Made with only a handful of ingredients, this recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas results in tender, fall-apart pork that is bursting with flavor!
Replicate the authentic flavor of Mexican Carnitas without all the work and added lard. These Instant Pot Carnitas may not be authentic, but they are just as delicious and incredibly easy to make.
Carnitas the Easy Way
According to Wikipedia, Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork in oil or preferably lard until tender.
You guys, I have been doing this carnitas thing all wrong! I do NOT simmer my pork roast in lard or oil!
But guess what? My recipe for Instant Pot Mexican Pork still tastes a LOT like traditional carnitas--tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Just minus the lard and the HOURS of work!
So while this recipe may not be traditional, it is easy and delicious--and everyone loves these Instant Pot Carnitas!
- Pork: This recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas can be made with either pork shoulder, pork butt, or pork loin. For the best flavor and results, I recommend using a Pork butt also known as a Boston Butt, as it is a tender roast that shreds easily. Pork Loin is a great substitute if you need the recipe to be lower in fat.
- Orange Juice: Use pulp-free 100% orange juice. The orange juice adds incredible flavor to the pork, don't omit it!
- Beer: Select a light and pale lager like Corona or Coors Light. Or omit the beer and use chicken stock instead.
Step By Step Instructions
- Hit the saute function on the instant pot and add in 1 tablespoon oil of oil into the inner pot of your Instant Pot.
- Allow the pressure cooker to heat for 2-3 minutes, or until your Instant Pot reads Hot.
- While the instant pot is heating, cut the pork roast into 2-3 inch chunks.
- Once the pressure cook is heated, add the meat to the inner pot along with the salt, cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Sear the pork for 2-3 minutes per side until browned.
- Turn the Instant Pot off.
- Add in the beer and orange juice and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Set cook time for 30 minutes on high pressure for pork loin and for 40 minutes for pork butt or pork shoulder.
- After the cooking time has elapsed on the instant pot, let the pressure release naturally. This is an extremely important step if you want to achieve tender pressure cooker meat.
- Once pressure has released, open Instant Pot.
- To shred the pork, remove the pork chunks to a large mixing bowl, and shred with 2 forks, or a hand-held kitchen mixer. You can also shred in the instant pot, just be mindful of the hot liquid.
How to Crisp up the Pork
To add a more authentic texture to the Instant Pot Carnitas, take a few minutes to crisp up the meat once it has been shredded.
- Turn your broiler on your oven to high.
- Spread the shredded pork loin on a large rimmed baking sheet, along with ½ cup of the cooking juices.
- Place the baking sheet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until the juice has begun to evaporate and the meat begins to brown.
- At this point, you can flip the meat, add an additional ½ cup cooking liquid, and repeat the process on the remaining side, or you can serve as is.
Ways to Serve Carnita Meat
Instant Pot Carnita Meat can be served in endless ways.
- Serve the shredded pork on homemade tortillas topped with avocado, and cabbage for simple pork tacos.
- Serve the carnitas meat over Instant Pot Baked Potatoes or Instant Pot Baked Sweet Potatoes and then top with cheese for a Mexican-style stuffed potato.
- Use the pork in a Burrito Bowl, on served on top of Instant Pot Cilantro Lime Rice.
- Replace the chicken with the Instant Pot Carnitas in Mexican Cobb Salad, or in the filling of Chicken Enchiladas.
- Instead of taco meat, top a Mexican Pizza with the shredded Mexican pork and bake as directed.
- I love making a simple slaw by mixing together ¼ cup of sour cream and Greek yogurt together with the juice of 1 lime, a handful of chopped cilantro, 1 teaspoon of cumin, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Stir 3 cups of cabbage into the mixture. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving with the shredded pork.
Storage and Freezing Instructions
Store leftover carnitas in an airtight container for 4 days in the refrigerator. You can also freeze the leftover meat in 1-2 cup portions for up to 3 months in an airtight freezer-safe container. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving as desired.
More Instant Pot Pork Recipes
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Instant Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
If you tried this recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas, I would love for you to leave a comment and rating below.
Instant Pot Carnitas
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 3-4 pound pork roast, cut into 3-4 inch chunks shoulder or butt is preferred
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 cup beer or chicken stock
- tortillas, shredded cheese (cheddar or queso fresco), shredded cabbage
- Turn your instant pot to saute and add in oil and allow to heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Once the inner pot is heated, add the pork chunks to the instant pot along with the spices. Turn to sear each side of the pork and toast the seasonings, about 2-3 minutes per side. Turn the instant pot off once the meat is seared.
- Add in the orange juice and beer and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Seal the pressure cooker and be sure vent is pointing to "sealed." Set pressure to high and cook for 40 minutes for a shoulder or butt roast. Cook for 30 minutes if using a pork loin roast.
- Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure release naturally, or FOR AT LEAST 15 minutes.
- Remove the pork from the inner pot and place into a large bowl. Shred the pork with 2 forks or kitchen mixer (stand or hand-held mixer both work.)
- If you want to crisp the edges of the shredded pork, place meat on rimmed sheet pan with ½ cup cooking liquid and broil under high heat for 3-5 minutes per side.
- Serve Mexican pork with tortillas and shredded cheese, over rice, or over baked potatoes.
Made this today. Excellent! The tray of carnitas, after I broiled them a little, were picture perfect. Tender, flavorful, hard to stop eating them! Thanks for a great recipe.
You bet! So happy to hear you enjoyed, Cat!
Making this now but have a question....I have a nearly 6 lb roast-do I need to cook it longer since it's cut up into 3 in chunks or keep at 40 min as you suggest? Can't wait to taste it!
Hi Krista! The cooking time will remain the same, but the time to come to pressure will take a bit longer. Enjoy!
I discovered this recipe a long time ago and it has become a family favorite. In fact, I keep orange juice portioned and frozen at all times so I can make this whenever we want. I see that the recipe has changed slightly in that the spices now go in during the browning rather than with the liquid. I'll have to try that. In any case, my husband gobbles this up every time I make it, and I often use it when we're entertaining because it's so easy and everyone loves it. The meat is so tender that you don't even need to dirty that hand mixer, just stir with a fork and done! The flavor is fantastic. I go back to this recipe time and time again. Thanks, Kristen!
I am so glad you enjoy so much Kristina! Feel free to add the spices to the cooking liquid--it won't change the results that much.
I am always a little befuddled when a recipe calls for beer or wine. I am not a drinker of any kind of alcohol and therefore know nothing about it as an ingredient. I have saved a couple of articles describing wines because occasionally I do put wine in my beef stew. No problem here since you called for chicken stock as an alternative.
I have no orange juice. I do have lime juice for acidity. Could I use this diluted in some water or stock or as is, instead?
Hi Adam. I would use stock and then add zest and juice of the lime after cooking. Enjoy!
I only have a 1.2 Lb pork loin and I plan on cutting back on the spices. But I'm wondering, should I adjust the cooking time at all?
Hi Ruth! Keep the cooking time the same--just cut the meat in large chunks. Enjoy!
I have made this many times since I found you. It’s wonderful! The spice mixture is what sets it apart. I make triple the amount of the spice mixture so I have it on hand since I make this at least 3x a month. Thank you!
I made the Instant Pot Carnitas today and they were absolutely the best I have had. This is a recipe I will be making over and over. Thanks!
I am so glad you enjoyed this recipe so much!
Hi! Have you ever tried this in the crock pot? Thanks
Yes! I have a recipe for Crockpot Carnitas you will love.
How much extra time would you add for doing both the meat?
Hi Sara! I am sorry, but you can you clarify what you mean by "doing both the meat?" If you mean doubling the meat, as long as you cut into cubes, no additional time is needed.
I’m really bad at getting the meat off the bone. Can the bone piece be cooked along with the cut off chunks?
Absolutely Melissa! Just cut around the bone for your large chunks.