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Instant Pot Kalua Pork with cabbage in a large serving bowl.

Instant Pot Kalua Pork with Cabbage

Instant Pot Kalua Pork with Cabbage is one of my favorite dishes to make for my family or for a party and it's free of the top 8 allergens. It's an easy and delicious meal with plenty of leftovers for days when I know I'm busy or just need some downtime and takes about 3 hours.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Hawaiian
Keyword instant pot, kalua pork
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Pressure build & release 45 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 315 kcal
Author Sharon Wong


  • 4 pounds bone in pork butt
  • 1.5 tablespoons Alea salt or sea salt
  • 8 oz bacon
  • 1 large head of cabbage


  1. Use a pair of scissors or a sharp knife to trim the some of the excess fat off the bacon, set aside (you need about 4 ounces of trimmed bacon)
  2. Add 3/4 cup of water to the Instant Pot liner and add a rack.
  3. Rinse the roast to remove any bone fragments, pat dry with a paper towel, cut the roast into 3-4 pieces, trim off any layers of fat that are easy to remove. Rub all sides with the Hawaiian Alea salt and place the pieces of pork fatty side up on the rack inside the pressure cooker.

  4. Arrange some of the trimmed bacon in between the pieces of pork and place the rest on top
  5. Cover and seal the lid, turn the knob to seal, and set the Instant Pot to meat mode at high pressure for 90 minutes (allow 30 minutes for the pressure cooker to seal). 

  6. In the meantime, wash and chop cabbage into bite size pieces, set aside.

  7. When the Instant Pot is finished, allow it to natural release for 15 minutes and then vent the rest of the way.

  8. Remove the bacon pieces and set aside for other purposes (you can saute them with veggies for a delicious side).

  9. Pull the pork: place a large clean colander in a large clean bowl and transfer the cooked kalua pork into the colander, scrape off any large visible layers of fat and discard, pull the pork with two forks in the colander, remove fat and gristle.

  10. Rinse the pork: remove the rack from the pressure cooker and transfer the remaining liquid to a gravy separator, pour the liquid from the gravy separator into the pulled kalua pork to rinse out some of the fat. Allow the kalua pork to drain in the colander, set aside.
  11. Separate the fat from the cooking liquid: Use the gravy separator to remove the fat from the cooking liquid that is in the bowl. You need about 2 cups, 1 cup for the kalua pork and 1 cup for cooking the cabbage. Reserve the rest of the liquid for other purposes.

  12. Get ready to serve: Transfer the kalua pork from the colander into a serving bowl and pour about 1 cup of the defatted cooking liquid into the kalua pork to allow it to absorb back some of the moisture.
  13. Saute the cabbage: Wipe down the outside and bottom of the Instant Pot liner and place the liner back into the Instant Pot, add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, ½ of the cabbage, and saute for 3-4 minutes until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Add half of the kalua pork, stir to combine, and transfer the kalua pork with cabbage into a large serving bowl. Repeat with the remaining cabbage and kalua pork and add more cooking liquid as needed.

Recipe Notes

Variations: Omit the cabbage and serve the pulled kalua pork with rice or on a Hawaiian dinner roll as sliders. Or serve half as kalua pork and serve half with kalua pork with cabbage. Make ahead option, reserve half of the kalua pork, freeze for another meal, and heat and serve with or without cabbage.