If you love crispy carnitas and instant pot recipes you'll love these flavor packed Instant Pot pork carnitas! We've cut a few steps to make this the best recipe in a fraction of the time it takes to make crispy pork carnitas usually. These easy Instant Pot carnitas are so juicy and have so much added flavor you won't miss the steps we skip to make this a meal you can cook on a weeknight.
If you don't mind taking extra time, we have full instructions for cooking these juicy pork carnitas in a slow cooker (crock pot) as well. Pressure cooking saves time by cooking at high pressure but both ways are delicious. And don't miss our favorite way to make these carnitas crispy without spending a lot of time frying your meat.
So skip the dry rub from traditional carnitas and make them our favorite way.
INSTANT POT CARNITAS INGREDIENTS
You may have all of these ingredients for this easy recipe in your refrigerator or pantry and not need to make a trip to the grocery store! If this is your first time making this delicious recipe you might want to read the possible variations before deciding on your ingredients.
- Cut of Meat: Use a cut of pork like pork loin, pork butt, Boston butt, or pork roast.
- Seasoning and Spices: black pepper, salt, onion (yellow onion or red onion not onion powder), garlic cloves, smoky paprika, ground cumin, Mexican oregano or regular oregano, cayenne, jalapeños
- Citrus Juice: orange juice, fresh orange juice or even fresh lime juice
Enjoy this great recipe as an addition to a tasty meal, special family dinner or dinner party with these other recipes:
- TACO TOPPINGS: Sliced purple cabbage, fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro and queso fresco (soft Mexican cheese), corn tortillas or flour tortillas
- SIDE DISH: Refried beans and rice
- CARNITAS BURRITO BOWL: rice, black beans or pinto beans, shredded cheese or queso fresco, fresh diced tomatoes, onions and cilantro, sour cream, guacamole and pineapple salsa.
- LETTUCE WRAP: Put your favorite taco toppings in a large piece of lettuce and eat as a lettuce wrap.
- EASY BURRITOS: Make easy burritos to freeze or save for later.
- NACHOS: Make some sheet pan carnitas nachos. Serve with a side of pico de gallo, guacamole and some lime wedges.
- ENCHILADAS: Make the best enchiladas with these carnitas.
- sharp knife
- cutting board
- large sheet pan (baking sheet or baking pan)
- Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
- measuring cups and spoons
- slotted spoon or tongs
Follow the full instructions and kitchen tips and quick tips for the best way to make this instant pot carnitas recipe. Don't forget to check the prep time and cook time in the recipe card below before you begin.
PREPARE PORK: Cut your pork into 3 or 4 large pieces so it fits into your Instant Pot.
BLEND SAUCE: Blend up the remaining ingredients in your blender until smooth. This will be your seasoning and cooking liquid.
FILL INSTANT POT: Place pork in the bottom of the instant pot. Pour sauce over the pork. Turn pork to coat.
SLOW COOKER CARNITAS RECIPE
COOK PORK: Set your cooking time on your Instant Pot to 25 minutes.Make sure your steam valve is set to the sealing position. Once cooking is complete, allow a natural release for 10-15 minutes. The turn the pressure release to the venting positions to release the remaining pressure. Once the remaining steam has stopped you have remove the lid.
SHRED PORK: Using a couple forks, shred your pork. Your pork should be tender and easy to shred. If it isn't, put the lid back on the Instant Pot and cook for 10 more minutes.
BROIL CARNITAS: Turn your oven broiler. Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove pressure cooker carnitas from the pot. Spread pork out on baking sheet and place on top rack of oven. Watch carefully and remove the pan when the carnitas have crispy edges.
EAT: Make your carnitas into tacos, add to salad or make these delicious Air Fryer Carnitas Stuffed Pasta Shells.
Storing your food properly is important to prevent spoiling or food poisoning.
Refrigerate: Store carnitas in an airtight container or ziploc bag and refrigerate for up to 3 days if you can't eat it the next day.
Freeze: Store in an airtight, freezer safe, container. If you're storing in a zip top freezer bag, try to get as much air out as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Defrosting: A great way to defrost is in the refrigerator overnight.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Click the questions to see the answer.
- 3-4 pound pork shoulder roast - pork butt roast
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ white onion - roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic - peeled
- 1 teaspoon smoky paprika
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 jalapeños - stems removed (and seeds/ribs removed for a milder dish)
- Cut the pork roast into sections to fit neatly in the bottom of the instant pot.
- In the bowl of a blender or food processor, combine orange juice, pepper, salt, onion chunks, garlic, paprika, cumin, oregano, pepper, and jalapeños. Blend until a fairly uniform sauce forms.
- Pour the blender sauce over the pork pieces in the instant pot.
- Secure the lid of the instant pot and cook on the manual setting for approximately 30 minutes (additional time required for the pot to pressurize).
- Carefully release the pressure from the instant pot and remove the lid.
- Using two forks, shred the meat (it should fall apart easily).
- Transfer the meat to a sheet pan and broil for 3-5 minutes until crisped and brown.
- Serve as is or incorporate the meat and remaining juices from the instant pot.
MORE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE
- Air Fryer Naan Pizza
- Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars
- Fried Fish Tacos
- Caprese Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
- Air Fryer Cookie for One