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Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe - a Pressure Cooker Dinner

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Instant Pot Carnitas is going to transform your dinner menu. Shredded, tender, and juicy pork carnitas that can be made in no time, in your Instant Pot! Such a flavorful and easy recipe to try next time you have a pork roast on hand. 

Instant Pot Carnitas Bowls

Instant Pot Carnitas is always a good thing in our home. Serve on corn shells, use for filling for enchiladas, and the list goes on. Versatile, flavorful, and a breeze to get that restaurant quality carnitas flavor at home. 

Instant Pot Carnitas

The whole world seems to be on an Instant Pot kick, and at first, I was a bit reluctant. This recipe is proof the Instant Pot is fantastic! Let me walk you through tips and tricks to getting quality carnitas every time. 

Craving More Mexican Dishes

Mexican Pizza | This is a layered pizza that uses tortillas as the base. Then slice and serve and top with all your favorite Tex-Mex toppings. 

Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken | I never turn down a good slow cooker recipe. I serve this with a side of rice for a hearty and filling dinner that everyone can enjoy. 

Mexican Stuffed Peppers | Stuffed peppers with a Mexican rice filling. Tender, flavorful, and bursting with all that Southwest flavor. 

Sour Cream Chicken Enchiladas | One of my favorite recipes to make. The creamy sauce paired with the chicken is incredible. I highly recommend giving this recipe a try. 

Instant Pot Carnitas Bowls

What Cut of Pork Roast Is Used in Carnitas

You want to buy a heavily marbled pork roast when making carnitas. The reason being is it offers that juicy and tender variance you want in carnitas. I reached for a pork shoulder, but you can reach for a Boston Butt or even picnic cut.  

How Do You Get The Crispy Texture To Carnitas 

Since you are using the pressure cooker, it will offer you that tender and juicy aspect, but it can't give you that crispy golden texture. Once you shred your pork and it is fully cooked you will transfer to a baking sheet and use the broiler setting on your oven. This is what gives you that restaurant quality texture and taste. 

Don't skip the broiling step; it adds so much depth and flavor. 

What Should I Serve With Pork Carnitas 

  • Serve with flour or corn shells
  • Use to stuff into enchiladas or quesadillas
  • Pair with refried beans, Mango Salsa, Pico de Gallo or salsa
  • Mexican rice, Guacamole or avocado sliced up 

How Are Authentic Carnitas Made 

Authentic Carnitas are made with lard. It offers a unique flavor to the carnitas, that stands out. My recipe is not authentic or traditional since I am using an Instant Pot. But, you will find similar flavors with the spices used, orange juice, that all come together for that incredible fork-tender carnitas you know and love. 

Can I Make Carnitas In Advance 

If you want to make carnitas in advance, you can cook them up in the Instant Pot and then store the pork in the fridge.

Then right before you are ready to serve, then broil the meat for that crispy texture and effect. You can store them for 1-2 days in advance. 

Just don't broil and then store in the fridge until ready to serve. It is best when our Instant Pot Carnitas is served warm after being broiled in the oven. 

Instant Pot Carnitas Bowls

Best Way To Store Leftover Instant Pot Carnitas 

Transfer any leftover carnitas into an airtight container. Then store in the fridge for up to three days. After that, you will need to use your best judgment on if the carnitas has gone bad. 

Best Way to Reheat Carnitas 

You can lay the meat on a baking sheet and pop in the oven at 350 degrees and heat the meat up that way until warmed through. Or if you want a quicker method then reach for the microwave. Just make sure not to overcook the meat, or it will dry it out. 

You can add a splash of chicken stock to the meat to help add moisture before warming up if you are worried about it drying out. 

Can You Freeze Carnita Meat 

I place it in a freezer bag and remove all the air. Then store in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw in the fridge the night before you plan to reheat it. Or if you have freezer-friendly containers, you can go that route as well! 

Get more Instant Pot recipes in our Facebook group and by following on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Have you tried this recipe? Don't forget to Rate This Recipe below!

Essential Tools for Cooking Instant Pot Carnitas

  • Instant Pot Inner Pot - I like to have an extra inner pot available because of how much cooking I do in my Instant Pot. It comes in really handy when I want to put a lid on the inner pot and refrigerate the leftovers, or mix up ingredients the night before to save time at the end of the day.
  • Silicone Lid for Instant Pot- I'm not sure how I lived without this one. Having a silicone lid for my Instant Pot has made life so much easier. It is perfect for adding ingredients a day or two ahead of time.
  • 101 Instant Pot Recipes for Beginners-  If you are new to pressure cooking, this is a great ebook to get you started with basic recipes you will use over and over again.


Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe

Instant Pot Carnitas Bowls

Check out this Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe! It's so tasty and good!

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Additional Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes


Dry Rub Ingredients:

  • ½ tablespoon of chili powder
  • ½ tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided

Pork Carnitas Ingredients:

  • 3½ - 4½ lbs. pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
  • 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced
  • ¾ cup chicken broth, preferably organic
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice
  • 3 tablespoon lime juice

Cilantro-Lime Rice Ingredients:

  • 1 cup uncooked rice, prepared according to package ingredients
  • 3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon of fresh lime juice, divided
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Pico de Gallo Ingredients:

  • 1-pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • sea salt & black pepper, to taste

Remaining Bowl Ingredients:

  • 1 large avocado, sliced
  • 1 cup black beans, warmed
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn, warmed
  • 2 large limes, cut into wedges
  • 3 tablespoon fresh cilantro, for garnish


    1. Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub mixture onto pork until each piece is thoroughly covered. Press well to adhere.
    2. Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot® and set it to “High.” Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the seasoned pork shoulder pieces to the container. Sear until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
    3. Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot® and set aside.
    4. .Add the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion and jalapeño. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
    5. Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth, orange juice, and lime juice on top. Add lid and lock into place. Set the steam vent to “Sealing.” Press the “Manual” button and adjust to the “High” setting, if necessary. Adjust cook time to 30 minutes. (Select 40 minutes for 4+ pound roasts).
    6. While the pork is cooking, prepare the Cilantro-Lime Rice and Pico de Gallo by combining the ingredients for each in medium bowls. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to use.
    7. When the Instant Pot® cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before doing a quick release of any remaining steam.
    8. Assemble the burrito bowls by dividing the shredded pork, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Pico de Gallo, sliced avocado, black beans, and corn between 4 to 6 serving bowls. To serve, top with chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges if desired. Enjoy!


Note: DO NOT use lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 1955Total Fat 137gSaturated Fat 48gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 77gCholesterol 536mgSodium 705mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 4gSugar 6gProtein 143g

Did you make this recipe?

Get more Instant Pot recipes in our Facebook group and by following on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. Have you tried this recipe? Don't forget to Rate This Recipe and leave a comment!

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