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How long to cook a 4 lb pork roast at 325 degrees?

Cooking a 4 pound pork roast to perfection requires knowing the right temperature and cook time. Pork needs to reach an internal temperature of at least 145°F to be safe to eat. The size of the roast and the oven temperature will determine how long it takes to reach this temperature. Cooking a pork roast at 325°F will ensure the meat cooks thoroughly without drying out. Let’s look at how long you’ll need to roast a 4 pound pork shoulder at 325°F to get delicious, fall-apart meat.

Quick Answer

A 4 pound pork shoulder roast needs to cook for approximately 3-4 hours at 325°F to reach an internal temperature of 145°F and be safe to eat. The total time will vary slightly based on the shape and thickness of your particular roast. Plan for 15-20 minutes per pound as a general guideline when roasting pork at 325°F.

Factors That Affect Cook Time

Several factors impact how long it will take to roast pork to perfection:

Size of the Roast

The larger the roast, the longer it will need to cook. A general rule of thumb is to allow 15-20 minutes of cook time per pound. A 4 lb roast will therefore need about 60-80 minutes of cooking time per pound, or 4-5 hours total.

Oven Temperature

Cooking at a lower temperature of 325°F means the roast will require a longer cooking time than if cooked at a higher temp. However, slower roasting leads to a more evenly cooked interior and prevents the outside from overcooking.

Bone-In vs Boneless

Bone-in roasts take longer to cook than boneless since the bone partly shields the meat from the heat. Figure about 30 minutes longer cooking time for a bone-in pork shoulder.

Meat Temperature

Always rely on an instant-read meat thermometer rather than time alone to determine doneness. Pork needs to reach 145°F internally regardless of cooking time.

Step-By-Step Guide

Follow these simple steps for roasting pork shoulder at 325°F:

1. Prepare the Roast

Start by bringing the pork roast to room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Pat dry with paper towels. Season all over with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices as desired.

2. Preheat Oven

Preheat your oven to 325°F. Be sure to give your oven plenty of time to fully preheat before adding the pork.

3. Place Roast in Pan

Place the seasoned pork roast fat side up in a roasting pan or baking dish. The pan should be large enough to allow air circulation around the meat.

4. Cook the Roast

Roast the pork uncovered at 325°F, allowing 15-20 minutes per pound. For a 4 pound roast, this means about 60-80 minutes per pound, or a total roasting time of 4-5 hours.

5. Check Temperature

Start checking the internal temp of the roast after about 3 hours. Insert an instant-read thermometer into the thickest part without touching bone. Continue roasting until it reaches 145°F.

6. Rest and Slice

Once at 145°F, remove roast from the oven, tent loosely with foil, and let rest 15-20 minutes. The temperature will rise 5-10 degrees during this time. After resting, slice and serve!

Cooking Times for a 4 Pound Pork Roast

Use these roast times as a guide when cooking a 4 pound pork shoulder at 325°F:

Roast Weight Uncooked Time (Minutes per Pound) Approximate Total Time
4 pounds 60-80 4-5 hours

As you can see, a good rule of thumb is 60-80 minutes per pound for roasting pork at 325°F until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F. Larger roasts over 5 pounds may need up to 90 minutes per pound due to the thicker, denser meat.

Always rely on an instant-read thermometer for accuracy instead of cooking time alone. Roasts vary in shape and composition. The thermometer ensures the meat reaches a safe minimum temperature.

Key Things to Remember

Roasting pork shoulder at 325°F produces incredibly tender, fall-apart meat when you follow these tips:

  • Allow 15-20 minutes per pound of actual cooking time.
  • Use an instant-read thermometer to check for 145°F.
  • Let the roast rest 15-20 minutes before slicing.
  • Season and sear all surfaces for enhanced flavor.
  • Roast in a pan large enough for air circulation.

Applying these guidelines will ensure your 4 pound pork roast at 325°F turns out juicy and delicious every time. The lower temperature gently cooks the meat while retaining moisture.

Frequently Asked Questions

Get the answers to common questions about roasting pork shoulder below:

1. Should pork roast be covered while cooking?

Do not cover pork roast while cooking. Leaving it uncovered allows the meat to brown and create flavorful fond in the pan for making gravy or pan sauce later. Covering can cause steaming rather than roasting.

2. How long does raw pork last in the fridge?

Raw pork roast can be refrigerated for 3-5 days until cooking. Freeze for longer storage up to 4-6 months.

3. Can you cook pork from frozen?

Yes, you can cook a frozen pork roast without thawing first. Just add 1.5 times the recommended cooking time. Check temperature periodically until reaching 145°F.

4. What temp kills bacteria in pork?

Pork needs to reach an internal temperature of 145°F as measured by a food thermometer to kill potentially harmful bacteria like salmonella. Always cook pork to at least 145°F for food safety.

5. Can you overcook pork roast?

It is possible to overcook pork if roasted for too long or at too high of a temperature. Overcooked pork dries out and becomes tough. Use a meat thermometer to avoid overcooking.

Tips for Maximizing Flavor

Besides the proper temperature and cook time, there are other easy ways to get the most flavor and tenderness out of your pork roast:

  • Season generously with salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, spices, etc.
  • Sear all sides in a hot pan before roasting for caramelization.
  • Rub exterior with mustard, chili paste, or spice blend.
  • Inject interior with broth or marinade.
  • Let rest before slicing to allow juices to redistribute.
  • Pair with flavorful sauces like chimichurri or romesco.

Bring out the robust, savory notes pork is prized for by taking these extra flavor steps.

Serving Suggestions

A succulent pork roast makes a wonderful entree for special occasion meals. Serve it with:

  • Roasted or mashed potatoes
  • Green beans or roasted vegetables
  • Warm rolls or cornbread
  • Crisp green salad
  • Rice or quinoa pilaf
  • Fruit compote or applesauce

Pair a nice red wine or hard cider with your pork roast dinner. Leftovers are fantastic for sandwiches, quesadillas, omelets, and stir fries.

Try Other Cuts of Pork

While pork shoulder makes an ideal roast, consider using these other cuts:

  • Pork loin – Very lean, delicate meat. Roasts quicker.
  • Pork tenderloin – Extremely tender when roasted.
  • Pork crown roast – Impressive bone-in roast from rib section.
  • Pork leg – Marbled and flavorful. Requires longer roasting.

All pork roasts should be cooked to a final internal temperature of 145°F. Size, shape, and fat content impacts timing.


Roasting a 4 pound pork shoulder at 325°F delivers perfectly cooked results every time when you follow a few simple guidelines. Allow approximately 1-1.5 hours of cook time per pound, use an instant-read thermometer to check for 145°F doneness, and let the meat rest before slicing and serving. With flavorful seasonings and sides, you’ll have an incredible Sunday supper or holiday feast the whole family will love. Master this basic pork roast recipe, then experiment with additional herbs, rubs, marinades, and sauce options.