Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

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An Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe that is easy and delicious! This is a great recipe for a weeknight meal or to feed a crowd. These carnitas are made with pork shoulder, spices, orange juice, and beer.

The incredibly adaptable and fall-apart delicious pork recipe has endless serving options. To begin with, this flavorful, tender pork is excellent over rice, in lettuce wraps, tacos, and salads.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

What cut of pork is used for carnitas?

The best cut of pork for carnitas is the shoulder, which is also known as the butt or Boston butt. This cut has a good amount of fat, which makes it ideal for slow cooking. It’s also relatively inexpensive, making it a great option for budget-minded home cooks.

The shoulder is not the only cut of pork that can be used for carnitas, but it is undoubtedly the best. Other cuts, such as the loin or tenderloin, may be leaner and thus require more careful cooking to avoid drying out.

Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which cut of pork you want to use for your carnitas. Just remember that the shoulder is always a safe bet.

What is the difference between pulled pork and carnitas?

Carnitas and pulled pork are both made from pork that has been slow-cooked until it is fall-apart tender. The key difference between the two dishes is in the cuts of pork used and the seasoning.

Carnitas are traditionally made using a fatty cut of pork shoulder, which is why carnitas are often richer and more flavorful than pulled pork. Pulled pork is usually made from leaner cuts of pork, such as the loin or Boston butt, which results in a leaner dish. 

Can I use lime juice instead of orange juice in carnitas?

While orange juice is the most commonly used citrus juice in carnitas, lime juice can also be used. Lime juice will give the carnitas a more tart and acidic flavor than orange juice.

If you are looking for a more traditional flavor, stick with orange juice. However, if you want to experiment with the flavors, feel free to substitute lime juice for orange juice in your next batch of carnitas.

What are the ingredients to make instant pot pork carnitas?

This recipe has a prep time of 15 minutes and a cook time of 55 minutes, with additional 20 to 25 minutes for natural steam release. The following are the ingredients that you’re going to need for servings of 4:

  • Chicken broth – not only does it add flavor, but it also helps keep the pork moist and succulent.
  • Fresh orange juice – complements the flavors of carnitas very well.
  • Lime juice – helps to tenderize the meat.
  • Chili powder – gives the dish its signature flavor and helps to balance out the other ingredients.
  • Smoked paprika – adds a depth of flavor.
  • Dried Mexican oregano – this flavorful herb enhances the taste of the carnitas and gives them a unique flavor.
  • Ground cumin – gives the carnitas a warm, earthy flavor.
  • Sea salt and black pepper – seasonings to taste that most recipes call for.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – is a flavor enhancer and quickly cooks your carnitas.
  • Pork shoulder roast – it’s juicy, flavorful, and easy to shred after cooking.
  • Red onion – helps to keep the carnitas moist and juicy.
  • Jalapeno – add a nice kick of heat to the dish.
  • Fresh garlic – for a nutty and mild taste.

How to make instant pot pork carnitas?

It’s time to put this recipe together now that you’ve gathered all of your ingredients. 

There are a few optional steps in the recipe instructions that can be skipped to cut down on time. For instance, sautéing the aromatic combination of onion, jalapeño, and garlic before cooking the pork releases additional flavor and enriches the flavor. As soon as the pig is finished cooking, it can also be shredded and served. The delicious, crispy edges featured in classic carnitas recipes are only achieved by taking the extra step of tossing it with some cooking liquid and broiling under high heat.

It’s important to note that different Instant Pot models come with various buttons and functions. (These guidelines apply to the IP-Duo series.)

Start by stirring the ground cumin, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, chili powder, and lime juice into the chicken broth, fresh orange juice, and lime juice in a medium bowl. Set aside after adding salt and black pepper to taste.

On the Instant Pot, select “Sauté.” Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half of the pork shoulder pieces to the container after the display says “On.” Add salt and black pepper to taste and cook pork for 1 to 2 minutes per side, or until browned on all sides. When using the “Sauté” setting on an Instant Pot, DO NOT use the lid!

After that, transfer the seared pork to a plate once it has browned, then repeat the process with the remaining pork and more olive oil. From the Instant Pot, remove the browned pork, and set it aside.

An optional step is adding red onion, jalapenos, and fresh garlic to the container along with the final tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté for about 3–4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and transparent.

Put the browned pork back in the pot and top with the chicken stock and orange juice combination. Make sure the steam release handle is towards “Sealing” before adding the lid and sealing.

Then set the timer to “Manual” and select “30 minutes at high pressure.” Allow 20 to 25 minutes for the “natural release” of the steam in the Instant Pot once the cooking period has ended. Following that, if necessary, carry out a manual “rapid release” to vent any lingering steam and release the lid.

A big, rimmed baking sheet should be lined with aluminum foil and the oven’s broiler should be set to high just before the steam is completely expelled. Use two forks to carefully shred the pork before placing it on the prepared baking sheet. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup of the Instant Pot’s juices, mix to blend, and then spread into an equal, thin layer.

Next, broil pork for 4-5 minutes, remove from the oven, add a bit more juice, and then flip the meat over to brown the other side. Place pork back under the broiler and cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the edges are nicely browned and crispy.

When the pork is placed under the broiler, use the Instant Pot’s “Sauté” function to cut the cooking liquid in half.

Finally, when the baking sheet has done broiling, remove it from the oven and serve it right away with the reduced cooking liquid, fresh lime wedges, and cilantro that has been chopped. Enjoy!

Now that you know all you need to know about instant pot pork carnitas, it is time to print or save the recipe with the exact measurements.

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Yield: 4

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

This highly versatile and fall-apart-tender pork recipe can be served in so many ways. For starters, this seasoned, tender pork is delicious in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, or served over rice.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Additional Time 25 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • ¾ c. chicken broth, preferably organic
  • ¾ c. fresh orange juice (approximately 2 large oranges)
  • 3 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped

Instructions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth, fresh orange juice, and lime juice with chili powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, and ground cumin. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  2. Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot. Once the display reads “On,” add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half the pork shoulder pieces to the container. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and cook until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side. Note: DO NOT use the lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot!
  3. Once browned, transfer the seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with additional olive oil and the rest of the pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot and set aside.
  4. *Optional Step: Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the container, along with red onion, jalapeno, and fresh garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add browned pork back to the pot and pour the chicken broth/orange juice mixture over top. Add lid and seal, making sure the steam release handle is positioned toward “Sealing.”
  6. Press the “Manual” button and set the time to 30 minutes at high pressure. Once the cooking time is up, allow 20-25 minutes for the “natural release” of the steam inside the Instant Pot. After that time, perform a manual “quick release” to vent any remaining steam to the release lid, if necessary.
  7. A few minutes before the steam is fully released, preheat the oven broiler to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and gently shred with two forks. Drizzle with ¼ cup juices from the Instant Pot and toss to combine before spreading into a thin, even layer.
  8. Place pork under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown on the other side. Place back under the broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.
  9. Once the pork is under the broiler, press “Sauté” on the Instant Pot to reduce the cooking liquid by one-half while the pork is broiling.
  10. When finished broiling, remove the baking sheet from the oven and serve immediately with the reduced cooking liquid, fresh lime wedges, and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Notes

Important Note: Different Instant Pot models offer different features and buttons. (These instructions are for the IP-Duo series).

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 49Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 237mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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