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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe


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

How To Make Carnitas in the Instant Pot

For this flavorful Mexican-inspired meat, you need the following ingredients:

  • pork shoulder roast
  • chicken broth, preferably organic
  • fresh orange juice
  • lime juice
  • chili powder
  • smoked paprika
  • dried Mexican oregano
  • ground cumin
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • red onion
  • jalapeno
  • fresh garlic

To make it, begin by whisking 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.

platter of pork carnitas

Next, push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot. Once the display reads “On,” add 1 tablespoon 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!

Once browned, transfer 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.

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.  This will help further develop the flavors but is not necessary.

Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth/orange juice mixture over top. Add lid and seal, making sure the steam release handle is positioned toward “Sealing.”

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 release lid, if necessary.

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 the 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.

Place pork under the broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under the broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.

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.

When finished broiling, remove baking sheet from oven and serve immediately with the reduced cooking liquid, fresh lime wedges, and chopped cilantro. 

Alternatively, the pork can be shredded and served as soon as it is done cooking. However, the extra step of tossing it with some cooking liquid and broiling under high heat delivers the delicious, crispy edges found in traditional carnitas recipes.

pork carnitas
pork carnitas
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4.43 from 7 votes

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

This highly versatile and fall-apart-tender pork recipe for Instant Pot Pork Carnitas can be served in so many ways like in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, or simply served over rice.
Course Main Dishes
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Carnitas, dinner, Instant Pot, Mexican, Pork
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Calories 504kcal
Author Lynda

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup chicken broth preferably organic
  • ¾ cup fresh orange juice approximately 2 large oranges
  • 3 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2-3 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 3½ – 4 pounds pork shoulder roast trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno diced
  • 2-3 cloves fresh garlic peeled and chopped

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together chicken broth, fresh orange juice, and lime juice with the chili powder, smoked paprika, Mexican oregano, and ground cumin. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  • Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot. Once the display reads “On,” add 1 tablespoon 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 lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot!
  • Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with additional olive oil and the rest of pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot and set aside.
  • *Optional Step: Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion, jalapeno, and fresh garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth/orange juice mixture over top. Add lid and seal, making sure the steam release handle is positioned toward “Sealing.”
  • 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 release lid, if necessary.
  • A few minutes before the steam is fully released, preheat 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.
  • Place pork under broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.
  • Once pork is under the broiler, press “Sauté” on the Instant Pot to reduce the cooking liquid by one half while the pork is broiling.
  • When finished broiling, remove baking sheet from oven and serve immediately with the reduced cooking liquid, fresh lime wedges, and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!

Video

Notes

Nutrition information based on a 4-pound pork shoulder roast.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 504kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 36g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 207mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g

While there is some orange juice in this recipe, it is overall low carb and people on a keto diet could possibly work the meat into their daily macros.  Serve it with some rice (or cauliflower rice for a low carb option), a simple side salad, and dinner is done!

Pour yourself a glass of white wine or grab a bottle of Dos Equis and enjoy!

Other Mexican-inspired recipes:

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