Kalua Pork has never been so fast and easy! This Instant Pot Kalua Pork is ready in under two hours and is pure pork heaven. Great on it’s own or in a variety of dishes.
A few years ago on our 10th wedding anniversary, we celebrated in Hawaii. Neither of us had ever been and I don’t know why we waited so long! It was a blast. We were also sans kiddos so that made things super relaxing. We spent hours on the beach with mai tai’s in hand. It was glorious.
You know what else was glorious? The Food. The sushi, the garlic prawns at the shrimp trucks on the North Shore, steak bites and of course the Kalua Pork. The first breakfast we had was at a little spot close to our hotel and I ordered the Kalua Pork Benedict. OH MY GAWD. You guys. It was amazing.
And the fact that it came with tots didn’t hurt. Because tots.
When I got home, I knew that I had to try my hand making my own kalua pork. I started by doing some research:
Traditionally kalua pork is seasoned with salt, wrapped in banana leaves, placed in a pit and allowed to slow cook for several hours.
Well, I don’t know about you but I don’t have a large underground pit that I can cook in. So that version was out.
Many of the other recipes that I found were for slow cooker kalua pork. These recipes had a cook time of at least 10 hours, I even saw some that required a cooking time of 16 and 20 hours. I get it, it is a slow cooker. But sometimes, especially when my house is filling up with the scent of succulent pork, I get impatient. That is why I decided to make this Instant Pot Kalua Pork.
Guys, it’s ready in 2 hours. BOO. YA.
To make this recipe you’ll need pork shoulder. You can use bone in or boneless. Whichever you can find will work just fine. I have used both.
Some, especially the slow cooker recipes, call for liquid smoke flavor. I find that because the Instant Pot concentrates the flavor, liquid smoke leaves too much of a smoky flavor. Instead, to get the smoky flavor, I add some bacon. The bacon gives the perfect amount of smokiness.
Finally, the salt. When making kalua pork, the salt is important. Traditionally, coarse red Alaea Red Hawaiian Sea Salt. I happened to bring some home with me from my trip but you can find it at well stocked grocery stores as well as Amazon. But if you can’t get your hands on some, any sea salt will work.
For this recipe, I went the traditional route and used cabbage that is cooked in the liquid after the pork has finished. And served the whole thing over rice. My entire family loved it!
This recipe makes a lot of pork though so you will have plenty of leftovers. I used it just like I use my slow cooker pulled pork. I made tacos, enchiladas and pulled pork sandwiches. It goes a long way. I didn’t have a chance to make that scrumptious eggs Benedict but, this instant pot kalua pork is going to be in our monthly rotation so expect that recipe to come soon!
Note: This post was originally written in 2018. It was updated with new photos in 2021.
ShirleySeptember 29, 2018 at 11:20 am
the word kalua cought my attention, I thought this recipe would call for the liquor Kalua?
DesereeSeptember 29, 2018 at 2:53 pm
Common mistake Shirley! Kahula is the the drink, Kalua is a traditional Hawaiian cooking method :)
MeadowSeptember 3, 2018 at 5:36 pm
I’ve made this twice now. I love how simple it is, and the bacon definitely gives it that extra smokiness without a synthetic product. I’ve served it once with the cabbage and once with some crushed pineapple. I’m planning to use the leftovers to make BBQ pork paninis and enchiladas. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
DesereeSeptember 3, 2018 at 9:13 pm
You are welcome Meadow! And yes, I like using the bacon so much more! The liquid smoke was just too smoky for me. I like the addition of pineapple too! I’ve used this pork to make enchiladas, taquitos and sandwiches. So many possibilities!
LisaJuly 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm
Do you use the trivet while cooking the pork or no?
DesereeJuly 29, 2018 at 9:02 am
Hi Lisa, I didn’t :)
Amy @ Little Dairy on the PrairieJuly 6, 2018 at 9:28 am
What a great pork recipe! We love pork at our house!
Jacque HastertJuly 5, 2018 at 9:29 am
This dish sounds fantastic! I love that it’s made in the Instant Pot.
Nutmeg NannyJuly 5, 2018 at 4:29 am
My husband would love this! Definitely need to make it for him!
CatalinaJuly 4, 2018 at 2:03 pm
My type of dinner! I love easy dinner ideas!
Katerina @ diethood .comJuly 4, 2018 at 1:29 pm
This looks and sounds fantastic!! Can’t wait to try it!!
SabrinaJuly 4, 2018 at 8:59 am
We love Kalua pork but have yet to make it using an IP. Can’t wait to try your recipe!
I Heart NaptimeJuly 3, 2018 at 7:38 pm
Yum! This is one of my favorites!
BillJuly 3, 2018 at 8:09 am
So there is no Kahlua in Kalua Pork? I may have to change that..