These Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are super tender in a fraction of the time, and perfectly seasoned!
Carnitas are a pulled pork that is typically braised in the oven or slow cooker for hours, creating a tender piece of meat. With the help of the pressure cooker, you can have that same tenderness and juicy flavor in a fraction of the time!
Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe
- Start by cutting up your pork into smaller chunks of meat. I typically quarter the pork roast (for this recipe I used two 2.5 pound roasts).
- Season the pork with salt and pepper and then sear directly in your pressure cooker on the SAUTE function until browned on all sides.
What Cut Is Used For Carnitas?
- If you’re going to slow roast your pork carnitas, in a pot in the oven or in your slow cooker, you’ll want to find a cut of pork that has ribbons of fat running throughout to help keep the pork nice and moist.
- For best results you’ll want to use a PORK SHOULDER or PORK BUTT roast.
- Since we’re quickly cooking these carnitas in the pressure cooker, make sure to trim as much of the fat off the outside as you can.
How to Make Simple Carnitas in the Instant Pot:
- Once you’ve seared the pork pieces sprinkle them with a combination of spices before placing them in the pressure cooker.
- Add a cup of chicken broth, some freshly squeezed orange juice and lime juice to the pot.
- Toss in a couple bay leaves, place on the lid and bring to high pressure for 80 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before fully releasing pressure.
How To Make Crispy Pork Carnitas
- Once the pork is done in the pressure cooker you’ll remove it and gently shred it into smaller chunks.
- Then you’ll turn the pressure cooker to SAUTE mode and reduce the liquid till it’s down to 1 cup left.
- Toss the shredded pork in the reduced sauce and spread into an even layer on a baking sheet.
- Broil the meat for about 5 minutes, then use a spatula to flip it over and broil for an additional 5 minutes.
By broiling the meat in the reduced sauce you’ll get little bits of caramelized and crispy pork that is seriously irresistible!
How Are Carnitas Served?
- Once you have all that delicious crispy pork carnitas, you can serve it in a multitude of ways.
- Wrapped up in a corn or flour tortilla, topped with fresh pico de gallo, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice.
- Serve it in a cheese quesadilla, in a burrito, on top of a salad… the options are endless!
What I love most about this recipe is that it makes a LOT of pork carnitas. I can use the leftovers for quick lunches throughout the week or freeze it and serve it again another night.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Recipe:
- To easily convert this instant pot recipe to the slow cooker, just brown the pork in a skillet on the stove top, prior to placing the pork in the slow cooker.
- Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours, until the pork is tender and able to be pulled apart easily.
- Transfer the juices from the slow cooker to a pot on the stove top and reduce the liquid to 1 cup.
- Continue with the rest of the recipe as written.
You’re going to LOVE this super simple recipe!
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Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- 5 lbs. boneless pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed and cut into 3 to 4 inch pieces
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 3 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 2 tsp sazon, found in the Mexican aisle
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
- 2 bay leaves
- Heat the pressure cooker on SAUTE mode until hot. Season the pork pieces with salt and pepper. Add 1 tsp olive oil to the pressure cooker and sear the pork on all sides until browned (about 5 minutes).
- Remove pork from pressure cooker and set aside. Combine the cumin, garlic powder, sazon, oregano, chili powder and cayenne pepper in a small bowl and rub into the pork pieces.
- Pour the chicken broth, orange juice and lime juice in the pressure cooker and use a wooden spoon to deglaze the pot and remove any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Carefully place the pork into the liquid and toss in the bay leaves.
- Close the lid and make sure the valve is in the sealed position. Set to HIGH pressure for 80 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes before fully releasing the pressure.
- Carefully remove the pork from the pressure cooker to a large bowl or cutting board and shred into smaller chunks. Meanwhile turn the pressure cooker to SAUTE mode and reduce the liquid till it's about 1 cup (about 10 to 15 minutes). Toss the pork in the reduced liquid.
- Spread the pork into an even layer on a baking sheet and turn your oven's broiler to high. Place the pork about 6 inches from the broiler and cooker for 5 minutes, use a spatula to flip the meat over and cook an additional 5 minutes, until browned and crispy on the edges.
- Serve with warm tortillas, avocado slices, pico de gallo and lime wedges. Enjoy!
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I forgot to get the pork out of the freezer, can I still use this recipe with it frozen?
I think this recipe works best when you are able to sear the pork prior to pressure cooking it. I would suggest waiting until your pork is defrosted first.
I made the carnitas for dinner on Sunday, and the family loved them. I tried the country style ribs and they were fantastic.
Thank you for the recipe! I made Spanish Rice to go along with the carnitas.
Oh fantastic! I’m so glad you are finding and enjoying so many recipes!
Is the nutrition facts you posted per recipe or per serving. If per serving what is the serving size. The recipe sounds great..thanks!
I made this in my Ninja Foodi over the weekend. It’s great! I was curious about the Sazon, since I had never heard of it. I can’t say if the Sazon “made it” or not but this recipe is awesome. This recipe does make a lot so we portioned it out and froze the meat and sauce separately for future meals. I used the Foodi for the whole process. Just in case another Foodi owner is curious, I will share my process. I pressure cooked the meat as directed. My meat had a lot of fat on it so after I took the meat out I poured the liquid into an fat separator to get all the extra fat off. I used the saute function to reduce the sauce and poured it into a measuring cup and set aside. I put the meat back into the Foodi and used the air crisp lid and the broil function. Mine defaulted to 10 mins broil time. Check it half way thru and stir/flip then check every few mins until it’s broiled to your liking.
That’s so awesome! Thank you for your tips!
can you use coca cola instead of broth?
YUM YUM YUM!!! even my VERY picky boyfriend approved! I couldn’t find the Sazzon in my area , but it was still delicious!!
Fantastic! So glad you enjoyed the carnitas Christy!
I made this tonight and it was amazing. I served it with Cilantro Lime Rice and diced avocado. My husband raves about it. This recipe is going in my “keeper” file!
Sounds like a fantastic dinner!! Thanks for the comment Margaret!
I want to make this but I’m wondering what Sazon flavor you used. My store has several different choices.
I use this kind: https://amzn.to/2SVA4IP (Sazon Culantro y Achiote)
I made this and we used half for tacos (amazing) and half I mixed with BBQ sauce for pulled pork sliders and that was also amazing. The crispy bits plus BBQ sauce…mmmmm. Thank you for a great recipe!
Great idea! So glad you enjoyed it!
Can you make this recipe in s crock pot?
Yes! You can definitely cook this in a crockpot. I would still sear the pork, then cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, or until the pork falls apart easily. Then follow the remainder of the instructions listed in the recipe.
Can you freeze the left overs?
Definitely! I make a big batch and freeze the leftovers all the time!
I totally recommend! I think I saw a comment about adding beer, so I added beer instead of broth and added a powdered chicken base I have to get extra flavor. Very, very good. My husband had 6 tacos!
Sweet! That sounds like an awesome substitution!
I made the recipe exactly as you stated and it turned out wonderful both times. I freeze the extra and it’s as good warmed over. The Sazon is a must with its distinctive flavor. A good homemade pico de gallo is the piece de resistance. I’ve never had the equal in any restaurant and the Instant Pot makes it so easy.
Nice! So glad you enjoyed the recipe and thank you for the comment!
Soooo Good!!! I only had pork chops but the recipe still worked great. I only cooked it in the instant pot for 45 minutes which was perfect for the 9 bone in chips I had. Followed all the other steps accordingly. The only other change was the spices. I didn’t have the “Sazon” so I looked it up and found that I could just use turmeric and paprika as a substitute. Everyone loved it!!!
That’s great! I’m so glad you enjoyed it.
I made this and OMG… my whole family loved me just a bit more! Excellent recipe. The cherry on top was broiling it for 5 minutes each side. Cheers to that! Thank you!!!
I’m happy you enjoyed it!
I always add a little cinnamon to the spice mix in the beginning (it adds a crazy authentic flavor). I also sometimes toss in half a beer!
Truly amazing! I’ve made this twice. My family loved it. I have a different brand of pressure cooker and it worked well. My only substitution was I used pork tenderloin because I couldn’t get a shoulder roast. I added 4 strips of bacon for the fat and less time.
That’s awesome that you guys are enjoying the recipe! Love the idea of using pork tenderloin with bacon! Thanks for the tip Lisa!
Mine roast is only 2.5 lbs, do you think the cooking time would be the same?
I would say to at least cook it for 60 minutes so it’s really tender and falls apart easily.
If you cut the recipe in half, would the cook time be cut in half as well?
Jill – what was the results for the cooking time? My roast is only 2.5 lbs and just saw your comment.
What would the time difference be for a 6 quart pot?
I don’t think there would be any time difference between the two.
Why do other carnitas recipes say to cook only for 30, Instant Pot site says 15??? I’m confused about the variety of cook times using an InstantPot.
This is for a large amount of pork, so in order to get it to be really tender, it’ll need to cook longer. Cooking it for a shorter amount of time will still result in cooked pork, but it wont be nearly as tender.