What are carnitas?
One of our most FAQs – what are Carnitas? And why is it any different than regular cooked meat?
After a little research, I found that carnitas are a Mexican specialty of seasoned pulled pork, traditionally fried in lard, with a mixture of juicy and crispy browned parts. Carnitas are great in sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, or served as the meat in a bowl.
This recipe for pork carnitas is definitely not fried in lard, but quickly cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot with delicious spices. So although these may not be your traditional carnitas, they are full of flavor and delicious!
How to make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:
Cut pork into 2″ cubes and place in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Toss pork with olive oil, then sprinkle spice mixture overtop and toss again.
Place pork in the instant pot, then add orange juice, onion, and garlic.
Place lid on slow cooker and move vent to SEALING.
Cook on MANUAL on HIGH PRESSURE for about 60 minutes until the pork is cooked all the way through.
QUICK RELEASE pressure, then remove pork from the Instant Pot with a slotted spoon and shred.
We served our carnitas as tacos with pico de gallo and cotija cheese.
Related Recipe: Looking for more Instant Pot Pork Recipes?! Try our Instant Pot Kalua Pork!
What Instant Pot should I buy?
All Pressure Cookers are just slightly different. All of us own this Instant Pot brand 6-quart pressure cooker and we haven’t had any problems with it. We’d highly recommend it!
How to make the carnitas crispier:
To make these taste more like traditional carnitas, we would recommend broiling them for a crispier texture.
Cover a large baking sheet (15x10x1″) with foil and spread the shredded meat on top of it. Pour some of the liquid from the Instant Pot over the meat (I used about 1 1/2 cups – use as much or as little as you like).
Broil meat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize around the edges (you may need to flip once during this time).
Related Recipe: If you’re looking for a meal that is filling and tasty, try these Instant Pot Spicy Chicken and Rice Bowls. The Instant Pot makes a tender, flavorful chicken that will have people coming back for more.
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Can I make this in the slow cooker?
YES! You can make these carnitas in the slow cooker. In fact, it’s one of the most popular slow cooker recipes on our site.
See how to make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas HERE.
How to make this a freezer meal:
Place roast, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, olive oil, orange juice, onion and garlic into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Place freezer bag into freezer and it will last up to 90 days.
When ready to use, dump ingredients from bag into Instant Pot and add 1/2 cup chicken broth or water in with the frozen food. Place the lid on top, move the valve to SEALING, and press the MANUAL button. Set timer for 90-100 minutes (or about 30 minutes per pound of your roast).
Do a NATURAL RELEASE when the timer is done – I even like to let it sit in the Instant Pot for a few hours so that it falls apart so easily. Follow the rest of the instructions as written.
What to serve with Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:
- Skillet Refried Beans
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Spanish Brown Rice
- Chili’s Copycat Blender Salsa
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe
- 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder (or pork butt roast)
- 2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup orange juice
- 1 small onion quartered
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Cut pork into 2" cubes and place in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Toss pork with olive oil, then sprinkle spice mixture overtop and toss again.
- Place pork in the instant pot, then add orange juice, onion, and garlic.
- Place lid on instant pot and move vent to SEALING.
- Cook on MANUAL on HIGH PRESSURE for about 60 minutes until the pork is cooked all the way through.
- QUICK RELEASE pressure, then remove pork from the Instant Pot with a slotted spoon and shred.
- Instant Pot
Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes
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