Instant Pot Kalua Pork

This Instant Pot Kalua Pork recipe has only three ingredients and is ready in 90 minutes! There is no shredding needed since this pork literally falls apart while cooking and is ready to serve out of the pot. You have to make this ASAP!

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What is Kalua Pork?

This recipe for Instant Pot Kalua Pork is one of my absolute favorites. It’s not the espresso rum Kahlúa you might be thinking of. Kalua literally means “cooked in an underground oven” and is a traditional Hawaiian dish that takes many hours to make. It’s delicious and you should definitely try the real thing when you are in Hawaii. However, there is an easy shortcut to make a copycat version in your Instant Pot or slow cooker in a lot less time.

Ingredients Needed for Kalua Pork

This is the perfect recipe to feed a crowd or for a simple weeknight meal. There are only 3 ingredients and so many ways to enjoy it.

  • 4-6 lb pork butt/shoulder (bone-in)
  • liquid smoke
  • kosher salt
shredded kalua pork in the instant pot

Serving ideas for Kalua Pork:

  • Put it in a homemade pita! Here is my recipe for Quick Pita Bread
  • Serve it over sticky rice with soy sauce and onion
  • Use it for my Easy Drunken Noodles Recipe
  • Make Kalua Pork tacos, burritos, or nachos
  • Use it in place of shredded rib meat for Korean Burritos
  • Have a Kalua Pork BBQ sandwich on a Hawaiian roll or hamburger bun
Kalua Pork in a Homemade Pita with cabbage and onion
Kalua Pork in a Homemade Pita with cabbage and onion

What Type of Pork to Use

When you are purchasing a piece of pork for this recipe you want to find a pork shoulder or pork butt, preferably with the bone-in. You can make this without the bone as well and it still tastes amazing. Some people say the bone helps with the shredding and tenderness, the jury is still out for me. I’ve made a pork shoulder as big as 8 lbs. in my 6 qt. Instant Pot for this Kalua Pork.

How to store Kalua Pork

Store your leftovers in a sealable container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months. Once your pork is done cooking there will be a lot of liquid from the fat rendering out and some water. You can remove it before storing or leave it for extra flavor and juiciness. It will solidify when chilled but will turn back into a liquid once reheated.

kalua pork on rice with green onion and white onion

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Three ingredient Kalua Pork made in your Instant Pot in 90 minutes! There is no shredding needed since this pork literally falls apart while cooking and is ready to serve out of the pot.
5 from 10 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: EmilyFabulous


  • Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker or slow cooker


  • 4 pound pork shoulder or butt with bone-in (can make without bone too!)
  • 2-3 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 2-3 tablespoon kosher salt


  • Cut the pork into pieces, this doesn't have to be exact or even but I find in the Instant Pot it cooks better this way. You will have to cut around the bone so just be creative. I cut mine into 6 pieces. If you are making this in the slow cooker, you do not need to cut it up.
  • Add the pork to the Instant Pot and pour both the liquid smoke and salt on top. This is to taste and you can add more of both at the end but you can't take it away. Lock the lid into place on the Instant Pot and make sure the steam valve is closed.
  • Set Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on High for 90 minutes. In the slow cooker, allow the pork to cook for 8 hours on low. After pressure cooking, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the steam. This does add time, but it makes a difference.
  • Once the pressure is released (or the slow cooker has finished) your house should smell amazing and the pork will just shred on it's own and the bone will come out clean. Just give it a stir with some tongs to break up the pieces. My picture below is just from using tongs!



  • Always read the instruction manual that came with your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and follow all safety guidelines.

Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.

More Instant Pot Recipes to Check Out

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