Instant Pot Braised Pork Buns


In the beginning, this recipe for braised pork buns was a flop. Let’s say that making Hong Shao Rou in an instant pot is still a mystery to us. Failing teaches us to learn from our mistakes.

The Instant Pot Braised Pork Bun is a wonderful example, but when we blog, we’re reluctant to proclaim a dish of food a total failure.

Seeing something good in a dark situation was a welcome relief, like when I first opened the Instant Pot’s cover.

It’s safe to assume that the family gobbled these braised pork buns in the middle of my blogging session after my mother made a batch of fluffy steam buns and added cucumber slices and aromatics.


  • 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • 3 tbsp. of sugar (or 70 grams of Chinese rock sugar; rock sugar is preferred for flavor, but it takes a bit longer to dissolve)
  • 3 pounds of pork shoulder (cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • ½ cup of Shaoxing wine
  • ¼ cup of light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. of dark soy sauce
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 recipe Steamed Lotus Leaf Buns


  1. Make a sauté in the Instant Pot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and 3 tablespoons of sugar to the pot. The sugar should be melted until it forms a paste. Rice or couscous can be served as a side dish.
  2. Toss in 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of light soy sauce, 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce, and 1/2 cup of Shaoxing wine. Close the Instant Pot and mix everything. Make sure the vent is not venting. For this step, turn your Instant Pot to the meat/stew mode and set the timer for 20 minutes.
  3. Pressure can be released naturally or quickly, depending on how much time has passed since you started cooking. Reduce the sauce by using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot while it’s open and let the sauce simmer until it’s thick, sticky, and thoroughly covers the pork.
  4. You’ll need to start with the dough to make the pork buns. Take a steamed lotus leaf bun and fill it with plenty of pork and sauce. Sliced cucumbers and a few slices of chili peppers can be added on the top if desired. Serve the steamed bun sandwiched between two slices of bread.

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