I warned people about Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast. “Not good in a pressure cooker” I said. Pork loin is a lean cut of meat that needs careful cooking. A properly prepared pork loin is pulled from the heat at precisely 145°F for medium doneness.1 It dries out after that; well done pork loin is dry and stringy.
Exact meat temperatures are not a pressure cooker’s strong point. I can’t check the temperature with my instant-read thermometer; once I lock that lid, I have to hope for the best. When asked, I recommended pressure cooker pork shoulder, which should be cooked to well done and beyond.
Then I stumbled across this Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast recipe on the Pork Checkoff website. That’ll never work…will it? I had to find out, so I fired up my Instant Pot for a test.
My first test wasn’t great – after 20 minutes at high pressure, the pork wound up at 185°F internal – but it caught my attention. The loin wasn’t that bad, actually. Sure, it was overcooked, but it was close enough that I wanted to try again, to get it right.
It took a number of tries – we ate a LOT of leftover pork loin – but eventually I pinned down my technique. Brown the fat cap side of the roast, then lift it out of the liquid with the pressure cooker rack. Cook at high pressure for 15 minutes for a medium roast, or 18 minutes for medium-well, with a 15 minute natural pressure release and rest. A “regular” natural pressure release, which usually ended after 10 minutes with the small amount of liquid, wasn’t enough time – it needed the extra time resting to come up to temperature.
Is this my favorite pork loin recipe? No, I’d rather roast it out on my grill. But, for what I thought was an impossible recipe, this is a surprisingly good pork roast. Who knew you could pressure cook pork loin?
Recipe: Instant Pot Pork Loin RoastPrint
Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast – a quick pork roast with a pan sauce from the pressure cooker
- 2– to 2½-pound pork loin roast
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 cup chicken broth (preferably homemade, or use water)
- juice of ½ lemon (optional)
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt (if using homemade broth or water)
- Brown the roast: Sprinkle the pork loin evenly with the teaspoon of salt and black pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in the Instant Pot on sauté mode adjusted to high until the oil is shimmering, about 3 minutes. (Use medium-high heat in a stovetop PC). Put the pork loin in the pot, fatty side down, and sear until well browned on that side, about 3 minutes. Remove the pork to a plate.
- Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a 15 minute Natural Pressure Release and rest: Pour the chicken broth into the pot, and use a flat-edged wooden spoon to scrape loose any browned bits of pork stuck to the bottom of the pan. Put the pressure cooker rack into the pot, then set the pork loin on the rack, fatty side up. Lock the lid and pressure cook at high pressure for 15 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, and quick release any remaining pressure. (There probably won’t be any pressure left; my pressure valve dropped after about 10 minutes most times.)
- Defat the sauce and serve: Unlock the pot, lift the pork roast out, and set it on a platter. Pour the juices in the pot into a fat separator and let them settle for five minutes to separate the fat. Pour the defatted juices into a gravy boat (or other serving container) and stir in the lemon juice and thyme. If you are using homemade broth or water, also stir in ½ teaspoon of salt – store bought broth does not need any more salt. Slice the roast, drizzle with a little of the sauce, and serve, passing the rest of the sauce at the table.
- Brining: If you plan ahead, brine the pork loin – it will come out much juicier. Instead of sprinkling the loin with salt and pepper: 3 to 8 hours before cooking, dissolve ¼ cup fine sea salt in 1 quart of water, submerge the pork loin in the brine, and refrigerate. Remove the loin from the brine, pat it dry with paper towels (don’t rinse it), and continue with browning the fatty side of the pork loin.
- Smaller or larger roasts? This recipe is not as flexible as most, because you don’t want to overcook your pork loin. A smaller roast will probably overcook, and a larger roast is probably too wide to fit in your Instant Pot.
- Category: Sunday Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Instant Pot Pork Loin Roast, Pressure Cooker Pork Loin Roast
What do you think?
Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
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- According to the National Pork Board, pork should be cooked to 145°F, measured with an instant-read thermometer, and then rested for 3 minutes. I am willing to live dangerously, and cook it to 135°F (medium-rare) sometimes. ↩