Delicious Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe

Come and gather around! I have an exciting recipe for those who want a flavorful, delicious, and easy-to-make meal. Are you ready to join me on this culinary adventure? Get your aprons ready because in this article, I’ll be sharing with you my Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe.

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I am always in search of unique flavors that pack a punch. One of my all-time favorite recipes is the carnitas – the crispy and succulent pork shoulder, slow-cooked to perfection. It’s a dish that has been enjoyed by many for generations, and it never gets old!

One of the best things about this recipe is that it is perfect for any occasion – from family dinners to game-day gatherings with friends. Plus, it is incredibly versatile, allowing you to add your own twist or flavor profile to make it your own.

I have adapted this traditional dish to cater to our paleo and keto diet friends- so whether you’re following paleo or keto restrictions or just looking for an alternative to gluten-heavy dishes, this recipe is sure to satisfy your tastebuds without compromising your lifestyle choices.

So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and gather your ingredients for this Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe! You won’t regret trying out this savory and delightful treat in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas
Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas

Listen up, foodies: I’ve got a recipe that will blow your taste buds away. This Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas recipe is a perfect blend of savory, juicy, and tender pork meat that will leave you craving for more. But wait, there’s more! Not only is this dish deliciously satisfying, but it’s also packed with healthy ingredients that make it whole30 compliant, gluten-free, and low carb.

What makes this recipe stand out from the rest is how easy and convenient it is to prepare. With just a few simple steps in your Instant Pot or slow cooker, you’ll have mouth-watering carnitas that are perfect for any occasion. No need to spend hours marinating the meat, all you need are some basic seasonings like ground cumin, dried parsley, paprika, minced garlic cloves, kosher salt, and black pepper.

But the real star of this dish is the pork shoulder cut. Tough Instant Pot? No worries. Simply cut it into large cubes and let the magic happen. The pressure cooker function in your Instant Pot or slow cooker will transform the tough pork into a succulent and juicy masterpiece. And don’t forget to add a cup of chicken broth to further enhance its flavor.

And let’s not forget about the versatility of this dish. You can serve these carnitas on top of fresh romaine lettuce leaves or in tortillas with salsa, onion, lime wedges, and fresh cilantro. Add jalapeño if you want to spice things up or avocado oil to give it a creamy texture.

So why will you love this recipe? Well, it’s easy to make, healthy, deliciously satisfying with juicy pork meat and an easy-to-follow recipe that will elevate your cooking skills to the next level. It’s perfect for those following paleo or keto diets and those who want an easy weeknight meal. So go ahead and give this recipe a try, I promise you won’t regret it.

Ingredient List

 One bite of these Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas and you'll be transported straight to a street taco stand in Mexico!
One bite of these Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas and you’ll be transported straight to a street taco stand in Mexico!

Ingredients for Delicious and Tender Carnitas!

To create the best Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas, I recommend using high-quality, fresh ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Pork Shoulder: Also known as pork butt or Boston butt, this cut of meat gives the carnitas a succulent, melt-in-your-mouth texture. I suggest using a 3-4 pound shoulder roast, cut into large 1-inch cubes.
  • Seasonings: For a flavor-packed dish, prepare to use some of these spices: ground cumin, black pepper, dried parsley, paprika, and kosher salt.
  • Minced Garlic and Onion: Garlic adds depth to the dish and is an essential ingredient. It is recommended that you use 2-3 minced garlic cloves and one diced onion.
  • Water: A crucial liquid base for slow cooking pork carnitas. I recommend using about one cup of water.
  • Orange and Lime Juice: Squeeze fresh juice out of these citrus fruits will give your pork carnitas sweet and savory flavors. Plan to use one squeezed lime and juice from one orange.
  • Oregano: Dried oregano leaves provide a subtle aroma that works well with pork. Use one to two teaspoons of this herb per recipe.
  • Chicken Broth: This liquid ingredient will soften the texture of your pork carnitas when cooked in Instant Pot. You can use chicken broth or any other broth which is preferable on your end.

These ingredients are enough to serve six people or more. Make sure to check your pantry before heading out to the store so that you have all the necessary ingredients for an enjoyable experience preparing Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas.

The Recipe How-To

Now that we’ve covered the ingredient list, it’s time to cook up some seriously delicious Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas! You’re going to be amazed at how easy it is to make.

Step 1: Season the Pork

First, we will season our pork with some dried parsley, ground cumin, smoked paprika, minced garlic cloves, and some kosher salt. Rub them all over your seasoned pork shoulder or pork butt that has been cut into large 1-inch cubes.

Step 2: Pressure Cook

Now it’s time to get your Instant Pot out! Add the cubed meat to your Instant Pot along with some chopped onions and a sliced jalapeno. Give everything a good stir before pouring water mixed with freshly squeezed orange juice, lime juice and chicken broth over it all.

Close the lid and cook using high pressure for about 40 minutes before letting the pressure release naturally.

Step 3: Shred the Meat

Once the cooking is complete, remove the lid and use two forks to shred the meat. Be sure to discard any big bits of fat.

Step 4: Brown the Meat

For a more authentic carnitas taste, place the shredded pieces on a baking sheet and broil them in the oven until they brown and crisp up perfectly. Drizzle with juices from the Instant Pot afterwards.

Step 5: Add Salsa, Cilantro,& Lime Wedge

Serve your now-flavorful pork carnitas topped with your favorite salsa, some freshly chopped cilantro, and a juicy lime wedge. If you want to make this more of a meal, wrap it in a corn tortilla or lettuce wrap with avocado slices!

This Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe is sure to become one of your new favorite dishes. So make sure you save this recipe as you’ll be making it a lot!

Substitutions and Variations

 These carnitas are a perfect balance of crispy and tender, with just the right amount of spice to keep things interesting.
These carnitas are a perfect balance of crispy and tender, with just the right amount of spice to keep things interesting.

Darlings, I know that sometimes you don’t have all the ingredients necessary to make a recipe or just want to put your own twist on it. Don’t fret my pets! Here are some substitutions and variations for this Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe.

– Pork Shoulder Cut: You can use pork butt or pork roast instead of pork shoulder for this recipe; but honestly, I prefered it with pork shoulder since it has more fat and is more tender.

– Lime Wedge: This little cutie provides some zing and makes the dish more vibrant. But if you don’t have limes, lemons work well too.

– Salsa: I used salsa as a topping for these carnitas since it adds flavor, texture, and color. However, if you find yourself without salsa, try using diced tomatoes or even chopped bell peppers to add some freshness.

– Tortillas: The traditional way of serving carnitas is in tortillas. If you’re trying to avoid carbs, you can replace them with lettuce wraps like romaine lettuce or even use cauliflower tortillas – they are gluten-free and keto-friendly!

– Heat Level: If you can handle a little heat sweetie, then add a jalapeno pepper when cooking the meat. Alternatively, you can swap out the smoked paprika for chipotle powder.

– Extravirgin oil: Avocado oil is an excellent substitution for extra virgin olive oil if needed.

My dears, substitutions are about keeping the spirit of the recipe while adapting it to your own personal taste or lifestyle. By being flexible and creative, we can open up a world of possibilities in the kitchen. Enjoy!

Serving and Pairing

Recommended Serving:

This instant pot Paleo and Keto Carnitas recipe is an absolute crowd-pleaser, perfect for serving at a game day party, get-together or family-style dinner. It pairs perfectly with your favorite toppings such as fresh cilantro, salsa, chopped onion and lime wedges. Serve it up on a platter and let your guests assemble their own tacos or simply serve in bowls over a bed of romaine lettuce.

Pairing Suggestions:

When it comes to bringing out the flavors of these delicious carnitas, there are a few pairing options that can help elevate the taste experience. If you’re hosting a group, pairing this dish with a batch of homemade guacamole and some crispy tortilla chips is an excellent way to balance out the spice of the pork. Alternatively, serving it with some Mexican-style rice and grilled veggies like bell peppers or sweet potatoes would be another tasty addition.

To complement this dish, I recommend pouring yourself a nice cold beer such as a light lager or Mexican beer like Modelo Especial. If you’re not a fan of beer, try serving margaritas or palomas alongside your taco spread – both of these cocktails work particularly well with this type of cuisine.

When it comes to meal planning choices for those following specific lifestyles, these versatile carnitas cater to both low-carb and gluten-free options without skipping on flavor! For Whole30 compliant meals, serve the carnitas on top of fresh greens with avocado slices instead of using tortillas.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 If you're looking for a healthier, low-carb version of traditional carnitas, look no further than this recipe!
If you’re looking for a healthier, low-carb version of traditional carnitas, look no further than this recipe!

Now, let’s talk about how to make these Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas ahead of time! Trust me, it’ll make your life easier.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Make-Ahead: After shredding the pork, allow it to cool down completely then transfer it into a large airtight container. Store the salsa and fresh toppings separately in small containers and refrigerate them for up to 3 days.

2. Storing: If you have leftover carnitas, store them in an airtight container and refrigerate them for up to 3 days. Reheat the carnitas in a pan on medium heat with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil to help revive any dryness.

3. Reheating: When you’re ready to reheat your carnitas, spoon the desired amount of meat onto a microwave-safe plate and lightly cover it with a damp paper towel.

Heat it in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds, or until heated through.

Another option is to reheat the meat in small batches on medium heat in a pan with some avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil until crispy and warmed through.

These carnitas are perfect for meal prep or freezer meals too! Simply portion the shredded pork into freezer bags or containers, pour some of the remaining cooking liquid over it, seal it tightly, then freeze for up to 2 months.

When you’re ready to use it again, thaw it overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat following any of the methods mentioned above.

With these tips in mind, you can easily have delicious protein-packed meals ready to go whenever you need them!

Tips for Perfect Results

Cooking carnitas in an Instant Pot can seem intimidating, but with a few helpful tips, you can achieve perfect results every time. Here are some tips to elevate your Instant Pot paleo and keto carnitas recipe:

1. Use the right cut of pork:

The key to succulent and tender carnitas is using the right cut of pork. Choose a tough Instant Pot shoulder cut of at least 3 pounds or more, such as a pork shoulder roast or pork butt for best results.

2. Brown meat before pressure cooking:

Browning the meat before pressure cooking helps to seal in moisture and adds flavor to the carnitas. Use the sauté function on the Instant Pot to brown the meat off thoroughly.

3. Add seasonings generously:

To enhance the taste of the meat, it is important to add seasoning generously. Stir in ground cumin, black pepper, dried parsley, paprika, minced garlic cloves, jalapeno, oregano salt during cooking.

4. Use fresh ingredients:

Incorporating fresh ingredients such as onion, limes, orange juice, and chicken broth in your Instant Pot paleo and keto carnitas will pump up the flavor and give it that authentic kick.

5. Add liquid for soft texture:

Adding water or chicken broth will help ensure your meat comes out tender and not tough – this is important when making keto instant pot paleo and whole30 compliant recipes.

6. Don’t skip the resting stage:

To allow for even distribution of juices throughout the meat and maximize tenderness when it’s cooked through, let it sit in its own juices for about 10 minutes before shredding.

7. Shred Meat Right After Cooking:

When you take your perfectly cooked instant pot paleo keto pork carnitas from the Instant Pot be sure to shred it immediately while it is hot so that you get those deliciously crispy edges.

By incorporating these helpful tips into your preparation process, you can achieve the ultimate paleo keto carnitas recipe that is juicy, tender and full of authentic flavors.


Before you dive into making this delicious Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas recipe, I wanted to take the time to go over some frequently asked questions that may come up during the cooking process. These tips and tricks will ensure that you have a stress-free and enjoyable time in the kitchen, resulting in perfectly cooked and flavorful carnitas every time. So, let’s address any potential concerns and get started on making a meal that you’ll love!

Can I eat carnitas on keto?

Carnitas is a dish that is ideal for a keto or carnivore diet, owing to its use of fattier cuts of meat. However, consuming it in moderation would allow anyone to relish its rich flavors. As a serving of carnitas offers approximately 40g of protein, just 1g net carbs, and 6g of fat, it is definitely worth trying out.

Why is my pork tough in Instant Pot?

Have you ever wondered why your Instant Pot pork roast turns out tough and chewy? The likely reason for this is that it needs to be cooked longer. The cooking time required largely depends on the size of the pork roast, with larger ones taking longer to cook.

What’s the difference between pork carnitas and pulled pork?

Pulled pork is a type of meat that is obtained from the pig’s shoulder area and is cooked at low temperatures for an extended period until it can be easily shredded. On the other hand, carnitas is a variant of pulled pork that is usually seasoned with traditional Mexican spices or salt.

Is carnitas Whole30 compliant?

Get your taste buds ready for some delicious Mexican pulled pork, also known as pork carnitas! The best part? This recipe is compliant with Whole30 and paleo, making it the perfect choice for a healthy meal. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this flavorful meat, such as on a bed of leafy greens, with delicious guacamole, roasted veggies, or even wrapped in grain-free tortillas. And, for those looking to cut back on carbs, you can try it with some cauliflower rice. Trust me, this dish is sure to satisfy your cravings and leave you feeling full and happy.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe is a delicious and healthy option for any meal. These carnitas are easy to make and packed with flavor, making them perfect for a quick weekday dinner or a weekend gathering with friends and family. Plus, by using an Instant Pot, these carnitas come together in just over an hour, saving you time without compromising on taste or quality.

With simple ingredients like pork shoulder, onion, orange, and spices like cumin and paprika, this recipe is both Whole30 compliant and gluten-free. Even if you are not following a paleo or keto diet, these carnitas are a satisfying and flavorful option for anyone looking for an easy meal that’s also low-carb.

This recipe is also incredibly versatile – whether you want to serve them traditionally with tortillas, avocado, salsa, lime wedges and fresh cilantro or as a salad with romaine lettuce and your favorite toppings. These carnitas are great for meal prepping too; store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze them for later use.

Don’t hesitate to make this Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe today! With its rich flavor profile and versatile serving options, it will quickly become one of your go-to recipes. So why not give it a try? Your taste buds will thank you!

Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas

Instant Pot Paleo & Keto Carnitas Recipe

I searched for awhile to find a recipe that didn't have added sugar, and this one is terrific. Good thing I doubled it because it didn't last. Recipe posted as listed. Courtesy of Serving size is estimated.
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Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 406.4 kcal


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder, cut into extra large cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 orange, halved
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

To Serve

  • tortillas or romaine lettuce
  • fresh cilantro (ribboned or minced)
  • lime wedge
  • onion (finely minced)
  • salsa


  • Pat meat dry and cut into large cubes. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.
  • Set instant pot to Saute and heat olive oil. Add meat (working in batches if needed), and sear for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until browned. Press cancel to turn off heat.
  • Add in remaining ingredients, squeezing orange into the mix before adding it inches Yes, you want the whole orange in the mix. Toss to combine.
  • Lock lid in place, close pressure valve and press Meat. Adjust cooking time for 30 minutes and cook. Allow pressure to release naturally (roughly 20 minutes). Remove lid and shred meat with two forks (in the instant or a tray).
  • For crispy carnitas: Turn on the oven broiler while carnitas are cooking. Once meat is shredded, transfer to a baking tray along with some of the juice and broil for 3 to 6 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp.
  • Serve right away with desired toppings.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 204gCalories: 406.4kcalCarbohydrates: 7.7gProtein: 26.8gFat: 29.7gSaturated Fat: 9.8gCholesterol: 107.3mgSodium: 877.1mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 3.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat, Pork, Very Low Carbs
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