Instant Pot Carnitas
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork), is one of our favorite easy Instant Pot meals. The pork is seasoned with a simple blend of spices and then pressure cooked until it is fall apart tender. Crisp it up and then enjoy deliciously juicy, crispy pork carnitas!
The Best Pork Carnitas Recipe
This Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe makes the BEST pork carnitas! The pork is unbelievably tender and flavorful, with the best combination of juicy bits and crispy edges. Serve the pork carnitas wrapped in soft flour tortillas, in a burrito bowl, or over a salad or nachos.
Typically pork carnitas are slow cooked. By cooking carnitas in our Instant Pot we speed up the process without sacrificing any of the tender, melt in your mouth texture or delicious flavor. This is why I love making pulled pork in the Instant Pot!
You’ll love this recipe because it is quick and easy to prep, and you end up with a meal that tastes as if you spent hours in the kitchen. The ingredient list is short and simple. Compared to traditional carnitas which are often cooked in lard, these Instant Pot carnitas are healthier, too.
What Cut of Pork for Carnitas?
The best cuts of pork to use for carnitas are boneless pork butt or boneless pork shoulder. These cuts of pork have plenty of fat marbled throughout, so your carnitas will be both flavorful and tender. You can slice off any large pieces of fat before pressure cooking.
How to Make Carnitas in the Instant Pot
Instant Pot Carnitas Ingredients
- Boneless Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder: You can use a pork butt or pork shoulder that is between 3 and 5 pounds.
- Seasoning Blend: A combination of dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper.
- Orange Juice and Lime Juice: These make the cooking liquid that flavors the pork and allows the Instant Pot to pressurize. This is all of the liquid that you need to add to the pot, since the pork will also release a lot of juices as it cooks.
- Onion and Garlic: These add more flavor, and the chopped onion almost melts into the juices as it pressure cooks.
Start by cutting the pork into large 2 to 3-inch pieces. Put the pork in your Instant Pot and sprinkle the seasonings over the meat. Rub the seasoning over all sides of the pork.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot: orange juice, lime juice, onion and garlic. Close the Instant Pot lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position.
Pressure cook at high pressure for 45 minutes, and then let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. To do a natural release, just let the Instant Pot sit after the cook time ends. Don’t move the steam release valve during this time.
After 15 minutes, carefully move the valve to the venting position and wait for any remaining steam to escape. Once the pin drops down you can open the Instant Pot lid.
Use two forks to shred the pork. You can discard any excess fat. You can serve the pork as is, or crisp it under your broiler. I highly recommend crisping the pork for the best texture.
How to Make Carnitas Crispy
To crisp the pork carnitas, spread the shredded pork out in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. I line the baking sheet with foil for easy clean up. Pour a little bit of the juices from the Instant Pot over the pork – just about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. You don’t want to add too much of the juices or the pork won’t crisp well.
Put the carnitas in the oven under the broiler for 5 to 10 minutes, until the edges get crispy. Then serve and enjoy!
What to Serve with Instant Pot Carnitas
- Make carnitas tacos by serving the pork in soft tortillas or crispy taco shells, topped with your favorite toppings. Try chopped onion, avocado or guacamole and cilantro.
- Carnitas make the best burrito bowls! Try Instant Pot rice, black beans, tomato, guacamole and shredded cheese.
- Make nachos by topping tortilla chips with the Mexican pulled pork, cheese and your other favorite toppings. Bake in the oven until hot and melty.
- Add carnitas to a salad of greens and veggies.
More Easy Instant Pot Recipes:
- 32 Best Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Instant Pot Pork Chops with Honey Garlic Sauce
- Instant Pot Taco Meat
Instant Pot Carnitas
- 4 pound boneless pork butt or pork shoulder*
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup orange juice (from 2 oranges)
- ¼ cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
- 1 yellow onion (chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- Cut the pork into large 2 to 3-inch chunks. Place in the Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl, combine the dried oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the pork and rub over all sides of the pieces of pork. Add the orange juice, lime juice, onion and garlic to the Instant Pot.
- Close the lid and turn the steam release valve to the sealing position. Use the Pressure Cook or Manual function to set the cook time to 45 minutes at high pressure. The Instant Pot will take about 15 minutes to reach pressure and then the cook time will begin counting down.
- When the cook time ends, allow the pot to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes (just leave the Instant Pot alone).
- Quick release any remaining pressure by turning the steam release valve to the venting position using the handle of a long spoon. Once all steam has escaped and the pin drops down, carefully open the Instant Pot lid.
- Use two forks to shred the pork, discarding excess fat. You can serve the pork now, or (the best way!) crisp it under the broiler. To crisp pork, spread it out in a single layer on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Add a little of the juices from the Instant Pot to the pork, but not too much. Put pork under the broiler in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes, until the edges start to crisp.
- Serve in tortillas or as desired.
- You can use a 3 to 5 pound pork butt/pork shoulder in this recipe.
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