Breakfast · Crockpot · Dinner · Instant Pot · Kid-friendly · Lunch · Paleo · Pressure Cooker

Kalua Pork (Instant Pot, Whole30, Paleo)

In honor of my 9th wedding anniversary today, I am sharing a recipe that is near and dear to my heart.  Kalua pork is one of the first dishes most think of when it comes to the Hawaiian culture.  Traditionally, kalua pork is cooked in an imu, but located in Seattle – creating an imu in my backyard isn’t feasible, so I’ve settled on a crockpot, which works great.  My mother-in-law taught me how to cook it in the crockpot and I’ve continued to make it several times over the last 10 years.  Kalua pork is one of our family’s favorite dishes, and I’m thrilled to share it with you on such a special day to me.

Kalua Pig

Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 90 minutes
Servings – 6

Recipe adapted from my Mother-in-Law and Coconut & Lime


  • 1-2 banana leaves (sold frozen at most Asian food markets)
  • 6lb boneless pork shoulder or butt (may need to cut in half to fit)
  • 2 Tbsp Hawaiian alaea sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp course sea salt
  • 2 Tbsp liquid smoke
  • 1 cup of water


  1. Line the Instant Pot with the banana leaf, leaving enough hanging over the sides to cover the pork.
  2. Pat dry the pork and rub it thoroughly with the salt.
  3. Add the pork to the Instant Pot and pour in the liquid smoke and water.
  4. Cover with leaf and secure the lid. Select High Pressure and set timer for 90 minutes.
  5. When finished, use a natural pressure release. Open the Instant Pot and remove the pork and place in a large bowl.
  6. Use forks or meat shredding claws to shred the pork.
  7. Serve or keep warm in the Instant Pot by removing the banana leaf, draining any juices and placing the meat into the insert, pressing the “keep warm” button.
  8. Serve over Coconut Cauliflower Rice.


If you don’t own an Instant Pot, don’t freak.  You can cook your kalua pork in your slow cooker.  For best results, cook on LOW for 18 hours.  Short on time? Cook on high for 9 hours, then follow steps 6-8.

(not whole30/Paleo)

My kids are hapa haole, so this dish is only served one way to them – over white rice.  I used to drizzle soy sauce over it, but since soy is completely out of our house, I’ve subbed Coconut Aminos and they transitioned just fine.  They actually call it the “special sauce” now.

Happy Anniversary, Shane.  I love you!

Wedding pic
Our wedding Day.  March 8, 2008

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