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Cochinita Pibil tacos are an authentic Mexican food that comes from the Yucatan region of Mexico. The mix of sweet, acidic, earthy flavors will provide a unique experience for your taste buds!

A word of caution: these tacos are not for the picky eater.

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!

three mexican tacos served on flour tortillas with cochinita pibil and habanero salsa

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

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

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

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!

tacos made using one of my favorite mexican shredded pork recipes, cochinitas pibil

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

Before we get started, 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.

Must-Have Instant Pot Accessories

Don’t forget to check out my post on Must-Have Accessories for the Instant Pot. It’s a complete list of all the top accessories that can be used with the Instant Pot.

Must-Have Instant Pot Cookbooks

I have also put together a list of Must-Have Cookbooks for the Instant Pot.


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

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

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

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

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

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 adding orange juice to the blender to make the sauce for this authentic mexican pork recipe

Add the quarter onion and garlic cloves.

adding onion to the blender to make a sauce for this instant pot pulled pork recipe adding a few cloves of garlic to the blender for making the sauce that goes with this instant pot pork roast recipe

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 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

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

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

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 all the ingredients for this cochinita pibil pulled pork recipe are added to the instant pot pressure cooker

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

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

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

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 instant pot shredded pork in a pyrex

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

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

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

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

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!!

Buen provecho!

Cuisine:
  • Mexican
Best Served As:
  • Dinner
Instant Pot Cochinita Pibil

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

tacos made using one of my favorite mexican shredded pork recipes, cochinitas pibil

Experience the tastes of Mexico. These authentic Mexican tacos will surprise your taste buds with their unique mix of sweet, acidic, earthy flavors.

Servings:16
Difficulty:Not too tricky
Cooking Method(s):
  • Instant Pot
Pressure Level:High
Program:Manual / Pressure Cook
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
1 hour
Pressure Release
30 minute NPR
Total Time
1hour:40minutes
See More:
  • Pork
  • Tacos
  • Loved By
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  • Share With Others
  • Rating
    Rating

Ingredients

 5 lbs pork shoulder (cut into 2 inch strips)
Sauce
 2 ½ cups orange juice (pulp free)
 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
 2.50 oz annatto/achiote (usually the entire bottle)
 1 tbsp salt
 ½ tsp pepper
 3 garlic cloves
 ¼ yellow onion (quartered)
 1 tsp dried oregano
 ½ tsp cumin
 ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

1

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.

2

Add the sauce from the blender to the Instant Pot.

3

Cook on Manual High Pressure for 60 minutes. Once the cooking time has completed, allow for a 30-minute natural pressure release.

4

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.

5

Warm some corn tortillas.

6

Serve the shredded meat on the tortilla and top with Pickled Red Onion & Habanero Salsa.

Ingredients

 5 lbs pork shoulder (cut into 2 inch strips)
Sauce
 2 ½ cups orange juice (pulp free)
 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
 2.50 oz annatto/achiote (usually the entire bottle)
 1 tbsp salt
 ½ tsp pepper
 3 garlic cloves
 ¼ yellow onion (quartered)
 1 tsp dried oregano
 ½ tsp cumin
 ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions

1

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.

2

Add the sauce from the blender to the Instant Pot.

3

Cook on Manual High Pressure for 60 minutes. Once the cooking time has completed, allow for a 30-minute natural pressure release.

4

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.

5

Warm some corn tortillas.

6

Serve the shredded meat on the tortilla and top with Pickled Red Onion & Habanero Salsa.

Instant Pot Cochinita Pibil
Cochinita Pibil [Instant Pot]: Authentically delicious Yucatan style pulled pork tacos #instantpot #recipe #pulledpork #tacos