Thinking of cooking up an instant pot pork roast? Piece of cake! I generally start by picking out the right pork cut for this. Pork butt preferably. Then I give it a sprinkle of my favorite seasonings and a quick sauté in the Instant Pot. The rest is as easy as pie – just let it simmer away in some flavorful broth in the instant pot.
Being a home chef and a kitchen tinkerer, I totally get why you’re eyeing that Instant Pot for your pork roast mission. To help you, in this guide, I’ll spill the beans (and the spices) on how to make sure your instant pot pork roast is a bona fide crowd-pleaser. You’ll be learning about how to pick the perfect pork cut and how to pressure-cook pork roast. Let’s stop talking and get our aprons on!
From Prep to Plate: A Step-by-Step Guide to an Instant Pot Pork Roast Recipe
- 3-4 pounds of pork roast (boneless pork butt)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 onion, all chopped up
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced to bits
- 1 cup of beef or chicken broth
- 1/2 cup of red wine (optional – the brand is your call)
- 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons of dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons of dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon of paprika (to spice up the roast)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch (for that awesome gravy)
- 2 tablespoons of water (to make the gravy)
Step 1: Season the Pork Roast
Start by seasoning your pork roast with a pinch of salt, pepper, and paprika.
Step 2: Sear the Pork Roast
Fire up your Instant Pot.
If your Instant Pot has a sauté button, use the “Saute” or “Saute More” button. Then wait until the instant pot says “Hot.”
Note: Not all IP models have the Saute feature. If your model lacks the “Sauté” button, simply turn on your Instant Pot. Then turn the heat setting to around 347 to 410 degrees Fahrenheit.
Pour in the olive oil and let it sizzle for a minute.
Toss the pork roast into the Instant Pot and sear each side until it’s brown and delicious. This typically takes about 3-4 minutes on each side. Then, put it aside for a second.
Step 3: Sauté Onions and Garlic
In that same Instant Pot, toss in your chopped-up onion and minced garlic.
Sauté it all for about 2-3 minutes till the onions get all see-through and the kitchen smells amazing.
Step 4: Add a Splash of Wine (Optional)
If you’re feeling fancy, pour in that red wine and let it bubble up for a couple of minutes.
Step 5: Add Pork Roast Back In
Put that seared pork roast back into the Instant Pot. It’s time for a reunion!
Step 6: Add Flavorings
Now, pour in the chicken or beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, and dried rosemary.
Give it all a good stir in the instant pot. Let those flavors mingle!
Step 7: Pressure-cook
Slap that Instant Pot lid on, and make sure the steam is set to “Sealing.”
Stop the “Sauté” action and pick the “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” mode.
Set the timer to 60-70 minutes (1 hour for a 3-pound roast, 70 minutes for a 4-pounder) on high pressure.
Step 8: Let the Instant Pot Naturally Release
When the timer’s up, give it a breather for 15-20 minutes. Let the instant pot pressure come down naturally.
After that, turn the steam on the instant pot to “Venting” to let out the rest of that pressure.
Step 9: Check the Pork Roast
Open that instant pot lid, and use a meat thermometer to make sure your pork roast’s inside temp is at least 145°F (63°C). Safety first!
If it’s not there yet, no worries! Pop it back in for a few more minutes under pressure.
Step 10: Make Gravy (Optional)
Take your pork roast out of the instant pot and wrap it up with some aluminum foil to keep it cozy.
In a little bowl, mix that cornstarch and water into a smooth paste.
Switch on the “Sauté” action again and let the cooking liquid simmer.
Slowly pour in the cornstarch paste while you stir. Keep stirring until your gravy thickens to perfection.
Step 11: Slice ‘n’ Serve
Slice up that juicy pork roast into thin, mouthwatering pieces.
Dish it out with that mouth-watering gravy and your fave sides, like mashed potatoes, veggies, or crispy roasted spuds.
Why You’ll Enjoy the Instant Pot Pork Roast Recipe?
First, the cooking machine is a time saver even with slow cooking. The sealed environment doesn’t let the flavor escape. Finally, it’s a one-pot wonder, meaning you don’t need to be a chef and you’ll be doing way less dish duty.
Choosing the Right Cut: Pork Loin, Butt, or Shoulder?
When it comes to pork roast, you’ve got options. Below I’ll give an overview and break down the main differences so you can choose the right cut for your roasting recipe:
Boneless Pork Butt: The Ultimate Roast Pork
Let’s clear up the confusion first – the pork butt, or Boston butt, isn’t from the rear end. It’s a blend of neck, upper arm, and shoulder blade.
So, why is it called pork butt? Back in colonial New England, butchers packed affordable pork shoulder into big barrels for storage and transport. People nicknamed them “butts,” and the name pork butt just stuck.
The pork butt cut might be tough with plenty of connective tissue. But that’s precisely why it’s the best for instant pot roasting or for your shredded pork roast dishes.
Pork Loin: Lean, Mean, and Delicious
Pork loin is the best cut for those who want a lean and delicious instant pot pork roast. A lot of people tend to mix up pork loin with pork tenderloin. They might both come from the pig’s same region, but they have different tastes and even colors!
Pork loin roasts are lean, but they’re not as tender as their tenderloin pals (just like the name hints). To make them tender, you have to go low and slow in the instant pot.
You can get pork loin either boneless or bone-in (we call it crown roast). You can even slice it up into chops if you’re feeling fancy.
This cut is on the lighter side, not just in color but also flavor-wise. It’s a bigger hunk of meat though. It weighs in at 3 to 5 lbs per roast, compared to the tenderloin, which usually tips the scales at around 1 and a half pounds.
So, where’s it from? Pork loin comes from the back of the pig, somewhere between its shoulders and back legs. And here’s a pro tip: it comes with a nice layer of fat on top. I love this big cut because it’s a real crowd-pleaser. Plus, its leftovers make for killer pork sandwiches.
If you happen to get your hands on a pork loin roast with the skin on, British superstar chef Jamie Oliver suggests keeping that skin on to lock in the juiciness and get some crispy crackling. But if not, no worries! You can brine it, season it up, or give it a good soak in your favorite marinade before you toss it in the instant pot or oven.
Pork Tenderloin: The Lean, Tender Loin
Pork tenderloin is one of the leanest in the pork world, according to the USDA. This cut is thinner, longer, and a bit darker than pork loin. It’s as skinny as a skinless chicken breast and will produce a fork-tender pork roast if you do it right.
But here’s the deal, when you’re cooking up tenderloin for your instant pot pork roast, you’ve got to do some prep work. First off, get rid of that sinewy silver skin – it’s a must. Then, give it a little rubdown with some oil all over, so it stays moist and packs a flavor punch when it’s in the pot or oven.
Now, speaking of ovens, an instant pot pork tenderloin likes things hot. We’re talking 425 degrees Fahrenheit. And it’s a speedy cook, so don’t leave it in there forever, or you’ll end up with a dry, sad piece of meat. Give it 20 to 25 minutes, depending on how big it is, until the inside hits 145 degrees Fahrenheit. It should be juicy and just a tad pink in the center.
Pro tip: If you’re after that beautiful, golden crust, sear that tenderloin in a blazing hot cast iron skillet on all sides before it takes its instant pot pressure cooking adventure. That way, you’ll have a tender, juicy, and crispy masterpiece on your hands.
Boneless Pork Shoulder: For Your Pulled Pork Masterpiece
Who says you cannot shred pork roast? For the perfect pulled pork roast, I’ll say go for pork shoulder. The pork shoulder is also taken from the pork butt region and both are great for making shredded pork.
Whether you’re going bone-in or boneless (most folks go boneless, FYI), pork shoulder roasts are budget-friendly. They go by many names, like pork butt, shoulder arm picnic, Boston butt roast, fresh picnic, picnic shoulder, and picnic roast. They can weigh anywhere from four to 10 pounds, depending on the bone content.
Now, why should you care about pork shoulder? Because it’s naturally a bit tough, which means it’s perfect for the low and slow treatment either in the slow cooker or an instant pot. In the end, that fat marbling slowly melts away, perfect for dishes calling for shredded pork.
Pro tip: Before you get cooking in the instant pot, let your pork shoulder roast chill on the counter for about 20 to 30 minutes. I like to let it shake off that fridge chill and adjust back to room temp. It’ll make for more even cooking, trust me.
So, what’s the ideal number for doneness? The National Board of Pork says hit an internal temperature of 170 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’ll have a pork roast that falls apart like a dream. That’s why this cut is the MVP of pulled pork – all that connective tissue turns into shreds of tender pork roast.
Leg (or Hams): Hamming It Up
So, let’s talk pork legs, aka hams. These come from the hind legs of our piggy friends. They are the stars of the roasting show (we call it a ham roast, this time around). Now, if you’ve decided to go for a ham roast, we’ve got two major types: fresh (uncured) ham and cured ham.
According to the USDA, fresh ham is an uncured pork leg. Meanwhile cured ham is pork leg that has undergone a curing process.
There is also what is called the spiral-cut bone-in-half ham. This is the wet-cured version of our fresh ham. It’s usually packed in its natural juices. No water is added. Just like with fresh ham, you’ve got the shank end and the sirloin end. The shank end, with its bone-in-ness, packs the most flavor punch.
The cool thing here with the spiral cut one is it makes your life easier when you’re ready to serve up slices of deliciousness.
And if you’re ever in doubt about which end you’ve got, just look for that tapering thing on one end – that’s your shank.
Essential Ingredients: Olive Oil, Broth, and More
Got your apron on? Great! Let’s dive into these ingredient deets. The ingredients I gave out in the recipe are for a basic dish. Of course, you need chopped carrots, olive oil, and minced garlic. If you’d like to put a spin on it, here’s the full lineup of essential ingredients for an instant pot pork roast.
- Russet potatoes: Russets are high in starch content, which means they get all fluffy and tender when cooked. Perfect for soaking up those savory flavors from your roast. Give your Russet potatoes a thorough wash to remove any dirt. No need to peel unless you really want to. Just chop ’em up into chunks or slices, depending on your preference.
- Sliced mushrooms: These little fungi bring a burst of umami and earthy flavor to your meals. Just give them a good scrub before tossing them in the instant pot.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch gives sauces, gravies, and soups a velvety, lump-free texture, which is hard to achieve with other thickeners. It’s virtually tasteless, so it won’t alter the flavor of your dishes. Just a smidge of this in water helps thicken up the sauce.
- Pearl onions: Pearl onions are like nature’s little flavor bombs, and they’re perfect for adding a sweet and savory twist to your dishes. Go for the frozen ones, they’re available all year round.
- Bay leaves: These dried veggies add a woodsy kick that’ll make the sauce all herby and packed with flavor.
- Chicken stock: This is what makes that sauce rich and zesty, plus it gives your pork roast a flavor boost. If you can’t find chicken stock, beef stock isn’t bad.
- Red wine: I’m all about dry reds like cabernet sauvignon. A good old red wine table blend works too! Remember, if you wouldn’t sip it, don’t cook pork roast with it. Quality matters!
Feelin’ fancy? Here are some tasty twists to mix things up:
- Swap those russet potatoes for small red ones. Tri-colored small potatoes? They’ll not only taste delish but also bring some color to the party.
- Prefer sliced onions over pearl onions? One medium white onion will do the trick.
- Not in the mood for red wine? No prob! Add an extra ½ cup of chicken stock, and you’re still good to go.
Tips for Crispy Pork Roasts
So, you’ve got that beautiful pork roast, and you’re dreaming of that crispy, crunchy crackling. Here’s how to prep the pork roast before cooking to get that crispy skin on:
Step 1: Unpack and Pat Dry
First things first, get your pork roast out of its packaging. Pork belly works best for crispy backs. We’ll give it a good pat-down with some paper towels first. You need to get that baby dry as a bone!
Step 2: Score the Pork Roast With Your Knife
Now, grab a small, sharp knife. It’s time to get artsy and deeply score that rind one centimeter apart diagonally or horizontally. Be super careful not to slice into the meat itself.
Step 3: Refrigerate for an Hour
If you’ve got the time, throw that beautifully scored roast into the fridge, uncovered, for a solid hour. But if you’re really chasing that crackling perfection, leave it in there overnight. This fridge time dries out that rind and sets the stage for the crackling.
Step 4: Place Roast on a Wire Rack
When you’re all set to rock ‘n’ roast, position your pork on a wire rack. Do this in the sink because things might get a bit messy and hot from here.
Step 5: Pour Hot Water on the Pork
Grab a jug of boiling water and pour it over that rind. Yep, you heard me right. It’s like giving your pork roast a spa day so it can soak up the seasoning and spices you’ll be adding next.
Step 6: Pat Dry
After the hot water treatment, pat that pork down again with some paper towels. Make sure it’s dry. No damp spots are allowed.
Step 7: Oil & Season
It’s time to pamper your roast! Give it a good rub with olive oil. Now, sprinkle on all your salt, pepper, and paprika as explained in the recipe. You may not continue the roasting process. Your pork roast is all prepped and pampered, ready to go in the instant pot and turn into a crispy, golden masterpiece!
Step 8: Rack It Up and Fire Up Your Oven!
Find yourself a baking tray and pop in a wire rack. Your pork roast needs to rest on this rack to let the seasoning get in.
Take that time to preheat your to a sizzling 475°F (or crank it to the max 480°F if you’re feeling bold). Remember, I said oven, not instant pot. The instant pot because of its covered, steamy, and brothy environment is not that great for a crispy result even at high-pressure cook setting.
Step 9: Get That Crackle On!
Place your beautifully prepped pork roast on that wire rack in the baking tray.
Roast it at a scorching 480°F for up to 50 minutes. But hey, if your roast is a hefty four pounds or more, add 10 minutes.
Step 10: Lower the Heat
After the first roasting time is up, it’s time to ease things down a bit. Lower the oven to 350°F.
Now, calculate your cooking time: you need about 20-23 minutes per pound of pork roast. This is where you decide how well done you want your roast. Less time for a juicy pink center, more time if you like it well-cooked. You’re the boss here!
Step 11: Check Doneness and Rest
When your pork roast hits its perfect doneness (use a meat thermometer if you’re unsure), it’s time for a breather. But make sure it reads a minimum of 145 degrees Fahrenheit to be considered safe.
Now let that crispy beauty rest for a solid 10 minutes before you start slicing.
Tips for strictly instant pot users: Instead of going the oven roasting method, you may also crisp your pork roast by cooking it in the instant pot and then finishing things up in the oven. Just follow the first instant pot pork roast recipe. When that’s done, take it out of the instant pot and let the pork roast rest. Then fire the oven to 475 degrees and roast it dry for about 10 minutes.
1. How Many Minutes Per Pound for Pork in Instant Pot?
For every pound of pork loin roast (that’s around 450 grams), let your Instant Pot work its magic for 20 minutes at a high-pressure setting of around 250 degrees F. If you’ve got some pork butt roast on your hands, go with 15 minutes per pound. And if pork ribs are your jam, they’ll need roughly 15 to 20 minutes per pound. Easy peasy, right?
2. Why is My Pork Roast Tough in Instant Pot?
If your instant pot pork roast is hard to chew, don’t fret! It’s just asking for more time in the instant pot. And, yeah, the larger the roast, the more cooking time and patience it needs. So, always eyeball the size of your instant pot pork and adjust the cooking clock accordingly.
3. Does Pork Roast Get Tough Before It Gets Tender?
Yes, an instant pot pork roast can be a bit tough at first. When you rush it, the good stuff doesn’t get a chance to break down, and you’re stuck with a chewy mess full of gristle. Exercise patience, let it simmer away, and you’ll be rewarded with an instant pot pork that practically melts in your mouth.
Making an instant pot pork roast is a breeze. It all begins with picking out the best pork cut for this and giving it some tasty seasoning. I’ve covered all the recipes, essential ingredients, cooking tips, and how to get that crispiness. Pork roasting in an instant pot is a time-saver, even for slow cooking. Plus, it’s a one-pot wonder, so you don’t need to be a gourmet chef, and cleanup is a breeze.
Now that you’ve got the know-how, it’s time to put it into action. Grab that instant pot, choose your preferred pork cut, gather your ingredients, and give this a try.