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Simple Instant Pot Pork Roast With Onion Gravy

This recipe for an instant pot pork roast makes a flavorful, sliceable pork butt roast with a rich onion gravy. It cooks in less than half the time of an oven pork roast with just a few ingredients.

We did lots of research and include tips on timing and variations.

sliced pork butt roast on plate with onion gravy and cauliflower..

If you are wary about fat in your meat, this recipe is probably not for you. Although the fat adds lots of flavor and most of it cooks off, you might want to try our oven-based boneless pork roast with gravy (reverse sear method) or sous vide pork roast instead. Both recipes use different pork cuts.

Technically, instant pot pork roast is not really ‘roasted’. It’s closer to braised. But it’s quicker, easy and flavorful.

A pork butt (or shoulder roast) usually requires low and slow cooking. The instant pot speeds it up considerably with similar results.

Many recipes on the internet cook a pork roast and shred it for pulled pork. This is an instant pot pork roast recipe for sliced pork and gravy, not shredded pork.

What to expect

  1. A one pot meal – searing, pressure cooking and making the gravy are all done in the same pot.
  2. Half the cooking time of an oven pork roast and a fraction of the time for a slow cooker. Under 1 hour.
  3. Less expensive – pork butt is generally cheaper than other cuts like pork loin or pork rib roast.
  4. Rich, delicious gravy – the instant pot method creates it’s own yummy gravy to served over sliced pork roast.

Ingredients- tailored to your taste

raw pork butt, broth, dijon, seasonings, chopped onions, cornstarch.

Pork: I use a boneless pork butt (sometimes called Boston butt) which is a highly marbled and less expensive cut of pork. A pork butt is usually 2-3 pounds (0.9-1.36 kg) and 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) thick. You can use a bone in pork butt roast, but it’s harder to carve. Pork shoulder is very similar and can be substituted with some time adjustments.

Broth: Beef, vegetable or chicken broth will all work. Better Than Bouillon base makes a great broth – just add water. If you like, you can add a splash of white or red wine for extra flavor.

Onions: I use sweet onions or red onions, but any kind will do. You can chop or slice them. If you want to add carrots and/or potatoes at the end, see the recipe card for instructions.

Seasoning: I use use salt, pepper, garlic powder and rosemary or thyme (include onion powder if you like). Feel free to use your favorite dry pork rub instead. Variations: I like to add a bit of Dijon mustard to the gravy for extra flavor. Or add a pinch of cinnamon to the broth before pressure cooking.

Cornstarch: Add a slurry of cornstarch and water after the pork is cooked to thicken the gravy.

Step by step instructions

seared pork butt in instant pot.
Season the pork generously. Set the instant pot to the SAUTÉ MODE and sear the pork for a few minutes per side until nicely browned. Remove from the pot and set aside.
sauteed onions in instant pot.
Add onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until starting to brown.
seared pork butt on rack over broth and onions.
Add broth (and a glug of wine if you like). Scape up the browned bits at the bottom of the instant pot. Place trivet on top and lay the pork roast on it. Place lid on pot, set to SEAL and set to high PRESSURE for the correct time (see recipe card). Do a 10 minute natural release before the final quick release.
onion gravy in instant pot
Press CANCEL. Set to SAUTÉ. Skim off grease if needed. Stir in cornstarch slurry to thicken gravy.
sliced pork roast with gravy on white plate with pea shoot garnish.
Rest meat for 5 minutes, then slice and serve with onion gravy.

Tips

Dry meat before searing to ensure a nicely browned crust. In addition to patting the pork dry with a paper towel, I dust it with a little bit of flour.

Timing: Cooking time should vary with the thickness of the meat.

  • The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound/450 grams.
  • For a cut that is 2 – 2 1/2 inches thick (5.0 – 6.3 cm), I prefer 14 minutes per pound. I find this results in a more tender pork roast – not overcooked.
  • For larger thicker cuts (usually a pork shoulder roast), cook for 17 minutes per pound.

Recipe FAQs

Can I use a pork shoulder roast instead of pork butt?

Yes, the two cuts are very similar, both from the shoulder area of the pig. The shoulder is usually thicker so you will definitely need to cook it for 15 minutes per pound/450 grams (or 16-17 minutes if the roast is larger than 3 pounds/1.36 kg).

How can I avoid the burn notice on the instant pot?

After searing, make sure you deglaze the brown crust on the bottom of the pot by adding at least 1 cup/247 ml liquid and scraping the bits. Also make sure your sealing ring on the lid is placed correctly. If you do get a burn notice, the instant pot should immediately turn off.

What is the safe temperature for cooked pork?

In the past, the safe temperature for pork chops was considered 160F/71C. Now, the USDA recommendation for safe cooking is 145F/62.8C. You may still see a bit of pink which is perfectly fine.

Can I cook a frozen pork roast in the instant pot?

Yes, you can cook a pork roast from frozen. It takes a bit longer, but not much surprisingly. Here’s a recipe to cook a 3 lb frozen pork roast.

Can I add carrots and potatoes to the instant pot when cooking a pork roast?

Yes, but ONLY after the pork roast is cooked and natural release is complete. Remove pork, add the veggies (1 1/2 inch pieces) to the pot, cover, set to Seal, set pressure for 3 minutes. When done, do a quick pressure release.

What to serve with pork butt roast

These are a few of my favorite sides to serve with pork roast and gravy for a complete meal.

Shortcuts

  • Buy pre-chopped onions
  • Use crushed garlic in a jar or in frozen cube form
  • Use a store-bought dry rub to season the pork roast.
  • Skip the searing step for the pork (but note that searing will add more flavor)

Make Ahead

Make the full recipe ahead. Cool, slice, toss with the gravy and place in the fridge for 1-2 days. Gently reheat in the microwave for a few minutes. Don’t overheat the pork or it will become rubbery. May be frozen.

sliced pork butt roast on plate with onion gravy and cauliflower..

Other pork roast recipes

If you enjoy instant pot cooking, here are a few more instant pot recipes you might like.

sliced pork butt roast on plate with onion gravy and cauliflower..
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Simple Instant Pot Pork Roast With Onion Gravy

This recipe for an instant pot pork roast makes a flavorful, sliceable pork butt roast with a rich onion gravy. It cooks in less than half the time of an oven pork roast and needs just a few ingredients.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Natural release10 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 3
Author: Cheryl

Equipment

  • Instant Pot I use a 6 quart. 8 should be fine too with 1 1/2 cups/355 ml

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pound pork butt roast, Note 1
  • seasoning: garlic powder, salt, black pepper, Note 2 PLUS a dusting of flour (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus 1 tsp extra if needed)
  • 1 medium onion, any kind (2 cups/160 grams sliced or diced)
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic (2 cloves) or 1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1 cup beef or chicken broth (I use beef broth) (plus 1/4 cup wine – optional)

Seasoning for gravy

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (optional) I add if using chicken stock or broth
  • salt and pepper to taste

To thicken gravy

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch (plus 2 tbsp water)

Instructions

  • PRESS SAUTÉ FUNCTION: to heat instant pot to "HOT". Add 1 tablespoon oil.
  • SEASON PORK BUTT: Pat meat dry with a paper towel. Generously sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder evenly over the pork butt. Dust lightly with 1-2 teaspoons flour to help create a great golden brown crust.
  • SEAR PORK: on all sides, about 7-8 minutes total or until golden brown. Remove to plate.
  • SAUTÉ ONIONS: Add onions. If bottom of the pot is dry, add another teaspoon oil. Sauté for 3 minutes until edges start to turn brown. Add crushed garlic in last 30 seconds. Keep Sauté function on.
  • ADD COOKING LIQUID: Add 1 cup broth, 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme (or 1-2 small rosemary sprigs if you have – not no more than that) and a splash of wine if using. Stir and scrape up brown bits on bottom of pot for 30 seconds. This will help prevent a burn message. Press CANCEL.
  • PRESSURE COOK: Place metal trivet over liquid/onions and then place pork butt on top of trivet. Lock lid on instant pot. Turn valve to SEALING. Set HIGH PRESSURE to the correct time for size of pork, Note 3. It will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure before the countdown starts for cooking.
    When time finishes, do a 10 minute natural release. Instant pot will show an "L" and count from 1 to 10 minutes. Then turn valve to VENT and release remaining pressure. When button on lid drops, carefully open lid. Press CANCEL.
    Transfer meat to a plate. Remove trivet. Skim grease from top of liquid if needed. Internal temperature of pork should be 145F/62.8C. {Note 4 shows timing steps for entire recipe). Note 5 to cook carrots and potatoes.
  • FINISH ONION GRAVY: Set instant pot to SAUTÉ setting. Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water in a small bowl or cup to make a cornstarch slurry. Add Dijon and soy sauce if using. When liquid in pot starts bubbling, add slurry and stir 1-2 minutes until thickened. Taste and adjust seasonings for a more flavorful gravy if needed eg, more thyme, salt or pepper as needed.
  • SLICE AND SERVE: Slice pork butt and transfer to a plate. Spoon over onion gravy and serve with mashed potatoes or other sides.

Notes

  1. Pork roast options:
    • A boneless pork butt is usually 2-3 pounds (0.9-1.36 kg) and 2-3 inches (5-7.6 cm) thick. You can use a bone-in pork butt roast, but it’s harder to carve.
    • Pork shoulder is very similar and can be substituted (it will take a little longer since it is thicker).
  2. Pork seasoning variation: in addition to salt, pepper and garlic powder, add a sprinkle of thyme and/or onion powder if you like. Or simply use a pork dry rub instead.
  3. Cooking time for pork based on thickness of pork: 
    • The general rule of thumb is 15 minutes per pound/450 grams.
    • For a cut that is 2 – 2 1/2 inches thick (5.0 – 6.3 cm), I prefer 14 minutes per pound. I find this results in more tender meat.
    • For larger thicker cuts (usually a pork shoulder roast), cook 17 minutes per pound.
  4. Timing for total recipe: Prep pork and heat instant pot (6 minutes) + sear pork (7 minutes) + sauté onions (3 minutes) + time for instant pot come to come to pressure (5 minutes) + cook time (14 min x 1.5 lbs/680 kg = 21 minutes) + natural release (10 minutes) + thicken gravy (3 minutes) = 55 minutes.
  5. To cook carrots and potatoes in instant pot: To make a complete meal, after you remove pork to a plate, add 2 potatoes and 2 peeled carrots cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces to instant pot. Cover with lid, set to Seal, set High pressure for 3 minutes. When done, do a quick pressure release. 
  6. Make ahead:
    • Make the full recipe ahead. Cool, slice, toss with the gravy and place in the fridge for 1-2 days.
    • Gently reheat in the microwave for a few minutes on medium. Add more time in small increments if necessary. Don’t overheat the pork or it will become rubbery.
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container for 2-3 days in the fridge. May be frozen for up to 2 months. 
 
Nutrition values are estimates using beef broth and do not include optional ingredients (soy sauce, Dijon, wine).

Nutrition

Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 44g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 4711mg | Potassium: 875mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg
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