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Instant Pot Carnitas

Homemade Pork Carnitas That Will Leave Everyone Raving!

The authentic flavor of traditional carnitas in a fraction of the time. This Instant Pot carnitas recipe will give you incredibly juicy pulled pork with the golden crispy edges you expect from authentic Mexican carnitas. Your family and friends are going to be asking for these at every gathering.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
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Pork Carnitas are seriously some of my favorite Mexican tacos! Carnitas literally means “little meats”. They are called this because the pork is chopped into small pieces after it’s cooked.

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Instant Pot Carnitas: This mouth-watering, stomach-growl-inducing Instant Pot carnitas recipe is full of authentic taste without the long wait. From Valerie @ One Happy Housewife - onehappyhousewife.com #instantpot #instantpotrecipe #porkshoulder #instantpottacos #instantpotpork #tacotuesday #tacos #carnitas #instantpotcarnitas #onehappyhousewife
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Authentic Taste Without the Long Wait

Authentic carnitas, of course, take a long time to cook and are usually made by braising the pork in oil or lard until it is tender. But as we all know, “ain’t nobody got time for that!”

Instant Pot Carnitas
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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:

Appliances & Cookware

I used my 8-quart Instant Pot to make these carnitas.

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.

Creating a Delicious Carnitas Recipe for the Instant Pot

I’m lucky to have a husband that loves to experiment in the kitchen and come up with amazing recipes! Since he knows I love carnitas so much, he was determined to come up with a recipe for our Instant Pot so we could enjoy them at home!

Shredded Pork Carnitas
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Let me tell you, this boy is good at what he does! I was a little skeptical when I saw the ingredients, but once it was all said and done, I was ecstatic with the result! Homemade, delicious Pork Carnitas in under 2 hours. Just throw all the ingredients into the Instant Pot, and about an hour and a half later, voila!

Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe
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Shred the Pork

Once the pork has finished cooking in the Instant Pot, remove each piece of pork and place on a cutting board. You’ll then want to shred or chop the meat into small pieces.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
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Brown The Carnitas For Crispy Edges

We love the crispy edges in traditional carnitas, so we like to place the cooked pork on an iron skillet for a few minutes to achieve those crispy edges.

Carnitas On A Skillet
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Ryan pretty much only cooks on his iron skillets when cooking on the stove. He loves them. This is the one we used for the carnitas.

Start Prepping Your Tacos

Warm up some tortillas, slice a few limes and gather your toppings and you’ll be ready to enjoy!

Heating Up Corn Tortillas For Tacos De Carnitas
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We love this skillet for warming tortillas.

Gather The Perfect Toppings and Serve

As for the toppings, you have to include some coriander leaves or cilantro. That is key!

We also like to add queso fresco, and some fresh pico. I personally top mine with a little Mexican table cream as well!

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
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Pork Carnitas
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Now It’s Your Turn

These Instant Pot Carnitas will not disappoint! Try them out and let me know what you think! And if you still haven’t gotten an Instant Pot, what are you waiting for?! Check out my unboxing and see why I think everyone needs one!

Instant Pot Carnitas

Authentic pork carnitas in a fraction of the time.

5 from 3 votes
24 tacos
DifficultyNot Too Tricky
Cooking Method(s)
  • Instant Pot
IP Pressure LevelHigh
IP ProgramManual / Pressure Cook
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
Pressure Release
25 minute NPR
Total Time
Recipe by: Valerie Cooper
The authentic taste of Mexican carnitas with incredibly juicy pulled pork and golden crispy edges.
Cuisine: Hispanic, Mexican
Course: Main Course
Category: Pork, Tacos
instant pot carnitas
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  • 8 lbs pork shoulder cut into 4 pieces
  • 6 tbsps coarse salt
  • 2 tsps ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsps chili powder
  • 2 tsps ground cumin
  • 4 tbsps dried oregano
  • 2 cups yellow onion chopped
  • 2 tbsps garlic minced
  • 4 navel oranges cut in half
  • 2 lime(s) cut in half
  • 1 can ginger ale 12 oz, may substitute 1 ½ cups of lemon, lime, orange, or apple juice
  • 4 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 whole bay leaves


  • Place the pork shoulder into the Instant Pot.
  • Spread all ingredients over the top of the pork shoulder.
  • Squeeze juice from the oranges and limes over the pork before placing the rinds into the pot.
  • Pour the can of ginger ale over the pork shoulder.
  • Cook on 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook', 'High Pressure' for 100 minutes.
  • Once the Instant Pot has completed cooking, use the natural pressure release NPR method. I usually let it NPR for 25 minutes and then release any remaining pressure.
  • Ensure that all the pressure has been released before opening the pot.
  • Carefully remove the pork from the Instant Pot and discard the remaining liquid.
  • Place on a cutting board and shred.
  • For crispy edges, brown your shredded pork in a skillet for a few minutes before serving.
  • You now have delicious pork carnitas. Enjoy!

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: 169kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 1828mg | Potassium: 412mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 17.3mg | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 1.9mg


Some things you should know about this Instant Pot Carnitas recipe.

Feed an army. This recipe yields a lot of meat and is great for large gatherings or meal planning.

Tips & Tricks

Here are a few tips and tricks to help you make this Instant Pot Carnitas recipe your own.

Brown before serving. For the best results, brown the shredded pork before serving. This will give you those mouthwatering crispy edges you expect from authentic carnitas.

Add your favorite toppings. Serve on a warm corn tortilla with your favorite taco toppings. We like to top ours with pico de gallo, cilantro, queso fresco and Mexican table cream.

instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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instant pot carnitas
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  • Tiffany E says:

    These are great! I love the unique flavor the citrus and cinnimon bring. This has become a go-to recipe for us!

  • Alison Jackson says:

    Super excited to make this recipe – question: are you using boneless pork shoulder?

  • Jenna says:

    Not a fan. I knew the ingredients sounded interesting but I tried it anyways. Tastes like the holidays which is not a flavor I want in my tacos. May be the cinnamon throwing it off for me.

  • Darcy says:

    I just started using the 6quart Instant Pot Ultra and am wondering if I cut the recipe for Instant Pot carnitas in half how long would I pressure cook and should I make any other changes?

    • Valerie Cooper says:

      Hi Darcy! You can use 4lbs of meat, but cut it into 2 pound pieces (approx). Cut the spices in half, but use the same amount of ginger ale. The cook time will be the same as it is based on any number of 2 pound pieces. Enjoy!!

  • Angela says:

    This recipe is fabulous!!!!!! Will be making again.


  • Judith Martinez says:

    I’m pretty famous for my carnitas. I make them for every special occasion in our family. This recipe is quite different from mine. I may have to try it for something different.

  • Marie says:

    Well, this was the first time either of us has ever eaten carnitas, but there were no leftovers from a 2.5lb roast between hubby, myself and our toddler! I halved the spices and fruit and only used 1 cinnamon stick but the full can of ginger ale. Crisped them up on broil in the oven with a bit of the juices. COVERED them in fresh lime juice and cilantro with a bit of fire roasted salsa and sour cream. My husband asked when I’m making it again. Lol.
    Thanks, Valerie!

    • Valerie Cooper says:

      Thank you so much, Marie!! I really appreciate your comment. It makes me so happy when someone enjoys one of our recipes! Carnitas is definitely a family favorite around here! Thanks for stopping by!!

  • I still haven’t jumped on the Instant Pot train, but you just might have convinced me to take the plunge! These tacos look delicious!

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