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Last Updated on August 1, 2023 by Lisa Johnson
This easy-to-follow Instant Pot Kalua Pork recipe combines the convenience of the Instant Pot with the rich, smoky flavor of slow-cooked, shredded pork, reminiscent of an authentic luau.
You will not be required you to dig a deep pit in your back yard, fill it with wood and lava rocks, cover it with dirt and banana leaves, and wait for 16 hours until a whole pig is thoroughly cooked the traditional way!
For even more delicious pressure cooker recipes, check out the Instant Pot Recipes page.
I’m sure the fire department, the city council, and your neighbors are relieved to know this as well. LOL. In reality, this family favorite takes ten minutes of prep work, and then ninety minutes of hands free pressure cooking to create traditional Hawaiian kalua pork!
If you have ever been to a Hawaiian Luau, you have probably tried this traditional Hawaiian dish. It is a staple on the islands, and rightfully so. It is tender, juicy, and totally delicious!
You will also find traditional kalua pork served as a main dish in just about every restaurant and for special occasions along side some sticky white rice, Hawaiian Potato-Mac Salad, and tuna Poke.
Dat is one ono lunch brah! ;
What you’ll need
- Boneless pork shoulder roast or pork butt
- Alaea red Hawaiian sea salt
- Smoked paprika
- Cup of water
- Head of green cabbage
- An electric pressure cooker
Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below
How to make Instant Pot Kalua Pork
Remove the bone from pork butt/shoulder and cut pork into large pieces.
The bones are different sizes in each butt roast, 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.
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 on high pressure.
When the pot beeps, push the cancel/keep warm button and natural release the pressure.
After 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 with a wooden spoon to coat.
Select Manual and adjust time to 3 minutes. When the pot beeps, quick release the pressure.
Add the cabbage to the pork and stir to combine.
O-M-G this easy Kalua Pork recipe is crazy delicious, and the house smells amazing!!
I lived in Iowa when this post was written and the only brand of liquid smoke sold at the grocery store had strange ingredients. I chose to create my own smokey flavor using smoked paprika, and it worked perfectly.
I 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 prefer.
Hawiian Alaea Red Sea Salt is the traditional salt to used to make traditional kalua pig. Substitute kosher salt or any course sea salt that you have on hand.
This is the totally awesome 6-quart Instant Pot that I have…and love…and use it to create all of my recipes.
It is so simple, I did not need to do anything special shred the pork, the tender meat fell apart on it’s own!
Yes! This luau pork by itself is Whole30, Keto, and Paleo. The Hawaiian Macaroni Salad and Hamburger Buns shown above are not. Sorry, but I wanted to show a traditional Hawaiian plate lunch.
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add 1 cup cup of sushi rice, stir. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes.
More delicious Hawaiian food recipes
- Steamed Rice (Cauliflower Rice for Paleo)
- Hawaiian Potato Mac Salad
- Hamburger Buns
- Ahi Poke
- Huli Huli Chicken
- Fresh Pineapple
- Hawaiian Pulled Pork – tropical flavors like pineapple, ginger and soy…give it a try!
- Sweet Hawaiian Rolls
- And how about a Mai Tai or Piña Colada for the full experience?
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.
If you love this great recipe, please rate it five stars and help me share on facebook and to help other readers in our community!
Instant Pot Kalua Pork
- 6-quart Pressure Cooker
- 5 pounds pork butt bone removed and cut into large chunks
- 1 tablespoon Red Alaea Hawaiian Sea Salt
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika or substitute liquid smoke if preferred
- 1 cup water
- 1 head green cabbage cut into wedges
- 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 cabbage wedges to the juices in the Instant Pot, stir to coat.
- Select Manual and adjust time to 3 minutes on high pressure.
- When the pot beeps, release the pressure manually.
- Add the cabbage to the pork and stir to combine.
- Serve on hamburger buns with rice and Hawaiian potato mac salad on the side.
- Red Hawaiian 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 Whole30 and Paleo, the Hawaiian Potato Salad and Hamburger Buns are not.
- 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.