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Cochinita Pibil – Instant Pot Pulled Pork Tacos

Authentically Delicious Yucatan Style Tacos

Cochinita Pibil tacos are an authentic Mexican food that comes from the Yucatan region of Mexico. These authentically delicious Yucatan-style pulled pork tacos are perfect for the adventurous eater! Packed with a sweet, acidic, earthy taste, that when combined with the traditional pickled red onions and habanero salsa, makes for a unique experience for your taste buds!

tacos made with cochinitas pibil
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Cochinita Pibil tacos have a very distinct taste perfect for the adventurous eater! The pork itself is not spicy, but instead is packed with a sweet, acidic, earthy taste, that when combined with the traditional Pickled Red Onions and Habanero Salsa, makes for a unique experience for your taste buds!

How Cochinita Pibil Is Traditionally Prepared and Cooked

The pork for these tacos is, traditionally, slow-cooked underground. As a matter of fact, Pibil is a Mayan word that means exactly that, buried or cooked underground. Its distinct taste comes from the heavy amount of achiote (annatto) used to marinate it. During the cooking process, the pork ends up with its traditional red color and a very distinct aroma!

As soon as you walk into a kitchen cooking Cochinita Pibil, you immediately know what’s cooking!

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Save this amazing Instant Pot Cochinita Pibil recipe for later!

chochinita pibil instant pot pulled pork tacos
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A Fun Day of Authentic Mexican Cooking

I had never made Cochinita Pibil, nor would I have thought I’d ever attempt it. I have certainly eaten it plenty of times, since we’re fortunate enough to have some awesome Mexican friends who serve it often, along with many other traditional Mexican tacos.

My friend Mari, who moved to the United States at about the same time my family and I moved up here, is an expert at Mexican cuisine. She’s been toying with the idea of getting an Instant Pot since she knows how much I love mine. We thought it would be a lot of fun if she attempted to make one of her delicious recipes in my Instant Pot, and then I’d be able to share the recipe with all of you! So we set a date and got right to it.

The results?

An Instant Pot filled with Cochinita Pibil perfection!

a pyrex full of shredded pork roast made using this instant pot pressure cooker recipe
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Some May Argue That This Is Not True Cochinita Pibil

So obviously, as you may have expected, we did not go in my backyard and dig a hole to cook the Cochinita Pibil. I couldn’t find the shovel that day, so we opted for using the Instant Pot instead! No, we did not use an entire pig (Cochinita means baby pig), and we really tried to make it an easy, approachable recipe. So I don’t need to hear from all you die-hard Cochinita Pibil experts that this isn’t the way it’s made or that we didn’t use the banana leaves to wrap the pork…

pressure cooker pork tacos topped with habanero salsa
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A Mexican made this Cochinita Pibil recipe, and she has made it like this in her stovetop pressure cooker for years. Mari has really made it so easy for anyone to make Cochinita Pibil. Her recipe does not involve some of the harder traditional steps, but it does have ALL the traditional flavor!

Authentic Mexican Flavor for the Adventurous Palate

So like I said before, if you’re an adventurous eater and like to try authentic international cuisine, then this recipe is for you! This recipe is a delicious spin on pulled pork tacos and is perfect for trying something different with pork shoulder. Mari and I had such a fun time prepping, cooking and eating the Cochinita Pibil. Eating it was the best part of course!

three mexican tacos served on flour tortillas with cochinita pibil and habanero salsa
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Now it’s your turn to try this delicious authentic Mexican dish! Thanks to the Instant Pot, in just a few easy steps you’ll be enjoying some delicious Cochinita Pibil tacos. Here we go!

Kitchen Prep Tools, Utensils & Appliances

Here is a list of the kitchen prep tools, utensils, and appliances I used to make this recipe.

Prep Tools & Utensils

These are the items I used to prep and make this recipe:

  • I measured the orange juice and kept it in a carafe until I was ready for it.
  • I placed all of the ingredients for the sauce into my blender and blended it all together.
  • A liquid measuring cup, some measuring spoons, and a few mini pinch bowls are all I needed for measuring and holding my ingredients.
  • A good cutting board a set of sharp knives are necessary for preparing the pork shoulder.
  • These tongs are great for handling meat. I hate touching raw meat and use them all the time when transferring meat into the Instant Pot. They’re also great for removing the hot food from the Instant Pot.
  • Anytime I need to warm up some tortillas, I use this skillet. I also have a cute little tortilla basket to keep my tortillas warm.
Appliances & Cookware

These are the items I used to cook this recipe:

  • I used my 8 quart Instant Pot to make the Cochinita Pibil.
  • Once the pork was finished cooking, I removed it from the Instant Pot and shredded it in a pyrex baking dish. It was convenient to put the cover on the pyrex and store it in the refrigerator, after serving what we wanted.
Serving Platters & Dishes

I served these Cochinita Pibil tacos on my Hearth & Hand stoneware and used the mini bowl for holding the habanero salsa.

Making Cochinita Pibil in the Instant Pot

Look at that delicious taco! Isn’t it just calling your name?

cochinita pibil instant pot pork tacos
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Well, if you like different, then you’ll love this recipe. Plus, making the meat in the Instant Pot is so much easier, faster and cleaner than cooking it in the ground or a slow cooker. Very few ingredients and steps are required. I was surprised how easy this recipe was to put together.

Gather Your Ingredients

Most of the ingredients you will need are simple and easy to find. The only one that you probably won’t have in your pantry is the Achiote, known as Annatto here in the U.S. The nice thing is, you will use the entire bottle of achiote in this recipe, so you won’t be stuck with a spice you won’t use often.

You will need 5 pounds of pork shoulder, orange juice (pulp free), distilled white vinegar, yellow or white onion, garlic, achiote (annatto), salt, pepper, oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. For exact amounts, see the recipe below. For the salsa that traditionally tops these tacos, you can click here to get the recipe.

cochinita pibil is loaded with wonderful spices like annatto (achiote), cumin, cinnamon and oregano
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The distilled white vinegar and the orange juice really give these tacos the acidic part of their distinct flavor.

white distilled vinegar helps give this mexican pork dish its distinct flavor
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We bought 5 pounds of boneless pork shoulder for this recipe.

a bowl of pork shoulder strips ready to go into the instant pot pressure cooker and make cochinta pibil carnitas
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Prepare the Pork Shoulder

You will need to cut the pork into small strips, approximately 2 inches wide. The small strips will allow for a faster cooking time and will also ensure that all of the meat is saturated with flavor.

slices of pork shoulder ready to be added to the instant pot
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Make the Cochinita Pibil Sauce

This is like a marinade, but since we are not allowing the meat to soak in it before cooking, we cannot truly call it a marinade. So, I’m calling it a sauce.

Mari mixes all the ingredients in the blender to make it easier. I love easy! You can start with the orange juice and the vinegar.

the citrus flavor of orange juice is an integral ingredient for these pressure cooker carnitas
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adding orange juice to the blender to make the sauce for this authentic mexican pork recipe
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Add the quarter onion and garlic cloves.

adding onion to the blender to make a sauce for this instant pot pulled pork recipe
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adding a few cloves of garlic to the blender for making the sauce that goes with this instant pot pork roast recipe
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Next, add the achiote (annatto) and the rest of the delicious spices.

add annatto, cinnamon and cumin for making cochinita pibil in the instant pot
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all the ingredients for the sauce used for making cochinita pibil pulled pork are in the blender ready to be blended before adding to the instant pot
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Blend away until everything is mixed well. The color of the achiote will vary depending on the brand and origin. Traditionally it is very red. The one we found at our local supermarket was not as red but had the perfect flavor. It won’t make much difference in your end result.

blending all the ingredients in the blender for the sauce that's used to make cochinita pibil in the instant pot
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Add the Cochinita Pibil Sauce to the Instant Pot

Making sure your stainless steel liner is in your Instant Pot, add the liquid sauce to the pot.

adding the sauce to the instant pot for this pork roast recipe
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Place the Strips of Pork Shoulder Into the Instant Pot

Next, add the strips of pork shoulder into the pot and ensure that each strip is thoroughly covered with the liquid.

pork shoulder strips being added to the instant pot to make cochinitas pibil
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all the ingredients for this cochinita pibil pulled pork recipe are added to the instant pot pressure cooker
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Set the Instant Pot Cooking Time

Close your Instant Pot and set it to sealing. Press your Manual or Pressure Cook button and adjust the time to 60 minutes. You will cook it for 60 minutes on high pressure.

setting the pork shoulder pressure cooker time on the instant pot
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Open the Instant Pot

After the pot comes to pressure and the Cochinita Pibil has cooked for 60 minutes, you will allow for a 30-minute Natural Pressure Release. This means when the 60 minutes are up, you will do nothing, and you will allow the counter to count up to 30. At that point, you can do a quick release of the rest of the pressure by moving the knob to venting. When the pin drops, you can open your pot!

opening the instant pot after making cochinita pibil
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Mari was very happy with the results of cooking the Cochinita Pibil in the Instant Pot! It was perfect!

cochinita pibil made in the instant pot is one of my favorite mexican pork recipes
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Shred the Cooked Pork Shoulder

Now, you can take the pieces of cooked pork out of the pot and shred them. We used two forks. It was very easy to shred.

shredding the pork shoulder that just came out of the instant pot for making the pork carnitas, cochinita pibil
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instant pot shredded pork in a pyrex
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After shredding the pork, Mari used a ladle to add some of the liquid left in the pot to the pork. When adding the sauce, make sure to add enough so that the pork has the right color and looks very moist, but is not swimming in liquid.

adding and mixing in more sauce for this instant pot pork roast recipe, chochinita pibil
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Warm up Some Corn Tortillas

Time to heat up some tortillas! So close to enjoying Cochinita Pibil tacos!

heating up corn tortillas on the skillet for this cochinitas pibil pork tacos recipe
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You’ll want to use corn tortillas for these tacos. I just recently started buying these from Mission. These street taco sized tortillas are so cute! Yes, a tortilla can be cute!

a stack of corn tortillas ready to be made into authentic mexican pork tacos
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Serving Your Instant Pot Cochinita Pibil

You MUST serve the tacos with the traditional Pickled Red Onions and Habanero Salsa.

a plate of mexican shredded pork tacos served with a wedge of lime
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I hope you enjoy your Cochinita Pibil tacos as much as Mari and I enjoyed making them (and eating them!). Remember, to serve the pork on corn tortillas and top it with the Pickled Red Onion and Habanero Salsa!! For more ideas, check out my post on Pork Shoulder Recipes for the Instant Pot.

Buen provecho!

Instant Pot Cochinita Pibil

Pork shoulder seasoned with vinegar, citrus and a blend of Mexican spices.

4.06 from 19 votes
16 tacos
DifficultyNot Too Tricky
Cooking Method(s)
  • Instant Pot
IP Pressure LevelHigh
IP ProgramManual / Pressure Cook
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Pressure Release
30 minute NPR
Total Time
Recipe by: Valerie Cooper
Experience the tastes of Mexico. These authentic Mexican tacos will surprise your taste buds with their unique mix of sweet, acidic, earthy flavors.
Cuisine: Mexican
Course: Main Course
Category: Pork, Tacos
a plate of tacos made using the mexican pork taco recipe cochinitas pibil
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  • 5 lbs pork shoulder cut into 2 inch strips

for the Sauce


  • Place all the ingredients for the sauce in a blender. Add the orange juice, vinegar, onion, and spices and blend all the ingredients together until they are very well mixed.
  • Add the sauce from the blender to the Instant Pot.
  • Cook on Manual High Pressure for 60 minutes. Once the cooking time has completed, allow for a 30-minute natural pressure release.
  • Remove the meat from the pot and shred. Pour some of the liquid from the pot over the shredded meat and allow to marinate in the liquid until ready to serve.
  • Warm some corn tortillas.
  • Serve the shredded meat on the tortilla and top with Pickled Red Onion & Habanero Salsa.

Nutrition Facts

While every effort is made to correctly calculate these nutritional facts, they should be used as general guidance as they may not be 100% accurate.

Serving: 1taco | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 502mg | Potassium: 377mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 20.4mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1.2mg
chochinita pibil instant pot pulled pork tacos
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  • Jamie says:

    You dont brown the meat on all sides first? The recipe above does not say when to add the meat, but I assume when u add the blender mixture to the IP?

  • Leo says:


    2.5 oz annatto usually the entire bottle, annatto is also known as achiote. Which one exactly do you use?


    • Hi Leo! Walmart always has it in my area. I usually buy McCormick but there are a few other brands like Badia that they have at Walmart. Most brands say “Ground annatto and/or achiote molido”. Hope this helps! Enjoy!

  • Abhi S says:

    Hi Valerie,
    Tried the recipe and it came out great. I have one question – I ended up with a lot of sauce. What can one use that for? Or should it be discarded?

    • Hi Abhi! I usually discard the liquid since it’s mostly fat from the pork. I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for stopping by!

    • Jamie says:

      In Mexico’s Yucatan, tortillas are dipped in tgat sauce/juice on both sides and fried in a pan with a little oil so they dont stick (like making enchiladas) and then the meat, onion n salsa are put on top. You can use a gravy strainer to get rid of the excess fat n use the remainder as sauce for the tacos!

  • Sonya says:

    Oh. Em. Gee. Thank you for this recipe. It is AMAZING! If you want to impress your friends and family and make them think you slaved all day, trot this baby out. So easy, but so, so tasty!

    • Hi Sonya! I’m so happy you loved the Cochinita Pibil! It really is a delight for the tastebuds! I appreciate you stopping by the blog and sharing your results!

  • Calum says:

    If we are using less pork as only 2 of us eating with other bits, do I reduce the cooking time? We’re only using 700g (1.5lbs) in a 3qt instant pot. Looking forward to making these.

    • Hi Calum! Since the time I use is for small pieces, you would not adjust the time. That cooking time will be perfect for what you have. Enjoy!

    • Eduardo says:

      I’ve cut the time in half for this amount and works great.. per instant pot time tables it’s about 15min per pound of pork butt… seems to work great for me.

  • Terrence Price says:

    Making with chicken in the Instant Pot. Smells delicious! Here in Merida, YUCATAN!!

  • Emily says:

    I just made this tonight and served with the red onions and pico and guacamole. It was awesome! Tasted super authentic and it was so juicy! You know a taco is good when the juices run down ur arm. I loved it, will definitely make again!

  • Cochinita Pibil is my FAVORITE dish from Mexico. Every time I go to Merida (I’ve been half a dozen times) I get it at least twice while there. I never dreamed I could make it myself. I followed your recipe and it came out PERFECT! Flash backs of sitting at an outdoor restaurant near the Plaza Mayor. Oh my goodness. This will be a favorite to make. Thank you!

    • Hi Kenneth!! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this so much! Cochinita Pibil is definitely an acquired taste, but I think it’s fantastic! I really appreciate your comment! You need to start trying some of my Honduran dishes, like Salpicon! Have a wonderful day!

  • Adele+Aiken says:

    Thanks – I’m going to try this next week

  • Adele Aiken says:

    wonderful recipe – I’m thinking of trying – is it spicy? Or just flavorful?

  • W. W Kestenbaum says:

    Hi VK,
    I greatly enjoyed your Red Onion & Habanero Salsa with the Cochinita Pibil recipe, the photos also as usual were fantastic! Congrats!! WWK

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