Sweet Pork Tostadas (Café Rio Style)

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Instant Pot Sweet Pork Tostadas go beyond conventional with crispy tortillas topped with shredded Café Rio–style pork, refried beans, cheese and guacamole—and any other of your favorite toppings. 

45 degree close up of a tostada, all plated up on a white plate on a yellow corn tortilla, topped with sweet pork, tomatoes, and cilantro.

❤️ While you’ll love these: This sweet pork cooks up quick and tender in your Instant Pot. Served as a tostada, you get a blockbuster combination of sweet and slightly spicy meat plus fresh vegetables and crunchy tortilla.

Café Rio is one of Utah’s top chain restaurants, and my family especially loves their Cafe Rio sweet pork barbacoa. But instead of ordering out, I like to make my own copycat version at home with my Instant Pot. 

These sweet pork tostadas are every bit as tasty as the restaurant’s! However, they’re a more manageable size and topped with any of your favorite toppings. 

Update: I love these sweet pork-stuffed crispy tostadas, and I think you will too. I’ve updated the post with new photos and recipe instructions. I hope you enjoy!

pinterest button for Instant Pot sweet pork tostadas

How to Make Café Rio Sweet Pork Tostadas in an Instant Pot

This Instant Pot Pork Tostadas recipe will work in any brand of electric pressure cooker, including the Instant Pot, Ninja Foodi, or Power Pressure Cooker XL.

Most Café Rio copycat sweet pork recipes require 6 to 8 hours in the slow cooker. In the Instant Pot, pork shoulder only takes 1 hour. Plus, no waiting in line and it’s at a fraction of the price! 

I use Frontera Enchilada Red Chile Enchilada Sauce to add a bit of spice and tons of flavor to the toastada filling. 

This pork is meant to be quite sweet, but you can cut down on the brown sugar if you’d like.

📌 Note: The coke is essential to getting the perfect Cafe Rio sweet pork flavor, so I wouldn’t omit it. I also don’t recommend using diet unless everyone who is eating the sweet pork is a diet soda drinker—the diet taste will make its way into the meat itself.

overhead of an instant pot with sweet pork cooking inside

What’s the Best Cut of Pork for Tostadas?

For juicy, easy-to-shred pork, I recommend a boneless picnic shoulder. It cooks faster than bone-in cuts and has the right ratio of fat and muscle for tender, succulent pulled pork. 

I cut the meat into 1-inch pieces so I could use a shorter cook time. However, if you prefer, you can put the meat into your pressure cooking pot whole. I’d cook a 4-pound whole pork shoulder for 90 minutes at high pressure for the same shreddable result. 

overhead of an instant pot with pieces of pork cooking in a red sauce

Can I Freeze Instant Pot Pork Shoulder?

Yes, you can make the tostadas filing ahead of time, it freezes well. Let the pulled pork cool then keep in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost the pork in the fridge overnight and fill and bake your tostadas. 

overhead of a bowl of sweet pork and a bowl of tomatoes salsa with crispy tortillas

Baked or Fried Tostada Shells?

Traditional Mexican tostada shells are made with deep fried corn tortillas. 

I prefer to make them a little healthier (and easier) by baking them with a little spritz of cooking spray. They still crunch up healthy and delicious.

Feel free to deep fry (or air fry) them if you’d rather! Or, in a pinch, you can buy them in a box.

🥗 Tip: If you want to serve this sweet pork like like a Café Rio salad, serve it with my Cilantro Lime Rice and my Cilantro Lime Ranch Dressing.

close  up on a tostada topped with sweet pork, tomtatoes and fresh herbs

More Mexican Instant Pot Recipes

If you love the Mexican flavor in these Sweet Pork Tostadas, try these other popular recipes:

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45 degree close up of a tostada, all plated up on a white plate on a yellow corn tortilla, topped with sweet pork, tomatoes, and cilantro.

Sweet Pork Tostadas

Servings: 8 -10 Servings
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Course: Pork
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Sweet Pork Tostadas
Instant Pot Sweet Pork Tostadas are an easy Cafe Rio copy cat recipe, made with juicy, sweet shredded pork covered in enchilada sauce and melty cheese.
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  • 1 can 7 ounces diced green chiles
  • 2 cups Coca-Cola divided
  • 1/2 cup picante sauce
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 4 pounds boneless picnic pork shoulder trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 cup red enchilada sauce*
  • 5- inch white corn tortillas
  • Cooking spray
  • Prepared refried beans for serving
  • Shredded lettuce for serving
  • Shredded Mexican cheese for serving
  • Guacamole for serving
  • Fresh Salsa for serving


  • Add chiles, 1 cup Coke, chunky salsa, brown sugar, tomato paste, chili powder, and cumin to the pressure cooking pot; stir to combine. Add the pork. 
  • Select High Pressure and set the timer for 25 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid.
  • Pour the meat into a colander to drain juices.
  • Shred the pork and return it to the pressure cooking pot. Add remaining 1 cup Coke and enchilada sauce and stir to combine. Heat on Sauté setting until heated through.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray tortillas with cooking spray on a baking sheet. Bake until tortillas are crisp and starting to brown, about 5 minutes.
  • Spread tortillas with refried beans, then top with sweet pork, shredded lettuce, cheese, guacamole, and salsa. Serve hot


*I used Frontera Red Chile Enchilada Sauce


Serving: 1g | Calories: 803kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 57g | Fat: 51g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 28g | Cholesterol: 208mg | Sodium: 809mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 19g


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originally published April 10, 2021 — last updated June 1, 2024
Categories: Pork