Instant Pot 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. Making them in the Instant Pot is super easy. You will be amazed at how delicious this dump and start recipe is!
Authentic Taste Without the Long Wait
Making authentic carnitas, of course, takes a long time and the carnitas are usually made by braising the pork shoulder in oil or lard until it is tender. But as we all know, “ain’t nobody got time for that!” The Instant Pot has opened the door to so many amazing possibilities without the long wait.
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These dump and start Instant Pot Carnitas are so tender and flavorful you would think they cooked all day long! After pressure cooking the pork shoulder or butt, you’ll want to crisp the carnitas on the stove to achieve that authentic crispiness along the edges. They are perfection!
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 took out a few of my beautiful prep bowls, my stackable measuring cups, and this set of awesome measuring spoons to measure and prep all my ingredients.
- To cut the pork into 4 pieces, I use a good chefs knive and a heavy cutting board.
- To warm up some tortillas, I used this tortilla skillet (at least that’s what I call it) and this silicone spatula.
Appliances & Cookware
I used my 8-quart Instant Pot to make this carnitas.
Instant Pot Accessories
Make sure to check out my post on Must-Have Accessories for the Instant Pot. You’ll find a complete list of all the top accessories that can be used with your Instant Pot.
Making Carnitas in the Instant Pot
I’m lucky to have a husband that loves to experiment in the kitchen and comes up with amazing recipes! Since he knows I love carnitas so much, he was determined to come up with a recipe for Instant Pot Pork Carnitas so we could enjoy them at home!
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!
Shred and Brown the Pork
Once the pork has finished cooking in the Instant Pot, remove each piece of pork and place it on a cutting board. You’ll then want to shred or chop the meat into small pieces.
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 perfectly crispy edges.
Toppings for Instant Pot Carnitas
Warm-up some tortillas, slice a few limes and gather your toppings and you’ll be ready to enjoy! As for the toppings, you have to include some coriander leaves or cilantro. That is key!
It’s Your Turn to Make Carnitas
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! Let me know in the comments when you try the carnitas! Also, here are a few other recipes to make with Pork Shoulder in the Instant Pot.
Instant Pot Carnitas
Authentic pork carnitas in a fraction of the time.
- 8 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-pound pieces
- 6 tablespoons coarse salt
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons dried oregano
- 2 cups yellow onion chopped
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 4 navel oranges cut in half
- 2 lime(s) cut in half
- 1 can ginger ale 12 ounces, may substitute 1 ½ cups of lemon, lime, orange, or apple juice
- 4 sticks cinnamon
- 4 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!
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.
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.