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Instant Pot Kalua Pork

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What would you say if I told you that today’s recipe will require you to dig a big hole in your back yard, fill it with wood and lava rocks, cover it with dirt and banana leaves, and wait for 16 hours until it is thoroughly cooked? You’d say I’m bonkers, right? Well luckily this Instant Pot Kalua Pork recipe requires none of those things!

For even more delicious pressure cooker recipes, check out the Instant Pot Recipes page.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork with cabbage | cookingwithcurls.com

I’m sure the fire department, the city council, and your neighbors are relieved to know this as well. LOL. In reality, this Instant Pot Kalua Pork takes ten minutes of prep work, and then ninety minutes of hands free cooking…BOOYAH!

If you have ever been to a Hawaiian Luau, you have probably tried Kalua Pork. It is a staple on the islands, and rightfully so. It is tender, juicy, and totally delicious! You will also find it served in just about every restaurant along side some sticky rice, Hawaiian Potato Salad, and Poke.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork bento lunch with sticky rice, Hawaiian potato salad and poke | cookingwithcurls.com

Dat is one ono lunch brah! 😉

How to make Instant Pot Kalua Pork:

Remove the bone from pork butt/shoulder and cut pork into large chunks.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork roast cookingwithcurls.com

The bones are different sizes in each pork butt, but run top to bottom. This is an 8 pound pork butt/shoulder that became 5 pounds of pork chunks once the bone and the huge fat cap on the backside were removed.

Mix the Alaea sea salt and smoked paprika together in a small bowl.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork salt cookingwithcurls.com

Sprinkle salt mixture over the pork and rub in to thoroughly coat.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork season cookingwithcurls.com

Place pork into the Instant Pot liner and add water.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork water cookingwithcurls.com

Secure the lid, select Manual and adjust time to 90 minutes.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork cook cookingwithcurls.com

When the pot beeps, push the cancel/keep warm button and allow pressure to release naturally.

After the pressure is released move the pork to a bowl. Cover to keep warm.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork bowl cookingwithcurls.com

Add the sliced cabbage to the juices in the Instant Pot, stir to coat.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork cabbage cookingwithcurls.com

Select Manual and adjust time to 3 minutes. When the pot beeps, release the pressure manually.

Add the cabbage to the pork and stir to combine.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork Sandwich | cookingwithcurls.com

O-M-G this is Instant Pot Kalua Pork is crazy delicious, and the house smells amazing!!

Recipe Notes:

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  • I chose to create my own smokey flavor using smoked paprika, and it worked perfectly. **I lived in Iowa when this post was written and the only brand of liquid smoke that I could buy at the grocery store had strange ingredients, that is why I made this comment. Now have this Liquid Smoke in the cabinet, but still prefer the smoked paprika in this recipe. Substitute 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke for the smoked paprika if you like.
  • Red Alaea Sea Salt is the traditional salt to use. Substitute any course salt that you have on hand.
  • This is the totally awesome Instant Pot that I have…and love…as if you couldn’t tell.
  • I did not shred the pork, it fell apart on it’s own…oh ya!
  • The Kalua Pork is Whole 30 and Paleo, the Hawaiian Potato Salad and Hamburger Buns are not. Sorry, but I wanted to show the traditional meal.
  • To make sticky rice: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup cup of sushi rice, stir. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.

How to create a Hawaiian Bento style meal at home:

Kalua literally means “to cook in an underground oven”, so using an Instant Pot is technically breaking with tradition…but who wants to sit around for 16 hours waiting for lunch? 😉 The traditional ingredients are being used, so hopefully that is enough to keep the tiki gods happy.

Enjoy!!

Instant Pot Kalua Pork with cabbage | cookingwithcurls.com

Instant Pot Kalua Pork

Now you can make this tender and juicy Hawaiian Instant Pot Kalua Pork with cabbage at home, no imu {underground pit} required!
4.89 from 9 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pork, Hawaiian, paleo, whole30, instant pot, recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Pressure Release: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 403kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds pork butt (bone removed and cut into large chunks)
  • 1 Tablespoon Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika (or substitute liquid smoke if preferred)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 head green cabbage (sliced)

Instructions

  • Remove the bone from pork butt/shoulder and cut pork into large chunks.
  • Mix the Alaea sea salt and smoked paprika together in a small bowl.
  • Sprinkle salt mixture over the pork and rub in to thoroughly coat.
  • Place pork into the Instant Pot liner and add water.
  • Secure the lid, select Manual and adjust time to 90 minutes. *it will take 15 to 20 minutes for the pressure cooker to build pressure and start cooking*
  • When Instant Pot beeps, push the cancel/keep warm button and allow pressure to release naturally.
  • When the pressure is released move the pork to a bowl. Cover to keep warm.
  • Add the sliced cabbage to the juices in the Instant Pot, stir to coat.
  • Select Manual and adjust time to 3 minutes.
  • When the pot beeps, release the pressure manually.
  • Add the cabbage to the pork and stir to combine.
  • Serve with rice, Hawaiian potato salad, or on hamburger buns.

Notes

  • Red Alaea Sea Salt is the traditional salt to use.  Substitute any course salt that you have on hand.
  • I did not shred the pork, it fell apart on it’s own…oh ya!
  • The Kalua Pork is Whole 30 and Paleo, the Hawaiian Potato Salad and Hamburger Buns are not. Sorry, but I wanted to show the traditional meal.
  • To make sticky rice: Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add 1 cup cup of sushi rice, stir. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes
  • 8 Servings is the minimum, you could easily serve 10 maybe even 12 depending on how you are serving it and how many are children.

Nutrition

Calories: 403kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 1078mg | Potassium: 1159mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 235IU | Vitamin C: 41.6mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 4mg

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18 Comments

  1. Kalua Pork looks and sounds fantastic! Love all the accompaniments also! I have an electric pressure cooker (not an instant pot) that I just love to use. It certainly makes life easier by allowing such a quick cooking time! Thanks for sharing this yummy recipe! Blessings, Janet

  2. Great recipe, followed it exactly and came out delicious. My 13 year old son loved it and ate all of the leftovers. We also lived in Hawaii for 3 years, so this kalua pork tastes just like the one in the luau’s that’s been cooking in the ground for 16 hours. Question, if I double this recipe, would I have to double the water and also double the cooking time?

    1. Thank you Cristina. You would not need to double the liquid and I “believe” that the cooking time remains the same. The time is based on thickness of the meat, not total weight. If it isn’t cooked enough, you may need to put the lid back on and add more time. I would love to know how it turns out!! 🙂

  3. I was really happy to find such a delicious recipe. I, also do not like liquid smoke and was happy to find a recipe that worked around this ingredient. I used a salt rub from Hawaii (contained a little ginger, garlic and pepper flakes). I also served it with a side of Zucchini Hawaiian Slaw. A friendly work around the pasta and it was amazing! Thanks for posting.

  4. Hi, I’m new to the instant pot and just wondering when you add the cup of water, do you put it in with the meat or in the other pot? Also, when you say a liner, I’m assuming you mean the smaller pot to the current size you are using, right? Sorry for the questions, I’m just new to this. Thanks.

  5. I apologize for my previous questions, guess I should of looked at the pictures above and read those instructions instead of going straight to the recipe first.

  6. 5 stars
    Absolutely, positively, the BEST instant pot pork recipe I’ve made!! Huuuuuge hit @ our house! The only thing I did differently was use Himalayan salt.. as I couldn’t find the Hawaiian. Loved this so much.. I just had to take a container over to my folk’s.. which they also loved!! Thank You!! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    Very moist and great flavor! I used a 2 pound pork shoulder rubbed with Hawaiian salt and liquid smoke (I didn’t have paprika or cabbage). I cooked on high pressure for one hour and 20 minutes with natural release. I will definitely make again and try with smoked paprika and cabbage. 🙂

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