How to Naturally Release Pressure (NPR) on the DUO and ULTRA
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR). The float valve will be in the down position. This may take 15 to 30 minutes. [Find out more about the pressure release methods and how and when to use them. ]
- Press Cancel and open the Instant Pot.
Shred the pork
- Transfer the pork from the Instant Pot to a large bowl using a slotted spoon.
- Use two forks or a meat shredder to shred the pork.
- Remove any fat from the surface of the sauce that’s remaining in the inner pot by either skimming the fat off with a spoon or using a fat separator.
- If you’re using the pork for a rice bowl, add the sauce back into the pork in small batches, tasting as you go, until the pork is seasoned to your taste. Any leftover sauce can be served on the side.
Saute the pork (optional)
- If you’re using the pork in tacos, you can saute the meat in a frying pan.
- Spread the pork in a large frying pan and add some of the cooking liquid to the meat.
- Cook the pork until it’s brown on one side.
How to Make Asian Pork Roast in the Oven
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Coat all sides of the pork shoulder with salt and pepper.
- Sear both sides of the pork in a skillet and set aside.
- Heat remaining ingredients in the skillet.
- Add the seared pork back to the skillet and cover.
- Bake the pork until the pork is fall-apart tender.
- Remove the meat and let it rest.
- Shred the pork.
- Stir in the sauce.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Asian Pulled Pork Instant Pot Recipe
- 4 lbs boneless pork shoulder or boneless country-style pork ribs
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp ginger minced
- 2 Tbsp garlic minced
- 1 Tbsp sambal oelek or other chili paste
- 3 Tbsp brown sugar
- ⅓ cup chicken broth or beef broth
- green onions to garnish
- sesame seeds toasted
Instant Pot Instructions
- Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, sambal oelek, brown sugar, and chicken broth together in the Instant Pot inner pot.
- Place pork shoulder in the Instant Pot and turn to coat with sauce.
- Close the lid and pressure cook for 60 minutes at High Pressure. *
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR), press Cancel and open the lid. [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods.]
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork from the Instant Pot to a large bowl and set aside. Skim the fat from the surface of the remaining liquid or use a fat separator to separate the fat and discard it.
- Turn on Saute mode and reduce the sauce until slightly thickened. Use a splatter screen, if necessary, to prevent splatters.
- Shred the meat using two forks or a meat shredder and remove any visible fat.
(Additional ingredients: salt, pepper, vegetable oi)
- Preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
- Coat all sides of the pork shoulder with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a large oven-safe skillet on medium-high heat.
- Sear both sides of the pork until browned, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Turn off the heat and transfer the pork to a paper towel-lined baking sheet and set aside.
- Heat the skillet over medium heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and heat through. Turn off the heat and return the seared pork back to the skillet and ladle the sauce over the pork.
- Cover the skillet with aluminum foil. Place into preheated oven and roast for 3 ½ to 4 hours, turning the meat halfway through. If too much liquid has evaporated, add a small amount of broth to replenish.
- Bake until the pork is fall-apart tender. Remove the meat from the oven and transfer it to a large bowl. Allow the pork to rest for about 15 minutes.
- Use two large forks or a meat shredder to shred the pork into small pieces.
- Skim off any excess fat from the sauce that's still in the skillet and pour the sauce into the bowl in small batches and mix well. Taste as you and add more sauce as needed.
- To serve as part of a rice bowl: – Add the sauce back into the meat in small increments, tasting as you go, until the flavor is just right. Reserve the remaining sauce to serve.– Add jasmine rice, brown rice, or other grain such as farro to a bowl.– Arrange sauteed vegetables and shredded pork over the rice.– Drizzle reserved sauce over the pork. Top with a fried egg.– Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- To serve as tacos:– Heat oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Place desired amount of shredded pork in the frying pan and press down gently.– Pour 2 to 3 Tbsp of the juices from the Instant Pot over the meat to moisten the pork while it’s cooking.– Fry the Asian pulled pork until it is browned and crisp on the bottom. Don’t flip the meat over, just fry it on one side, about 6 to 8 minutes.– To serve, place pork in a heated corn or flour tortilla and add your choice of fillings such as pickled onions, cabbage, cilantro, sriracha mayo, and sesame seeds.
- * If you’re using country-style ribs, you can reduce the pressure cooking time to 30 minutes.
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. minced garlic, cut vegetables, etc.
- You can choose to marinate the pork in the sauce for 4 to 6 hours before pressure cooking.
- If you get the Food Burn or Burn error messages with this recipe, you may need to add an additional 1/4 broth.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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Great taste with far less ingredients than some Asian recipes. I’m very happy to have found your recipe and website.
Paint the Kitchen Red
Linda, thank you for giving the recipe a try. I think you’ll like my other recipes e.g. Char Siu pork.
Most tender and delicious pork I’ve ever had!
Paint the Kitchen Red
Thank you so much for the comment – I’m thrilled that you liked the recipe!