Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are amazing. They are so easy to make with the help of the Instant Pot.
My kids absolutely loved these; they are a quick and absolutely delicious meal served in minutes. So much better and healthier than the local Mexican restaurant, but with all of the flavors and the toppings, you create a fast and healthy meal for your family. Amazing!
Today I used a simple pork shoulder for the meat, which is a great meat to use, and really gives you great authentic carnitas with the shredded meat. I used to make the same recipe in my slow cooker, but now I make it in a minute instead of hours. Love this!
What is Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
If you are unfamiliar with Pork Carnitas, it is typically made using pork shoulder. Carnitas is usually slow-roasted seasoned pork that has been slow-cooked until tender, and then the pork should is shredded.
It is just the Mexican word for pulled pork, so it comes out tender and flavorful with any Instant Pot pulled pork. Today, I used various spices and got a flavorful meal.
Why Make Carnitas In Instant Pot
- Best Pork Cut for Pork Carnitas – The most flavorful cut of meat for carnitas is the pork shoulder or pork butt. For the Instant Pot, we usually use boneless and skinless, as it needs to be seasoned and seared before pressure cooking.
- Carnitas seasoning – The regular pork carnitas seasons were used in this recipe, including oregano, cumin, salt, and pepper.
- Flavor for cooking – The best thing to use is a combination of liquids, which will help you get the best flavor out of the meat.
- Pressure Cooked until the pork is pull-apart tender and bursting with flavor.
- Seared-searing, the sides of the meat are the best thing to get all of the pork’s flavors out before Pressure Cooking.
Ingredients Needed For Instant Pot Carnitas
Carnitas is an incredibly versatile dish that can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Fortunately, with the help of your trusty Instant Pot, you don’t have to spend all day tending to a slow cooker to enjoy these tasty pork-filled tacos. With just a few simple ingredients and your Instant Pot, you can have juicy and flavorful carnitas in less than an hour — perfect for allowing more time for friends and family! Read on for our favorite carnitas recipe using ingredients easily found at the grocery store.
Remember the step-by-step directions are below in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the page, as well as the nutritional information.
- Boneless Pork Shoulder: Use pork shoulder for the best flavor. Another great option is Boston Butt.
- Olive Oil
- Seasons and Spices: Garlic Salt. Ground Cumin, Dried Oregano, Brown Sugar, Dried Basil, Ground Coriander, Chili Powder, Paprika, Lime Juice, Orange Juice, and W
How To Cook Carnitas Instant Pot
Are you looking to make a delicious, Mexican-inspired dinner that your entire family will love? Carnitas are an excellent option! These slow-cooked shredded pork tacos have tender and juicy meat and fresh toppings for the perfect meal. And when you use an Instant Pot to create carnitas, it simplifies the cooking process and helps you get flavorful meals on the table quickly!
Below, we’ll show you step-by-step how to cook carnitas in an Instant Pot so that you can enjoy restaurant-quality food without all of the fuss. Read on to discover tips and tricks for making crowd-pleasing carnitas easily at home!
Step One: Cut The Pork Shoulder
Cut the pork shoulder so it will fit into the Instant Pot.
Step Two: Season Your Pork Chunks
In a small bowl, mix the spices: garlic salt, chili powder, oregano, basil, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, and brown sugar. Then rub the spice mixture over the pork.
Step Three: Sear The Pork In an Instant Pot
Then use the dry rub to run over the cut of pork. Seared Pork: Place pork chunks into the bottom of the Instant Pot, add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, and then press sauté setting, searing all of the sides of the pork. Add the orange, lime, and water, and place your lid on the Instant Pot. Turn the valve to the sealing position. Set the manual high pressure and the cooking time to 40 minutes. When the time is up, do a natural release.
Step Four: Serving Carnitas
Remove the cooked pork from the Instant Pot, using two forks, and shred the meat. If you want to roast the meat further, broil the meat for about 3-5 minutes.
Pro Tips For The Best Instant Pot Carnitas
To make the best Instant Pot Carnitas, here are some pro tips to keep in mind:
Choose the right cut of meat: Pork shoulder or pork butt is the best cut of meat for carnitas. Make sure to trim off any excess fat and cut it into large chunks.
Brown the meat: Before pressure cooking, make sure to brown the meat in the Instant Pot. This will help to develop flavor and give the meat a nice texture.
Use the right seasonings: Traditional carnitas are seasoned with garlic, black pepper, cumin, oregano, kosher salt, and chili powder. You can also add bay leaves, orange juice, and lime juice to enhance the flavor.
Use the right liquid: Water, chicken broth, or chicken stock is the best liquid for cooking carnitas in the Instant Pot. Avoid using acidic liquids like tomato sauce or vinegar, as they can affect the texture of the meat. Fresh orange juice is a key ingredient in this recipe.
Shred the meat: Shred it into small pieces using two forks after it is cooked. For added texture and flavor, you can also crisp up the meat in a skillet or under the broiler.
Serve with toppings: Traditional carnitas are served with toppings like chopped red onion, pico de Gallo, cilantro, and lime wedges. You can also add avocado, shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream, and black beans to make it your own.
Why Do You Sear The Pork Shoulder First?
When I spent a few extra minutes searing the pork shoulder, I noticed it had tons of flavor.
Searing the meat gives an extra layer of flavor to the carnitas. For making the Instant Pot Pork Canarias in the Instant Pot, you can sear the meat directly in the pan.
Can I Use A Bone-In Pork Roast?
A bone-in will work great in this recipe. The major problem will be finding a roast that will fit inside your Instant Pot bowl.
The Instant Pot comes in several sizes, so measure the interior of your bowl before you purchase your roast. But if you need to cut it to fit, that is a great solution.
How Do You Reheat Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Either place your meat into a skillet or microwave it to reheat heat. I usually add some seasonings, and a few tablespoons of water, then mix it so that the meat does not dry out.
Remember to mix it as you heat it, frequently, so it doesn’t dry out, or you might overcook it. It’s best to heat it slowly and stir (especially if you use the microwave). I usually reheat mine in 30-second intervals.
Can You Freeze Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Yes, this is a great make-ahead meal.
To freeze, let the pulled pork cool to room temperature, place it in an airtight container, and then place the container into the freezer. It will last about 1 to 2 months.
To use from the freezer, place the frozen pulled pork into the refrigerator and let it thaw, usually one day.
How To Make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Ahead Of Time
This is a great meal to make ahead of time. Make it per the directions, then place it in the refrigerator in an airtight container. This should last about two to three days.
This is a great meal to make and keep for the busy week ahead. Use for making burrito bowls or carnitas tacos.
What To Serve With Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
This makes a great meal, and if you have an air fryer, you can prepare the entire dinner without the help of the stove:
Here are some of my favorites.
- Loaded Air Fryer French Fries
- Air Fryer Tater Tots
- Instant Pot Pinto Beans
- Cilantro Lime Rice
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
SOME HELPFUL PRODUCTS USED IN MAKING THIS RECIPE-
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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- 4-6 pounds boneless pork shoulder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 1 cup water
- Cut the pork shoulder so it will fit into the Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl, mix the spices: garlic salt, chili powder, oregano, basil, cumin, ground coriander, paprika, and brown sugar.
- Then rub the spice mixture over the pork.
- Sear your meat: add the olive oil to the Instant Pot, and then press saute, sear all of the sides of the pork.
- Add the orange juice, lime juice, and water, and place your lid on the Instant Pot.
- Turn the valve to sealing
- Set the manual high pressure for 40 minutes. When the time is up, do a natural release.
- Remove the meat from the Instant Pot, using two forks, and shred the meat. If you want to roast the meat further, broil the meat for about 3-5 minutes.
- Plate, serve, and enjoy!
- Instant Pot, or Ninja Foodi