Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe is a Mexican favorite that’s easy to make and delicious in tacos, burritos, nachos or quesadillas. All you need is a few ingredients to make it with ease in the electric pressure cooker. Just set it and forget it, then enjoy he crispy, shredded pork that’s sizzling with spices in about 90 minutes.

tywo blue bowls filled with pork carintas and lime wedges

What Are Pork Carnitas?

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Carnitas (pronounced kaa·nee·tuhs) is essentially Mexican pulled pork and one of my favorite gluten free Mexican recipes. Traditionally seasoned using spices, citrus juice and onions, the pork is then cooked slowly before crisping up in a skillet or broiler. Thanks to this instant pot pork carnitas recipe, you can skip the skillet and speed up the pork roasting with the use of a pressure cooker. The result is crispy yet juicy pork carnitas that can be served in a huge variety of ways without the wait.

About the Ingredients

  • Pork: For the most tender, juicy results it is best to use a marbled pork roast as this means there is enough fat for it to be cooked in the Instant Pot without going dry. The fat also helps the meat crisp up at the end. As a tip, a pork shoulder roast might also be labelled as “pork butt.”
  • Vegetables: One bell pepper (any color) and one red onion.
  • Herbs & Spices: Bay leaves, oregano, garlic powder, cumin, salt and Adobo all-purpose seasoning (can be found in the International food aisle)
  • Chipotle sauce: Can be found in Mexican or International food aisle and will add that delicious kick to your carnitas.
  • Chicken Broth: I always prefer Homemade bone broth as it has so many benefits without the nasty additives or salt.

How to Make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Step-by-Step

  1. On sauté mode, sear meat on both sides until brown then turn sauté off.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot.
  3. Close the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the valve to sealing position.
view from above of instant pot with pork, vegetables, broth and herbs

4. Set to a manual high time for 80 minutes. When the cooking time has finished, allow for a manual pressure release before carefully removing the meat from the pot.
5. Shred the pork using two forks, then combine with the juices and seasonings from the pot.
6. Optional: You can then serve as pulled pork, or for carnitas add to a baking sheet to crisp up under the broiler.

How to Set Your Instant Pot to High Pressure

For this instant pot carnitas recipe you will need to set your instant pot to High. To do so, press the “Manual” or “Pressure” cook button and check to make sure the pressure level shows as HIGH. If it does not, press the “Pressure Level” button until it shows HIGH. Then, continue to set the cooking time by using the +/- buttons. Once the time is set, let the pressure cooker do the rest. New to the instant pot? Check out these instant pot tips and tricks to save you time and stress in the kitchen.

Ways to Serve Pork Carnitas

One of the many reasons you will love this instant pot carnitas recipe is because it can be served in so many ways. You can enjoy it served over rice or salad, added to gluten-free tortillas, stuffed into burritos or sprinkled over nachos. Don’t forget the fresh cilantro, a little lime juice, homemade guacamole and refried beans for next-level flavor.

What is the Difference Between Pulled Pork and Carnitas?

For both carnitas and pulled pork the meat needs to be seasoned then cooked for several hours and shredded. However, the difference with carnitas is that the meat is then finished off by roasting for a few minutes until brown and crispy.

Can Carnitas be Made With Chicken?

Yes. If you’re not a fan of pork, this carnitas recipe can easily be made using boneless chicken thighs or breasts instead.

Can Instant Pot Pork Carnitas be Frozen?

Yes! For best results, I recommend freezing in smaller portions with a little of the cooking liquid and for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator then add to a baking sheet. Cover in foil to retain moisture and roast for 12-15 minutes at 325 degrees. To crisp up, remove the foil and broil for a few minutes.

two blue bowls of pork carnitas with instant pot in background

Top Tips

  • Looking for an extra kick? Feel free to add a diced jalapeño or serrano chile pepper for some added spice.
  • After crisping the carnitas in the oven, it’s best to enjoy immediately as the meat may dry out if you leave it to sit for too long.
  • Instead of broth you can also use pineapple juice for some tangy sweetness

More Instant Pot Soup Recipes You Might Like

Did you try this instant pot pork carnitas? Don’t forget to rate it and comment below to let me know how it went. You can also follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest.

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tywo blue bowls filled with pork carintas and lime wedges

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Don’t Mess With Mama
This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe will allow you to whip up the Mexican favorite in no time. With shredded pork that’s sizzling with spices it's the perfect pairing for burritos or quesadillas.
5 from 67 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Time to Pressurize 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 196 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 Instant Pot

Ingredients
  

Instructions
 

  • On sauté mode, sear meat on both sides until brown then turn sauté off.
    above view of pork in instant pot
  • Add the remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot.
    view from above of instant pot with pork, vegetables, broth and herbs
  • Close the lid on the pressure cooker and turn the valve to sealing position.
  • Set to a manual high time for 80 minutes. It will take about 10-12 minutes for the Intant Pot to come to pressure.
    view from above of pork carnitas in instant pot
  • When the cooking time has finished, turn the valve to do a Manual Release before carefully removing the meat from the pot.
  • Shred the pork using two forks, then combine with the juices and seasonings from the pot.
  • Optional: You can then serve as pulled pork, or for carnitas add to a baking sheet to crisp up under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes.
    tywo blue bowls filled with pork carintas and lime wedges

Nutrition

Calories: 196kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 32gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 89mgSodium: 178mgPotassium: 597mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 475IUVitamin C: 21mgCalcium: 17mgIron: 1mg
Keyword carnitas, Instant Pot carnitas, Instant Pot pulled pork, pulled pork
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