Instant Pot Pork Carnitas (So Easy!)
Tender, juicy, and oh so succulent pork shoulder flavored with beer, citrus, garlic, spices, and more. This easy instant pot pork carnitas recipe is simply delicious; finish with a quick broil in the oven for crispy carnitas! Served inside of tortillas for restaurant worthy homemade tacos. Slow cooker instructions included too!
Oooeeee man, oh how I do love my Instant Pot, y’all. There’s a funny story behind mine to be all the way real with you. I had bought one a whileeeeee back and it sat inside of my storage closet for so long that I had forgotten I even purchased it, ha! I’m so used to slow cooking using my crockpot or braising meats in my dutch oven. Well, I finally opened the box and have been breaking it in ever since. I am obsessed!
Like I said, I love to braise my meats low and slow but sometimes the cooking time just ain’t gonna cut it. And like other pressure cookers, the instant pot allows me to still achieve those extra tender and succulent results in no time! It’s the versatility of this amazing pot for me. We have been making these instant pot pork carnitas like clockwork lately. Pork carnitas are one of my most favorite dishes, ever. Happy to share!
What Are Pork Carnitas?
First, carnitas is a well-known pork dish with Mexican roots. It is a Latin word that translates to “little meats.” Traditionally, pork shoulder aka pork butt is usually cut into smaller chunks and seared in oil/other type of fat, then braised in a variety of aromatics. For example, flavors from citrus, onion, spices, and more is what carnitas get braised in. The pork gets super tender until it’s literally falling apart, so good!
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Ingredients
(Note: the full ingredients list, including measurements, is provided in the recipe card directly below.)
- pork shoulder/Boston butt: the star of the show- excess fat trimmed and cut into rough chunks.
- salt/pepper: we’ll need to season the pork chunks well with basic salt/pepper.
- olive oil: used to sear the pork chunks before cooking, you can sub for avocado oil too!
- cilantro: freshly chopped and garnishes the pork carnitas, chef’s kiss.
- mojo citrus sauce: beer, chicken stock, garlic cloves, chopped onion, lime juice, orange juice, ground cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt/pepper, thyme, and chili powder >>> a powerhouse of flavor!
How To Make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
(Note: please see the recipe card directly below for the complete written instructions.) 🖤
- Trim any excess fat from the pork and cut it into rough chunks and then place into a bowl.
- Season the pork generously with salt and pepper all over.
- Sauté the pork chunks in the Instant Pot until lightly browned and crisp.
- Prepare the mojo citrus marinade and pour on top of the browned pork.
- Pressure cook everything together and then allow the pot to release its steam.
- Transfer the tender pork chunks to a baking sheet and shred the pork into pieces.
- Place into oven to broil for *crispy* carnitas. The crispiness takes ’em to another level!
I love that this recipe is so easy yet so delicious! This instant pot pork carnitas recipe is the epitome of set it, and forget it. Minimal work involved and doesn’t take all day to make thanks to our good ole instant pot, ha! The pork absorbs all of the flavor that it cooks in and gets all juicy, supremely tender, and extra flavorful. Additionally, this is a great recipe for meal prepping to have on hand throughout the week!
Other Great Recipes You May Enjoy
- Birria Quesatacos with Consomé
- One-Pot Creamy Beef Pasta
- Chicken With Caper Cream Sauce
- Perfect Classic Meatloaf
- Easy Philly Cheesesteak Recipe
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Southern Smothered Pork Chops
- One-Pot Casarecce Pasta
Can I Use A Slow Cooker For This Recipe?
Not feeling the instant pot, no worries! To make this recipe using a slow cooker: If your slow cooker has a sauté function, brown the meat in it, otherwise sear the pork chunks on the stovetop until browned. Then place all of the meat into your slow cooker vessel along with the sauce. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Once done cooking, check for pork tenderness and transfer to a large baking sheet to shred. Broil, if desired.
Ways To Enjoy These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
There are literally so many ways for you to enjoy these pork carnitas, here are a few!
- use as a filling in warm tortillas for tacos– my absolute fave!
- enjoy as a topping in burrito bowls.
- load up some nachos with these crispy carnitas.
- use along with a salad for a healthier option.
- devour right along with beans and rice.
- tostadas, quesadillas, enchiladas, pizza, and much more!
Making Tacos With Your Pork Carnitas?
Nothing brings me as much joy as a delicious tortilla filled with pork carnitas! They are truly great and my most favorite way to enjoy this recipe. If you plan on making tacos with yours here are some tips:
- tortillas: corn or flour, you decide >> just be sure to warm in a skillet for best results.
- pickled red onions: my favorite! love that punch of vinegar over the salty carnitas.
- radishes: shaved radishes for a bit of a crunch/texture, so delish.
- jalapeños: perfect choice if you like some added heat.
- cilantro: it’s almost a must with these instant pot pork carnitas let alone any taco, ha!
- lime wedges: squeeze some over your tacos for an added zippy zing.
- lettuce/cabbage: add some lettuce or shredded cabbage for more filling.
- …guacamole, pico de gallo, salsa, chopped onion, roasted corn, and shredded cheese!
Got Leftovers? How To Store Pork Carnitas
First, make sure your pork carnitas are secured inside of an airtight container. I like to transfer some of the juice into the container as well to keep the carnitas from drying out. The carnitas will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Simply reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop in a cast iron skillet.
REMEMBER TO LEAVE A ⭐️STAR RATING⭐️AND TAG ME ON THE ‘GRAM IF YOU MAKE ANY OF MY RECIPES! I ALWAYS LOVE TO SEE IT WHEN YOU DO!
UNTIL NEXT TIME…LOVE AND BUTTER,
Tender and succulent pork flavored with beer, citrus, garlic, spices, and more. This easy instant pot pork carnitas recipe is simply delicious; finish with a quick broil in the oven for crispy carnitas!
- 4 lb boneless pork shoulder/Boston butt, excess fat trimmed and roughly cut into 2” chunks
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1–2 tablespoons olive oil
- freshly chopped cilantro, for garnish
For The Mojo Citrus Sauce
- 1/2 cup beer (any kind will do!)
- 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken stock, or broth
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion, or yellow/white
- 1/3 cup fresh lime juice
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
For Pickled Red Onions
- 1 medium-sized red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, optional
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar, or white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, or honey
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Prepare the pork: Make sure the pork is trimmed of excess fat and cut into rough chunks. Place the pork chunks into a large bowl and generously season the pork with salt and pepper all over.
- Brown the pork chunks: Set your Instant Pot to the “sauté” function and drizzle in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Once hot, add in the pork chunks. Note: you will likely need to sear the pork in batches depending on the size of your pot. Sear the pork until lightly browned and crisp on all sides, turning the pork every so often to ensure even cooking. Use the additional 1 tablespoon of oil in between batches, if needed. Then place the browned pork chunks into a large cleaned bowl and repeat until all pork is browned. After browning, press the “cancel” function to turn off.
- Prepare the mojo citrus sauce: Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the beer, stock, garlic, onion, lime juice, orange juice, cumin, brown sugar, oregano, salt, pepper, thyme, and chili powder together. Whisk this mixture together to combine and then set aside.
- Pressure cook the pork: Make sure all of the browned pork is back in the pot. Pour in the sauce and stir to combine and then set the Instant Pot to the “pressure cook” function. Set the timer to cook for 40 minutes. Once done cooking, if your Instant Pot doesn’t automatically vent- set the pot to the “vent” function to allow the IP to release its steam naturally for about 10 minutes.
- Shred the pork: Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pork chunks to a large baking sheet and then use two forks to shred the pork into pieces. Drizzle some of the pot juices over the shredded carnitas and enjoy as is or move to the next step.
- For crispy carnitas: Preheat the oven to broil. Broil the carnitas for 7-10 minutes or until your desired level of crispness is achieved. Drizzle more of the pot juices over the crispy carnitas and garnish will freshly chopped cilantro- let cool for a few minutes before eating.
- To serve: You can serve up your carnitas in a number of ways such as tacos, burrito bowls, nachos, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and more. Enjoy!
For Pickled Red Onions
- Pack your thinly sliced onions into a jar (I like to use mason jars for mine that can be tightly fitted with a lid). However, use what you have so long as the vessel is airtight. Toss in the bay leaf and black peppercorns, if using, and then set the jar aside while you move on to the next step.
- In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, vinegar, sugar, and salt together. Let the mixture come up to a rolling boil and then remove from heat.
- Pour the hot liquid over the onions in the jar. Use a fork to move the onions around so that they’re submerged under the liquid. Transfer the jar into the fridge to store for up to a week.
- To make this recipe using a slow cooker: If your slow cooker has a sauté function, brown the meat in it, otherwise sear the pork chunks on the stovetop until browned. Then place all of the meat into your slow cooker vessel along with the sauce. Cook on low for 6-7 hours. Once done cooking, check for pork tenderness and transfer to a large baking sheet to shred.
Keywords: instant pot, pork, carnitas, Mexican, tacos