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instant pot carnitas on gold baking sheet

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas (So Easy!)

  • Author: Quin Liburd
  • Prep Time: 10m
  • Cook Time: 40m
  • Total Time: 50m
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Main Courses
  • Method: Instant Pot


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
  • 12 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


  1. 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. 
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.


  1. 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