Pork carnitas tacos are one of my favorite kinds of tacos. I used to make slow cooker pork carnitas, but as you know, these days Instant Pot is the new slow cooker, so Instant Pot Carnitas it is! And I am so happy to share my recipe with you. Although they do take longer to cook than some Instant Pot recipes, these carnitas still get done in less than half the time as the slow cooker, and they taste just as delicious!
I always share recipes with you the way I make them AND only if my family is 100% satisfied with the results. For every recipe you see posted on this blog, there are 2 or 3 that never make the cut. And how can I tell the fam isn’t happy? Do they gag, make faces? No, they’re far too polite for that (thank goodness!) It’s usually “hmm, it’s good…” or “it’s okay” or silence. If you wanted to experiment with the timing for cooking these pork carnitas, you could cut the meat into much smaller pieces and cook the carnitas for less time (about 60 minutes, and if the meat’s still not tender enough, just cook it a bit more.) This recipe for Instant Pot carnitas is based on my Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe, except that in this recipe I use orange juice instead of beer and up the Mexican chili powder a bit.
Once the meat is cooked, don’t skip the final step, which is to crisp up the pork on just one side. I learned this trick from the Recipe Tin Eats pork carnitas recipe. I chose to crisp up the meat in a non-stick frying pan, but if you don’t want to have to clean another pan, you could transfer the cooked carnitas and juice from the Instant Pot to a serving dish and just use the ‘Saute’ setting on the Instant Pot to crisp up the carnitas meat (Press ‘Saute’ and then press ‘Adjust’ to change the temperature between ‘Less’, ‘Normal’ and ‘More’, if desired. )
My family likes lots of spices and we really love the flavor of these pork carnitas, but you can reduce the seasonings to suit your tastes. And kick up the spice of this carnitas recipe even more by adding chopped jalapeno to the Instant Pot along with the onions, or to make Chipotle Pork Carnitas, add a chopped chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. There’s enough filling here that you can feed 6 people easily and maybe even have some leftovers for the next day’s lunch! Instant Pot carnitas can be used to make pork carnitas tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos or even a Mexican-flavored pulled pork sandwich.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, do try and read the Instant Pot Manual / Beginner’s Quick Start Guide blog post first and then come back here to learn how to make Instant Pot carnitas.
Instant Pot Carnitas Ingredients
Instant Pot Carnitas Step-by-Step Instructions
- Cut pork into 3 pieces.
- Mix together oregano, cumin, coriander, salt, black pepper and Mexican chili powder. Rub spice mix all over pork shoulder and place it in the Instant Pot.
- Add onion, garlic, orange juice, broth, lime juice over the top.
- Close Instant Pot Lid, and make sure steam release handle is in the ‘Sealing’ position.
- Press ‘Manual’ and ‘+’ or ‘-‘ until display reads ’90’ (90 minutes).
- Instant Pot display will change to ‘On’.
- Once the Instant Pot is pressurized, the float valve will go up.
- The display will count down from 90 to 0; it will switch to ‘Keep Warm’ mode and display ‘L0:00’.
- Allow the pressure to drop naturally (this can take up to 30 minutes).
- When your Instant Pot is depressurized, the float valve will be in the down position.
- Press ‘Keep Warm/Cancel’ and open the Instant Pot.
- Carefully remove pork from Instant Pot and place on a large plate or bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Using two forks, shred the pork. It should be very tender.
- Use a large slotted spoon to remove the onion mixture from the liquid in the Instant Pot and add it to the shredded pork.
- Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
- Place desired amount of shredded pork in the frying pan and press down gently.
- Pour 2 to 3 Tbsp of the juices from the Instant Pot over the meat to moisten the pork while it’s cooking.
- Fry the pork mixture until it is crisp on the bottom. Don’t flip the meat over, just fry it on one side, about 6 to 8 minutes.
- To serve, place pork carnitas in a heated corn tortilla and add your choice of fillings.