You are sure to fall in love with this recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas! Made with a few simple ingredients, this shredded pork roast is fall-apart tender and bursting with flavor!
While this recipe for carnitas may not be authentic, the flavors hit a home run and this recipe could not be any easier to make. Use this shredded Mexican pork to serve as the base for pork tacos, or top a burrito bowl or baked sweet potato with the meat for a delicious, hearty meal. This pork is also delicious served on a Mexican Cobb Salad or Mexican Pizza.
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 Shredded Mexican Pork still tastes a LOT like traditional carnitas–tender, juicy, and full of flavor. Just minus the lard and the HOURS of work!
Best Pork For Carnitas
This recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas can be made with either pork shoulder, pork butt, or pork loin.
- Pork Butt (or Boston Butt)–A pork butt is marbled evenly throughout the roast and usually uniform in size. A very tender roast that shreds easily and stands up to bold flavor.
- Pork Shoulder (or Picnic Roast)–Has less marbling than a pork butt and typically comes with skin on that needs trimmed.
- Pork Loin Roast–Pork Loin Roasts are quite a bit leaner, which is ideal if you are watching fat or calories. However, the meat is known to dry out. I have not found it to be an issue in this recipe, as the instant pot seals in all the moisture and flavor.
How To Make Pressure Cooker Carnitas
- Turn your pressure cooker to Saute and pour in 1 tablespoon oil.
- Wait until your pressure cooker reads Hot, and then sear your meat 2-3 minutes per side until browned.
- 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.
Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas
If you desire those crispy edges on your pork roast for contrast in texture, take a few minutes to crisp up your Pulled Mexican Pork.
- Turn your broiler on your oven to high.
- Spread your shredded pork loin on a large rimmed baking sheet, along with 1/2 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 1/2 cup cooking liquid, and repeat the process on the remaining side, or you can serve as is.
More Instant Pot Pork Recipes
- Instant Pot Pork Chops
- Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Instant Pot Pork Tenderloin
- Instant Pot Pork and Sauerkraut
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. Once heated, add the pork loin to the instant pot along with the spices. Turn to sear each side of the pork cuts. 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 1/2 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.
- For the beer, select a light and pale lager like Corona or Coors Light.
- In place of the beer, feel free to use chicken stock.
- Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt Roast is preferred for the marbling, but a pork loin can be used as well. For a pork loin roast, cut the cook time from 40 minutes to 30 minutes on high pressure.
This post was originally published in 2018 but was updated in 2020 with a new video and tips.