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

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207 comments on “Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas”

  1. 5 stars

    This is now my favorite Instapot recipe! Made exactly as written with freshly squeezed juices in the marinade. Served on toasted corn tortillas with the pineapple salsa. DELICIOUS and easy!!! Thanks!

    Rating: 5

  2. Can you sub pork tenderloin for the pork you used?

    • 5 stars
      No, you can NOT sub tenderloin for this cut! Tenderloin should actually be cooked quickly for the best results or it will be ruined as it is a very TENDER cut of meat! Look up some recipes that are just for tenderloin so you can really appreciate the cut! ENJOY!

  3. I want to make this but do not have an IP, can this be done in a slow cooker?

    • Use a Dutch oven instead of slow cooker. It will taste better. You’ll have to cook for a lot longer than using a pressure cooker like the instapot

  4. 5 stars

    This was so easy and delicious! We’ve recently moved to a new house and this was the perfect meal to help get back into the swing of meal planning, etc. I used the meat multiple times during the week: in tortillas, over rice, mixed with cauliflower rice. My kids gobbled it up each time which gets bonus points from me!

    Rating: 5

  5. 5 stars

    This was delicious!!!

    Rating: 5

  6. 5 stars

    Made these for dinner tonight and they were DELICIOUS! The crispness from broiling + flavor combo with the pineapple salsa = just amazing! This recipe will definitely be going into our regular rotation!

    Rating: 5

  7. 5 stars

    These are so amazing…my husband told me he could eat these every day..I agree. They also make for a DELICIOUS quesadilla filling and topping for chilaquiles. The pineapple salsa is also wonderful. All this to say..if you’re looking for a new recipe..look no further!!

    Rating: 5

  8. 4 stars

    This recipe takes at least an hour to prep – no way is it quick unless you can find everything pre chopped (pork, garlic, pineapple, cilantro, etc.) I’d put prep time at 1 hour. That said it was delicious, if a little salty. To make it whole 30 I used chix stock and served over a baked sweet potato. If I make again I’ll probably cut the salt and start at least an hour early.

    Rating: 4

  9. What kind of beer did you use? TIA

    • 5 stars

      I can’t speak for her but used an entire Negra Modelo. The 5 remaining washed down the tacos delightfully.

      Rating: 5

  10. 5 stars

    I used the instant pot to make this and it came out great! I cut the pork into chunks and used the sauté function to sear all sides until golden. Then I dumped the chipotle salsa, salt, lime juice and orange juice and cooked on high pressure for 25 min. Let natural release and shred. I also threw it onto a sheet pan and put under the broiler for 10 min because I prefer crispy edges. So good and much less work than other carnitas recipes!! Thank you!

    Rating: 5

  11. 5 stars

    Super easy and fast. Oh ya and the kids ate it all. Must have been good. I’ll make it again

    Rating: 5

  12. 5 stars

    This was excellent. Used cucumber slices, radish slices. chopped avocado, diced tomatoes, lime wedges, scallions, cilantro. sour cream, pickled jalapenos and homemade salsa for the toppers. Served with a pot of pinto beans.

    Rating: 5

  13. 5 stars

    ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!! Pineapple salsa was a perfect compliment. Fast and simple. I would most definitely highly recommend.

    Rating: 5

  14. 5 stars

    So delicious! I used a 4 pound pork loin, also threw in the squeezed lime halves and juice 2 tangerines and threw those in also. It was amazing before I broiled it, that took it to another dimension of flavor. Rather than the pineapple salsa I used mangos. I definitely bookmarked this recipe!

    Rating: 5

  15. would you change the recipe at all if you have an instapot mini? It’s only 3 QTs, I see you call for 6QT or bigger…

    • Not if you can fit the recipe in your port before the max line. I have a six qt and it was not where near half full.

  16. 4 stars

    Our family enjoyed this a lot! This was our first recipe for the Instant Pot and it was so easy! I did add a jalapeno pepper as our family likes highly seasoned/spicy food. Could have used more heat actually. I would definitely make again. I also would broil a bit longer next time! This made a big difference.

    Rating: 4

  17. 5 stars

    Great. I used some fat pork chops I had in the fridge. Worked just fine. Not dried out at all. I too would add more spice next time (and there will be a next time).

    Rating: 5

  18. 4 stars

    🙌🏼Made this last night and it was a hit! My hubby says I should make this once a week!!😂 I followed the technical instructions (spot on!) but changed up the flavors a bit…I used chicken broth, fresh lime juice, 7 cloves of crushed garlic, cumin, oregano, salt & pepper and about a half teaspoon of Tajin chili-lime seasoning. I think I will leave the oregano out next time and maybe add some jalapeños, otherwise the flavor was fantastic. When broiling to get the crispy bits I added a small amount of bbq sauce to half of the shredded meat on the pan and left the other half as is with the yummy sauce. My husband ate his on corn tortillas and my kids made sliders with Kings Hawaiian rolls. This will be my new go-to Instant Pot pork recipe!! 👍🏼Try it!!

    Rating: 4

    • I added the oregano but did slice a fresh small jalapeño seeds and all to the pot and it was delicious.

  19. 5 stars

    My wife was born and raised in Mexico, she loves this recipe and can’t get enough of the salsa. I think that says a lot about this recipe! Fantastic!

    Rating: 5

  20. If I double this recipe, how long should cook it for in the instant pot? Thanks! Can’t wait to try this!

    • I would do the same amount of time. It’s just going to take longer to come up to pressure and release pressure.

  21. 4 stars

    Good food! Thank you for showing us newbies how to use the Instant Pot. I followed the recipe only used lager instead of beer and lemon instead of lime juice. Turned out great!

    Rating: 4

  22. 5 stars

    Omg best thing I’ve ever eaten! Subbed beef bone broth for the Chicken broth and dang it is amazing!

    Rating: 5

  23. 5 stars

    This was delicious. I only had two pounds of pork, so I halved the recipe.

    Rating: 5

  24. What about substituting beef broth for the beer? Would that impact the overall flavor in a good or bad way? Curious…

  25. 5 stars

    Hands down my favorite instant pot recipe! These carnitas are amazing, even better then our local Mexican food restaurants! Highly recommend!

    Rating: 5

  26. 5 stars

    Delicious! I’m never making carnitas any other way from now on. Those crispy bits! We added avocado along with the pineapple salsa so we had creamy, porky, sweet, and a little heat from the jalapeño. I know what I’m having for lunch tomorrow!

    Rating: 5

  27. 5 stars

    I have made this recipe probably a dozen times and it always turns out insanely good!

    Rating: 5

  28. 5 stars

    Made this tonight. The hardest part was cleaning the pork butt (we don’t care for any fat to make it through to the final product). It was amazing! So delicious and healthy! Has anyone tried it with pork loin?

    Rating: 5

    • I cut mine into very large pieces so I could just pull it apart from the fat before broiling. It would waste a lot of time and possibly meat to cut it off prior to cooking.

  29. 5 stars

    Best recipe for carnitas I have found! The crispness of the meat is AMAZING. I made my own fresh squeezed orange juice because I didn’t want the added sugar.

    Rating: 5

  30. 5 stars

    Made this tonight for dinner and it was so amazing!!! My husband was skeptical being that he makes carnitas out on a “disco” Mexico style but he wouldn’t stop raving about them! Will be making these again! I didn’t have the ingredients for the salsa but I threw some fresh cerrano peppers in the broiler w/the meat and it was perfect! Thank you so much!!

    Rating: 5

  31. 5 stars

    I made this recipe for my daughters wedding. Everyone loved it!

    Rating: 5

  32. 4 stars

    Solid recipe as is. Making it first time, I didn’t make changes. I need to think about adding some additional spice and flavor next time. It’s got a great mild flavor and I’d like to amp it up!

    Rating: 4

  33. 5 stars

    I enjoyed this recipe so much I just had to come back and comment. I don’t have an instagram or tweet account, otherwise I would have sent a picture.
    This was my first try in my new Instant Pot Ultra, and my husband and I were blown away by how good everything tasted. I used a port butt recommended by the butcher because I didn’t want to make anything more than 3lbs., so it only cost $5! The citrus marinade was amazing…I marinated the meat in the IP itself one hour before cooking, and followed your directions after making that addicting fresh pineapple salsa. The first time we had it we used the flour tortillas, and the second time I used white corn tortillas, also good, with the salsa and some freshly shredded cabbage. Great the first time, and even better the second and the third! The meat was perfectly tender, not much fat at all in the finished sauce, and we got 3 meals out of everything. I have to say, that pineapple salsa is killer, and just gets better every day. Thank you so much for making my first attempt with the IP such a memorable one!

    Rating: 5

  34. 5 stars

    My whole family loves this recipe! Yummy…waiting for tonight’s batch in anticipation because we know through several previous batches that dinner will be amazing tonight!

    Rating: 5

  35. 5 stars

    This was so good! I was skeptical because I used pork tenderloin, so I thought it might be dry. Nope! It was awesome! Served over rice. Didn’t have ingredients for salsa, so this is just for carnitas. But the salsa sounds amazing, so next time!

    Rating: 5

  36. 5 stars

    This recipe is DELICIOUS! Thank you so much for sharing!

    Rating: 5

  37. First time using the sautee setting on my instant pot and it sucks! It takes so long, I rather do it on the stove top!

  38. 5 stars

    This is the best instant pot carnitas recipe I dont use any other recipe. I followed it as written. I even made the pineapple salsa its something I have to make now when we have the carnitas. I make this in a 8 at instant pot.

    Rating: 5

  39. 5 stars

    This was delicious!! I used chicken broth instead of beer and lemon instead of lime for the mojo sauce. When I seared the raw pork, I added and onion first, garlic salt and paprika. Seared the pork, then added the mojo sauce, along with a jalapeño. When it cooked after 30 mins, I put it on a pan a fried it in olive oil instead of broiling it. It was amazing! Yummy! Definitely going to make this my official carnitas recipe!

    Rating: 5

  40. 5 stars

    SO good!

    Rating: 5

  41. 5 stars

    Best carnitas I’ve eaten. Every body love them especially with the pineapple salsa.

    Rating: 5

  42. 5 stars

    Made this with bone in pork shoulder, since I couldn’t find exactly what the recipe called for in my grocery store. Cut what I could off the bone and did chunks and the bone in shoulder all in the same go. Cooked fine.

    This is delicious and I loved the salsa. It reminded me of Mexican Cochinita Pibil. I skipped the broil step because I figured I would broil on day 2 with the leftovers. Thank you, I can’t wait to try again with a few small tweaks.

    Rating: 5

    • Pork shoulder is pork butt. It’s the butt end of the shoulder and unless it’s a very small piece has bone in it. You had the right piece of meat.

  43. 5 stars

    This was a huge hit with my husband and daughter!

    Rating: 5

  44. 5 stars

    Made this yesterday and can’t wait to have the leftovers for lunch. I let the pork brine over night in apple cider and spices and then broiled a few extra times. It was amazing!

    Rating: 5

  45. These were delicious!!! I think I’ll be making this all the time!!! Yummy!!!!

  46. 5 stars

    WOW awesome tacos and great tasting!

    Rating: 5

  47. 5 stars

    This is an awesome recipe! I was skeptical about the pineapple salsa because I do not like onions, but made it and loved it!!! This is my family’s new favorite meal when getting together!

    Rating: 5

  48. 5 stars

    The BEST carnitas recipe ever! It’s quick, easy, and the citrus juice, garlic, cumin blend in the marinade is light and delicious. I made my first batch yesterday and am making a second one today, Thanks for this delicious recipe!

    Rating: 5

  49. 5 stars

    I made this recipe a month ago and it was outstanding and I look forward to making it again. But when I went to look at the recipe tonight I couldn’t find the recipe, the page says the post is being edited. Is there anyone who can share the recipe, please and thank you.

    Rating: 5