Instant Pot carnitas are easy to prep and even easier to cook- just let the pressure cooker do all the work!
The flavors are perfect, the pork is tender, and those crispy edges are heavenly. Pairs perfectly with Homemade Flour Tortillas and a side of Mexican Black Beans. This tasty & easy meal will not disappoint!
Carnitas in Instant Pot
Ever since I made these tacos, I’ve been dying to make pork carnitas. This recipe couldn’t be easier! It takes about 10 minutes to prep (most of that is cutting the pork up), about an hour in the Instant Pot, and 15 minutes or so in the oven under the broiler.
If you love ordering carnitas at restaurants, this recipe is for you! The flavor is spot on, each chunk is tender with beautiful crisp edges, and best of all, they’re not fried in a bunch of grease.
If you don’t finish all of the carnitas in one sitting, no worries! They taste great reheated or re-purposed. We had them in both quesadillas and baked chimichangas and they were every bit as delicious as they were the first time around.
How to Make Instant Pot Carnitas
The recipe below calls for a 4 pound boneless pork butt or shoulder. I’ve made this recipe a few times now, using a slightly larger piece of meat and it has worked just fine. If the meat is a little larger, I up the seasoning just a tad bit… you know, just in case you can’t find one under 4 ½ pounds.
Everything goes in the Instant Pot except for a tablespoon of oil that gets reserved for broiling
- You can use any oil that has a high smoke point, I prefer avocado oil
Use a set of tongs to take the pork out and transfer it to a rimmed baking sheet
Drizzle a ¼ cup of the cooking liquid over the pork and the remaining tablespoon of oil
Toss to combine
Broil (high heat) in oven until the edges get nice and crisp, about 6-8 minutes
Toss and repeat for another 6-8 minutes
Pull it out and add a little bit of liquid
Toss and serve
Garnish with simple toppings like cilantro, red onion, and lime wedges
Carnitas are best served with homemade tortillas.
Best cut of meat? We prefer pork butt or pork shoulder. A tough cut of pork will do well in an instant pot cooking method. Make sure to trim off any excess fat. Some fat incorporated in the meat will do fine because it will keep it moist, but any extra won’t contribute to the taste.
How to shred? You can shred it with two forks, that’s really the simplest way. I recommend placing the roast on a large pan to shred, rather than in the instant pot. Then you can easily broil it from there.
Why use orange and lime juice? Citrus juices not only taste amazing, but they help break down the tough meat with their acidity. It adds a great flavor and keeps the meat moist and tender!
Make it spicy? You can add some chile powder/paprika/cumin to your rub or cook it with some jalapeno slices.
Slow cooker directions? To make this in the crock pot you need to use a dry rub on the pork roast and put it in the crock-pot with onion and garlic and your liquid. Cover and cook it on low for 8 hours.
Storing, Freezing + Reheating
STORE this in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
You should be able to store it for up to 3 months in the FREEZER. Just make sure you place it in an airtight bag or container and let it sit in the fridge before rewarming it in the oven at a low temp or nuking it in the microwave.
REHEAT the meat in the microwave or in the oven at a low temperature to get it warmed through.
What to Serve With?
Serve with your mango pineapple salsa. This would be an amazing flavor addition to your pork carnitas. The sweetness of the salsa would compliment the pork in whatever dish you decide to use it in.
Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe
- 2 tbsp canola, vegetable, or avocado oil - divided
- 4 lb boneless pork butt (or shoulder) - cut into 2-inch chunks
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- 1 onion - peeled and halved
- 1 orange - juiced
- 2 limes - juiced
- 1 tbsp soy sauce*
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp coarse sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- Add 1 tablespoon of oil, cubed pork, chicken broth, halves of onion, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, soy sauce, bay leaves, salt, cumin, oregano, and pepper to the Instant Pot.
- Place lid on, and turn Instant Pot on MANUAL mode with high pressure selected for 35 minutes.
- Once cooked, allow for the pressure to release naturally, this usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, turn the oven on to broil (high). Open lid to Instant Pot and transfer the pork to a rimmed sheet pan using tongs. Drizzle a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid over the pork and the remaining tablespoon of oil. Toss to combine.
- Place in the oven and broil for 6-8 minutes, toss and return to the oven for an additional 6-8 minutes. If the pork is dry, add another drizzle of cooking liquid over the pork. Serve immediately. Garnish with cilantro, red onion and lime wedges.