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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

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Makes enough meat for about 24 tacos

It takes almost zero prep and just 35 minutes of cook time to turn pork shoulder into a tender, shreddy version of itself. The final crisping happens in a nonstick skillet, which gives you ultimate browning with almost no cleanup.


  • 3 lb. skinless, boneless pork shoulder (Boston Butt), cut into 2" pieces
  • 2 jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise, stems removed
  • 1 Tbsp. Diamond Crystal or 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Corn tortillas, pico de gallo, lime wedges, guacamole, pickled onions, chopped cilantro, shredded cabbage, and/or crema (for serving; optional)

Special Equipment

  • Special Equipment: A 6-qt. Instant Pot or other electric pressure cooker

Recipe Preparation

  • Place pork, jalapeños, garlic, salt, oregano, pepper, coriander, and cumin in Instant Pot. Toss with your hands until well combined. Seal lid and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.

  • Release pressure manually. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a large bowl; fish out jalapeños and garlic and discard. Shred meat with two forks or your hands. Pour cooking liquid over meat and toss to combine.

  • Working in batches, transfer shredded pork to a large nonstick skillet set over high heat and cook, undisturbed, until underside is well browned, about 5 minutes. Toss and continue to cook, tossing occasionally, until some of the edges are caramelized and crisp, 5–7 minutes longer. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel–lined baking sheet. Cover with foil to keep warm and moist.

  • Serve carnitas with tortillas and taco toppings alongside (if using).

  • Do Ahead: Carnitas (without crisping) can be made 3 days ahead. Shred, toss with cooking liquid, and let cool; cover and chill. Crisp just before serving.

Reviews SectionLoved this recipe! I ended up only mixing half the cooking liquid back into the shredded meat and used the other half (mixed with chicken stock) to make pinto beans in the instant pot. Both were delicious :)AnonymousBoothbay, ME07/16/20Great simple recipe, will try the tweak from the comment on 06/05/20 next time!AnonymousMontreal06/07/20This is so good! I've made it a few times now and tweaked it to where it's perfect for us. I add some chili powder and smoked paprika, a diced onion, a cup of broth, and use canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce instead of the jalapeños. I shred it onto a baking sheet and broil it for a few minutes to crisp the edges. It's delicious.Very easy! I too was skeptical about the lack of liquid, but trusted Gaby and I am so glad I did! I put the really fatty side burner side down and upon opening the lid was shocked by the amount of liquid. So delicious!!AnonymousSeattle, WA06/04/20Good recipe, tastes great and easy prep. Unfortunately read the 2 inch pieces as 2 pieces instead of the actual 2 inch pieces. My fault of course, had to cook the meat longer as a result.namisaFort Wayneayne, Indiana05/20/20This recipe was super easy to follow and the results overdelivered.Wonderful recipe! This was the easiest carnitas that I've made so far. 2 minutes of prep time and then 35 minutes cook time. The flavors are amazing. I did double the spices as others have suggested and added an extra tsp of salt. I didn't have a jalapeño so I left it out. Didn't miss it since I got a little heat from the black pepper. The aroma of this cooking is incredible. No need to remove the garlic. It was smashed when the pork got shredded. The cooking liquid was also flavorful and delicious. Seemed a waste to discard, so I added about half of it to the shredded pork and saved the rest. I'm thinking of making some refried beans and adding that liquid to flavor the beans. Definitely making this agin.ATN654San Jose, CA05/10/20I really wanted this to be great. After reading all the debate in the comments about adding liquid or not to add liquid, I decided to trust the recipe as published and did not add any extra liquid. As soon as the pot got to pressure, I immediately got the burn food warning. I opened the pot (maybe this was user error?) gave it a good stir, breaking up bits stuck to bottom, replaced lid and let the machine do its work for the full 35 mins. After a manual release when time was up, the pork was terribly rubbery; there was quite a bit of juice as many comments described. I was able to salvage it. The shredding with forks process took a good twenty minutes as the meat was very tough and rubbery, but eventually I was able to break it down into tender shredded pieces. Because of the time suck here, I put the meat and juices on a sheet pan under the broiler to crisp them up. In the end, it was pretty delicious; not as tender as I would have expected. I'm definitely not an expert on using in the Instapot, so if there was user error involved when opening after the burn, please let me know! Would love to try it again if that was the case. Maybe rendering the fat cap before cutting into cubes would help?Low risk, high reward. This recipe is a regular in my rotation now. Gaby is a genius. As others have noted in the comments below, don't worry about the lack of liquid in the pressure-cooker, you should be fine. Definitely like the note about mincing your garlic and peppers so that you can fry them up at the end as well, though. Last time I made these as tacos and used the leftovers to make burrito bowls the next day.I made this as written and it turned out perfectly! Don't be afraid of the lack of liquid at the beginning, there was so much liquid when it was done I didn't even add it all back in because I was afraid it wouldn't crisp up. Very good, will definitely make again!AnonymousMilwaukee, WI04/26/20Delicious! I had 4.4 lbs pork shoulder and did 2 tsp salt, left the jalapeños with seeds and added an orange - turned out great! Will definitely make again.I've made this recipe three times, I must admit the first time I was nervous, like other reviewers I was concerned with the lack of liquid. Opting for a an extra fatty piece of pork, once done cooking - there's plenty of liquid left in the pot. I found it a bit bland on the first go and have since doubled up the spices. Pan frying after removing from the pot is a must, the crispy bits are delicious :DMills.R.Vancouver BC03/21/20Awesome! Took a bit longer than expected, but it doesn’t need more salt guys!! Seriously, watch that salsa. Definite remake, thanks Gaby!!AnonymousSaint Augustine, Florida03/08/20One of the best things I've ever made in my pressure cooker. I added a few tablespoons of orange juice and some chunks of onion to the pork before pressure cooking it, and the amount of liquid in the pot after it was done was way way more than was apparent before - don't worry about the problem of the liquid! It may be tempting to add seasoning before you crisp it up on the stove - DO NOT! Frying it will concentrate the liquid with all the seasoning and it will end up perfect.Definitely will make again!!Ariana de SouzaLos Angeles03/07/20GUYS! Stop freaking out over the non liquid portion and just try making it as is. We have made this recipe over 6 times now and we have never gotten an error nor has it not turned out perfect each time. We chose the oven method on 400, shredded on a sheet pan and silpat so we could start piecing together the extras while it crisped up. Sometimes I added a little more of the liquid from the instant pot (natural liquids came out once it's cooked) so it would get a little more caramelized. This is being requested almost weekly and it's something I throw in the pot while I go run errands or hit the gym so I can finish it up when I get home.You too will be able to hear an eye roll as you scroll through the reviews seeing how some put liquid in this recipe even though it doesn't call for it. Make as is; you won't regret it.Melissa YoungSOUTHERN PINES, NC01/24/20It was fantastic. Instead of adding liquid I added an onion that I quartered. Not only did it give me the moisture I needed it imparted a wonderful flavor and we had onions to add to our tacos!!!! Would make this recipe again.AnonymousSan Antonio, Texas. 01/18/20Tried this recipe using an instant pot. You Have to add at least 1 cup of water to this recipe otherwise the instant pot will not work properly . Even with adding the one cup of water I had some burn on the bottom of the pot - so add more and maybe increase the seasoning- the flavor was very bland with 1 tsp spices as the recipe recommends. Not going to use this recipe again. I would suggest looking for another carnitas recipe.AnonymousMinnesota 01/11/20This is one of the best things I've ever eaten! My husband and I were fighting over all the delicious crispy bits. The picked onions were to die for.I had to add 1/4 cup of water into the instant pot or it gave me the "FOOD BURN" alert. I also opted for my large cast iron skillet vs. a non-stick, and OMG so many crispy bits.Made this last night. It was so easy and absolutely fantastic. The crunch on the pork when you fry it really puts it over the top. There was nice flavor though not too spicy. will definitely make this again!Laura StarksChicago12/23/19God damnit Gaby. This was so freaking good! And that’s coming from someone who is generally pretty intimidated by the idea of cooking meat. I added a small shallot - and didn’t add any liquid. It came out AMAZING. I’m so excited to eat this right now. Gonna crisp up in the oven.Hvd1816Arlington, VA11/18/19This is easily the best thing that's ever come out of my Instant Pot, and perhaps out of my kitchen. I opted to brown this all up on my Lodge Griddle in batches instead of broiling it and it was a banger.I've tried a handful of IP carnitas recipes. Gaby's knocked it out of the park. I added a little orange juice and some lager for extra liquid and also minced the jalapeno and garlic. You can smell it within minutes of coming to pressure. Broiling at the end is a MUST if you like crispy carnitas. Packed with flavor. Have and will definitely make again.Did as others have suggested and minced the garlic and jalapenos and kept them in with the meat rather than discarding. Finished on a cookie sheet broiling the meat for 5-10 minutes, and it was the BEST instant pot recipe we've made to date!Delicious and so easy! Followed the recipe exactly. It does not need additional liquid for the Instant Pot. Make sure to cut or have the butcher cut the pork into 2 inch pieces. The crisped very nicely in a stainless steel skillet and didn’t stick at all. I was super happy with this recipe! Left the market at 5. Dinner was on the table by 6:30.AnonymousDarien, CT06/01/19Loved these! It was all super simple and tasty..I put the pork on a pan and put it in a broiler instead of on the stove top and it was delicious.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

This super easy recipe for Instant Pot pork carnitas has a secret shortcut that gets mouthwatering Mexican style shredded pork on your dinner table in a fraction of the time of traditional recipes. Just a few simple, everyday ingredients and your Instant Pot can make an amazing meal.

Shredded pork carnitas made in the Instant Pot

  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons ground chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 bone-in pork chops
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup beer&mdash preferably Modelo or Corona
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 4-6 small tortillas (flour or corn)
  • 1 cup crumbled cheese (cotija, queso fresco, or monetary jack)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • Cilantro or Parsley leaves
  • Lime wedges
    1. In a small bowl, combine all of the spice rub ingredients (brown sugar, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, and salt).
    2. Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over both sides of the pork chops and rub them to make sure all of the spice rub sticks.
    3. Heat your Instant Pot on the Sauté-Normal function. Add the olive oil and let it heat for another minute.
    4. When the oil is hot (but not yet smoking) add the pork chops and cook for 2 minutes. Turn the pork chops to the other side and cook for an additional 2 minutes.
      NOTE: Make sure the pork chops are in a single layer. You want to develop a good sear on each side&mdash this will help add tons of flavor to the final dish!
    5. Once the pork chops are seared, add the beer and lime juice. Switch the Instant Pot to the Pressure Cook Manual&mdash Normal function and set the timer to 45 minutes.
    6. Attach the lid and ensure the pressure valve is in the &ldquosealing&rdquo position.
      NOTE: The Instant Pot will take about 5 minutes to come to pressure and then will begin counting down from 45.
    7. After 45 minutes, the timer will have stopped and the Instant Pot will be on &ldquoKeep Warm&rdquo mode. Release the pressure manually by switching the pressure valve to the &ldquoventing&rdquo position.
      NOTE: Use a pair of long tongs or a hand with an oven mit on it to manually release the pressure. It will spit out hot water for the first couple of seconds and you don&rsquot want to get burned!
    8. Remove the pork chops to a cutting board and shred the meat using two forks&mdash discard the bones. Add the shredded meat back to the pot and switch the Instant Pot to the Sauté-Normal function again.
    9. Cook the pork, stirring occasionally, for another 3-5 minutes, or until the liquid has almost completely evaporated.
    10. Remove the meat from the Instant Pot and serve with your favorite garnishes.
    11. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 48 hours. Reheat for 2 minutes in the microwave or 10 minutes at 400F in the oven.

    Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

    Cook time 1 hour 15 minutes

    • alcohol-free
    • egg-free
    • dairy-free
    • low-carb
    • fish-free
    • peanut-free
    • shellfish-free
    • sugar-conscious
    • gluten-free
    • tree-nut-free
    • soy-free
    • wheat-free
    • Calories 341
    • Fat 21.9 g (33.7%)
    • Saturated 7.2 g (35.8%)
    • Carbs 7.5 g (2.5%)
    • Fiber 1.8 g (7.0%)
    • Sugars 2.2 g
    • Protein 28.8 g (57.6%)
    • Sodium 641.6 mg (26.7%)


    (3 1/2- to 4-pound) boneless pork shoulder or pork butt

    freshly ground black pepper

    Serving options: warm tortillas, chopped onion, fresh cilantro, sliced avocado, lime wedges


    Juice 4 limes until you have about 1/2 cup juice. Juice 1 orange (about 2/3 cup juice). Smash 4 garlic cloves. Trim off any large pieces of fat from the surface of a 3 1/2 to 4-pound boneless pork shoulder. Cut the pork into 3 pieces.

    Season the pork with 1 tablespoon kosher salt, 2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

    Heat an Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker on the Sauté setting. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil. Add 1 piece of pork and sear on all sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. If the pressure cooker registers a burn warning, remove the pork from the pot, pour in 1/4 cup water, and scrape up any burned bits. Return the pork to the pot and continue cooking until browned. Transfer the pork to a plate, and repeat with the remaining pieces of pork.

    Turn off the pressure cooker. Add the lime and orange juices and use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Return the pork to the pot in an even layer. Add the garlic.

    Lock the lid on and make sure the pressure valve is set to seal. Cook on HIGH pressure for 55 minutes. It will take 7 to 10 minutes to come up to pressure.

    Once the cook time is done, let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, arrange a rack in the top third of the oven and heat the broiler to high.

    Quick release any remaining pressure. Transfer the pork to a rimmed baking sheet, and use 2 forks to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Discard any large pieces of fat. Spread the carnitas into an even layer. Broil the carnitas until the ends are browned and crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.

    Spoon some of the cooking liquid over the carnitas and serve on warm tortillas with desired toppings.

    Recipe Notes

    Storage: Store leftover carnitas in the cooking liquid in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days, or freeze for 3 months.

    Today I bring you Instant Pot Pork Carnitas, an easy freezer dump meal and takes very little time to prep. Even better, it can be made in the slow cooker or a pressure cooker. And even better than that? You can cook one batch and then use the meat for multiple meals!! (Hallelujah!!)

    We made some last week when pork shoulder roasts were on sale, and it fed us for four different meals – two nights of pulled pork street tacos, one night of pulled pork salads, and one night of pulled pork nachos! All from the same recipe.

    Best of all, you can freeze the pulled pork after it has been cooked and keep it in your freezer to pull out for any of those meals at a moments notice. It’s another great staple item to have in your freezer.

    It’s easy, cheap and definitely versatile! What’s not to love about all of the best time and money savings tactics all together in one meal.

    You can prep this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas as a freezer meal, or just make right from scratch and freeze the leftovers. Traditionally, the pulled pork is browned in a skillet after it is cooked, to get a nice carmelized crust. I recommend you don’t skip this step, as it adds a great depth of flavor, but its totally doable and edible without.

    If you’re making up a large batch and intend to freeze some of this for later meals, you’ll want to freeze the pulled pork after it is cooked but before you brown it. Leave the browning until you’re ready to prepare your meal to eat.

    You can use this pulled carnitas pork in tacos, on salads, in burritos or enchiladas, on nachos with some Freezer Cheese Sauce, or just serve it straight up with rice! It goes great with some pico de gallo or Freezer Salsa, or garnished with a little extra lime juice and some chopped cilantro. Give this great meal multitasker a try – you will not be disappointed!


    Dry Rub

    • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
    • 1 Tbsp cumin
    • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper
    • 1 Tbsp avocado oil

    Braising Liquid

    • 4 cloves garlic smashed
    • 1 ea jalapeño pepper rough chop
    • 1 ea orange juiced
    • 2 ea limes juiced

    Salsa Fresca

    • 3 ea tomatoes seeded, small dice
    • 1 clove garlic minced
    • 1 Tbsp lime juice
    • 1 Tbsp cilantro finely chopped
    • 1 ea jalapeño pepper seeded, small dice - for some heat keep the seeds
    • 2 Tbsp red onion minced
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    • ½ tsp ground black pepper

    Lettuce Wraps


    Share on Pinterest! Pin at @Butcher_Box!

    Emilie Abijanac

    Emilie Abijanac is the Culinary Director for ButcherBox. She is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute with over 20 years of catering experience in Boston. Emilie was the Sous Chef for East Meets West Catering and has worked with Kate’s Table and La Fête.

    Recipe Summary

    • 1 boneless pork shoulder (6 pounds), trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
    • 2 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (2 chiles)
    • Kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)
    • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 1 lime), plus lime wedges for serving
    • 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
    • 8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
    • Corn tortillas, for serving
    • Shredded red cabbage, chopped avocado, cilantro leaves, and crumbled queso fresco, for serving

    In the bowl of a multicooker, toss together pork, chiles, 4 teaspoons salt, oregano, cumin, and cayenne. Add orange and lime juices, onion, garlic, and 1 cup water. Secure lid of multicooker. Cook on "Meat/Stew" setting for 50 minutes. Once time is complete, allow pressure to release naturally. Carefully remove lid. Discard onions and garlic. In the bowl of the multicooker, use two forks to shred pork into bite-size pieces.

    Using tongs, place a tortilla directly on a gas flame or in a heavy skillet over high heat. Cook, flipping once, until lightly toasted and charred in places, about 30 seconds. Wrap in a clean kitchen towel. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Serve carnitas in tortillas with cabbage, avocado, cilantro, cheese, and a squeeze of lime.

    Peel the red onion and slice off the ends. Cut the onion in half lengthwise and slice each half thinly. In a small bowl or jar, combine the sliced onion with 1/3 cup of lime juice, 3/4 teaspoon of kosher salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. If desired, add 1 teaspoon of finely chopped cilantro. Set aside.

    Pat the pork shoulder dry with paper towels, and cut it into large chunks.

    Choose the high sauté setting on the Instant Pot and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Working in batches, brown the pork in the hot oil (about 8 minutes total).

    Cancel the sauté function, and put all the browned pork in the pot. Add the oregano, cumin, and 2 teaspoons of kosher salt. Toss with the pork, then add the jalapeño rings, quartered onion, and bay leaves. Cut the 2 oranges and 2 limes in half and juice them add the juice to the pot along with the chicken stock.

    Lock the lid in place, and make sure the steam release valve is in the sealing position. Select manual (or pressure cook button), high pressure, and set the time to 40 minutes. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally (this will take about 20 to 30 minutes).

    Line a large baking sheet with foil. Preheat the broiler.

    Remove the pork pieces to a cutting board using a slotted spoon. Shred or chop the pork, and arrange the pieces in a single layer on the foil-lined baking sheet. Broil the pork for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the edges are crisp.

    Arrange the pork in tortillas and garnish with the pickled onion, cilantro, salsa or diced tomato, and radishes, if desired.

    Glass Bakeware Warning

    Do not use glass bakeware when broiling or when a recipe calls to add liquid to a hot pan, as glass may explode. Even if it states oven safe or heat resistant, tempered glass products can, and do, break occasionally.

    Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

    Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar and sweet paprika.

    Step 2

    Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork pieces and place in Instant Pot. Squeeze juice from oranges and limes over the pork. Place rinds pulp side down in Instant Pot and add 1 cup water.

    Step 3

    Make sure sealing ring is in place on the lid. Lock the lid onto Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the 'sealing' position. Press the 'manual' button and set Instant Pot for high pressure for 40 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then the display will show a countdown timer.

    Step 4

    After 40 minutes, allow pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Open the lid.

    Step 5

    Preheat oven broiler. Shred the pork using two forks then use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and place on a baking sheet. Taste for saltiness and add as you see fit.

    Step 6

    Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes.


    Step 7

    Add sliced onions to a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to fully cover and count to 10. Drain onions and place in jar or bowl.

    Step 8

    Heat vinegar, lime juice, 1/8 cup sugar, chili flakes and salt in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.

    Step 9

    Taste for sweetness and add more sugar as needed.

    Step 10

    Pour vinegar mixture over onions. Allow to stand at room temperature until fully cooled. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.


    Step 11

    Warm tortillas in oven. Place carnitas in tortillas and serve topped with sliced avocado and cilantro.

    Instant Pot Pork Carnitas - Recipes

    The timing was off with this one. I used a pork shoulder blade roast and perhaps that was the cooking issue. After 25 mins with NRV it was still very tough. Put it back in for another 8 mins but i think it could have used more. I thought the flavour was bland so I added more cumin and taco seasoning with a bit of the pot juices before putting it in the oven. Not bad but not my favorite

    I made a few modifications of my own, but for the most part I stayed true to the recipe. I think I may have given my favorite Mexican place the what for. Dynamite, just dynamite.

    Very very good. Didn’t have pork lard so used 2 TBSP bacon grease. I mixed seasonings & one sliced red onion with the pork cubes about 1 hour before the sauté. Then after the sauté added the lime & OJ. Crisped under the broiler as suggested. Served with grilled onions & peppers.

    I know it’s not identical to the recipe but was fundamentally similar. I was concerned that the recipe didn’t have enough liquid for pressure cooking but there was plenty of liquid when carnitas were done. Saved to make sauce in the future.


  1. Fouad

    I think you are wrong. We will examine this.

  2. Zuhayr

    I believe you were wrong. I'm sure.

  3. Reaghan

    Bravo, it seems to me, is the admirable phrase

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