This Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is one four favorite Mexican meal to make! It is quick and easy to make in the pressure cooker, perfectly crispy and juicy, and so delicious!
What are Carnitas
Carnitas means "little meats" its a Mexican pulled pork dish. Often roasting and then simmering pork in oil or lard until tender and then crispy. The process takes several hours but results in very tender juicy meat.
Why this carnitas recipe works
Carnitas takes several hours but in the instant pot we can cut the time down by hours while still keeping the delicious flavor. Crisp it up under the broiler or a quick pan fry and you will want these every week for taco Tuesday.
What you need to make Carnitas
- pork butt- I prefer boneless pork shoulder (sometimes also called pork butt). This meat is especially tender because it is marbled with fat that breaks down when cooking.
- garlic & oregano- these are common Mexican herbs and spices for carnitas
- citrus- carnitas is often seasoned with citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits and of course limes!
How to make instant pot carnitas
Step One: Take your pork butt and insert into the pressure cooker inner pot.
Step Two: Add your broth
Step Three: rub your pork butt with seasonings
Step Four: place onions, garlic and citrus around your carnitas
PROTIP: so cook your pork butt slightly faster, cut your large cut of meat into 3-4 medium pieces.
Cook your pork until pull apart tender
Take your pork and cook it for 60 minutes and allow pork to pressure release naturally. Once finished remove and shred. If desired, serve as is but for authentic carnitas there is still one more step: crisping the meat.
How to crisp the carnitas
Two ways to crisp your carnitas
Option 1: Crisp in oil in pan on stove. Heat a few tablespoon of oil on high heat. Add pork carnitas in a single layer, let fry for a few minutes until the bottom becomes a darker brown. Remove.
Option 2: Crisp under broiler. This is a healthier option but be cautious not to place it under the broiler too long so the does not meat dries out. Simply lay out meat in a single layer on baking sheet and
What do I serve with Carnitas?
Carnitas are often served with a pineapple salsa or pineapple relish to pair with the citrus seasonings and it is AMAZING! I highly recommend this pineapple mango salsa or just add a few cups of pineapple to this pico de Gallo.
- sour cream or Mexican crema
- Pico de Gallo
- Fresh Salsa
- Pickled Red Onions
If you are not a fan of tacos try making the carnitas into nachos, burrito, burrito bowl, taco salad, tostada or a meat quesadilla.
It needs to cook a little longer. Depending on the pressure cooker, size and freshness of the meat sometimes meat does need extra time to reach the pull apart tender phase
Store your carnitas in an air tight container in the fridge for 7-10 days.
Great sides with Instant pot Carnitas
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Instant Pot Carnitas
- 4 lbs pork butt
- 1 tbs sea salt
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 large orange sliced
- 2 jalapeño sliced
- 1 lime sliced
- 1 large onion sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 cup broth
Carnitas Pressure Cooker Instructions
- In pressure cooker add broth and pork butt. optional: cut pork butt into 3-4 large pieces.
- In separate bowl mix dry spices together and rub on pork butt. Rub garlic, top with jalapeños, oranges, and onions.
- Cook High 60 minutes, natural release. If pork is tough put it back in for another 30-45 minutes.
- Remove meat when done. Shred. In separate pan (or you can do on saute mode) heat a few tablespoons of oil till hot. Add shredded carnitas meat and allow it so crisp in the oil. Don't stir until you see the meat darkening, flip is desired. Serve immediately
Carnitas Slow Roasted Instructions
- In a 9x13 pan place 2 pieces of foil perpendicular to each other.
- Center roast in foil, top with all ingredients except water
- Fold foil around roast
- Add broth in pan
- Cook at 275 for minimum 4 hours, and one hour per additional pound above 3 lbs.
This only takes an hour in an instant pot?
I ask because Kalua Park at 4lbs takes 90 minutes plus NR to finish, how does 6lbs of the same cut of port finish 30 minutes sooner?
If you are using a fresh cut pork butt it will take less time (this is explained in the post) if you are not using fresh (meaning it was prepackaged and shipped to the store but not frozen) or frozen it will take longer. Also, the larger the meat the instant pot will automatically take longer to come to pressure so it will- in the end- cook longer than a 4lb piece of meat, and a larger butt- like 8l- would talk longer than the 6lb without having adjusted the "cook time" on the pressure cooker.
Heather Rainey says
I don't see anything in the ingredients or the recipe about the cilantro rice, how do you do that?
How many servings does this make?
it depends on how large of a roast you get. Plan on 4 oz per person.
Emily Kemp says
Wow these look so delicious, gorgeous photos too!
These were incredible!! Were going to make this over and over again!
Sondra Christensen says
I tried this carnitas recipe this weekend along with the cilantro rice and the yucateca onions. YUMMY!!!!!!!!! Everyone gobbled it up!
Trisha Dowell says
This not only looks AMAZING but it is so beautiful! I have to try this!