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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

November 6, 2016

By Kath Dedon


Yep. I treated myself to an Instant Pot. I had a perfectly good 30+ year-old stainless steel stovetop pressure cooker, but I never used it. Older pressure cookers need to be monitored closely. Plus, while I’ve read that some people find the jiggling top comforting, I found the jiggling sound a bit disconcerting. To me, it was a constant reminder that my pot could blow its top if I did something wrong.

So, after seeing thousands of positive reviews, I started an Instant Pot board on Pinterest to collect online recipes. It wasn’t long before I was convinced that I needed one. I’m now the owner of an automatic electric Instant Pot and I LOVE it! Although it’s touted as a multi-functional cooker (Pressure Cooker, Slow Cooker, Rice Cooker, Sauté/Browning, Yogurt Maker, Steamer, and Warmer), I am most excited about its pressure cooking abilities. I won’t be getting rid of my slow cooker or rice cooker just yet.

(Bonus: This newfangled pressure cooker cooks SILENTLY!)

The first thing I decided to make was Instant Pot Kalua Pork. I chose Michelle Tam’s recipe on her blog. It was SO easy and we all loved it! The total time to make it is about 2¼ – 2½  hours, but since only about 10 minutes of that time is active cooking time it didn’t seem that long. And because I did keep my rice cooker, I made some rice. The pork and cabbage were great served with the rice.

I cooked the cabbage as Michelle suggests, but I only cooked ¾ of a head (6 wedges) since there were only 5 of us for dinner. Once I tasted it, I wished I had cooked the whole head of cabbage. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious. Truly.

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, you could try Michelle’s Slow Cooker Kalua Pig. She cooks it for 16 hours, but says if you have a newer slow cooker it will probably be done in 9 – 12 hours. My 6-quart Crock-Pot cooks hot even on the Low setting and I’m sure the pork would be done in 9 hours. If you try the slow cooker version, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you.






Instant Pot Kalua Pork

(Adapted from Michelle Tam’s recipe on

If you have a stove top pressure cooker reduce the pressure cooking time to 75 minutes instead of 90 minutes. Stove top cookers cook at a higher psi than electric pressure cookers. If cooking a stove top pressure cooker recipe in an Instant Pot add 15% more time under pressure. Conversely, if cooking an Instant Pot recipe in a stove top pressure cooker reduce the cooking time by 15%.


Total time to make the pork and the cabbage is about 2½ hours, mostly unattended.


(print the recipe)


Serves 8


Hawaiian Alaea Salt



3 slices bacon

5 pound pork shoulder roast(I used boneless; you could use bone-in)

5 peeled garlic cloves

1½ tablespoons of Alaea Red Hawaiian Course Sea Salt(or 1 tablespoon of Alaea Red Hawaiian Fine Sea Salt. Michelle suggests you can sub smoked salt or kosher salt.)

1 cup water

1 cabbage, cored, and cut into 8 wedges


  1. Put the bacon in the Instant Pot. Press Sauté.



2. While the bacon is cooking (turn it with tongs occasionally), cut the pork roast into 3 pieces. Cut the garlic cloves into thinner slivers, cutting each one into thirds or fourths. Cut slits in the roast and press the garlic pieces into the slits. Sprinkle half of the salt over the pork pieces and rub it in a bit. Turn the pork pieces over and sprinkle the rest of the salt on the pork rubbing it in.



3. By this time the bacon should be nicely browned. Put the pork on top of the bacon slices. Stop the Sauté function by pressing the Keep Warm/Cancel button.



4. Add the water to the pot, put the lid on and lock it in place. Make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position.

5. Select Manual. Press the “+” button until it shows 90 minutes. It will come up to pressure and the float valve will rise up. In a minute or two you’ll notice the time decreasing. The 90 minutes is the time it cooks once it’s under pressure. (If using a stove top pressure cooker time it for 75 minutes once the pot comes up to pressure.)

6. When the 90 minutes is up, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button to turn it off. Let the pressure release naturally. This will take about 15 – 20 minutes. The float valve will pop back down when the pressure is released and you can then open the pot.

7. Remove the pork from the pot.

8. Put the cabbage in the cooking liquid in the pot. Put the lid on and make sure the pressure release handle is in the sealing position, select Manual and press the “-” button to change the time to 3 minutes. While the cabbage is cooking, shred the pork with two forks.

9. When the cabbage is done, carefully move the pressure release handle to the venting position to quickly release the pressure. Use a good pot holder, or push it over with tongs or some other tool to protect your hand. The steam will release immediately.

10. When the pressure has released (the float valve will pop back down), open the pot.

11. Serve the pork with the cabbage. You can stir a bit of the cooking liquid into the pork if you would like it a bit juicier.




4 Comments leave one →
  1. Ron permalink
    November 7, 2016 5:04 am

    Kath – The pork is jumping out of your image and needing to be in my stomach. It looks sooo tasty!
    Also, thanks for the great insight into the “Instant Pot”. I finally found one at Amazon.UK and they ship to Sweden. As I have a portion of fresh wild boar coming my way I plan to order a Instant Pot this week. I’m very curious to see how wild boar cooks up in the Instant Pot.

    • November 7, 2016 5:38 am

      Ron, I bet wild boar will be fabulous cooked in an Instant Pot! Enjoy!


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