Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

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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

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)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon 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

Recipe updates: The amount of cumin was increased and the amount of garlic decreased slightly in January 2021.

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338 comments on “Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas”

  1. How long would you cook chicken thigh pieces for (if you decide to sub it instead of pork)

    • I do a similar thing with chicken thighs (basically this with modifications); from frozen, I do 15 minutes for boneless skinless thighs with a five-minute natural release.

  2. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!

  3. 5 stars
    Just tried this and my husband immediately said to save this recipe! So darned good! I ended up making mango-de-gallo because that’s what I had on hand. It was all so delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this tonight, and it turned ouf perfectly! I didn’t make the salsa but served it with a Peruvian salsa criolla. Would be great in tacos or vurritos too. This will definitely be a go-to recipe from now on!

  5. I made this recipe about 2 weeks ago and my husband already asked for it again! Such an absolutely easy recipe to follow and make! This is definitely a new staple in our home! Thank you!!

  6. 5 stars
    I only have 3 pounds of pork. Should I half all the ingredients?

  7. 5 stars
    Seriously, the best carnitas I have ever made!

  8. This was so delicious and went a long way. Made a salad with it, put it in a burrito then made personal pizzas on the BBQ with naan.

  9. 4 stars
    Well you must have a sous chef helping you prep because there’s no way this took 5 min to prep. By the time the garlic was peeled and minced and the limes were juiced the pork was trimmed and cut up, and all the ingredients assembled, it was closer to a 20 min prep..
    I did add some chili powder, cayenne, and smoked paprika to the sauce. But it cooked perfectly in my first instant pot use. Can’t wait to have it for tacos tomorrow and I’m anxious to try the elote dip.

  10. 5 stars
    Trying to find recipes that everyone in our family will eat is next to impossible. I decided to try this one night and see how it fared. Everyone LOVED it! Both of our teenagers (who like very different things) ate several street tacos and instantly requested it be added into my regular rotation. Just 2 nights ago my step son asked if there was any way I could make it again because he has been craving it! He won’t eat leftovers , except for this, he uses the leftover meat to make quesadillas. He prefers his with spicy jalapeno salsa , my daughter like it with mild and I prefer the pineapple salsa. So I just cook the meat and have everything out so they can make their own.

  11. 5 stars
    I just purchased an insta pot and was ready to try carnitas; this recipe was a winner! Such an easy prep and tastes delicious!

  12. Delicious!

  13. 5 stars
    This. Is. Amazing. Been looking for a recipe to rival my local Mexican restaurant. This is it. Thank you!

  14. This is my go to recipe for carnitas! It is absolutely delicious! I sauté a chopped onion and jalapeño in the instant pot after I sear the meat. Put the meat back in, add the sauce and cook on high for 45 min. It’s melt in your mouth delicious! My husband asks for it every week. Also, it’s so versatile. It’s great for salads, tacos, burritos, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and omg nachos… I’ve even added bbq sauce to left overs and made bbq pulled pork sandwiches. Thank you!

  15. 4 stars
    The carnitas were good but the prep time estimate is incredibly off. I guess it could be 5 minutes if you bought everything already prepped and just need to take pork and mojo sauce out of the fridge and dump into the Instapot. In real life, it took me at least a half hour-45 min to prepare the sauce and prep the pork before I could even start cooking. I like to cook and am comfortable in the kitchen so I can only imagine how long it would take a newer home cook.

  16. I just made this in the Instantpot with a pork loin. I cut it in 1.5″ slices, and then cut the slices in half. I cooked on high for 20 min then slow release for 3 min. It shredded easily, and tastes wonderful. I did cut down on the amount of mojo ingredients, because I had less meat. I used chicken stock instead of beer, but will be using beer in my next batch. Thank you for the recipe!

  17. 5 stars
    Just made this, followed the recipe exactly. Is easy the whole batch right now if I could, this is AMAZING!! Got tired of paying so much for take away so I figured I give it a go myself. I will dwindling be making this again and again. Thank you so much for this recipe

  18. Making these carnitas as I type. I have made this recipe around 6 times and I LOVE it! My husband and kids do as well. I follow it exactly (I use chicken stock) but I also rub Blackened seasoning to the pork with the salt & pepper. So yummy! Thanks Ali!

  19. Just made your recipe and it was DELICIOUS! Entire family loved it.

  20. Just got an IP for Christmas, and this was one of the first recipes we tried. Phenomenal! I will be making this again and against

  21. Question. I followed the directions but my meat was mushy. 2” squares, cook at high pressure for 30 minutes, natural pressure release for 15 minutes. Broiling helped. I didn’t think it was possible to have meat that was too tender. Any advice?

  22. I made this for my family and I made Pineapple Salsa without jalepeno due to elderly amongst us. It was wonderful. I, also, didn’t Brown in broiler. I separated pork when I pulled it. Added some of the juices back to it due to being too dry. And SERVED with warm tortillas 😋 ALL made sure I wrote down recipe! Big Hit!!!

  23. I know it will be delicious but I am thinking it will be much quicker to brown the meat on the stove first- this took me forever but this is the first time I have used my hot pot so maybe I did something wrong. I used the sauté high heat setting and cut the pork up in very small chunks to brown.

  24. Love love love this!!! I make it usually on the weekends, and then we make all sorts of items with it during the week – nachos, quesadillas, tacos, salads or you name it.
    Thank you for sharing this recipe with all of us!

  25. Delicious! Do you have the nutrition information for the recipe?

  26. Trying this tonight and wanted to ask what beer to use in the mojo sauce. I’ve been googling and haven’t found much direction. Thank you!

  27. We have made this at least ten times! Huge favorite in our house-it is amazing!!

  28. Awesome!!!!

    • Great flavor but my carnitas did not fall apart. I used 5lbs of pork shoulder , cut into 2.5 inch chunks and followed the recipe. Maybe I added too much liquid? I care out very tough. Had to do a whole lot of cutting and shredding which took quite a bit of time. But once I broiled they were great. Small but great. Would love to get more tender pork! Where did I go wrong? Please advise.

  29. How many calories are in this?

  30. We made this to use in tacos for a big group of friends, everyone LOVED it! It made enough for 7 adults and we had leftovers for dinner for 2. We did everything according to the recipe except for crisping it up in the oven due to time constraints, I will be trying that next time. It was super easy and we will be making again!

  31. Hi! I made these last night and my entire family loved them!! Thank you for sharing!!

  32. My third attempt at carnitas, this recipe knocked the other two out of the park!!!!

  33. Changed nothing, used broth instead of beer though. Recipe is easy ingredients, easy to follow and the result is a relatively quick dinner and SO good!!!! I added pickled red onion, cotija cheese, avocado, on a corn tortilla. RIDICULOUS. Thank you for a great recipe!!!

  34. Absolutely LOVED this recipe❣️❣️❣️ The mojo sauce is incredible. I also froze a portion of this and took it out a couple weeks later for a super quick homemade meal. The texture and flavor of the meat after freezing was perfect.
    Thanks so much

  35. This recipe was delicious!! I used an 8.5lbs bone in pork shoulder/butt and left it in the instant pot for 1.5 hours and everything came out delicious! I’ll definitely up the seasoning next time bc even though I doubled the mojo recipe to make up for my extra poundage, I wanted more punch in my meat. We served it as a taco with mango salsa, refried beans, avacado and a Mexican street corn side salad. Thank you so much for the recipe — it is certainly a keeper!

  36. We made tacos with this on Wednesday and then used the leftovers on homemade pizza with bbq sauce. SO easy and delicious!!! This will be a regular on our menu!

  37. Awesome, easy recipe!! The team loved the Carnitas and it was done so quick.

  38. What do I do with the pork that was put on a clean plate in step 3?

  39. Holy cow! Juicy and crisp at the same time. The fresh pineapple salsa seals the deal. This is now our go-to taco recipe

  40. Sooooo delicious! This was an instant hit with my family. It’s hard to make something everyone likes, but this did the trick. This is going on my make again (and soon) list. Thank you! I made it as written, but added 1 tsp smoked paprika. This is a wonderful dish!

  41. Prepared with chicken thighs pressure cooked for 20 minutes. Beer was Alex Keith Pale Ale. Would cook again in a heart beat. Took time for prep but flavor was “wow”.

  42. DE-LI-CIOUS. This is the BEST carnitas recipe we have ever made. Tasty, juicy, meat. Everyone in my family enjoyed it! We will definitely make this recipe again.

  43. This was DAMN good. I only did a 3.5# pork butt so I had a lot of juices left over in the end. Followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. Definitely a keeper.

  44. GIRL. a few years ago I searched best Pico….your recipe popped up . I have been making it ever since, it is never fail, always a savory delicious experience , go to, loved by friends and family. Tonight I made your carnitas in the insta , on the recommendation of a friend. They were WHAT WHAT WHAT deliciousness!!! Of course I had to share, and recommended the pico also. It was only then I realized they were both yours!! #bookmarkedforever #sharedeverywhere. Thank you for your amazing instinct with flavors and textures 💕

  45. Really delicious

  46. Love this recipe, added some lime zest and orange zest and 2 small cans of diced green chilis.
    Delicious!

  47. Used fresh sour oranges off my tree, threw in a corona for a 6 lb shoulder roast the only change I made was to add 3/4 of a tsp of cinnamon. Sounds weird I know but you have to try it! I love this recipe – we eat half of it then freeze the other half (before crisping with the sauce so it stays moist.) the three lbs leftover gets us two meals each (family of three) so total of 12 meals from this. this is very cost efficient! The roast cost me $10.50 and the cost of one beer An onion and some garlic :)

  48. These are the best we have ever eaten! So glad I found your site!

  49. Made this tonight and left a taco on the wall for my Mexican neighbor. He text me a little bit later and said ” Not bad for a white girl” this recipe is definitely a keeper! Thank you!

  50. Amazing carnitas crisped up! I used pork shoulder and it was fantastic…I’m going to add this to the rotation for the family and guests.