This pulled pork recipe with homemade coleslaw makes the best pulled pork sandwiches of your life. Tender and juicy pork is slow-cooked over 8 hours and is perfectly complimented by crunchy, tangy coleslaw. Easy, delicious, and a huge crowd-pleaser.
Why You’ll Love This Pulled Pork Recipe
Few sensations can compare to taking the first bite of juicy, homemade pulled pork sandwiches. When we first tried this recipe, we were blown away at the tenderness of every flavor packed bite, and we knew we just had to share it with you. Here are just a few reasons you’ll love it:
- So Easy: There’s nothing easier than throwing some ingredients into a slow cooker and letting the magic happen while you go about your day. No browning needed!
- Tender and Flavorful: The secret to this recipe is the combination of coke and vinegar. They help to break down the tough fibers of the meat and infuse it with sweetness and tanginess. The result is tender, juicy, and flavorful slow cooker pulled pork that melts in your mouth.
- Great Crunch: To balance out the richness of the pulled pork, we love the addition of homemade coleslaw. It’s a deliciously creamy way to add a little crunch to an already amazing sandwich! Also, just like the pulled pork, it’s ridiculously easy to make.
- Kid Friendly: We try to make all of our recipes kid friendly – it’s hard not to when you have three little ones running around the house! This recipe is no exception to that. In fact, this is one of my kids’ favorite dinners. Even my pickiest will eat every last bite!
- Crowd Pleasing: Aside from dinners at home, these sandwiches are also a huge hit at potlucks, tailgates, parties, you name it! This is one of our favorite dishes to make when people are coming over because, once you throw it all in the slow cooker or instant pot, you don’t have to do much more to it. Perfect for when you’re having a party.
What You’ll Need
With a pulled pork recipe this flavorful, you might think you need a ton of ingredients. Fear not! That’s not the case here, and you likely already have most of these ingredients in your pantry or fridge. The homemade coleslaw is an optional step in this recipe, but it’ll help make one of the best pulled pork sandwiches of your life! Scroll down to the recipe card for exact amounts.
For the Pulled Pork
- Pork: We recommend a boneless pork loin.
- Spices: Smoked paprika, cumin, celery salt, and minced garlic.
- Onion: Sweet onions are our favorite, but white onions will work as well.
- Light Brown Sugar
- Apple Cider Vinegar: You can substitute white vinegar if you’d like. But we love the flavor and tang that apple cider vinegar gives the pork.
- Liquid Smoke: This is optional, but a great way to add that authentic smokey flavor to the pork without tending to a smoker or grill all day.
For the Homemade Coleslaw
- Cabbage: We like a mix of purple and green cabbage for the slaw (it’s really pretty!). You can buy a pre-shredded mix or shred it yourself.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Seasoning: Celery seed, salt, and pepper.
How to Make Pulled Pork
There’s nothing better than an easy recipe that creates the most flavorful food. Follow these simple steps, and then go about the rest of your day! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for detailed directions and ingredient amounts.
For the Pulled Pork
- Rub: Mix all the seasonings in a small bowl to create the spice rub. Cover the pork loin with the spices and place it in the slow cooker.
- Combine: Cover the seasoned pork with the sliced onions and minced garlic. Then, add in the coke and apple cider vinegar.
- Cook: Now, for the easy (and hard) part! Cover and cook the pork on low heat for eight hours. Make sure you cook it for the full time so your meat absorbs all that flavor and becomes extra juicy and tender.
- Shred: When you’re ready to serve your pulled pork, remove the roast from the slow cooker and use two forks to shred the meat. Your pork should be juicy, tender, and ready to be shredded! Add a little of the cooking juice or some BBQ sauce to maximize the flavor.
For the Homemade Coleslaw
- Mix: Mix together all the coleslaw sauce ingredients.
- Combine: Pour the mixture over the shredded cabbage and toss to coat evenly.
- Refrigerate: Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least an hour before serving. This will let all those great flavors meld together.
Tips for Success
Here are a few tips and tricks to make sure your slow cooker pulled pork turns out perfectly every time.
- Use BBQ Sauce: We like to add about 1 cup of BBQ sauce to give the pork a little extra tang. Feel free to use any kind of BBQ sauce you like based on your personal tastes! If you don’t want to bother with the barbecue sauce, we recommend adding about a 1/4 cup of the cooking juices to keep the pork nice and juicy.
- Chill the Coleslaw: Coleslaw is always best eaten the first day you make it, but it develops great flavor if it sits for an hour or so in the fridge. We recommend making it about an hour before the pork is finished cooking.
- Instant Pot: If you’d rather cook pulled pork in the instant pot, you can! Pour coke and apple cider vinegar into the bottom of the instant pot. Follow step #1, except place pork in an instant pot instead of a slow cooker. Cover the roast with sliced onions and garlic and then cook on manual high pressure for 85 minutes. Do a natural, slow pressure release. Then follow directions in the recipe card from step #4 down!
How to Serve Pulled Pork
We recommend serving your pulled pork on a lightly toasted hamburger bun topped with your homemade coleslaw and cooked onions from the slow cooker. It is seriously DIVINE. We’re drooling just thinking about it! But if you’re not in the mood for pulled pork sandwiches, here are some other fun ways to serve it:
- As a Topping: Pulled pork is pretty great no matter what you put it on. We love it on sweet potatoes, baked potatoes, and (of course) mac and cheese.
- As a Filling: From sandwiches to tacos, slow cooker pulled pork is a great addition! Give it a try in our air fryer avocado tacos, a cheesy quesadilla, or grilled cheese!
Can I Store and Reheat Leftovers?
If you are going to serve the pulled pork in the next few hours, the best way to store this meat is right there in the slow cooker or instant pot! Just keep the setting on warm and serve it whenever you’re ready. If you happen to have any leftovers, here’s how you can handle them.
- Refrigerate: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 4-5 days. It will taste just as good as the day you made it! Unfortunately, coleslaw doesn’t hold up well in the fridge due to the water content of the cabbage. Try to only make as much as you’ll use in a single day.
- Reheat: Pulled pork is pretty forgiving. Feel free to reheat in the microwave or slow cooker based on how much time you have. Just be sure to give it a good stir to ensure its evenly warmed.
- Freeze: Pulled pork is great to make ahead and freeze. It will store well in the freezer for up to 3 months in an airtight container or freezer bag with the air removed.
More Easy Crockpot Recipes
Best Pulled Pork
- 2 tablespoons smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1.5 teaspoons celery salt
- ¼ cup light brown sugar
- 2.5 lbs boneless pork loin, pork shoulder or pork butt also work well
- 1 large onion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup coke, or similar dark soda
- ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup bbq sauce, optional (I use Sweet Baby Rays Original)
- 1 14 oz bag of shredded cabbage (or 1 head of fresh cabbage shredded)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon celery seeds
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- Salt & pepper, to taste
- hamburger buns
- extra bbq sauce, optional
- Mix smoked paprika, cumin and celery salt, brown sugar and mix together into a spice rub. Cover the entire pork roast with the spice rub and place pork into your crockpot.
- Cover roast with sliced onions and garlic. Add the coke and apple cider vinegar to the crock pot, cover and cook on low heat for 8 hours.
- Prep Coleslaw: 1 hour before serving, mix mayonnaise, vinegar, celery seeds, sugar and salt and pepper. Pour over cabbage mix and toss to coat. Refrigerate coleslaw for one hour.
- When you are ready to serve, remove the roast from the crock pot and use 2 forks to shred the meat. Add in about ¼ cup of the leftover juice from the crockpot to the meat.
- Optional: I like to add about 1 cup of BBQ sauce to the pork. You can taste and see if you would like to add more.
- Serve on lightly toasted hamburger buns with the coleslaw and cooked onions from the crockpot!