A seasoned and quartered pork shoulder in the Instant Pot.

How Long to Cook a Frozen Pork Roast in the Instant Pot

By Whitney Reist
November 18, 2021

Ever forgotten to thaw your pork shoulder for cooking and found yourself in a time crunch? We’ve certainly been there! Luckily with the use of an Instant Pot, you can safely cook meat in the frozen state! In this post, we’ve compiled all you need to know about how to cook a frozen pork roast in an Instant Pot. 

A seasoned and quartered pork shoulder in an Instant Pot before cooking.

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In this article, you’ll find:

  • How long you should cook a frozen pork roast (aka pork shoulder or pork butt) in the Instant Pot
  • Bonus tips for cooking frozen food in the Instant Pot
  • A free Instant Pot cooking times chart
  • The answer to if you can cook frozen pork in the slow cooker
  • How long to cook pork in the slow cooker
  • Instant Pot recipes you might like
  • Where we get our pork shoulder from
  • Instant Pot freezer meal inspiration

How Long Should You Cook a Frozen Pork Roast in the Instant Pot?

It is totally possible to cook a frozen pork shoulder (also known as Boston Butt) in the Instant Pot. Here’s a quick overview, but be sure to read the important tips below.

First you must start by quartering the pork BEFORE it is frozen. This will ensure even cooking in an Instant Pot if the pork is fresh, frozen, or thawed! Thinking you can cut it in the frozen state? Think again! It’s pretty much impossible, so plan ahead and cut a 3-4 pound pork shoulder into four pieces prior to freezing it.

Believe it or not, a frozen pork shoulder takes the same amount of time to cook in an Instant Pot as a fresh one. Because it takes longer to come to pressure, it doesn’t need additional cooking time even though it’s frozen.

So, you will cook a frozen, quartered 3-4 pound pork shoulder in the Instant Pot for 45 minutes with at least a 10-minute natural release of the pressure.

Bonus Tips for Cooking Frozen Food in the Instant Pot

Tip 1: Freeze your Instant Pot meals in a circular form.

While many are accustomed to freezing meals in a nice flat square-shaped freezer bag, this shape won’t work when trying to cook a freezer meal in the Instant Pot. It simply won’t fit.

Our preferred method is to freeze the meal in a zip-top freezer bag and place the meal in a bowl (or something that is a round shape). After it’s frozen, snatch the bowl back and leave the meal in the freezer. Then when you want to make your meal, it’ll plop right into that Instant Pot!

Pork shoulder roast in a freezer bag inside of the Instant Pot insert.

Tip 2: If possible, don’t stack your meat when freezing meals in the Instant Pot.

We have learned this the hard way. Because the Instant Pot cooks so fast, if meat (especially chicken breast) is stacked, it’s really hard for it all to cook evenly. The outside gets done and the inside remains pink as a pig. (Is that a phrase? It is now.) If it’s impossible to not stack your meat, just be sure to check for doneness throughout. If it’s not done, move the meat around with some tongs and cook on high pressure for a few more minutes.

Tip 3: Large cuts of meat should be cut into small pieces before freezing.

We’re talking pork shoulders and beef roasts. In order for meat to cook evenly and to get really tender, it’s better if it’s not in one big chunk. We recommend quartering our pork shoulders and cutting our chuck roasts into 2 inch cubes. It’s some work on the front end but worth it. Chicken breasts and thighs seem to do fine as they are.

Tip 4: Saute the freezer meal in the Instant Pot for 5 minutes before cooking.

One trick that we have learned about cooking a freezer meal in the Instant Pot is to let the frozen meal simmer for about 5 minutes. Simply turn on the Sauté function, place the meal in the pot, and let it do its thing.

Tip 5: Allow extra time for coming to pressure and for cooking freezer meals in the Instant Pot.

We’ve found that freezer meals take almost twice as long to come to pressure than a thawed meal does. Make sure you allow for that time when prepping or you’ll have a hangry family. I wish there was a one size fits all pattern to freezer meal cooking times in the Instant Pot but there just isn’t.

One trend we see is that the longer it takes a meal to come to pressure, the less additional time you need to add to cook a frozen meal. It seems counterintuitive, I know. You’ll just have to trust us on this one.  So for example, in our recipes for a large batch of soup, we don’t add any additional cooking time when cooking from frozen. On the flip side, we add 10+ minutes to a small chicken recipe.

Free Cooking Times Chart for Instant Pot 

In an effort to save you from overcooking or undercooking future Instant Pot meals, we wanted to equip you with this free Instant Pot Cooking Times Chart to go along with your meat thermometer. (We spent two years testing the most accurate Instant Pot cooking times for our second cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker.)

Download it, print it, snuggle it, and thank us later.

Can I Cook a Frozen Pork Roast in the Slow Cooker?

Now, we know this is your next question. We hate to break this to you, but unfortunately cooking frozen pork (or any meat) in the slow cooker is not safe. Here is what the USDA says about frozen food in the crockpot:

Always defrost meat or poultry before putting it in the slow cooker. If you place frozen meat or poultry in a slow cooker it can spend too much time thawing, allow bacteria to multiply, and make you sick. Using defrosted foods will also ensure your meal cooks evenly and all the way through.


A fresh or thawed pork shoulder does, however, cook nicely all day in a crock pot!

How Long Do I Cook a Pork Shoulder in the Slow Cooker?

We are so glad you asked! Take a look at and download our free slow cooker cooking times chart below.

Instant Pot Pork Roast Recipes You Might Like

Cuban Paninis

This Cuban Panini recipe has the perfect balance of complex flavor, texture, and gooey goodness. Trust us when we say, this interesting combo of panini ingredients results in one amazing hot sandwich.

Two cuban panini sandwiches stacked on top of each other on a cutting board with a piece of wax paper.

BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Instant Pot Pulled Pork has it all. It’s super easy, budget friendly, makes a large batch, and freezes beautifully. The Instant Pot cooks pork shoulders beautifully. I have no doubt this recipe will be in your regular rotation. 

A plate with a pulled pork BBQ sandwich next to coleslaw with a bowl of slaw on the side.

Greek Pitas with Pulled Pork

Both picky and adventurous eaters will go for this Mediterranean spin on pulled pork. Serve the meat wrapped in soft, whole-wheat pita bread topped with chopped fresh veggies, tangy feta cheese, and our creamy, herb-infused Tzatziki Sauce. If your people are picky, they’ll still love the pulled pork just wrapped by itself in a warm pita.

A pulled pork pita wrap on a blue plate with a bowl of tzatziki sauce and board of vegetables in the background.

Where Do You Get Your Pork Shoulder From?

We are HUGE fans of Butcherbox and have been getting our pork (and beef, seafood, and chicken) from them for years now. In fact, Rachel wrote a comprehensive honest review about this meat subscription service.

We love that all their meat is healthy and sourced responsibly. It’s so convenient to have it delivered to our doorsteps whenever we choose!

A woman standing on the porch holding a shipment from Butcher Box.

Want More Instant Pot Freezer Meals?

Be sure to check out this post packed with 20+ Instant Pot Freezer Meals!

A collage of images for freezer meals made in the Instant Pot.

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