Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

This Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is quick and easy to make in the pressure cooker, perfectly crispy and juicy, and so delicious!

Instant Pot Carnitas

This Instant Pot carnitas recipe is a game-changer. ♡

After years and years of making my go-to crispy pork carnitas recipe in the slow cooker — letting the pork slowly and steadily simmer all day long until it is perfectly tender and shred-able — I’ve now become a total convert to making pressure cooker carnitas instead.

Why?  Well mainly, this Instant Pot carnitas recipe is just crazy fast.  Instead of having to plan 5-8 hours in advance to make carnitas in the slow cooker, this pressure cooker carnitas recipe can be ready to go from start to finish in just over 1 hour, making this recipe legit do-able on a weeknight or anytime you’re craving some carnitas stat.  It also succeeds in making carnitas that are extra-juicy and crispy, thanks to a quick broil in the oven and a toss in those leftover cooking juices after the Instant Pot has worked its magic.  It’s also seasoned with a zesty garlic-citrus mojo sauce, making each bite of pork extra flavorful even before any extra salsas or toppings are added.  But more than anything, I just love this carnitas recipe because it is irresistibly, unfailingly, crowd-pleasingly, gotta-go-back-for-seconds-(and-thirds)-ingly, deliciously GOOD.

Bonus — it’s also good served up so many ways!  These carnitas are, of course, absolutely fabulous served up in tortillas as carnitas tacos.  But if you’re looking for a different spin on carnitas (especially if you have leftovers and want to mix things up a bit for the second round), these carnitas are also delicious served up in burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, salads, or even in carnitas soup as well.

So if you are a fellow fan of carnitas, pull out your pressure cooker and let’s make a batch together!

Instant Pot Carnitas | 1-Minute Video

Carnitas Ingredients:

To make pork carnitas in the Instant Pot (affiliate link), you will need the following ingredients:

  • Pork: Whichever cut of boneless pork roast that you prefer (I typically use pork shoulder), cut into 2-inch chunks with the excess fat trimmed off.
  • Salt, pepper, oil: For seasoning and cooking the meat.
  • Mojo sauce: A citrusy garlic sauce that we’ll make with beer (or chicken stock), garlic, fresh orange juice, lime juice, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Salsa: I love serving carnitas with a juicy fresh mango salsa or pineapple salsa (as pictured below).  But any type of salsa that you love — red, green, fruit, etc. — will work.
  • Toppings: I recommend lots of chopped fresh cilantro and finely-chopped red or white onion.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

How To Make Carnitas:

To make this pork carnitas recipe, simply…

  1. Make the mojo sauce. Whisk together those garlicky citrus sauce ingredients until combined.
  2. Season and sear the pork. Generously season the pork chunks with salt and pepper.  Then use the “Sauté” function on the Instant Pot to briefly sear the pork on all sides in a bit of oil.  You might need to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your Instant Pot.
  3. Pressure cook. Add the sauce to the pork, then pressure cook on high for 30 minutes, followed by a natural release.
  4. Shred. Once the pork is cooked, go ahead and give it a good shred with two forks.
  5. (Optional) Broil. Then — if you want the carnitas to be nice and crispy — spread the shredded pork out in an even layer on a large baking sheet, and spoon about 1/3 of the remaining juices from the Instant Pot evenly on top of the pork.  Pop the baking sheet into the oven for about 4-5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork are golden and crispy.  Then remove from the oven, give the pork a good toss with half of the remaining juices, and broil for 4-5 more minutes.  Remove from the oven, toss with the remaining juices and…
  6. Serve warm. However you prefer — in tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, tostadas, quesadillas, in a soup or salad, or whatever sounds good!

Full instructions included in the recipe box below.

Crispy Carnitas made in the Instant Pot

Possible Variations:

Want to customize your own homemade carnitas recipe?  Feel free to…

  • Make it spicy.  Add a diced jalapeño or serrano chile pepper (seeded, for less heat) into the Instant Pot if you would like to kick things up a spicy notch.
  • Make it smoky. I also love adding a diced chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (with an extra tablespoon of sauce) into the Instant Pot to make the carnitas a bit more smoky.
  • Use chicken. If pork isn’t your thing, you’re welcome to make this carnitas recipe with boneless skinless chicken thighs (or breasts) instead.

Carnitas Tacos

Ways To Serve Carnitas:

There are so many fun ways to serve this carnitas recipe!  For example, they would be delicious in:

  • Tacos (hard or soft)
  • Burritos or burrito bowls
  • Enchiladas, taquitos, quesadillas or tostadas
  • Nachos or chilaquiles
  • Salads (warm or cold)
  • Soup or chili
  • …and so much more!  Be creative!

Pork Carnitas Tacos

What To Serve With Carnitas:

Looking for some ideas on what to serve with carnitas tacos?  (Or carnitas burritos, quesadillas, etc?)  Here are a few of my faves:

Print
Instant Pot Carnitas
4.8 from 113 reviews

Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x

Description

This Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is quick and easy to make in the pressure cooker, perfectly crispy and juicy, and so delicious!


Scale

Ingredients

Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas Ingredients:

  • 1 (4-5 pound) lean boneless pork roast, cut into 2-inch chunks (with excess fat trimmed off)
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil
  • 1 batch mojo sauce (see below)
  • for serving: chopped fresh cilantro, diced white or red onion, and/or fresh salsa (I used the pineapple salsa recipe included below)

Mojo Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup beer (or chicken stock)
  • 1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper

Instructions

To Make The Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas:

  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the mojo sauce ingredients until combined.  Set aside until ready to use.
  2. Season pork chunks on all sides with salt and pepper.
  3. Click the “Sauté” setting on the Instant Pot.  Add the oil, followed by half of the pork, and sear — turning every 45-60 seconds or so — until the pork is browned on all sides.  Transfer pork to a separate clean plate, and repeat with the remaining pork, searing until it has browned on all sides.  Press “Cancel” to turn off the heat.
  4. Pour in the mojo sauce, and toss briefly to combine with the pork. Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”.
  5. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes, followed by a natural release (about 15 minutes).
  6. Set the oven broiler to high heat.
  7. Remove the lid of the Instant Pot.  Shred the pork with two forks.  Then transfer it with a slotted spoon to a large baking sheet.  Spoon about a third of the leftover juices evenly on top of the pork and toss to combine.  Broil for 4-5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin browning and crisping up. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, then half of the remaining juices from the Instant Pot evenly over the pork and toss to combine.  Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat even more crispy. Remove baking sheet from the oven, then ladle the remaining juices over the pork, and toss to combine.
  8. Sprinkle with chopped fresh cilantro, then serve warm in tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever sounds good to you! Or, refrigerate pork in a sealed container for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

Notes

Pineapple Salsa: To make the fresh pineapple salsa recipe, just mix together the follow ingredients until combined:

  • 2 cups finely-diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup finely-diced red onion
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely-diced
  • fine sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper, to taste

This post contains affiliate links.

Leave a Reply to Sophia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

207 comments on “Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas”

1 2 3 4
  1. Ali, these look incredible. Are there any vegetarian alternatives you would suggest to replace the meat? I love the sound of it, but I’m struggling for ideas!

    Lo

    • Thank you, Lo! And that’s a great question. We haven’t experimented with a vegetarian version of this, so it’s hard to say. However, we think it’s worth playing around with jackfruit!

    • Canned Jackfruit would probably work well!

  2. Wow, this looks amazing! And I’ve been putting off buying an instant pot too, but I think I’m going to have to cave. Carnitas in under an hour?! Sold!

  3. As always, delicious looking meals! The instant pot really does sound useful and versatile. I might get one for myself too!

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog
    http://charmainenyw.com

  4. Yum! These look super! I love Monday night Mexican! =)

  5. I love my Instant Pot! Can you create an index of all your Instant Pot recipes? It would be really handy to be able to search your site that way, and by slow cooker as well.

    Of course knowing my technical ability you may have already done so and I’ve just totally missed it. lol

  6. I’ve been a huge fan of your carnitas recipes and got my instant pot for Christmas. My boyfriend and I agreed to make tacos one night, but he texted me in a panic that I didnt take the meat out of the freezer and get the crockpot going! I feel like the crockpot is super easy, but having dinner that was DELICIOUS and taken straight from the freezer to the IP was even easier. I sort of threw together a similar mojo style carnitas but thanks for all your great recipes! 

    • Thanks, Alyssa, we’re so glad to hear that, thanks for giving it a try! :D

  7. Optional Fresh Pineapple Salsa? more like REQUIRED fresh pineapple salsa!

    Love the original recipe in the crock pot but I’ll def try this variation as soon as I add an insta-pot to my kitchen stable.

    Keep up the good work, Ali.

    • Haha! Thanks, Jack, we’re glad to hear that, and we hope you enjoy this recipe too! :)

  8. This looks delicious but I don’t have a pressure cooker.  Do you have a recipe for pork carnitas for the oven please?  

    • Hi Suzie, we have a slow cooker carnitas recipe! http://www.gimmesomeoven.com/crispy-slow-cooker-carnitas/

  9. This is all I can think about right now. It looks amazing!

  10. This looks soooo delicious! I’ve been trying to decide if I need an Instantpot. You just convinced me, I definitely need to make this! Thanks!

  11. I am so happy to see instant pot recipe on your site!  I’ve been waiting for it!  I just got my pot last week and made chilli! I know it may be a lot of work but I think it would be great if you converted some of your fav recipes to instant pot. It really helps to see how long to put things, which settings, sauté first or not, natural/quick release etc!   I’m going to try to make your slow cooker tortilla soup this weekend…adapt yours to someone else’s IP recipe! Keep them coming! Thanks. 

    • Thanks, Zahra, isn’t the Instant Pot amazing?! We’re obsessed. We hope you enjoy the carnitas!

  12. Thanks so much for this recipe. I think it will be the first one I make in my InstaPot. I, too, asked for one for my birthday FOUR MONTHS ago and it has sat without being used once! :( So please, please, post lots of pressure cooker recipes because I need help getting into my new appliance!

  13. I notice, often times when I cook meat in my slow cooker, it drys it out. Am I the only one?  Does an instant pot solve this problem?

    • Hi Natalie! We’ve tested this in the instant pot several times and it’s never been dry — we hope that helps! :)

    • If your meat is dry in the slow cooker, you probably need four to eight ounces more of liquid in the crock pot and you should turn the meat at least once during cooking. I use mine all the time and have never had dry meat.

  14. Hi!  This recipe looks amazing!  What kind of beer do you recommend?

    • Thank you, Chris, we hope you enjoy! And we like Modelo Especial! :)

  15. Hey Ali! How did you know I’m going to cook some carnitas this week? Seriously, they’re on the menu for Thursday. My usual recipe doesn’t have lime, only OJ along with onion, cumin and Jalapeño. I’m going to swap it out for your mojo sauce, because who can resist trying a new recipe for carnitas? 

    Congratulations on joining the movement. Do you have plans to add Instant Pot timing to those slow cooker recipes? Pretty please?

    For your readers cooking for 2 who don’t want a freezer full of leftovers, I’ve found that an inexpensive 1-lb pork blade steak is just perfect. It’s cut from the shoulder, just like pork butt. It’s thinner than pork roast, about 1 inch, but after trimming the meat from the bone, you’ll have the perfect amount of meat for 2, with enough left for someone’s lunch. Because it’s thinner, cook time is 25 minutes with a 10-minute natural release. 

  16. I too got the instant pot during that black friday special and was a little skeptical at first but have quickly fallen in love with it.  These carnitas look yummy, I’m going to have to try this soon.  Please add a special section of instant pot recipes to your blog, I’m constantly searching for new and delicious instant pot recipes.

    • It is a workhorse, isn’t it?! We are definitely going to be experimenting with more Instant Pot recipes, so stay tuned. :)

  17. Yum! Looks like a great way to use your instant pot!
    Kari

  18. I think this recipe will be wonderful and I am excited to try it. I don’t have an Instant Pot, so I had to guess what the directions would be without one. I would think that you have many readers without an Instant Pot and we all would have the same problem of how to prepare this recipe without proper directions. Would it be possible to include both sets of dierctions when you share an Instant Pot recipe?

    • Hi Sharon! If you don’t have an Instant Pot, we’d suggest giving this recipe a try! :)

    • I have made this in my crock pot by browning the meat on the sauté feature, then dumping the mojo sauce in and cooking on high for 5 to 6 hours turning the meat once, then following the rest of this recipe. You could also cook on low for 6 to 8 hours. It turns out wonderfully and makes the house smell amazing.

  19. I’m not up to speed on insta pots so, interesting take, really had no idea, good to know, but thank you for the carnitas recipe, great tip about using the broiler to crisp them, I like that!

  20. My whole family loved this. Thank you! The “gravy” it makes is so good. Wonder if he wouldn’t be the stock for a fabulous soup.

  21. I made this today and it was delicious!

  22. I am in the process of making this right now and after 30 minutes at High Pressure and doing 15 minutes of Natural Release, it wasn’t cooked enough to shred. After reading a few other recipes with double the cooking time, I have put it back into the pressure cooker for 30 more minutes. Hope it’s done by then – but it smells great!

    • We’re sorry about that, Jill! :( We haven’t had that happen before. We hope this eventually turned out well!

  23. 5 stars

    These were so good! It took a little longer than an hour, but so worth it. Great recipe!

    Rating: 5

  24. 5 stars

    Wonderful! I used pineapple juice because I didn’t have orange juice and tossed some of the crushed pineapple into the mojo sauce! My tough “pork roast” came out perfect! We basted and broiled twice like the instructions indicate and i think this is key to crisping them up and decreasing the liquid! I added a cup of diced mangos to my pineapple salsa (only because the one jalapeno I seeded and diced was SOOOO hot). It all came out delicious and was the first time my family finished a whole pork roast in one meal. I will definitely make this again, thank you for sharing! I only recently got my IP and cannot wait to try more of these recipes!

    Rating: 5

    • Thank you for sharing with us, Sheila! We’re so glad you enjoyed this and we’re glad to hear it worked with the pineapple juice — yummy! :)

  25. 5 stars

    oh-em-gee. These are incredible! I made another IP carnitas recipe that I thought no one could top, but then I defrosted the other half of the pork shoulder roast I had and gave these a go. I can’t stop thinking about them! The mojo sauce is amazing…I don’t keep beer in my house because I’m more of a wine/hard liquor girl, so I ended up grabbing a 16oz beer (Shock Top) from the local liquor store and doubled the sauce recipe. I also went uber fancy with the OJ and bought the expensive store-squeezed stuff at my local Wegmans. When you crisp these up in the broiler, they are the stuff of dreams. The other recipe was booted and this is now my go-to carnitas recipe! The pineapple salsa is also a must-try! Looking forward to building a rice bowl with these for dinner tonight :)

    Rating: 5

    • Thank you for your sweet comment, Kristina — we’re so glad you loved them! :D

  26. 5 stars

    These are SO. GOOD. I had to come back and let you know how much this recipe is appreciated. I’ve already talked two other people into making it, and my SO’s coworkers started asking for the recipe since he was raving about these carnitas so much. I’ve found a lot of pressure cooker recipes to be bland, and this is a *perfect* blend of flavors. Crisping them with the juice is clutch.
    Thanks again for this fabulous recipe. It’s definitely an entry into my go-to recipes file.

    Rating: 5

    • Thank you, Lauren! We’re so happy you enjoy them — thanks for letting us know, and for giving us such a generous rating! :)

  27. 5 stars

    Made this tonight, it was delicious! Thanks for the recipe.

    Rating: 5

  28. 5 stars

    I made this tonight and it’s absolutely fantastic!! Thanks for an awesome recipe, and I’ll be stealing the broiler trick for other recipes as well!

    Rating: 5

  29. 3 stars

    The mojo sauce is DELICIOUS!Question, my pork turned out pretty dry. I cooked as instructed, but left it on “keep warm” for almost 2 hrs before opening the pot, could this have been the culprit? Side note, I reduced the sauce left after removing the pork and the pork chunks left floating in that sauce after simmering forever, were delicious, so I’m wondering if I should have cooked it longer.?! Thank you for any insight.

    Rating: 3

    • We’re glad you enjoyed the sauce, Jessica, and we’re sorry to hear the pork came out dry! :( It sounds like maybe keeping it on warm for so long could have dried it out a little.

  30. I usually don’t comment on recipes, but I made this yesterday for my daughter’s goodbye party (taco bar style) and it was delicious! Everybody loved it. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  31. Hi! This looks so good! I have a brand new instant pot and am wanting to try it with the pork loin I have in the fridge. I’m wondering if your recipe is calling for a pork shoulder roast or a pork loin roast, which is much leaner. I would hate to use my pork loin roast in the fridge and have it turn out really dry. Typically, pork loin doesn’t shred so easily, or if it does, it’s quite dry. Help me from messing up your recipe! ;)

  32. Awesome! Loving the Instant Pot. Can I make this with Chicken instead or pork? I usually lOVE the Slow Cooker Crispy Chicken Carnitas and want to make it with the Instant Pot. Thanks!

  33. 5 stars

    This was the first recipe I made after purchasing an Instant Pot. It is amazing!!! It will be the second and third recipe I make in the Instant Pot too!

    Rating: 5

  34. 5 stars

    These were amazing…and even better as leftovers! 😍

    Rating: 5

  35. 5 stars

    Soooo delicious just made them tonight! :) thank you for the recipe!

    Rating: 5

  36. Could this be made in a crock pot?

  37. Just made the pork for dinner and it is so yummeh! Now I want to broil ALL THE MEATS

  38. 5 stars

    This recipe is the reason that I love the Instant Pot so much. It’s my “go to” favorite! I can’t add anything that would make this recipe any better! It does take a bit longer to make than the recipe says, but it’s worth the wait!

    Rating: 5

  39. 5 stars

    Just made this tonight for my very picky eaters (3 teenagers) and the pickiest of them all says “Mom, you have to make this every night!” That is a seriously great endorsement. Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5

  40. 5 stars

    Smells amazing! I used chicken and reduced the cooking time to 10 minutes in the instant pot. So good. My family loves the pineapple salsa

    Rating: 5

    • Holly…did you use chicken breast? Please let me know if you can. I’d like to try that… Thanks!!!

    • Hi, how did you do it with chicken? Did you use breasts, thighs? I’m dying to try this since I don’t eat pork. Thanks!

  41. 5 stars

    OMG. I followed your directions exactly but I added a small can of pineapple juice to the mojo. It was AMAZING! Tender, juicy, delicious!! This is a great recipe and SO easy!

    Rating: 5

  42. 5 stars

    Outstanding recipe, my family loves it. I use pork shoulder ribs and they come out absolutely amazing. I crisp the edges as recommended but donit three times. Definitely one of my consistent “go-to” recipes.

    Rating: 5

  43. 4 stars

    I made the carnitas my second time using my new Instant Pot. They came out moist and shredded easily. It seemed like the mojo juice at the end cancelled out any crisping from the broiling, so I might add less juice next time. Overall, it was good!

    Rating: 4

  44. If I wanted to use heavy cream in your SLOW COOKER POTATO SOUP what chsnges would need to be made to the recipe?!?

  45. 5 stars

    I love this recipe. It turned out perfectly and I’ll be using it again. Thanks!

    Rating: 5

  46. 4 stars

    This recipe is pretty good! Very tender and crispy enough for a carnitas recipe without lard. I’m going to make a few tweaks next time- I used beer, but next time I’m going for the chicken broth because I didn’t feel my meat was salty enough. In addition I would finely grind some smoked salt over the pan during the broiling process. I’m also going to juice a whole lime over the meat during the broiling process too. I just love extra lime in my tacos. With those changes I’m sure I’ll make this again!
    Thank you for the recipe!

    Rating: 4

  47. 5 stars

    AMAZING. Incredibly easy and flavorful. This is a new staple recipe for us, without a doubt.

    Rating: 5

  48. 5 stars

    These were amazing! thank you so much for the wonderful recipe! We weren’t able to make the pineapple salsa, but topped our tacos with cheese and hot sauce and cilantro, superb! Even the kids loved them (ages 8 and 1).

    Rating: 5

  49. 4 stars

    This was my first-ever instant pot recipe and it came out fantastic. I followed the instructions without any modifications and enjoyed the results very much. Thanks for sharing!

    Rating: 4

  50. If you’re using store bought Mojo marinade, how much would you use? This sounds amazing and I can’t wait to try I try out. Thanks for the recipe!