Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With 5-Spice

For a change of pace, make this easy slow cooker pulled pork with Chinese five-spice, honey, ginger, and soy sauce. Use for tacos, sliders, or bao filling.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork
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.

Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork
Elise Bauer

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.)

Keep the Fat on for Flavor

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.

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
Elise Bauer

Simple Tip!

Have an Instant Pot? Make this recipe on fast-forward in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Pulled Pork with Chinese Five-Spice

Ways to Use This 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.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork With 5-Spice

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 10 mins
Servings 6 to 8 servings

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.


  • 3 to 3 1/2 pounds pork shoulder, cut into very large chunks (3 to 4 inches)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice powder

  • 1/4 cup hoisin sauce

  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry or Shaoxing cooking wine

  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger

  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic

  • 12 Hawaiian dinner rolls

  • 1 large scallion, sliced


  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.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  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.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  4. Slow cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low:

    Cook 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.

    Elise Bauer
  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.

    Elise Bauer
    Elise Bauer
  7. Serve over sweet Hawaiian dinner buns:

    Top with sliced green onion or cilantro.

    Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork
    Elise Bauer
Slow Cooker Chinese Pulled Pork
Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
761 Calories
46g Fat
34g Carbs
51g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 8
Amount per serving
Calories 761
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 46g 59%
Saturated Fat 16g 82%
Cholesterol 181mg 60%
Sodium 848mg 37%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 10g
Protein 51g
Vitamin C 2mg 12%
Calcium 141mg 11%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 784mg 17%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.