Mouth-watering Pork Carnitas – A Mexican Classic Recipe

Gather around, dear friends, and let me share with you one of the most delicious and flavorful dishes you’ll ever savor – my Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe. This dish is inspired by the traditional Mexican-style slow-cooked pork, but with a modern twist that will leave you wanting more. It’s like a fiesta in your mouth!

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I have long been fascinated by the vibrant flavors of Mexican cooking. From the spices to the fresh ingredients, there is something truly special about the taste of authentic Mexican food. And that’s precisely what I’ve captured in this recipe.

With my Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe, you’ll experience the tender and juicy flavor of boneless pork shoulder that has been seared and cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker. The combinations of spices like cumin, coriander, and ancho chile powder will leave your taste buds tingling for more.

Whether you’re cooking for a family dinner or gathering with friends for a game day party, this dish is perfect for any occasion. And best of all, it’s quick to prepare, making it easy to whip up at a moment’s notice.

So join me as we delve into my Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe and discover why it has become one of my favorite dishes to cook at home – I guarantee it will become one of yours too!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Greetings esteemed food lovers, may I have your attention? I come bearing a divine culinary gift that will make your taste buds dance with ecstatic joy! I present to you the Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe.

Why should you choose this recipe, you ask? Allow me to paint a picture of what awaits you. Imagine biting into a soft and juicy pork carnitas taco with crispy edges and succulent meat that is infused with Mexican spices like chili powder, cumin and oregano. The perfect combination of tangy citrus notes from orange juice and lime juice will tantalize your palate.

What’s more, it is a recipe that can be prepared quickly using an instant pot pressure cooker in less than an hour. The pressure cooking seals all the flavors in the tender chunks of pork shoulder or butt, making it effortless to enjoy the rich, bold taste without slaving away at the stove for hours.

Whether you are having a cozy night in or entertaining guests, this recipe is versatile and can be easily customized to suit different occasions. With minimal prep time required and a simple ingredient list that can be found in any grocery store, the Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe is a fantastic option for busy weeknights or festive gatherings.

In summary, you’ll love this recipe because it is easy, scrumptious and saves you time in the kitchen. It promises to leave everyone satisfied and raving about the mouth-watering pork carnitas tacos that they’ve ever tasted. So roll up your sleeves and get ready for a flavor explosion that will kick your taste buds into high gear!

Ingredient List

“Juicy, tender and flavorful pork carnitas, ready to be devoured”

Before starting the recipe, it is essential to ensure we have all the necessary ingredients. Here is what we need for this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe:


  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder or pork butt, cut into 2-inch pieces

Dry Rub:

  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Braising Liquids:

  • 1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (about 2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth

For Serving:

  • Corn tortillas
  • Chopped fresh cilantro
  • Diced white onion
  • Lime wedges

Once we have everything ready and assembled, we can get started with the recipe.

The Recipe How-To

“A deliciously easy meal that will leave everyone wanting more”

Now that you have your ingredients ready, let’s get started with the recipe! Here are the steps to create Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:

Step 1: Prepare the Pork

Begin by cutting your boneless pork shoulder into 2-inch chunks. Next, season the pork with salt, dried ancho chile powder, ground cumin, dried coriander, and fresh ground black pepper.

Step 2: Sear the Pork

Set your Instant Pot to sauté mode and add a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Once the pot is hot, sear the pork on all sides until it’s browned and crispy.

Step 3: Add Flavors

While the pork is searing, dice a yellow onion and mince four garlic cloves. Add them to a small bowl along with 1 teaspoon of dried Mexican oregano and cayenne pepper. Mix well.

Step 4: Pressure Cook the Pork

Once the pork is seared, turn off the sauté mode and add the onion mixture on top of the pork. Pour in one cup of low-sodium chicken broth and squeeze in juice from two fresh limes. Cover with a lid and set to cook high pressure for 40 minutes.

Step 5: Natural Release

Once cooking time is over, let it sit for a natural release for at least 15 minutes before opening.

Step 6: Shred and Broil

Remove the pork pieces from the pot using a slotted spoon, transfer them into a mixing bowl for shredding with two forks or any other shredding method you like. Once shredded, transfer back into Instant Pot adding half cup of reserved broth from pot its in. Mix it all up, put in batches under broil or air fryer until crispy.

Enjoy your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas with corn tortillas, guacamole, pico de gallo or any other tacos toppings you prefer.

Substitutions and Variations

“Perfectly cooked pork that easily shreds with a fork”

As a chef, I know that sometimes substitutions are necessary when cooking. So, let’s talk about some substitutions and variations for this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe.

For starters, if you’re not a fan of pork, you can easily swap it out for chicken. Try using boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts for a leaner protein option. You can also use beef – think chuck roast or brisket – for a different take on this classic dish.

Now, if you want to switch up the flavor profile a bit, consider using different types of chili powders. Ancho chili powder is delicious with its smoky, slightly sweet taste, but you could also try chipotle chili powder for an extra kick of heat. The choice is yours!

In addition to changing the type of chili powder used in the recipe, you can also play around with the seasoning blend. I recommend trying smoked paprika or even cinnamon for something unique. Just remember to taste as you go to ensure the seasonings are balanced.

Finally, let’s talk tortillas. While corn tortillas are traditional for serving carnitas, you could use flour tortillas instead if that’s what you have on hand. And if you’re looking to cut down on carbs altogether, try serving these carnitas over a bed of greens instead of in a taco shell.

Overall, don’t be afraid to experiment and make this recipe your own!

Serving and Pairing

“Spices and herbs galore, for a party of flavors in your mouth”

Imagine a steaming hot plate of crispy and juicy pork carnitas filling the air with the aroma of fragrant spices. Trust me, your senses will be delighted in every bite! Now, how do you make this luscious pork dish even better? Here are some ideas for serving and pairing.

First things first, warm corn tortillas are an absolute must! Whether you go for soft tortillas or crispy ones, they will help wrap the perfectly seasoned pork carnitas nicely. Opt for warm flour tortillas if you don’t have corn tortillas on hand.

For garnishing, you can’t go wrong with chopped cilantro, diced onions, jalapeños or avocado slices. Add a few splashes of tangy fresh lime juice to cut through the richness of the meat.

Another mouth-watering way to enjoy this pork recipe is to make crispy carnitas tacos. Top crunchy taco shells with hot and crispy pulled pork, shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes and fresh salsa. Alternatively, pair them with some homemade guacamole and chips or sour cream.

Now it’s time to talk about drinks. With its bold flavors and exquisite aromas, pork carnitas call for refreshing cocktails like margaritas or Bloody Marys. Some beer options such as Mexican lagers or a cold IPA would also be perfect. Non-alcoholic beverages like aguas frescas (fruit-flavored drinks) or horchata (rice milk beverage) would offer a cool respite from the heat of spices.

Last but not least, this pork dish goes well with a variety of sides too. Consider serving them with Spanish rice, black beans or pinto beans. Roasted vegetables such as peppers and onions can add wonderful depth of flavor too.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different sides or drinks to find your perfect pairing. In any case, you can’t go wrong with a plate piled high with crispy juicy pork carnitas– the possibilities are endless!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“A family favorite instant pot recipe, that never fails to impress”

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I know that sometimes you don’t have time to cook a fresh meal every day. That’s why I’m excited to give you some tips for making Instant Pot Pork Carnitas ahead of time, storing them properly, and reheating them so they’re just as tasty as the day you made them.

Make-Ahead: The best way to make these pork carnitas ahead of time is to prepare the recipe how-to section up until step 6. At this point, refrigerate the seasoned pork without cooking it. When you’re ready to cook the pork, simply place it in your Instant Pot and follow the remaining recipe instructions. This will save you a lot of time and still result in delicious carnitas.

Storing: Once your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are cooked, let them cool completely before storing them. You can store the meat in an airtight container for up to three days in the refrigerator. If you want to keep them longer than that, store them in an airtight container in the freezer for up to three months.

Reheating: When it’s time to reheat your pork carnitas, there are a few different methods you can use. To reheat in the microwave, place a serving on a microwave-safe plate and heat for one minute or until hot. Another method is to reheat in a skillet over medium-high heat until crispy and heated through.

If you have a slow cooker or crock pot, add your leftover pork and some chicken broth into the pot, set it on low, and let it cook for 4-6 hours. You’ll end up with shredded pork that’s perfect for crispy carnitas tacos or crispy pork tacos.

With these make-ahead, storing, and reheating tips, you can enjoy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas any day of the week without worrying about cooking them from scratch every time.

Tips for Perfect Results

“Topped with fresh cilantro and zesty lime, for an extra kick in every bite”

To ensure that your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas turn out perfectly every time, here are a few tips and tricks that I have picked up along the way.

Firstly, make sure to use boneless pork shoulder or pork butt for this recipe. These cuts of meat contain enough fat to keep the meat tender and juicy during cooking. Using leaner cuts like pork tenderloin or pork loin will result in tough and dry carnitas.

Next, be sure to sear the pork before pressure cooking it. This step adds flavor and helps to lock in the juices. To do this, simply heat some oil in the Instant Pot on the sauté setting and brown the seasoned pork on all sides.

Another important tip is to release pressure naturally for at least 15 minutes before opening the Instant Pot. This allows for more thorough cooking and results in more tender meat.

When you are ready to shred the pork, use two forks to pull it apart while it is still hot. This will create tender, juicy pieces of meat that will soak up all of the flavorful juices in the pot.

For even crispier carnitas, you can spread the shredded meat out on a baking sheet and broil it in the oven until it turns golden brown and crispy.

Lastly, don’t forget to garnish with fresh cilantro, sliced jalapeños, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime juice. These toppings will take your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas from good to amazing!

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe is a must-try for anyone who enjoys flavorful and juicy pulled pork. With easy-to-follow instructions and simple ingredients, you can make restaurant-quality crispy carnitas tacos in the comfort of your own home.

The versatility of this recipe also allows for substitutions and variations to suit your individual taste and preferences. Plus, it can be stored and reheated for future meals, making it a great option for meal prepping.

So why not give this recipe a try? Impress your family and friends with delicious and crispy pork carnitas straight from your Instant Pot. Trust me, once you taste these juicy and flavorful bites, you won’t be able to resist making them again and again.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe

Ooh. Loved this. Recipe courtesy of Cooking Classy. I skipped the broiling part, and it was still terrific.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 555.1 kcal


  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice (about 2 to 3 oranges)
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 teaspoons salt (to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano (or regular Italian Oregano if can't find)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano (or Italian)
  • 1 teaspoon dried coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried ancho chile powder
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • warmed corn tortilla, diced yellow onions, and cilantro (for serving)


  • Cut pork into 4 chunks and place pork in instant pot.
  • POur over chicken broth, orange juice, and lime juice.
  • Sprinkle in salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, coriander, chili powder, cayenne pepper, onions, and garlic.
  • Cover and seal lid. Make sure valve is set to sealing position. Press manual or high pressure and select 60 minutes.
  • Once cooking is done, let pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes. Then use quick release method to release any remaining pressure.
  • Once steaming has stopped remove pork from pressure cooker while leaving broth in pressure cooker.
  • Shred pork and grease a 9x13 inch baking sheet.
  • Place pork on baking sheet, pour over 1 cup reserved broth (try and strain out onions). Drizzle with oil and toss and spread into an even layer.
  • Position in rack near broiler and preheat broiler to high.
  • Broil until pork is browned and crispy in places--about 3 to 6 minutes.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 295gCalories: 555.1kcalCarbohydrates: 8.3gProtein: 33.9gFat: 42.7gSaturated Fat: 14.1gCholesterol: 138.2mgSodium: 813.9mgFiber: 1gSugar: 3.2g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Meat, Pork, Very Low Carbs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You