Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork

DinnerSlow CookerChinesePulled Pork

Easy Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork! With spices, honey, ginger, soy sauce. Just put it in the crockpot and go!

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

Have you ever had those steamed Chinese dumplings with the savory barbecued pork inside? They’re called “cha siu bao” and they’re absolutely addictive.

This slow cooker pulled pork recipe is inspired by the filling in those dumplings. This is one of those recipes I couldn’t stop making or eating, it’s so good! Seriously. Easy to make too.

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We start with big chunks of well marbled pork shoulder rubbed with Chinese 5-spice powder. Chinese 5-spice is a common spice rub for Chinese cooking. (If it’s not available at your local market, you can make your own. We’ve included one recipe below, and there are several others online to choose from.)

Put the spice rubbed pork into a slow cooker, top with a sauce mixture of hoisin, soy sauce, honey, sherry, ginger, and garlic, and set it for 4 hours on high or 8 on low.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork

You can put the pulled pork in tacos, burritos, or if you want to mimic the dumplings, serve them on a sweet Hawaiian dinner roll.

One thing about cooking pork shoulder in a slow cooker is that a generous amount of fat is rendered in the process. You may be tempted to either cut off all the fat before cooking, or ladle off most the fat afterwards.

Here’s a tip. The fat is where you’ll find the flavor, and it’s needed to keep the meat from drying out. I suggest ladling off excess fat after cooking, and then adding some back to get to the consistency, taste, and texture you want.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 4 hours
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into very large chunks (3 to 4 inches)
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of Chinese 5-spice powder*
  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp dry sherry or Shaoxing cooking wine
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 12 Hawaiian dinner rolls
  • 1 large scallion sliced

*To make Chinese 5-spice powder, toast 1 teaspoon peppercorns in a skillet until fragrant. In a spice grinder, grind the roasted peppercorns with 2 whole star anise, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds. Stir in 3/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon.


1 Season the pork with 5-spice powder: Rub the 5 spice powder into the pork chunks, all over, and let sit while you prepare the sauce in the next step.

2 Whisk together the sauce ingredients: Whisk together the hoisin sauce, soy sauce, honey, sherry, ginger, and garlic in a medium bowl.

3 Place pork and sauce in slow cooker: Place the seasoned pork shoulder pieces in a slow cooker, cover with the sauce.

4 Slow cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low, until the meat easily pulls apart. About halfway through the cooking, turn the meat over in the pot.

5 Ladle off excess fat: Use a ladle or a large metal spoon to remove excess fat that has risen to the surface while the meat has been cooking. Don't discard it yet, you may want to add some of it back.

6 Shred the pork: Use two forks to pull apart the pork into shreds. If the pork still seems dry, add back some of the fat.

7 Serve over sweet Hawaiian dinner buns topped with sliced green onion or cilantro.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork

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Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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33 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Beth

    This was really good. Cooked the pork in the crockpot for 8 hrs. Then removed the liquid, separated the fat and doctored it up with soy sauce, hosin , and chili sauce. Returned meat to the crockpot and poured the sauce on top. Served on Hawaiian buns- The Asian slaw is amazing on this.


  2. Keysha

    This was delicious! Just finished a plate. I had it with rice and use some of the juices as a light sauce. My kids have been smelling it all day and couldn’t wait. They love it, too. I like that it was so easy and has such a great blend of flavors. I did sear the meat before putting it into the crockpot. I took the meat out of the crockpot to shred and poured the drippings into a fat separator. After I shredded it, I added it back to the crockpot and then added about a cup of the liquid (including some fat) and cooked it on low for another 30 minutes. I kept the rest of the separated liquid to use over rice or to add moisture if there are actually any leftovers to warm up. I will definitely make this again.


  3. Sandy

    this is oh so yummy! I made it exactly as written, doubling it in fact as I had two of the pork shoulders (butts, actually, but my butcher said they would be fine)….and I think it took 5-6 hours, you don’t want to over cook it as I did once with another cut and it was too mushy….anyways, once I took the large pieces of pork out of the pot to cool down so that I could shred them, I put some brocolli florets in the pot to cook…..took those out to serve with dinner later, shredded the pork….and waiting for the juices (I put them in a container in the fridge for a little while so that it’ll be easier to skim the fat off)…will add to pork as needed…..can’t wait to have with my two Chinese international students that we have living at the house and see what they have to say about it!


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  4. Nancy

    I made a few minor dietary modifications and it was great. We also can’t do bread. So I made an Instant Pot “fried rice” with vegetables. And then mixed this pork and sauce into the rice. Was fantastic! Will definitely make again. Thanks.


  5. Elizabeth

    This was so easy and very good but I think it could have had more spice? Not sure about adding more Chinese 5 spice. Maybe I’ll make it with more garlic? Any recommendations?


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