Make delicious juicy pork carnitas in your instant pot in a fraction of the time it takes in the oven. These juicy pork carnitas make a delicious family meal that is packed full of flavor.
Pork carnitas is one of those meals that is best cooked low and slow. Like eight hours slow. This pork carnitas in the Instant Pot comes together in a fraction of the time, and will be well-loved. It’s one of our favorite instant pot recipes.
Usually if I was making pork carnitas I would cook it in the slower cooker and it would take all day long- but not in the instant pot!
If you’re craving restaurant-quality carnitas packed full of flavor, you’ll love this delicious recipe.
Making the meat in the pressure cooker does make for soft carnitas meat. If you prefer a crispier carnitas, I’ve included directions for how to also broil it for that crispier texture.
How Much Time Will Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Take To Cook?
Remember- traditional carnitas are cooked low and slow all day, we’re shaving off a lot of time here! It makes for the most tender pork dish ever.
- Browning your meat will take 5-10 minutes.
- When you are cooking in the instant pot the pressure cooker does take anywhere from 5-10 minutes to come up to pressure depending on your machine.
- Your pork will cook for 60 minutes.
- Your instant pot will need to naturally release for 15 minutes.
- To make your carnitas crispier, add another 5 minutes in the oven and spread out over a baking sheet.
Expect this dish will take about an hour and a half to make, with an hour of it being hands-off. If your cut of pork is a little bigger than I recommend below, you may want to add 5-10 minutes. Considering carnitas normally has to cook for a long time, we’re shaving off a lot of time!
Need a quicker dish for dinner? These Instant Pot Sausages are delicious and can be cooked from fresh or frozen. My Honey Balsamic Pork Tenderloin is also delicious and a super-fast dish.
What Cut Of Meat Should I Use For Pork Carnitas In The Pressure Cooker
Use a 3-4 pound pork shoulder for this recipe. You can also swap in pork butt in this recipe. Both cuts of pork are best cooked low and slow which our pressure cooker does for us, and also .
Both pork shoulder and pork butt are similar cuts of meat that come from the shoulder. Pork butt (from the shoulder) gets it’s name from butchers packing the meat in barrels they called butts. Huh, who knew.
Here are some other names you may see pork shoulder called in the store:
- Boston butt
- pork butt
- fresh pork butt
- Boston shoulder
- Boston butt roast
- shoulder roast
What Size Instant Pot Do I Need?
For this recipe I recommend a 6 or 8 quart instant pot. I have an 8 Quart Instant Pot, it’s the Ultra 8 Quart ten in one.
What’s The Difference Between Natural Release And Quick Release?
When your instant pot has finished cooking, you need to let the pressure out somehow. The machine will naturally depressurize on it’s own, but there is also a release valve on your machine to press.
If you push the pressurized valve right after the dish finishes cooking, this is called a quick release. This lets the steam out right away. When you are cooking larger chunks of meat, this tends to suck the moisture out of your instant pot too fast and can dry out your meat.
Instead let your instant pot sit for 15 minutes (bare minimum, 10 minutes, but 15 works a little better for this dish). Your instant pot will naturally release most of the pressure.
When you push the button after 15 minutes a little steam will still let out, but much less than pushing the valve right away. This will help keep your carnitas juicier, we want the cooking liquids to stay (like broth and orange juice) to stay in our meat.
Slow Cooker Boneless Pork Loin is a deliciously juicy dinner. The leftovers also make a great shredded pork for tacos, just add a little salsa at the end as you shred!
What Should I Serve With Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Love everything Mexican flavors? These Juicy Grilled Chicken Kabobs With Fajita Marinade are great year-round and can be cooked on the grill or baked in the oven.
Serve your pork carnitas as tacos, over nachos, rolled into burritos or enchiladas or over rice in a bowl. You can also make a mean salad out of this pork carnitas.
I like to serve my carnitas with things like
- Black beans
- Refried beans (We like Amy’s refried beans lately)
- Mexican rice
- Tortilla chips
- Flour or Corn Tortillas
- Roasted Corn – Trader Joe’s has an awesome frozen roasted corn that becomes heat and eat fast.
- Sweet Pickled red onions – The hubby and I like these, the kid will eat a few and then make faces.
- Lime Juice- Top with a wedge of lime if you like, lime juice brings out the flavors at the end.
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- Pressure Cooker or Instant Pot
- 1 large onion quartered
- 2 large navel oranges juiced
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 bay leaf
For Browning The Pork
- 4 lbs pork shoulder- trimmed
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Salt and pepper
For The Seasoning
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. Dried parsley
- 1 tsp. Onion powder
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp Minced garlic
- 1 tsp. Smoked paprika
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. chili powder optional
Cooking Your Pork Carnitas In The Instant Pot
- .Juice the oranges and lime into a bowl. Add all the spices (except bay leaves) to the juice and mix together with a whisk.
- Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks (about 3"). Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute and warm up the oil in the bottom of the pot. Add the pork and brown the pieces of meat on all sides. If your instant pot is a smaller, you may want to brown your meat in two batches.
- After sauteing, add the broth to your instant pot. Move the meat around the pot so that the liquid touches the bottom of the pot. If there are any brown bits on the bottom of the pot, use a wood cooking spatula to gently lift them from the pot.
- Add the onion, citrus juices with spices, chicken broth, bay leaves and fruit peels into the instant Pot. Switch the setting to high pressure and cook on high for 60 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes before fully releasing the pressure., then remove the lid. Discard the bay leaves.
- Pull the pork into small chunks by shredding apart with forks or chopping with a large knife and cutting board. Your meat should be falling apart tender.
To Make Your Carnitas Crispy (optional)
- Turn on the oven broiler to high.
- Place the pork in a single layer on a large pan.
- Spoon some of the broth drippings from the instant pot on top of the pork. Broil for about 4-5 minutes or until the edges of the pork begin browning.
- Stir the meat and add a little bit more broth drippings from the bottom of the instant pot. Broil an additional 5 minutes.
- Serve pork carnitas as is over rice or in tacos, and sprinkled with chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice if desired.
Did You Make This?
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Comments & Reviews
Thank you Kristy. Loving your recipes. My kids are all grown and on their own but I like tasty easy recipes. Not the complicated fancy ones.
How different will these taste if I use lemon juice instead of lime juice? Lime gives me a citrus headache.
Kristy Richardson says
Hi Peggy, you should be ok using lemon instead of lime. Lime traditionally compliments Mexican-style recipes, but lemon will give you the acid needed to balance the dish and tenderize the meat. Hope that helps! -Kristy