Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (2022)

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Smokey tender, juicy shredded pork served over rice is a Hawaiian luau favorite. I’ve transformed a popular slow cooker recipe with a 16-hour cooking time into an Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Kalua Pork recipe that is on the table in less than 2 hours.

You can serve this with white rice, steamed veggies, or macaroni and cheese.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (1)

One of my daughter’s favorite meals is kalua pork. If you’ve ever made slow cooker Kalua pork, you’ll know it’s a long process. My daughter’s favorite recipe requires 16 hours in the slow cooker (!!).

By making kalua pork in the pressure cooker, there’s NO MORE starting the meat the night before and waking up to the smell of dinner. You’ll love how simple and easy this recipe is.

I love serving Kalua Pork at large get-togethers because it’s a less-expensive main course and it can accommodate a wide variety of dietary plans, including gluten-free and keto.

I don’t know if Kalua Pork is as popular across the U.S. as it is in Utah, or if it’s extra popular here because of the state’s large Polynesian population. Either way, kalua pork is frequently served at church parties and large family get-togethers.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (2)

What Is Kalua Pork?

Kalua pork (aka kalua pig) is simply a salty, moist shredded pork that has been cooked for a long time.

Kālua means “to cook in an underground oven.” The traditional Hawaiian Kalua Pork involves wrapping a pig in ti or banana leaves and burying it in a fire pit lined with stones. The pig smokes for hours underground until it’s tender and juicy. (If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make your own imu and kalua pork.)

Of course, that’s not very practical for everyday meals. 🙂

(Video) Easy Kalua Pork Instant Pot Recipe

Note: Kalua Pork is often confused with Kahlúa, a coffee-flavored liqueur. There is no Kahlúa in a Kalua Pork recipe.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (3)

What Meat Do I Use to Make Pressure Cooker Kalua Pork?

Pork shoulder is an inexpensive cut of meat that I prefer in this Instant Pot Kalua Pork. However, any pork that is good for braising would be a good fit for this recipe.

When you’re at the meat counter, there’s lots of names for pork. It’s extra confusing since the pork producers changed the names they’re using. Look for a blade pork roast (aka a shoulder blade Boston roast or butt roast).

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (4)

Adapted from pork.org

Bone in or Boneless?

I prefer using boneless pork for this recipe; however, if you prefer bone-in you can use that as well with no change in the cook time.

Want a leaner cut?

If you’re interested in using a leaner meat, PCT readers have had great results using half pork loin and half pork shoulder. This way you get the great flavor from the pork shoulder but cut the calories.

I do not recommend using pork tenderloin to make kalua pork. Tenderloin is a more expensive cut of meat that’s already tender. I think it’s great on the barbecue. If you want to pressure cook it, I like to slice it into medallions and cook at High Pressure for 1 minute. (See page 202, Sweet Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin, in The Electric Pressure Cooker Cookbook for instructions.)

When pressure cooking, remember the size and thickness of the meat matters more than the amount of meat in your cooking pot. Whether you’re cooking 2 pounds or 6 pounds of pork, as long as they’re all about the same size and thickness, there’s no need to adjust the cook time.

Use aninstant-read thermometer to verify your pork is at least 205°F in the thickest part after cooking.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (5)

(Video) How to Make Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Kalua Pig

How to Make Pressure Cooker Kalua Pork in an Instant Pot

An Instant Pot is one of the most popular brands of electric pressure cookers. They are easy to use and your Instant Pot can help you create this delicious Kalua Pork! If you are new to the Instant Pot, we recommend our Getting Started Guide here.

Don’t skip the browning step—with a recipe this simple, you want to make sure you have lots of browned bits to add flavor to the finished dish.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (6)

What kind of salt to use?

With so few ingredients in the recipe, readers often ask if there is a particular brand of liquid smoke or coarse salt that I prefer to use. I often use the pink Hawaiian salt anyways, and it works perfectly for this recipe. As for liquid smoke, I have typically used Colgin Original Recipe (Natural Mesquite), but you can substitute any brand and flavor that you prefer.

What to Serve with Hawaiian Kalua Pork?

Wondering what to serve with kalua pork? Traditionally, kalua pork is served with white rice. (I like to ladle extra juices on top of the rice for extra flavor.) I also like to serve it with plenty of steamed vegetables—especially broccoli, carrots, and edamame. This turns it into a sort of kalua pork rice bowl.

If you’re watching carbs, you can also serve it on top of spiralized zucchini noodles.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (7)

Macaroni and cheese ormacaroni saladare also commonly served with kalua pork. If you want to offer another meat option, Hawaiian barbecue chicken makes a great addition.

My family demands fresh pineapple with kalua. If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll take the time to grill it. (Wondering how to cut a pineapple? I’ve got you covered.)

A local Hawaiian restaurant serves kalua pork nachos, made with crispy wontons, green onions, fresh tomatoes, and drizzled with teriyaki sauce. Another serves it as kalua pork sliders, with shredded cabbage and drizzled with a Hawaiian mayonnaise. Both are fabulous options.

For dessert, you could serve Malasadas (Hawaiian donuts) or Easy Pineapple Coconut Bar Cookies.

Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Kalua Pork and Cabbage

Oftentimes, the kalua pork is served with steamed cabbage. If you wish to do this, rough chop some cabbage. After you release the pressure, add the cabbage to the cooking pot and lock the lid back in place. Select High Pressure and a 3 minute cook time. When the cook time ends, use a quick pressure release.

Update: My family loves this Pressure Cooker Hawaiian Kalua Pork, so I wanted to make a quick video to show you how easy it is to make. It’s a delicious recipe and I hope you’ll give it a try.

(Video) Kalua Pork in an Instant Pot | Earth Oven in a Pressure Cooker!

Other Pork Recipes You May Enjoy:

  • Make Ahead (Instant Pot) BBQ Baby Back Ribs Recipes
  • Easy Pressure (Instant Pot) Cooker Pulled Pork
  • Short Cut Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Boneless Pork Chops
  • Pressure Cooker / Instant Pot Egg Roll Bowls
  • (Instant Pot) Pork Stroganoff
  • All our Pork Recipes!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork shoulder (pork butt) roast, cut into two pieces
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon hickory liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons coarse Kosher salt or coarse Hawaiian salt
  • Cooked rice, for serving

Instructions

Select Saute to preheat the pot. When hot, add the oil and brown each half of the roast separately. Brown each half of the pork roast on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter when browned.

Turn the pressure cooker off, and add water and liquid smoke to the cooking pot. Stir to remove any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the browned pork and any accumulated juices. Sprinkle the salt over the top of the pork roasts.

Lock the lid in place. Select High Pressure and 90 minutes cook time.

When the timer sounds, use a natural pressure release (approximately 20 minutes). When the valve, drops carefully remove lid.

Remove the meat from the pressure cooker and shred with two forks. (Discard excess fat as you shred). If desired, use a fat separator to remove fat from the juices. Add some of the juices from the pressure cooker to moisten the meat. Place remaining juices in a serving dish to ladle on top of rice, if desired.

Notes

* If you don't have coarse salt on hand, be sure to reduce the amount of table salt you add.

(Video) How to steam Corn on the Cob in the Instant Pot

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Nutrition Information:

Yield: 10Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 580Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 173mgSodium: 612mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 45g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Kalua Pork - Pressure Cooking Today (10)

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FAQs

How long should you cook pork in a pressure cooker? ›

Using a HIGH setting, 40 minutes is how long you cook pork in the Instant Pot (using pork loin). If you're using pork shoulder/butt, you'll cook on HIGH for 1 hour. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes.

Can you overcook pork shoulder in pressure cooker? ›

Can you overcook pork in the Instant Pot? Although it's possible to overcook pork and other meats when pressure cooking, usually if the meat isn't tender enough it's because it wasn't cooked long enough. 4-5 pounds of pork shoulder needs about 90 minutes of cooking time at pressure.

Can you add Coke to a pressure cooker? ›

Think about the thickness of a soda can and the thickness of a pressure cooker. That, plus pressure release valves on the pressure cooker's lid will do exactly that: release pressure. So, no need to worry about pressure cooking soda.

How long does it take to cook a kalua pig in an imu? ›

A large whole pig, in a good hot imu, may take from 6 to 8 hours of steaming time. When the cooking is done, brush away any loose dirt from the edges of the covering material. Remove the dirt from the lauhala mats or tapa cloth. Carefully lift off the covering material and avoid getting any dirt into the imu.

How long does it take to cook 5 lb of pork in a pressure cooker? ›

Official Instant Pot cooking times suggest 20-25 minutes of cooking per pound of meat. If using a frozen pork shoulder note that the cooking time may be longer then this. Now the easy part, let the pork shoulder pressure cook, and do its thing for the selected amount of time.

How long should you cook meat in a pressure cooker? ›

In general, you will need twenty minutes of cooking time at pressure for every pound of meat. So, a 3-pound roast takes 60 minutes at high pressure before it is tender.

Do you cover meat with liquid in pressure cooker? ›

While you may cover meat almost completely for a conventional braise, use just enough liquid for the cooker to reach pressure – during pressure cooking the meat will release it's own juice and braise in that flavorful liquid, instead.

Does meat get more tender the longer you pressure cook it? ›

All Cuts of Meat Can Become More Tender in a Pressure Cooker

This is where a pressure cooker really starts to shine. Because of the high-pressure environment created inside the cooker, meat (like everything else you may want to throw into your pressure cooker) can cook extremely quickly relative to other methods.

Should I sear pork shoulder before pressure cooking? ›

Use pork shoulder or butt for the best results, and sear it beforehand for a richer flavor. Pressure cook your pork for an hour or slow cook for up to 16 hours for incredibly tender meat.

Can you put baking soda in a pressure cooker? ›

Combine the baking soda and water in the stainless steel insert. Lock the lid and adjust pressure cook time to 5 minutes—as if you were cooking something! Use the natural pressure release setting when finished. The lid will automatically unlock when it's ready.

Can I pressure cook with beer? ›

It is perfectly safe to add beer to any recipe in a pressure cooker. (well, any recipe you might use beer for outside a pressure cooker).

How do you remove scale from a pressure cooker? ›

Fill the pressure cooker with water and add 1 cup of white vinegar. Let it sit overnight. Next morning, wash and dry it as usual and you may see a noticeable difference. Repeat this again in few days to get rid of any remnants.

What does imu mean in Hawaiian? ›

The imu is an underground oven and one of the simplest and most ancient cooking structures. Kālua, which means “to cook in an underground oven”, is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method that utilizes an imu. The word kālua may also be used to describe the food cooked in this manner, such as kālua pig or kālua turkey.

What is traditionally served with kalua pork? ›

Wondering what to serve Slow Cooker Kalua Pork on? Traditionally, it is served with cooked cabbage and rice. You can serve Slow Cooker Kalua Pork on a slider bun along with cabbage slaw, teriyaki sauce, and grilled pineapple. We also love serving it on sandwiches, salads, rice, or even on pizza.

Why do they call it kalua pork? ›

“Kalua Pork, or as many Polynesians call it Kalua Pig“, is a delicacy and classic Hawaiian food. Kalua means to cook underground. Therefore, traditional Hawaiian Kalua pig is cooked in an earth oven.

How long do you cook pulled pork for? ›

Cover and cook on LOW (recommended) 8 hours or high for 4-5 hours, until pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.

How long should I pressure cook pork chops? ›

Depending on the size of your cooker, it may take 5 to 10 minutes to bring it to high pressure. Once you've reached high pressure, the pork chops and any sides you added will cook in 6 to 8 minutes. After they're done, it'll likely take a minute or 2 to release the pressure so you can open the pot.

Is pork shoulder the same as pork butt? ›

Pork butt and pork shoulder are both cuts that come from the pig's shoulder (despite the term pork butt suggesting otherwise). Both are relatively inexpensive cuts that lend themselves to low-and-slow cooking applications such as barbecuing, braising, stewing or cooking in a slow cooker or Instant Pot.

Can you overcook meat in a pressure cooker? ›

Unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. You'll be left with a pile of dry, crunchy, tasteless fibers and no amount of additional pressure cooking is going to put that moisture back into the meat. Earlier, I explained how ingredient size affects the cooking time.

How long does it take to cook in pressure cooker? ›

This usually takes about 10 minutes and varies with the size of your Instant Pot, type and amount of food, and the temperature of the food and liquid in the pot. You also need to account for the time needed to release the pressure after the cooking cycle.

How much liquid do you need in a pressure cooker? ›

When you use a pressure cooker, you need to have enough liquid in the pot for it to come up to pressure and cook the food properly. The rule of liquids in pressure cooking is to always add at least 1 cup of liquid unless the recipe states otherwise. The liquid will help create enough steam to cook the meal. 3.

What happens if you put too much liquid in a pressure cooker? ›

Adding too much liquid can leave you with a finished dish that lacks flavor, or a sauce that's too thin. Follow this tip: While at least 1/2 to 1 cup of liquid is essential to well-cooked food in the pressure cooker, too much liquid will pull the flavor out of foods.

Do I need to brown meat before pressure cooking? ›

So, to recap, you don't need to pre-brown vegetables or meats. You just place it all in the pressure cooker and if you don't like the look when it's cooked , you can do a bit of browning afterward.

What happens if not enough water in pressure cooker? ›

It is important to never run a pressure cooker without water. It cannot cook your food properly without water, and the pressure will build to such an extent that the lid, pressure valve, plugs, and hot food could be thrown all over the kitchen.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook? ›

Slow cookers are much better for cooking root vegetables and tough cuts of meat because the long, low-temperature cooking process is great for adding moisture and breaking down fat. It is not recommended that you cook leaner meats in a slow cooker, but they can be prepared no problem in a pressure cooker.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook a roast? ›

Some people prefer a roast that has more substance, so if you do, the Instant Pot is the winner. I have tried cooking a roast for up to 120 minutes in the Instant Pot and the texture still didn't match a slow cooker, but every 10 minutes of added pressure cooking will definitely make the meat more tender.

Can you pressure cook a roast for too long? ›

It is possible to overcook a pot roast in the pressure cooker. More than anything, you will dry out your roast if you cook it for too long. Most of the beef flavor will run out into the sauce. On one hand, your sauce may be super flavorful, but your meat could be dry.

Why isn't my pork shoulder shredding? ›

When pulled pork isn't shredding, it could be because the meat didn't cook long enough. Cooking it too long, or attempting to rush the process by cranking up the heat, are two other common culprits. It's also important to use a reliable method for shredding the meat.

Can you sear then pressure cook? ›

Every time I've done any sort of beef in the pressure cooker, the consensus appears to be that you should sear before putting it in the pressure cooker. After all, it usually comes out too tender to sear afterwards, anyway.

How do you cook a Boston butt in a power pressure cooker XL? ›

Pulled Pork Shoulder in Power Pressure Cooker XL - YouTube

Does cooking meat longer in a pressure cooker make it more tender? ›

A while back I asked myself, "Does pressure cooking tenderize meat"? and this is what I found out. The pressure will in fact make your meat super tender, almost as if you slow cooked it for the better part of a day.

Do you cover meat with liquid in pressure cooker? ›

While you may cover meat almost completely for a conventional braise, use just enough liquid for the cooker to reach pressure – during pressure cooking the meat will release it's own juice and braise in that flavorful liquid, instead.

Can meat dry out in a pressure cooker? ›

Unfortunately, once you overcook a piece of meat in the pressure cooker, there's no going back. You'll be left with a pile of dry, crunchy, tasteless fibers and no amount of additional pressure cooking is going to put that moisture back into the meat.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook? ›

Slow cookers are much better for cooking root vegetables and tough cuts of meat because the long, low-temperature cooking process is great for adding moisture and breaking down fat. It is not recommended that you cook leaner meats in a slow cooker, but they can be prepared no problem in a pressure cooker.

Do I need to brown meat before pressure cooking? ›

So, to recap, you don't need to pre-brown vegetables or meats. You just place it all in the pressure cooker and if you don't like the look when it's cooked , you can do a bit of browning afterward.

How much water do I put in pressure cooker for meat? ›

Heat a little oil using the Sauté function and sear the meat. Add 1 1/2 cups of liquid (water, stock, etc.). Cook for 20 minutes (per pound of meat) at high pressure for large chunks and 15 minutes (per pound of meat) for small chunks. Use a quick pressure release method.

How long do you pressure cook? ›

Cook Time Chart for: Beef, Pork, Lamb, Turkey and Chicken
Meat, PoultryCook Time, (minutes)
Beef meatloaf, 2 lbs. (0.9 kg)10-15
Beef, pot roast, rump, round, chuck, or brisket, 3 to 4 lbs. (1.4 to 1.8 kg)45-60 (15 mins per pound)
Beef, ribs, short, for grilling15
Beef, ribs, short, for stewing25
27 more rows

What happens if you put too much water in pressure cooker? ›

Overfilling a pressure cooker has various effects, including loss of flavor and texture. This is caused by the excessive pressure generated by the glut of liquid. Too much pressure breaks down food. As for the risks it is also possible for the food to block the pressure valve if the pot is filled too high.

What happens if not enough water in pressure cooker? ›

It is important to never run a pressure cooker without water. It cannot cook your food properly without water, and the pressure will build to such an extent that the lid, pressure valve, plugs, and hot food could be thrown all over the kitchen.

Can you put olive oil in a pressure cooker? ›

But is it safe to use olive oil in the Instant Pot? The answer is yes! The Instant Pot reaches a maximum temperature of 338°F when sautéing. Extra virgin olive oil can be safely heated to 350⁰ - 410⁰ F and olive oil (regular, classic or light) can be heated to 390⁰ - 470°F.

Why is my meat tough in the pressure cooker? ›

Generally, the more connective tissue (collagen) a cut of meat has, the tougher it'll be. The longer you cook a piece of meat in a moist environment, the more connective tissues will be broken down.

How long pressure can meat? ›

For hot and raw pack jars of meat, process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes. Dial-gauge pressure canner - process jars at 11 pounds pressure (altitudes of 0 to 2,000 ft) or at 12 pounds pressure (altitudes of 2,001 to 4,000 ft).

Does pressure cooked food taste different? ›

The pressure cooker works by turning liquid into steam and cooking food in a sealed pot. The food doesn't cook by boiling; instead, it cooks with superheated (almost 250ºF) steam. Because the food cooks faster and very little moisture escapes, the flavors are richer and more developed.

Is it better to slow cook or pressure cook pork shoulder? ›

slow cooking. Slow cooking the meat means it never has the chance to toughen up and will be extra silky and tender. Pressure cooking is faster, though you may lose a little bit of the tenderness. If you're going for the pressure cook method, be sure to get a pork shoulder or pork butt, as opposed to a pork loin.

Does a pressure cooker destroy nutrients? ›

A 2009 study found pressure cooking and boiling saw the greatest nutrient losses, compared to griddling, baking, or microwaving vegetables. A 2010 study found pressure cooking was better than boiling for nutrient retention, improving digestibility and reducing antinutrient compounds.

Does pressure cooking taste the same as slow cooking? ›

Taste: For overall taste, the pressure cooker was the hands-down winner. Beef, carrots, and potatoes all retained their rich flavors. After 8 hours in the slow cooker, they emerged bland and seemed to need salt.

Videos

1. Instant Pot Kalua Pork | Amy + Jacky
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2. Instant Pot Kalua Pork | How to make Easy Only 3 ingredients | Instant Pot Duo Gourmet
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3. Dustin Eats: Instant Pot Kalua Pork with Tiffany
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4. Instant Pot Kalua Pig - Easy
(Samurai Mama)
5. Kalua Pig from Frozen in Instapot!
(Nela Mukbang)
6. How to Make 2 Ingredient Kalua Pig in Pressure Cooker
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