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three pork carnitas tacos on a white plate
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5 from 6 votes

Instant Pot Carnitas

This recipe for Instant Pot Carnitas has perfectly seasoned and ultra tender pork with plenty of crispy bits for texture.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 15 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: how to make carnitas, pork carnitas recipe
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 413kcal

Ingredients

Meat/Seasoning

  • 2 tsp packed light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 lbs boneless pork loin cut into 2 inch pieces (pork shoulder may also be used)
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or canola oil

Cooking Liquid

  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 12 oz Mexican beer (like Modelo)

Pineapple Salsa (optional)

  • 2 1/2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/3 cup minced red onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder regular chili powder can be substituted
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice

Instructions

Make Pineapple Salsa (if making)

  • Add all pineapple salsa ingredients to a bowl, and stir to combine.  Cover and refrigerate while you cook the pork.

Whisk Cooking Liquid

  • Whisk all cooking liquid ingredients (except beer) together in a separate mixing bowl and set aside.

Cook the Pork

  • Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic powder, chili powder, ground cumin, paprika, oregano, basil, and coriander in a small bowl.
  • Season pork pieces with seasoning mix, rubbing it into the meat.
  • Select “Saute” on the Instant Pot, and add oil.  Once hot, add half the pork pieces and sear for 1-2 minutes per side.  Remove to a plate and repeat with remaining pork pieces, adding more oil if needed.
  • Select “Cancel”.  Pour in beer, using a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen the browned bits.  Once there are not browned bits left on the bottom of the pot, pour in the sauce you whisked together earlier.
  • Add seared pork pieces, along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate, and give a quick toss to coat.
  • Secure lid and select “Pressure Cook” or “Manual” and hit the +/- buttons until you select 45 minutes.
  • Once pressure cooking time has elapsed, don’t do anything and let the pot naturally release the pressure for 15 minutes, then turn the knob to release any remaining pressure.

Crisp the Edges

  • While pork is cooking, line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set aside.
  • Remove lid and shred pork.
  • Preheat broiler on HIGH and move an oven rack to be about 6 inches from the heat.
  • Spread shredded pork on prepared baking sheet and toss with about 1/4 cup of the cooking juices from inside the Instant Pot.
  • Broil for 4-5 minutes, until edges of the pork start to brown.  Remove from oven and add another 1/4-1/3 cup of the juice and stir.
  • Broil another 4-5 minutes, until edges are browned and crispy.

To Serve

  • To serve, add carnitas to a charred tortilla (flour or corn), and top with a bit of pineapple salsa and a sprinkle of minced fresh cilantro.

Notes

To make in the Slow Cooker follow the recipe, but with the following changes.

  1. Halve all the cooking liquid ingredients.
  2. Sear the pork in a skillet on the stovetop.
  3. Deglaze the skillet with beer, scraping the bottom of the skillet to loosen those browned bits, and add the contents of the skillet, seared pork, cooking liquid, etc. to the slow cooker insert.
  4. Cover slow cooker with lid and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours, or HIGH for about 4 hours, until pork is easily shredded.

Nutrition

Calories: 413kcal | Carbohydrates: 17g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 143mg | Sodium: 999mg | Potassium: 1076mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 490IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg