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:

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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

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206 comments on “Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas”

  1. 5 stars

    I have made this recipe a hand full of times now!! This is definitely my go to. Quick, easy, cheap, and delicious! If I’m in a hurry I’ll use Just the carnitas for diet prep for the week. Paired with lime juice, Tapatio, and whole grain corn tortillas, I can actually eat these as diet food!!

    Rating: 5

  2. My IP does not have the same settings you describe, mine has Roast or Slow Cook High/Low, Steam, Bake or Stew. Which one do I use? Thank-you

  3. 5 stars

    This was delicious!! I am curious…has anyone tried this with chicken breast instead? I’d like something lighter for weeknights. Thanks!

    Rating: 5

  4. Hi! Gimme some oven! I love your websight and recipes. I wanted to ask if you could tell me what settings do i cook this yummy pork at an de for how long with an 8 quart Instant Pot??
    Thank you!

  5. 5 stars

    Absolutely perfect. Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  6. 5 stars

    Holy moly this was delicious. I can’t wait to make this again. We gave some (unbroiled) to the baby and she gobbled it up. We had to cut her off. :)
    Thanks for posting this recipe. I can’t wait to try more!

    Rating: 5

  7. Would love to make this, but how do I do that in a crock pot instead of a pressure cooker

  8. 5 stars

    LOVED these tacos. Seriously, these were the BEST carnitas street tacos I’ve ever eaten. I even had seconds and I never go back for seconds. It was also the first time we used our Instant Pot and it came out so flavorful, moist and delicious. We just followed the instructions, which were super easy. What would’ve taken over 6 hours in the crockpot only took 45 minutes in the Instant Pot. We only had a pound and a half of meat but didn’t change the recipe at all, which I’m glad b/c we had just enough sauce to keep it moist and tender. Leftovers were amazing as nachos. Absolutely will make this again and again!! Thank you for sharing!!

    Rating: 5

  9. 5 stars

    Awesome! Awesome! Awesome! Made these for the IP maiden voyage & they turned out great! Followed recipe to a T. My husband is thrilled that he gets to eat these all week. One of his favorite meals.

    Rating: 5

  10. 5 stars

    Tried this. Loved it! Definitely going to do this again! Next time I will leave the pork in larger hunks. The small pieces seem like more work to saute. Also, I think more lime juice and no orange juice. But the crispy bits from the broiling were fantastic!

    Rating: 5

  11. 5 stars

    Turned out great! Thanks for the recipe!

    Rating: 5

  12. 5 stars

    This recipe is amazing. My new go-to favorite. I am just starting to learn the Instant Pot, and this was a great recipe to try. Making it for a Superbowl party this weekend. Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  13. 5 stars

    This was Awesome, will definitely make again.

    Rating: 5

  14. I’m making this tonight. Other than chicken stock what can I use instead of beer?

  15. I cannot cook with alcohol out of respect for my sister who is a recovering alcoholic. I know the alcohol cooks out but it’s just not something we are willing to risk. Do you have recommendation of what I could replace it with for this recipe?

  16. 5 stars

    It came out perfect, love the mojo sauce!

    Rating: 5

  17. 5 stars

    Made this tonight. It was excellent. I thought about skipping the broiling step at the end but decided to do it after all. The broiling made a huge difference and added an extra level of flavor. I will definitely make this again!

    Rating: 5

  18. 5 stars

    I’ve been thinking about getting a pressure cooker and looking at instapots. I love Mexican food and chicken carnitas look delicious (the pics made me hungry). I also enjoy meal prep where I can make something and use it later in the week (as the article suggests). Granted, I’m not going to use it more than twice in the same week, but it’s nice knowing you have a meat dish ready to go and you can do so much with it whether you do a burrito bowl as suggested, do wraps, or even salads.

    Rating: 5

  19. 5 stars

    Just made this. Absolutely delish. Kids love it too. Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  20. 5 stars

    I took a chance and made this for my moms birthday (she looooovvvvveesss pork)..

    It is a great basic pork carnitas recipe – its delicious and is done in record time! After it completed I split the batch into two – I broiled one batch and I slow cooked the other batch in Trader Joe’s green chili salsa for a couple of hours. I thought I would have leftovers but that was not to be – my family gobbled it up! Everyone raved about it.

    I personally felt that it needed a bit more spice. The next time I make it I will probably add a chopped Serrano pepper for heat or a tablespoon of pepper in adobo sauce for bit of Smokey flavor.

    Because the salsa required pineapples, I went ahead and used pineapple juice instead of orange juice (recommended by another commenter) and it worked out just fine. I don’t drink/have orange juice so I never have it on hand so this swap was perfect for me.

    Thanks for a fabulous recipe – I am sending it to my mom tonight and it is definitely going into my regular rotation.

    Rating: 5

  21. 4 stars

    This was a very easy recipe. I used slaw instead of the salsa. Amazing!

    Rating: 4

  22. 4 stars

    Oops forgot to cut into chunks. Meat was more difficult to shred. Other than my inability to follow directions, came out great.

    Rating: 4

  23. 5 stars

    These carnitas are the BEST! I’ve made this recipe twice now and am sharing it with everyone. The first time I used chicken stock, and this time I used beer. I think I prefer the beer. I made these today for taco Tuesday at work and they are all gone. But I want more. I guess I’ll have to make them again!

    Rating: 5

  24. 5 stars

    Oh my God…..I live in southern California and I’ve had some really good Carnitas… Having said that…this recipe was the best I’ve evet had…. Sometimes Carnitas can be dry and over cooked….this recipe was simple, easy to follow and had amazing results….I’m standing in my kitchen starting at three more steamed tortillas ready to be filled… This is definitely going into the rotation for dinners….

    Thank you so much !!!!

    Fat and 😁

    Rating: 5

  25. 5 stars

    Supposed to be 5 stars

    Rating: 5

  26. 5 stars

    This has to be my favorite recipe of all time. I make it at least once a week. It is addictive!

    Rating: 5

  27. 5 stars

    THIS RECIPE IS SOO GOOD! My children love it and usually won’t eat my cooking! It was so simple and didn’t take to long. Great recipe for a Sunday Nite! <3

    Rating: 5

  28. 5 stars

    This recipe is perfect! I always make a little more and our family lives of of it during the week. For a lower carb version, I Iike to eat the meat and salsa (arguably not low carb, but a must with the pork) over a bed of shredded cabbage.

    Rating: 5

  29. 5 stars

    Did his with a 2.5 lb roast and it was excellent!

    Rating: 5

  30. 5 stars

    We consider ourselves carnitas connoisseurs…. We made this as written and it is delicious!! So excited to have our own carnitas recipe now! Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  31. 3 stars

    If I made this again, I would reduce the amount of salt in the sauce by at least half and change up what I season the meat with. I would also use unsalted chicken broth, because this turned out borderline inedible because of how salty it was.

    Rating: 3

  32. 5 stars

    We nade this last night and we thrilled with the results!

    Rating: 5

  33. 5 stars

    Holy schmooooookes – I made this for tacos and it literally was the best served with a little warm corn tortilla and cilantro onion and green salsa! SO GOOD! Best taco ever and I live in SoCAL!

    Rating: 5

  34. 5 stars

    Just made this tonight! Came together quickly. Dont be intimidated by the ingredient list! I did not mix the rojo sauce in a bowl…just threw it all in the instant pot

    Rating: 5

  35. We don’t eat pork very often, but recently purchased an instant pot. We have tried a couple different carnitas recipes and haven’t been impressed. The Mojo sauce ingredients made me want to give this recipe a try. Glad I did, I am now a carnitas junky like many other IP owners. I accidently purchased a bone in roast, so it took a while to get it cut off ( thank goodness for my adorable husband that will do anything to help me). I also substitued pineapple juice for orange because that it what we have. I didnt measure the lime, just juiced a whole one. Cant wait to make this for my friends!

  36. What kind of beer? I would live to make this for dinner tonight

  37. 5 stars

    Sooooo good. Love this recipe!

    Rating: 5

  38. 5 stars

    Can I freeze the meat in its juices after is cooks and reheat and broil before serving? Anyone tried this?

    Rating: 5

  39. 5 stars

    Amazing. I’ve never bothered to do carnitas before because of how long it took, but guuuuuuurrrrrrrl, this recipe was amazing and delish!

    Rating: 5

  40. 5 stars

    This recipe is ridiculous…in the best way possible…ridiculously good! Coming from Southern California and Arizona before that, my family and I love ‘real’ Mexican food. This has quickly become a favorite in our home and we make it every couple of weeks (sometimes more often). It’s fast and simple enough to do on a weeknight, which is a plus for me. We had it last night even though I didn’t even remember to take the pork out of the freezer until mid-morning!

    Rating: 5

  41. 4 stars

    Okay, so I made this last night, and it is is really, really delicious and thank you very much for the recipe! However, the amount of time it will take you is WAY off. I do not know how in the world the prep time is 5 minutes–juicing a couple of oranges and a few limes, trimming 4 pounds of meat, and the saute took me about an hour. Granted, I may be a little slow at it, but I can’t see doing all that in 5 minutes without a sous chef haha! The cook time is also off…it will take your instant pot around 10 minutes to pressurize and then 20 minutes to vent, so that’s an hour there plus the time it takes to shred the meat and 10- 15 minutes of broiling. Overall, I will definitely make this again but will go into knowing it will take closer to 2.5 hours. It’s certainly not a “quick” recipe as it’s been tagged.

    Rating: 4

  42. 5 stars

    Have made this several times…always for a crowd. Huge success!! Everyone loves it. Even took it Asian style once for a fusion taco. Super easy and feeds our family of 5 for several nights. Freezes well too. Great for using with meal trains for new mothers or sick friends.

    Rating: 5

  43. 5 stars

    This wad easy and delicious

    Rating: 5

  44. 5 stars

    Amazing! I made these exactly as written and they turned out perfect for a taco dinner party. The pineapple salsa was a hit too!

    Rating: 5

  45. 5 stars

    Amazing! My first time making carnitas. I didn’t add the full amount of juices are the end- seemed like too much. Is is possible to make these without cutting up the meat first? That took a long time.

    Rating: 5

  46. 5 stars

    This was fantastic! Very authentic tasting and the finishing off in the oven make it mmmm mmmm perfectly crispy while maintaning plenty of juicy pork moisture. Great for a group and super easy. Highly recommend.

    Rating: 5

  47. 5 stars

    This actually turned out beautifully. Elegant and simple. I added hatch peppers to the pot after the sear, but that’s just me and they are in season. Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  48. 4 stars

    Wow, this was a great hit again. I made this twice already. The first time, it was just for the family and everyone liked it. I just made it again on Saturday and it was a big hit with all our friends, young and old. It’s a time saver and easy that even my husband could manage to help finish the cooking of pulling the pork apart and boiling it while I did other cooking. Oh, the only reason I gave it four stars rather than 5 is because I didn’t like the pineapple salsa. I made a roasted corn salsa to go with it the second time. Thanks for a great recipe.

    Rating: 4

  49. 5 stars

    Made and it was awesome. Kids loved it!!! I used a sour beer to add to the citrus flavor in the Mojo. Then I added some Chipotle chili powder to the shredded pork before broiling. Will definitely be making often.

    Rating: 5

  50. This is delicious. Can I prepare and freeze this ahead of time?
    Then shred and broil when ready to use? Thanks for a great recipe!