Char Siu in Pressure Cooker | Christine's Recipes: Easy Chinese Recipes | Delicious Recipes -->

Char Siu in Pressure Cooker

by · 19 comments

Ever wonder you can make char siu (Chinese BBQ pork) in a pressure cooker? With my recent kitchen toy, Instant Pot, I made this char siu dish with a significantly shorter cooking time. The pork meat was so tender and juicy. I don’t need to worry anymore, in case I forget my baking in oven, risking to ruin our dinner with over-baked, dried meat.

How about making the burnt marks on the surface? If you scroll down and browse the recipe below, you might yield to me something like this, “Is it that simple?” Yes, it’s downright simple and easy. Just a few minutes, you’ll get your char siu look exactly the same as those from oven. Previously, a few readers asked if we could make char siu without char siu sauce. Sure, you can. This is the recipe that you don't need any char siu sauce. I substituted it with two sauces that mainly made from fermented foods. The taste is evenly good as those baked from oven. Here’s the previous baked char siu recipe using oven.

Char Siu in Pressure Cooker Recipe (Printable recipe)

Prep time:
Cook time:
Yield: 3 to 4 serves
Chashao in Instant Pot02

  • 600 gm pork collar butt or pork neck
  • 1 Tbsp light soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp bean sauce ( I used Punchun 品珍.)
  • 3 tsp red yeast rice sauce
  • 2 tsp shaoxing wine
  • 2 tsp freshly grated ginger juice
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
Syrup for brushing:
  • 2 Tbsp maltose (麥芽糖)
  • 2 Tbsp hot water
  • 1 Tbsp honey
Chashao in Instant Pot Procedures01

Chashao in Instant Pot Procedures02

  1. Cut the pork into two chunks in 5-cm / 2-inch width. Put them into a glass container or zip-lock plastic bag. Mix the light soy sauce, bean sauce, red yeast rice sauce, shaoxing wine, ginger juice, honey and garlic powder. Pour over the pork. Mix well. Cover and chill in fridge for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
  2. Put the pork together with the marinade into the inner pot of Instant Pot. Cover and turn the steam release handle to the “sealing” position. Press the “stew” button and set 25-minutes cooking time. Let it run natural release for 10 minutes. Quick release. When the float valve drops to the down position, open the cover and take out the pork. Reserve the sauce for dipping.
  3. Mix all the ingredients of syrup well. Set aside.
  4. Heat oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Pan-fry the cha siu pork until both sides are lightly brown. Brush syrup on the surfaces. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
Chashao in Instant Pot03

  • Bean sauce is made of fermented yellow soybeans.
  • Red yeast rice sauce is made of fermented red yeast rice. It tastes savoury and gives a vibrant red colour. That said, it can help lower blood pressure and blood sugar as well as prevent circulation diseases. Both sauces are available at Asian grocers.
  • Maltose is a very thick syrup, yet not too sweet. It can be easily dissolved with hot water, available at Asian grocers or supermarkets.
  • Marinate the pork for long enough time. It develops rich flavour inside. Remove the marinated pork from fridge and rest in room temperature for about 15 minutes before cooking.
  • If you're interested in getting an Instant Pot, here's the info for you. I got it from Amazon (UK) as the model for sale in UK, with 220 volts, suitable for using in Australia.
  • If you’re living in US or any countries with 110~120 volts electrical system, the model listed on Amazon (US) is the one to go for.


  1. My mouth is watering, Christine. Have never thought of using pressure cooker to prepare char siu. Very creative and the result is marvelous.

  2. Hiya - I have a pressure cooker, but it's a stove top one, not the instant pot that you have. I just wonder if you are in a position to give instructions for traditional pressure cookers as well? Just thought I'd ask.
    Thanks so much for all your lovely recipes

    1. Hi Lorelle,
      This recipe was created for Instant Pot. If you want to try with your stovetop pressure cooker, you might need to adjust the cooking time. It depends on how many PSI (pressure units) your cooker produces. You can just follow the procedures suggested in this recipe.

  3. Thanks for sharing the recipe. If just bought mine. Going to try this out :)

  4. Hi. I use a stove top pressure cooker. I wonder...with just the marinate as the only liquid, the meat would not be fully covered. Would the meat or my pot get burnt?

    1. Hi GC,
      I think you need more liquid if using a stove top pressure cooker. This recipe was created for Instant Pot, electric pressure cooking.

  5. Thank you for the recipe! I just got an Instant Pot for Christmas so I'm super excited to see you have recipes for it! Sorry if this obvious... What is freshly grated ginger sauce? And is the bean sauce same as fermented bean curd?

    1. Hi Spc,
      What a great Christmas present you've got. You'll love it.
      It's ginger juice I used actually. See my previous post here.
      For the bean sauce, please see its photo on the top left of 1st photo collage.

  6. Hi Christine,

    May I know where did you buy your Instant Pot from?


  7. Hi Christine,

    What is mean by natural pressure release ? I just bought my Instant Pot and Thank you so much for having recipe for the pot.



    1. Hi Denise,

      Natural pressure release is a method of releasing pressure inside the pot. Absolutely simple.
      You don't need to do anything or press any buttons after the machine finished the designated cooking time. Let it cool down the temperature and the pressure inside will drop naturally. Please refer to your user guide.

  8. Hi Christine, I have left over char siu sauce from your Sticky Baked Pork Ribs recipe. can I substitute red yeast rice sauce with char siu sauce? Many thanks the sticky baked pork ribs were scrumptious

  9. I have the instant pot. is the marinade liquid enough to bring up to pressure? Don't you need a min of 1 cup of liquid?

    1. Hi Serene,
      Good question! The manual said it needs minimum of 1 cup of liquid to bring up enough pressure inside the instant pot.

      When I developed this recipe, I calculated the total amount of all the wet ingredients, that is over 200 ml. (Remark: I use Australian tablespoon, i.e. 20ml.) The pork will release some water when cooking. So I dared myself to go for the testing. The main reason was that I love flavoursome meat. So I didn't add too many water to dilute the sauce.

      I'm glad that the result was successful.

      Having said that, the pressure built up depends on where you live. You might need to add some water to get your IP cook for you.

  10. Hi Christine, this is Leslie Yip from A1 Chinese Radio. One of our listeners have shared your recipe to our Facebook page. Thank you for this recipe!

    1. Hi Leslie,
      Glad that my recipe was recommended by one of your listeners. Thanks for your sharing and shout out. :)