Instant Pot

Instant Pot (Or Not) Carnitas

March 10, 2018
8 Ratings
Photo by Posie Harwood
  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

Carnitas are a perfect candidate for your pressure cooker: In under an hour, you can make flavorful, tender, fall-apart shredded pork. I use it in tacos, to top salads, as a hash, in casseroles, and beyond. —Posie (Harwood) Brien

Test Kitchen Notes

Don't have a pressure cooker or Instant Pot? Read the full article to see how you can do it without any special equipment. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • 3 pounds boneless pork roast, cut into 2" cubes
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock (or beer)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder (optional)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. In your Instant Pot, or in a saute pan over medium heat on the stovetop, heat the oil until shimmering and brown the pork on all sides, working in batches if needed. (Transfer the pork to the Instant Pot if you browned it on the stovetop.)
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients. Place the lid on the pot, turn the pot to the "sealing" position, and select Manual mode and set the time for 20 minutes. Once it finishes cooking after 20 minutes, allow the Instant Pot to manually release for 20 minutes.
  3. Take off the lid (if the steam valve hasn't dropped, make sure you move the steam value away from "Sealing"). Let the pork cool slightly, then use two forks to shred the meat. It may look like you have way too much liquid, but it will absorb it after you shred the pork.
  4. Once shredded, use the pork however you like. I like to toast a few tortillas and top them with the pork, pineapple salsa, fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Carnitas make a great salad topping, and are also excellent mixed into rice, in a sandwich (try it! trust me!), or reheated until crispy and served with eggs and hot sauce and avocado.
  5. Note: If the pork is too liquid-y even after shredding and sitting, transfer it to a large pan and cook it on the stovetop until some of liquid evaporates. This is also an excellent way to get the meat golden and crispy (you can also spread it on a sheet pan and broil it for a minute or two)—for tacos and salads, I like to take this extra step to get those crunchy edges.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • hplcman
  • Posie (Harwood) Brien
    Posie (Harwood) Brien
  • Susan Shores
    Susan Shores

4 Reviews

hplcman March 27, 2018
This recipe looks great! I usually finish off my carnitas with some time under the broiler, to make some of the meat crispy. It adds a lot of flavor and also could help with those times there's a little too much liquid left over after cooking in the instant pot....
Susan S. March 24, 2018
Thanks so much!
Susan S. March 24, 2018
Would it be OK to cut off all the fat off the pork loin before cooking since my husband has heart issues?
Posie (. March 24, 2018
Absolutely! It’ll be slightly leaner but will be delicious.