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.
I love all the recipes. Thank you for sharing. I'm just learning to cook in my instant pot
I am so glad you found my site and find my recipes easy and delicious!
I have 2lbs of a frozen pork butt already cut into chunks, how would that impact the cook time? The only thing I won't be able to do is Sautee.
Hi Lesha! I love the way you plan 🙂 I would add 10 minutes to the cook time, which would mean 50 minutes for frozen pork butt. Enjoy!
Thank you! We've made this dish a few times and love it. The less prep work I have to do, the better!
100% agree with that! So glad you enjoy this recipe!
My husband LOVES carnitas, but I'm a busy teacher who doesn't have a lot of time to slow cook it all day. I've made this recipe three times now, and my Mexican husband says this is "melt-in-your-mouth madness." I realized I had two versions of this recipe from Kristen and so the second time I made it, I didn't cook it long enough because I left the roast whole, and so I had to let it go another 20 minutes. Make sure you cut it into chunks, but the seasoning is perfect. Last time I had no orange juice and so I used pink grapefruit juice and chicken stock. Still amazing. This just falls apart and is so moist. My husband gave up on the condiments and just started wrapping lots of pork in tortillas. Period. Score one for the wife! Thanks, Kristen. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your husband's praise Kristina! I love hearing that he found this recipe enjoyable, especially given his roots! I hope you all enjoy it many more times!
Can this recipe be adjusted for frozen pork?
Hi Chad! If you are using a roast that is frozen as a full roast, cook for 30 minutes PER POUND on high pressure. Once cook time has elapsed, let pressure released naturally, remove pork and cut into chunks. If the meat is not very tender, put back in cooking liquid and cook for 10 minutes on high pressure. If tender, shred away and enjoy!
We've made these several times for Taco Tuesday and each time we are blown away by how easy they are and also how tasty. I like mine with avocado and fresh salsa.
I am so glad you found so flavorful and easy to make. And you can never go wrong with avocado 😉
My favorite thing to make in my instant pot! Lovely recipe, thank you!
I am so glad you enjoyed this so much Noelle! Thank you for sharing.
Delicious! I used a 5lb pork loin. It didn’t brown too well due to volume in the pot. But was so flavorful, despite that. It fed a crowd of college kids!
I was wondering if the cooking time the same if it is a bone in pork butt?
Hi Tamena! I would still cook for 20 minutes per pound.
I was wondering how would someone make this without an instant pot?
I got this in my email for the weekly meal plan, thank you
Hi Tony! Here is my Slow Cooker Carnitas recipe 🙂
I made this recipe last night and followed the directions as printed. I used pork tenderloin and there was a lot of liquid left over so I was concerned. I was wrong to be worried though. It was delicious! We had tacos for dinner and reused leftovers with some eggs in the morning for breakfast tacos! Will definatly make again 😉
I am so glad you enjoyed Chandra! Love the idea of using leftovers as breakfast tacos--so yum!