This easy Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is loaded with Mexican spices and citrus juices to create a melt-in-your-mouth instant pot pork carnitas recipe in less than 90 minutes! It’s similar to our Stovetop Carnitas recipe, without the wait. Use marinated carnitas in taco recipes, burritos, nachos and more!

What Are Carnitas

Carnitas is to Mexican cuisine what pulled pork is to American grub. Instead of loading the shredded pork up with BBQ Sauce it’s loaded up with Mexican spices and citrus juices. Carnitas (carnitas receta) are traditionally made with pork shoulder due to the high fat content. Unlike pulled pork, carnitas are typically crisped up at the end of cooking to add an extra “bite”.

More popular Mexican recipes to check out: Carne Asada Recipes, Frijoles Charra, and Pollo Asado

Ingredients to make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Carnitas Seasoning

If you make Mexican recipes often, you more than likely have most of these spices on hand: sea salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, Mexican oregano and black pepper. For added heat, just throw a teaspoon of cayenne pepper in the mix. There really isn’t a long list of ingredients for carnitas.

What To Make With Pork Carnitas

There are so many recipes you can make using carnitas meat. Here are a few of our favorites:

How To Make Instant Pot Carnitas

Making carnitas instant pot friendly took all the legwork out of making juicy pork carnitas. This Instant Pot Recipe takes only 5 minutes of prep work, then the pressure cooker does the rest of the work for you. To make Carnitas a la Mexicana just throw in the cubed pork shoulder, and spices and you’re ready to cook away. In only 60 minutes you’ll be ready to shred!

step by step photos showing how to make pulled pork.
step by step photos showing how to make pulled pork.

What To Serve With Carnitas

Arroz Verde (Mexican Green Rice)
Instant Pot refried beans
Slow Cooker Refried Beans
Mexican rice
Cilantro Lime Rice
Mexican Pickled Carrots

Crispy Pork Carnitas Instant Pot

As with all Instant Pot recipes, you will need to take it a step further if you’re looking for the classic “crunch” factor. These carnitas come out tender and juicy, how we enjoy it, but many folks prefer the crisp. All it takes is one extra step and 5 minutes.

  • Oven – Once you’ve removed the carnitas from the carnitas sauce, spread on a large baking sheet and broil in the oven on high for 5 minutes. Add up to 5 more minutes for extra crispy carnitas. 
  • Air Fryer – Once you’ve removed the carnitas from the carnitas sauce, transfer the carnitas meat back to the Instant Pot. Place the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid on top and set to air fry for 10-12 minutes at 400°F for 12 minutes. Toss at the half way mark to ensure even crisping. 
Instant Pot Pork carnitas in a white serving bowl topped with lime slices.

Recipe Tips

  • This is a great recipe to use in your weekly meal prep schedule. Add the pork and marinade to a Ziplock bag and marinate for up to 5 days.
  • You can freeze the pork and marinade together for up to 3 months. Just defrost in the refrigerator like you would any other pork recipe.
  • We use Instant Pot Bone Broth if we have some on hand.
  • Reference our Pork Temperature Chart for more cooking tips!

Drink Recommendations

Cocktails: Mexican MuleMango MicheladaMichelada, or Margarita.
White Wines: Pinot Noir, Sparkling Brut Rosé, Milder Sauvignon Blanc
Light Beers: Pale Mexican Lagers, West Coast IPAs, Amber Ale, Vienna Lager

Pork carnitas in a white serving bowl topped with lime slices.

Instant Pot Carnitas

This easy Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is loaded with Mexican spices and citrus juices to create a melt-in-your-mouth instant pot pork carnitas recipe in only 90 minutes! It's similar to our Slow Cooker Carnitas recipe, without the wait. Use marinated carnitas in taco recipes, burritos, nachos and more!
5 from 1 vote
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Come To Pressure & Natural Release Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Calories: 191kcal
Author: Darcey Olson
Cost: $15

Equipment

Ingredients

  • Lb Pork Shoulder, Boneless
  • ¼ cup Orange Juice, Freshly Squeezed
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice, Freshly Squeezed
  • 2 tsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1 tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tsp Onion Powder
  • 1 tsp Dried Mexican Oregano ((*Note 1 ))
  • ½ tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 cup Broth (Chicken, Beef or Vegetable) ((*Note 2 ))

Instructions

  • Cut the pork shoulder into 4" chunks and place inside the instant pot.
  • Add the orange juice, lime juice, salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, black pepper and broth to the instant pot. Mix thoroughly to coat the pork.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the valve is in the "sealed" position. Pressure cook on high for 45 minutes.
  • Let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes before quick releasing the rest.
  • Remove the lid and shred the pork with two forks. It's now ready to add to tacos, burritos, or more!

OPTIONAL: CRISP THE CARNITAS

  • Set a strainer over a large bowl and strain out the meat, reserving the cooking liquid.
  • Oven – Once you've removed the carnitas from the carnitas sauce, spread the shredded pork on a large foil-lined baking sheet and broil in the oven on high for 5 minutes. Add up to 5 more minutes for extra crispy carnitas. Add 1/2-1 cup of cooking liquid back to the carnitas to juice them back up.
  • Air Fryer – Once you've removed the carnitas from the carnitas sauce, transfer the carnitas meat back to the Instant Pot. Place the Instant Pot Air Fryer lid on top and set to air fry for 10-12 minutes at 400°F for 12 minutes. Toss at the half way mark to ensure even crisping. Add 1/2-1 cup of cooking liquid back to the carnitas to juice them back up.

Notes

Note 1 –  Regular oregano will also work if you don’t have, or can’t find, Mexican oregano.
Note 2 – We use Instant Pot Bone Broth if we have some on hand.

Nutrition

Calories: 191kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 85mg | Sodium: 781mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 164IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 2mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @foodieandwine or tag #foodieandwine!

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