The easiest quick and crispy Instant Pot Carnitas you will ever make! Juicy, tender and crispy and ready in about an hour. Dinner is served and taco night is on! Slow cooker option included in recipe!
It's official, I am in LOVE with my Instant Pot.
It only took about a week to realize I never want to live without it. It's that good. And these Instant Pot Carnitas are another reason why I love it all the more.
Why these Instant Pot Carnitas are the Best:
- They are ready in under an hour and a half. In only a fourth of the time it would take the slow cooker, the Instant Pot can cook up juicy, shredded pork. When you are short on time, this is a life saver!
- So crispy and juicy. You will be amazed at what the pressure cooker can do for pork tacos. I was not a believer until I took my first bite.
- Perfect for meal prep. These pork tacos are great as a make ahead meal if you like to prep in bulk early in the week.
- They are freezer friendly. Serve half and freeze the rest. You can store these carnitas for several months in the freezer. Perfect for the nights you are not up for cooking. Just thaw and then heat.
Instant Pot versus Slow Cooker:
I will be the first one to say that Carnitas need to be slow cooked. I would argue that there is no other way to do it. They come out so tender and juicy and full of flavor.
Now that I have made them in the pressure cooker, I am here to confirm that there are indeed TWO ways these can be cooked.
Instant Pot or Slow Cooker? Which do you prefer?
To make carnitas in the instant pot, round up these simple items:
- pork: shoulder or butt can be used, my preference is boneless pork shoulder with any excess fat trimmed. Cut the meat into 2 or 2 ½ inch pieces.
- garlic: 5-6 cloves minced freshly. This may seem like a lot, but it's not I promise!
- chicken broth: this will give the Instant Pot Pork Carnitas a richer flavor. You can use stock or if you don't have either, water will work.
- lime and orange juice: Freshly squeezed is ideal. The orange juice is what does it for me every time. You can add some orange zest as well if you prefer.
- spices, salt and pepper: adjust the red pepper to less if you don't want too much spice. Salt can be lessened as well as desired.
How to make this recipe:
These Instant Pot Carnitas are easy as pie, but even easier than that. Toss everything in the pressure cooker or the slow cooker and walk away until it's time to shred.
That. Is. It.
For best results, and for nice and crispy carnitas, broil on a sheet pan before serving.
- For the very best results, broil the pork carnitas for a few minutes before serving. This is what will give them that perfect crispiness.
- Leftovers! I think these are better the second day. You can freeze leftovers as well for a super quick dinner when you need something fast. They will freeze in an air tight freezer safe container for about 3 months.
- Pork shoulder seems to be the best cut for this recipe. If you are pressure cooking, you will want to cut the meat into 2-2 ½ inch pieces. If you are slow cooking, feel free to leave it in one big piece, but you can still cut it into large chunks if preferred!
What to serve with these Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:
- The answer may be what doesn’t go well with them! Ha! For starters: toppings! Shredded cheese, cilantro, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt, sliced avocado, tomatoes, a squeeze of lime. What else friends??
- Chips and dip is always a great side dish option for fajitas. This Spicy Mango Guacamole is one of our favorites. Or a 3 Bean Cowboy Caviar if you would like!
- Black beans and rice, cilantro lime rice–rice of any kind really!
- Air Fryer Corn with Cilantro Lime Butter Sauce is always a crowd pleaser for us as well.
Quick Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas (Slow Cooker Option)
- 4 lb pork shoulder (or butt), boneless
- 1 c chicken broth or stock
- 5-6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 ½ tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- ½ tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp red pepper flakes
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ - 1 tsp sea salt, to taste
- Juice of one lime
- Juice of one orange
- bunch of fresh cilantro
- Instant Pot: Cut pork into about 2 - 2 ½ inch chunks, removing excess fat, Pour chicken broth into inner pot and add pork. Add garlic, spices and juices and stir to mix well. Shut Instant Pot, lock and move steam release to Sealing. Set to pressure cook for 45 minutes.
- After 45 minutes, allow for about a 5 minute natural release, and then quick release the remaining pressure. Remove meat and shred (it will fall apart easily!). For crispy carnitas, layer evenly on a baking sheet and set the oven to broil. Broil for about 5-7 minutes or until desired crispiness. Top with plenty of freshly chopped cilantro and add your favorite toppings to your tacos!
- Slow Cooker: Pour chicken broth into bottom of crock pot. Add garlic, spices and juices to cover meat. Close Slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours and low for 6-8. Before serving, shred pork and broil as well for 5-7 minutes if desired.
- Store leftovers in a sealed container in the freezer or refrigerator.
- I find that broiling the meat before serving is amazing, but this is completely optional. If it's one more thing to do or you don't have time for it, these will still taste AMAZING!
- Leftovers! I think these are better the second day. You can freeze leftovers as well for a super quick dinner when you need something fast.
- Pork shoulder seems to be the best cut for this recipe. If you are pressure cooking, you will want to cut the meat into 2-3 inch pieces. If you are slow cooking, feel free to leave it in one big piece, but you can still cut it into large chunks if preferred!