Instant Pot Carnitas is a quick and easy dish that only takes 5 minutes of prep time. It’s juicy, perfectly crispy and packed with flavor which makes it the perfect snack or dinner for those looking to add some Mexican flair into their meals!
This homemade tender Carnitas recipe is so easy to make using the Instant Pot which makes the meat tender and juicy. It is so versatile as you can make so many meals out of it. Examples are: tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Or you can use it as a topping for nachos or add it to your favorite poke bowl! All variations are super delicious!
Why This Recipe Works
This recipe is loved by all the members of our family; kids and adults alike. It has been added to our rotation list since I’ve made it for the first time.
We love it for the following reasons:
- Flavorful: We love Mexican food. And this recipe is super flavorful and always demanded at our home.
- Low carb: The total net carb per serving is less than 10 grams, which makes it perfect for the keto diet but also for everyone who tries to cut on carbs.
- High protein: This recipe is high in protein, as each serving contains around 23 grams of protein.
To make Instant Pot pork carnitas, you’ll need the following ingredients:
- Pork shoulder or pork butt – both that are fatty cuts.
- Spices – cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and smoked paprika.
- Garlic and onions.
- Green chilis or jalapeños for heat.
- Liquids – Orange juice, lime juice and chicken or beef stock/broth.
Complete list of ingredients with amounts and instructions can be found in the recipe card below.
How To Make Instant Pot Carnitas
- Mix the herbs – mix cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, together in a small bowl. Rub over all sides of the pork.
- Place in the Instant Pot – place the meat on the trivet in the bottom of the instant pot. And spread the minced garlic, green chilis, onions and bay leaves (optional) over the top of the pork.
- Add the liquids – add the juices from the oranges and limes and a cup of chicken stock/broth.
- Cook – Secure the lid, set the vent to SEALING and cook for the recommended time in the recipe card below.
- Shred the meat – Remove the meat from the Instant Pot and shred with two forks. Strain the juice and reserve some.
- Place shredded meat under the broiler till some of the meat browns up and becomes crispy.
- Drizzle with more juices and serve!
Tips For Making Instant Pot Carnitas
- Meat cut – The best cut of meat to make carnitas in the Instant Pot is pork shoulder due to its fat content. Pork tenderloin doesn’t work as it’s too lean.
- Meat weight – Anywhere from 3.5 – 5 pounds of meat works great without changing anything else in this recipe.
- Boneless vs. bone in – You can use boneless or bone in pork shoulder.
- Storing – Store cooked carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge separate from the juices for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze carnitas in freezer bags with juices for up to 3 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best cut of meat to make carnitas is pork shoulder. Pork tenderloin doesn’t work for this recipe as it’s too lean.
You can use chicken, beef or even vegetable stock for this recipe. Any stock that’s available to you would work.
What To Serve With
These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are great to make tacos, quesadillas and burritos. You can also used them as a topping for nachos or simply add them to your favorite poke bowl!
Instant Pot Carnitas
- 5 pounds pork shoulder also called pork butt (anywhere from 3.5 – 5 pounds works)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper ground
- 4 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 14 ounce green chilis canned and diced or fresh diced jalapeños for heat
- 2 onions sliced
- 2 oranges juiced
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 cup chicken or beef broth
- Mix cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper, together in a small bowl. Rub over all sides of the pork.
- Place the metal trivet in the bottom of the instant pot. And place the pork on the trivet.
- Spread the minced garlic, green chilis, and onions over the top of the pork. Add the juice from the oranges and limes and a cup of chicken stock.
- Secure the lid and set the vent to SEALING. Select the PRESSURE COOK/MANUAL setting and set the cooking time for 85 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take around 10-15 minutes to come to pressure and start cooking. When the cooking program ends, allow the steam to release naturally for 15 minutes then do a quick release.
- Remove the meat from the Instant Pot and shred with two forks.
- Strain the juice and reserve one cup of it. You can also skim off the fat and discard it (recommended).
- Using tongs, transfer the meat to a large rimmed sheet pan or a cast iron pan. You may need more than one, don’t crowd it. Spoon some juice over the meat. Place it under the broiler for 3-5 minutes on 500°F (260°C), turning mid time. Watch it closely! You want some of the meat to brown up and become crispy, but not all of it.
- Drizzle with more juices and serve!
- Anywhere from 3-5 pounds of meat works great without changing anything else.
You can use boneless or bone in pork shoulder.
- You can use chicken, beef or vegetable broth in this recipe based on what’s available to you.