Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches in the Pressure Cooker
These Instant Pot / Pressure Cooker Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches feature tender pulled pork in a sweet root beer–barbecue sauce. When you cook it in the pressure cooker, you get slow-cooked taste in a fraction of the time! This recipe makes a big batch, so it’s perfect for feeding a crowd or for a family dinner with leftovers in mind!
Pulled pork is one of my favorite restaurant meals! Until I started pressure cooking, however, I rarely cooked it at home because of the long cook time. I hated having my house smell like dinner at 10 in the morning. However, with this pressure cooker version, you get the great taste of the original, but reduce the cook time from 11 hours to just 50 minutes.
You’ll enjoy the tender, juicy meat with sweet BBQ flavors. It’s an easy win for dinner, and its perfect for a crowd.
This is one of those meals my boys always want me to have on-hand. I like to freeze it individual portions, so I can have an easy lunch on hand or can heat up a few for a quick dinner.
Making Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches in an Instant Pot
This recipe was originally adapted from the Recipe Girl Cookbook‘s slow cooker recipe. This cookbook features wonderful recipes perfect for every day and special occasions. (I first had Lori’s Snickerdoodle Blondies at the Big Traveling Potluck, and they’re a fixture at our house.)
The original recipe calls for onion soup mix, but I prefer to make my own dry onion soup mix substitute. However, you can absolutely substitute a packet of onion soup mix for the seasonings, then salt and pepper to taste.
Cooking Large Cuts of Meat in Your Pressure Cooker
In this recipe, I cut the pork shoulder into four 1 pound pieces. Dividing the meat helps it cook quickly and more evenly in the pressure cooker.
When pressure cooking, remember the size and thickness of the meat matters more than the amount of meat in your cooking pot. Whether you’re cooking 2 pounds or 6 pounds of pork, as long as they’re all about the same size and thickness, there’s no need to adjust the cook time.
Use an instant-read thermometer to verify your pork is at least 205°F in the thickest part after cooking.
Why Add Root Beer to the Pulled Pork?
First, do you call it “soda” or “pop” or “coke”? Regardless of what you call it, sodas are a must-add ingredient in slow cooker dinners. The acid in the soda helps tenderize the meat and adds a sweetness to the finished meal.
From what I can tell researching the recipe, root beer is originally a Southern addition to traditional pulled pork that’s now popular nationwide. (Some Southern restaurants are now branching out and adding it to ham and cheese sandwiches!)
It doesn’t mater what brand of root beer you use, so just use your favorite since you’ll have leftovers to drink. Regardless of the brand, if you’re a sweet BBQ sauce fan, you’ll love this!
Update: We alternate back and forth between this recipe and my Easy Pressure Cooker Pulled Pork recipe, depending on the ingredients we have on hand. This recipe is so easy to make and comes together with very little prep work. I wanted to make a quick video to walk you through the process!
Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches in the Pressure Cooker
This Instant Pot Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe makes a big batch of tender pulled pork in a sweet root beer–barbecue sauce.
- 1 5- to 6-pound pork butt/shoulder roast
- 1/4 cup dried minced onion
- 2 tablespoons beef bouillon granules
- 1/8 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon parsley flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup root beer
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce, divided
- 10 regular-size hamburger buns
Trim the pork roast of excess fat, getting rid of large, visible slabs. Place the roast on a work surface and cut in to four crosswise pieces.
In a small bowl, combine dried minced onion, beef bouillon granules, onion powder, parsley flakes, celery salt, paprika, salt, and pepper. Use clean hands to rub the spice mixture into the meat on all sides. Place roast in the pressure cooking pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the root beer and 1/2 cup barbecue sauce. Pour over the roast in the pressure cooking pot.
Select High Pressure and set the cook time for 50 minutes. When the timer sounds, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Finish with a quick pressure release. When the valve drops, carefully remove the lid. Carefully remove the meat from the pressure cooker to a large platter and shred with two forks. Discard excess fat as you shredded. (You can also use your stand mixer to shredded the pork.)
Skim fat from the surface of the cooking liquid. (I used a fat separator to separate the fat.) Select Saute and simmer cooking liquid to reduce to about 1/2 cup.
Place shredded pork in the cooking pot with remaining 1 cup barbecue sauce and 1/2 cup cooking liquid. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer.
Serve on toasted rolls with additional barbecue sauce if desired.
*If you wish, you can substitute the spices for one envelope (1 ounce) dried onion soup mix and salt and pepper to taste.
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The instructions for this thing were written by a moron! People fear the pot, now I know why!
Hi Crystal – No need to fear the Pot. Here’s my getting started guide that will help walk you through learning how to use your pressure cooker. https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/getting-started-with-your-new-electric-pressure-cooker-or-instant-pot/
When I made pulled pork, I poured half of the barbecue sauce into a dipping dish, (I live alone) and refilled the jar using limeade. Shake it up in the bottle for no waste, and just pour it into the pot.
For those who think that there’s enough spice in Trader Joe’s Sciracha BBQ sauce, it’s a nice way to cut the hot a little, and still get the tang. It still takes my breath away.
When I can’t get to TJ’s, i buy Kraft, because it doesn’t have corn syrup or HFCS in it. Read the labels; it’s amazing how much is crap in sauces these days.
Thanks for sharing you tips!
I’m trying this tomorrow!!!! Nice and amazing recipe shared by you, thank you so much for that.
Made this tonight, absolutely beautiful, so simple used packet soup mix. Will definitely be a keeper.
Hi Barbara! I was able to cooked a 10 pound pork butt/shoulder roast in my 6-quart IP. I cut the roast into 12 pieces but all were not quite the same size. After sauteing I placed the larger pieces on the trivet and added by size. I cooked for 75 minutes which I feel was too long. Your recipe calls for 50 minutes for 6 pounds. Would that be enough time for 10 pounds or should I add a little more time. I am still looking for that pulled pork recipe I love so this recipe is next.
Hi Robbie – the thickness of the meat will determine the cook time, not the volume. Ideally, you’ll want to cut them into the same size pieces. The smaller you cut them, the shorter the cook time will be.
Another great recipe! So easy. After I removed the fat cap, I brushed some liquid smoke on my pork pieces. I substituted a butt rub over the onion soup because I didn’t have any on hand. It turned out awesome, everyone loved it. Thanks for all the great recipes you put out Barbara!
Hello! When I made this recipe, juices from the pork and pop came out of the steamer like crazy. It spewed everywhere!! Was this normal?
Hi Haley – if the juices came out of the steam release valve, you probably skipped the 15 minutes of natural release. You don’t open the valve for 15 minutes and the pressure slowly releases so that you don’t have juices coming out of the valve. Here’s more information https://www.pressurecookingtoday.com/quick-pressure-release-or-natural-pressure-release/
Would you need to double if it’s a 9lb pork shoulder?
Hi Alicia = I would cut the pork into 1 lb. pieces and use the same cook time. You’ll probably need an 8 quart pressure cooker to cook 9 lbs. You may need to add more root beer for an 8 quart. Enjoy!
I made this yesterday for 15 people (7 lbs, and had leftovers) and it was a huge hit! I mistakenly added all the BBQ sauce, but it came out just fine (phew!). Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe!
That’s awesome – thanks Karen!
How long should I cook a 2.5 lb pork loin roast
Hi Debra – I would cut it in half and use the same cook time. Pork loin isn’t as good a choice for pulled pork, not as juicy, but it will shred and work for pulled pork.
We LOVE using pork loin roasts for pulled pork. Much less fat, but the IP helps it come out fork tender and very tasty. I’m not a fan of fatty pulled pork.
Most of the fat from pork shoulder melts away from the meat, but if you prefer pork loin, that’s great.
I love this recipe!! If I don’t have a bone in my roast do I need to change anything?
Thanks Lisa – no, just cut around the bone. Enjoy!
I have the Power Pressure Cooker XL. Are there any changes I need to make using my 8 quart pressure cooker?
Hi Marilyn – you may need to use more root beer in an 8 quart for it to come to pressure properly.
New to the IP, this will be my first real meal. I have done eggs and sweet tea only. Trying to time the meal, how long approx do you think it will take to come to pressure?
Hi Concetta – I would plan on about 10 minutes for it to come to pressure if your root beer is room temperature. Enjoy!
My instant pot doesn’t have a “high pressure” setting that I can see. Is 50 minutes on manual enough time to cook this?
Hi Tonya – if it doesn’t let you switch to low pressure then it always cooks on high pressure. Manual for 50 minutes should be just right. Enjoy!
We loved the chicken recipes soooo much, we are giving the root beer pulled pork a go! Thanks for these amazing recipes!
Hello, love this recipe! Although my family doesn’t eat much pork. Could I substitute chicken? Do you have another recipe for pulled chicken on your site? Thanks!
Hi Amber – you could certainly substitute chicken in this recipe. You’d probably want about a 10 minute cook time for shredded chicken.
Could you use pork loin?
Hi Patti – yes, you can use pork loin. It will just be a little drier and not quite as succulent.
Hi! I was going to make this today and was wondering if you cut the bone out when you cut it into 4 pieces. Thank you
Hi Gayle – it’s not necessary to cut the bone out if you can leave it in one of the pieces.
All I could find was a eight pound roast will that work in this recipe.
Hi David – cut the roast into about 1.5 lb. pieces and if it all fits in your pressure cooker, you shouldn’t have to make any changes. Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the quick reply!
Hi Barbara! This recipe looks amazing. I’m planning to make it for a birthday party. Approximately how many will this recipe serve? Thank you for so many great pressure cooker recipes. 🙂
Thanks Mary – that’s so nice! You should get about 10 sandwiches depending on how large your buns are. Have fun!
Are the times the same for the Instant Pot? I just got mine and I LOVE it. I tried pressure cooking on the stove and I kept screwing it up. I signed up for your website, all your food looks amazing.
Hi Rebekah – yes, most of the recipes were tested using the Instant Pot. Thanks for signing up – have fun!
So how long was this start to finish? I know it takes awhile to come up to pressure before the timer even begins, plus the steps following the main cook. Just need a better idea of total time, please. Thanks so much!
Hi Rebecca – since there’s not much liquid in this recipe, it should come to pressure fairly quickly if your pork isn’t super cold or frozen – probably within 10 minutes. I’d plan on about 1.5 hours for this recipe.
My husband dislikes onions. What could I substitute for the dried onion soup?
Hi Ruth – I’d probably just omit it if he doesn’t like the taste of onions. Just use a BBQ sauce that he enjoys.
This is the best pulled pork ever!! My dad asks for it within a day after he finishes the last batch!! I find myself cooking it at least twice, sometimes three times a week!!!
That’s quite a compliment. Thanks for sharing.
My dad says the same!!! He loves this recipe!!!
I am very new to the Pressure Cooker world. I bought the Pressure Cooker XL and I wanted to know if I made this in mine since it looks like you have a different kind, do I need to do anything different when it comes to temperature and or time?
Hi Kristie – you shouldn’t need to make any changes. Just use your meat button and change the time. Enjoy!
Could I substitute with chicken breast? I was looking for a recipe for shredded bbq chicken and I live root beer. Thanks Brandi
Hi Brandi – you could substitute chicken. I’d reduce the cook time to about 12 minutes.
Question: Is it a “bone in” or “boneless” pork butt. I ask because you say to cut it in sections but do not mention de-boning it 🙂
Hi Mona – generally it’s just a little bone in a pork butt / shoulder that’s easy to cut around.
Barbara, I have made this recipe so many times now that it’s almost second nature. My only change is to use my homemade BBQ rub instead of the dry onion soup mix. It’s such a hit with my family and friends. Your website has been a godsend for me since i got my Instant Pot back in january. Just got another one last week, so I’ll be cooking even more in the Instant Pots. Thanks for such wonderful recipes!
Thanks so much Laurie! You can’t go wrong with creating your own rub. Have fun with the new IP. It’s so nice to have two.
Could I also use this recipe in a crock pot?
Hi Diane – yes, here’s the slow cooker version http://www.recipegirl.com/2007/02/13/root-beer-pulled-pork/
I am trying to make recipes using real food. What can you sub the root beer with so as to eliminate high fructose corn syrup or aspartame? Root beer flavoring? How much?
Hi Alice – you could try substituting some apple juice.
Could I use a smaller boneless pork should/butt? If so, do I change the time? Thanks!!
Hi Theresa – since the roast is cut in to four sections, you could cut yours in to fewer sections about the same size and still use the same cook time with a smaller boneless shoulder/butt. Enjoy!
Not happy, black toffee in the bottom of my pressure cooker, done on high pressure for 50 minutes. Probably should have used the WHOLE can of root beer and cooked on a medium pressure for SURE. Who wants to come and clean my pressure cooker???
Hi Valerie – sorry you had trouble with the recipe. Sounds like you’re using a stove top pressure cooker and had more than usual evaporation. It’s important to reduce the heat to the minimum required to maintain pressure. You might also want to check and see how much liquid you are losing as you cook so you’ll know if you need to add more liquid to recipes in the future.
Look at how many got fabulous results following the directions. So I would have to say your issues are user error for sure. Try again following the recipe exactly and if using aa good Instant Pot, you should get the same great results as the rest of us.
When shredding using a mixer does any particular mixing attachment work better than another?
Hi Michael – I’ve only used the paddle attachment.
I made this tonight and it was incredible! My first time making pulled pork and I’m thrilled. I accidentally bought Dr. Pepper instead of Root beer and used that, but otherwise followed your directions and my family and our tummies say THANK YOU! =D
Thanks for taking the time to let me know how much you and your family liked it. I should make some again soon too. It’s been too long.
I just made this and it was amazing. Thanks for posting the tip about shredding the meat in the mixer.
Thanks Lisa! So glad you enjoyed it.
I do not have the same pressure cooker as you however I do have a regular Fagor pressure cooker. Can I use your recipes with mine or do I need to adjust anything?
With this recipe you won’t need to make any adjustments for the stove top pressure cooker. With some of the quick cooking recipes, the stove top pressure cooker may cook just a tiny bit faster. Thanks for the question!
Thanks for the speedy reply…so glad I found your site on Pinterest. Look forward to trying all your recipes, as it is starting to get warm here in Florida and don’t like to use the oven in the summer:0)
So glad you found me too! What’s your favorite pressure cooker recipe?
I guess I would have to say mushroom risoto, my moms lamb recipe and I do like this recipe http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/search?q=pressure+cooker. Thanks!
That does look like a great chili recipe. I agree, risotto is fantastic in the pressure cooker. I have yet to try lamb though. Thanks for sharing.
That looks delicious! Bob loves pulled pork-I’m sure he’ll love this…and I love the time saved using the pressure cooker to cook it.
Thank you! 🙂
Now I’m ready for a family picnic!
Especially if you get a pressure cooker for Mother’s Day 🙂
Hi Barbara, I’m curious. How do you adapt the liquid from slow cooking to pressure cooking? Is it about the same. I’m always afraid I will run out of juice.
Hi Bonnie! My pressure cooker recommends using at least 1 1/2 cup liquid, so generally I reduce the liquid in slow cooker recipes to 1 1/2 cups. In a recipe like this one, you could probably use less because the meat releases a lot of juices too. Great question. Thanks!
Oh, yum! I just love how the cooking time goes from a whopping 11 hours to less than an hour! Question: When you cut the roast into four pieces, did you also cut out the bone? I’m going to have to give this recipe a go!
Hi Deon! The bone was in one end of the roast, so I just left it in the last piece. Then it was easy to remove after it was cooked.