Instant Pot Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 90 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8

A versatile Instant Pot, which can handle everything from sautéing to pressure cooking and more, is the perfect tool for making slow-cooked meals fast. Here, we use the Instant Pot to quickly braise pork until it’s meltingly tender, and our sloppy Joe starter further streamlines the prep. Serve the hearty sandwiches with a side of coleslaw and plenty of napkins.


  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 Tbs. firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 4 lb. (2 kg) boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3 pieces
  • 1 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 jar sloppy Joe starter
  • 6 to 8 hamburger buns, split and toasted
  • Pickled onions or pickle slices for serving


In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbs. salt, 2 tsp. pepper, the brown sugar, chili powder and cumin. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork shoulder.

In an Instant Pot set to the sauté mode, warm the oil until the Instant Pot indicates it is hot. Working in batches, add the pork shoulder pieces to the pot and sear the pork until well browned on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Return all the pork to the pot and add 1 cup (8 fl. oz./250 ml) water and the vinegar to the pot and use a wooden spoon to scrape up any bits on the bottom of the pot.

Cover the pot with the lid, lock the lid into place and cook at high pressure for 1 hour. Turn the heat off and let the steam release naturally, about 20 minutes, then turn the steam release handle to allow any residual steam to escape.

In a saucepan over medium heat, warm the sloppy Joe starter until hot.

Carefully open the lid of the Instant Pot and transfer the pork to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the pork into bite-size pieces, discarding any large pieces of fat. Transfer the shredded pork to a large bowl and add the warmed sloppy Joe starter. Toss to coat the pork with the sauce. Taste and season with salt and pepper

To serve, heap the pork onto the bottom half of each bun, top with the pickled onions, and cover with the bun top. Serve immediately. Serves 6 to 8.

Williams Sonoma Test Kitchen