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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 favorite Mexican-inspired crispy pork carnitas recipe in the slow cooker — letting the pork slowly 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 because 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 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.

These carnitas are, of course, absolutely fabulous served up in soft corn 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), this flavorful shredded pork is 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, you will need the following ingredients:

  • Pork: I recommend using boneless 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!


Ingredients

Scale

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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Recipe rating

384 comments on “Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas”

1 5 6 7
  1. Awesome

  2. I’ve made this many times and it is always delicious. I love to serve it with mango salsa and cotija cheese on small corn tortillas and it is the perfect bite of meaty, spicy, smoky, sweet and salty. I’ve made it with deboned pork shoulder roast, boneless whole pork loin and tonight I am using boneless country-style ribs because that’s what was cheap this week. ? I always add two or three chipotles in adobo with some of their sauce and a couple of bay leaves. I also add some type of pepper. I used to do a couple of serranos or jalapenos, seeded and diced. But my family wanted more heat so now it’s habaneros. This is one of our favorite meals.

  3. Cook time for chicken breasts????? I don’t want it to be dry. Please help!!!!

  4. I have now made this four times and it has come out perfect every time! I have forwarded the link to at least 5 friends and family members. The pineapple salsa is killer, but is pretty labor intensive. The whole family and the Ladies Group at Church all raved about it.

  5. I am so disappointed. I love the old recipe with less cumin. I did NOT see the note stating the recipe had been updated with more cumin and less garlic. Can you put a note as to what the original measurements are so I know how to get the original flavor back, please?

  6. Hi Alli! Love your recipes and this is a keeper. However, what I really need to tell you is that some weirdo posted and extremely offensive comment about this recipe as in sexual in nature. I hope you receive this so you can delete it.

  7. Love this recipe. Made it 4 times by now. This updated recipe really bumped up the cumin, and it comes close to overpowering for me. I would add half, taste at the end, then add the other half if you see fit.

    To each their own, but this is an amazing fool proof recipe that can remain in your instapot rotation that will not disappoint.

    Pineapple salsa is bussin bussin.

  8. I’m Puertorican and this taste almost exactly as the pernil we make! I cheat and use the Goya Mojo sauce from the supermarket and I add extra fresh chopped up garlic and OMG it’s absolutely delicious! I’ve made this at least 15 times and it’s deff one of my go tos!! Thank you so much for posting this!

  9. Pretty bland as written. Good with additions

  10. I’ve made this several times and it always comes out perfect. This time, I omitted the browning of the meat at the beginning and just relied on the broiling of the shredded meat after the Instant Pot and I couldn’t tell any difference. It was much easier and faster. Thanks for a wonderful recipe. It’s a staple at our house now.