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Instant Pot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork With BBQ Sauce

When it’s your turn to host the game day crowd and you have NO idea what to make, I’ve got you covered with this tender, juicy, and absolutely delish spicy Instant Pot Dr Pepper pulled pork recipe. Made in your pressure cooker (instead of your slow cooker), it’s ready in time for kickoff!

Dr Pepper pulled pork sandwich topped with Southern style coleslaw and a side of crispy oven fries

This post has been sponsored by Dr Pepper®. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Instant Pot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

You guys know I am NOT one to wish summer away — it’s BY FAR my favorite season of the year. But in case you haven’t noticed, fall is coming up hard and fast. And you know what that means… College football is back!

Fall Saturdays around here are reserved for cheering on our favorite team and eating ALL of our favorite game day foods. You know, hot & cheesy dips, buffalo wings, maybe even some bacon wrapped pickles… FOR SURE these pudding shots!

I’ve shared a ton of my tried and true tailgate recipes over the years. But I realized recently that they’re mostly dips and finger foods. And sometimes you just want to offer something a little more substantial, right?

I have a slow cooker pulled pork recipe that’s been my go-to for as long as I can remember, but it has one glaring issue. With a 7-8 hour cook time, it’s not ideal for a noon kickoff. That is unless you want to get up at the crack of dawn to start it… And I don’t know about you, but that’s just NOT happening around here, LOL!

So I started tweaking that recipe and developed this tender, juicy, and oh-so-freaking-delicious Dr Pepper pulled pork that can be made in your Instant Pot! In like a fraction of the time it takes to cook in your slow cooker…

pulled pork instant pot Dr Pepper and spices ordered via Google Assistant

Dr Pepper pulled pork recipe + Kroger + Google Assistant

First things first — for me, game day prep always begins at Kroger. I know I can stock up on all of my college football party needs, including ALL of the ingredients for this Dr Pepper pulled pork recipe, in one stop!

And shopping at Kroger is even more easy and convenient now that it’s on Google Assistant. You can add, delete, and modify items on your shopping list using voice commands with your Google device! Adding an item is as simple as saying, “Hey Google, add Dr Pepper to my Kroger shopping list.” How cool is that?!

It’s really SUCH a game changer! I love that I can add items to my list while I’m cooking and notice things getting low. And if I shout loud enough, I can even add them from my couch in the living room… #lazy From there I can choose to view my list when I’m shopping in store or check out through the Kroger app for pickup or delivery.

instant pot pulled pork dr pepper with a heaping scoop of old fashioned southern coleslaw

Ingredients For BBQ Pulled Pork With Dr Pepper

Wondering what else you need to add to your list to make this Dr Pepper BBQ pulled pork (in addition to the Dr Pepper)? You know I’ve got you covered:

  • 5-6 lbs. pork butt roast (aka pork shoulder)
  • large white onion
  • apple cider vinegar
  • dry ground mustard
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • cayenne pepper
  • kosher salt
  • your fave BBQ sauce(s)

If you’re planning to make pulled pork sandwiches, you’ll also need to grab some buns. Kroger carries some amazing brioche buns in their bakery section! My ideal sandwich is one of these buns spread with butter and lightly toasted to golden brown, then piled high with spicy Dr Pepper pulled pork, drizzled with BBQ sauce, and topped with a scoop of Southern style coleslaw…

P.S. Look for the College Football Playoff branded Dr Pepper packaging! The cans are printed with a football pattern that’s SO cute and adds the perfect touch to your college football party.

dr pepper pulled pork instant pot ingredients

how to make pulled pork with dr pepper?

So now that you’ve picked up all of the ingredients, let me walk you through how to make pulled pork with Dr Pepper in your pressure cooker! Start by cutting the onion into wedges and placing them in the bottom of your pressure cooker insert. They serve as both a flavor booster and a trivet for the pork roast. Smart, huh?

Next, cut the pork roast into about 4-5 pieces. Rub each piece with a mixture of the dry ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, kosher salt (3/4 teaspoon per lb. of meat), and freshly ground black pepper. Set the pork pieces on top of the onion wedges, then pour a can of Dr Pepper into the pot around the pork, along with the apple cider vinegar.

dr pepper pulled pork recipe drizzled with bbq sauce

How long to cook a pork roast in a pressure cooker?

As with the kosher salt, you’ll have to do a little math to figure out how long to pressure cook your pork roast. My no fail rule of thumb is 18 minutes per lb. of meat at high pressure.

So for a 6-lb. pork shoulder, you’d set your timer for 1 hour and 48 minutes, and then allow the pressure to release naturally when the timer goes off.

dr pepper pulled pork in instant pot drizzled with bbq sauce

At this point, you can remove the pork chunks and shred them with two forks. The onions can be tossed with the meat or discarded, depending on your preference. (I like them mixed in.)

I also like to pour the juices into a fat separator, and then pour about a cup or so back into the meat after shredding. Soupy shredded pork is no bueno, but you do want it to be a little juicy!

spicy dr pepper pulled pork topped with Southern style coleslaw and served with crispy oven fries

What to serve with Dr Pepper Barbecue Pulled Pork?

When I’m making this BBQ pulled Pork with Dr Pepper for tailgating, I transfer the shredded pork back into the pressure cooker insert and set it to Keep Warm. I’ll have plenty of buns ready to go, and I like to offer 3-4 different types of BBQ sauce, so there’s something for everyone. When guests arrive, I set out a bowl of old fashioned Southern coleslaw and let them build their own sandwiches…

And if I’m making Dr Pepper pulled pork for dinner? Along with the coleslaw, I add a big sheet pan of crispy oven fries! Serve it all up with a cold can of Dr Pepper, and watch your kids magically appear at the dinner table. It’s totally a family favorite meal!

instant pot dr pepper pulled pork recipe with oven fries and old fashioned southern coleslaw

Instant Pot Dr Pepper Pulled Pork

Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 48 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 28 minutes

When it's your turn to host the game day crowd and you have NO idea what to make, I've got you covered with this tender, juicy, and absolutely delish spicy Dr Pepper pulled pork recipe!


  • 1 (5-6 lb.) pork butt (also known as pork shoulder)
  • 1 can Dr Pepper soda
  • 1 large white onion cut in wedges
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon dry ground mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt per lb. of meat*
  • BBQ sauce of choice
  • brioche sandwich buns or your favorite buns


  1. Place the onion wedges in the bottom of the Instant Pot insert.
  2. Trim any visible fat from the pork butt, and then cut it into 4-5 large chunks.
  3. Make a rub by whisking together the dry ground mustard, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and kosher salt. Rub the pork chunks all over with the rub.
  4. Arrange the pork on top of the onion wedges, and dump any leftover rub over top.
  5. Pour the whole can of Dr Pepper and the apple cider vinegar around the pork pieces.
  6. Lock the lid on top of the Instant Pot and make sure the steam release knob is turned to “sealing”. Using the Manual setting on your Instant Pot, cook the pork at high pressure for 18 minutes per lb. of pork butt.*
  7. When the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR) for 10 minutes. Then use a thick towel or a pair of tongs to release any remaining pressure.
  8. Remove the pork chunks from the pot, and shred with two forks, discarding any excess fat.
  9. Pour the remaining juices into a fat separator, and pour about one cup of the juices over the pulled pork.
  10. Drizzle with your favorite BBQ sauce as desired, and serve on lightly toasted brioche buns.


*Example: for a 6-lb. pork shoulder you'd use 4.5 teaspoons of kosher salt (6-lbs. x 3/4 teaspoon) and cook at high pressure for 1 hour 48 minutes (6-lbs. x 18 minutes).

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 servings Serving Size: 5-oz. pork only
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 522.6Total Fat: 38.1gSaturated Fat: 13.9gCholesterol: 149.1mgSodium: 596.3mgCarbohydrates: 3.8gFiber: 0.1gSugar: 3.2gProtein: 37.3g

Have you tried this recipe?

Leave a comment below and share a photo on Instagram. Tag it @unsophisticook and hashtag it #unsophisticook!

dr pepper bbq pulled pork with oven fries

Stock up on all of your tailgating essentials (like Dr Pepper!!!) at Kroger! And don’t forget the paper plates and napkins — ’cause pulled pork can get a little messy. But it’s all good!

If you like this Dr Pepper Pulled Pork, you might also enjoy these other recipes:

Did you make this recipe?
Tag @unsophisticook on Instagram and hashtag it #unsophisticook.


Monday 9th of October 2023

Just made this as written. The only extra step was to put the cooked meat on the smoker for about two hours using the remaining juices to keep it moist. Marvelous flavor. Thanks.

Tara Kuczykowski

Monday 9th of October 2023

Wow, that sounds amazing - will have to try it!


Thursday 11th of November 2021

Can you use diet Dr Pepper

Tara Kuczykowski

Sunday 14th of November 2021

Hi Kim -- I haven't tried it personally, but I don't see why not!

Jennifer S.

Saturday 21st of November 2020

I’ve made this recipe several times and my whole family loves it!! I follow the recipe except for I double all the dry spices. Making it again for tomorrow’s dinner.

Tara Kuczykowski

Saturday 21st of November 2020

Love to hear it -- thanks for sharing!!


Saturday 4th of July 2020

This recipe is the BOMB! This was my first time making pulled pork and it turned out amazing, everyone raved about it, it's my new go to!

Tara Kuczykowski

Saturday 4th of July 2020

Thank you, Larianne -- so glad you loved it!!


Wednesday 1st of July 2020

Can this be cooked in the crockpot?

Tara Kuczykowski

Thursday 2nd of July 2020

Hi MaShay! Yes, you can definitely cook this in your slow cooker, too. Cook it on high for 6-7 hours or low for 9-10 or until the meat pulls apart easily with a fork. Enjoy!

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