Instant Pot

Instant Pot Pork Shoulder Carnitas Tacos With Pineapple Salsa

July 30, 2021
2 Ratings
  • Prep time 15 minutes
  • Cook time 50 minutes
  • Serves 10 to 12
Author Notes

One of my favorite dishes to make for a group of friends or family is a tray of shredded, melt-in-your-mouth pork shoulder. It’s inexpensive and guests are always impressed by it, despite the fact that it’s such an easy lift on my part. Plus, I love a good taco party set up because it’s casual, interactive, and guests can have the option to pick and choose which toppings and salsa they’re into. Put their fate in their own hands, if you will.

For this Instant Pot pork shoulder, you can turn this humble cut of meat into a succulent, crispy platter of carnitas in under an hour thanks to the beauty of high pressure cooking. Sure, you could slow cook it for 5 to 8 hours, but I think the results under high pressure are just as tender and delicious as a days’ worth of cooking. There’s no need to use the saute function on the Instant Pot to sear the chunks of meat because you’re going to crisp everything up in one fell swoop under the broiler.

Make these for a DIY taco situation or make ‘em on a Sunday for a week of meals (you could even freeze some, too). Serve them in burritos, over rice bowls, in a chilaquiles situation, or in salads. If you’re going down the taco route, the pineapple salsa certainly isn’t necessary, but the sweet acidity of fruit plays nicely with the warm, savory bites of pork. Your favorite pico de gallo or tomatillo salsa would work just as well. —saratane

What You'll Need
  • Carnitas
  • 3 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 medium jalapeño, ends trimmed and halved lengthwise
  • 4 large garlic cloves, peeled
  • 2 large oranges, juiced (about ½ cup)
  • 2 limes, zested and juiced (about ¼ cup)
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Pineapple Salsa and Assembly
  • 1/2 pineapple, cored and finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1/2 medium jalapeño, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  1. Carnitas
  2. In the insert of an Instant Pot, using a rubber spatula or your hands, fold the pork, jalapeño, garlic, orange juice, lime zest and juice, brown sugar, salt, cumin, oregano, chili powder, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf to combine.
  3. Seal the lid and cook on High pressure for 40 minutes, until the meat is fork-tender. Release the pressure and wait until the steam has escaped.
  1. Pineapple Salsa and Assembly
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the pineapple, onion, jalapeño, cilantro, orange juice, and lime juice; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the pork to a large bowl. Discard the jalapeño, garlic, cinnamon stick, and bay leaf. Shred the meat with two forks or your hands (if it’s cool enough to handle).
  4. Heat the broiler to high. Transfer the shredded meat and any rendered fat to a sheet pan. Pour 1½ cups of the cooking liquid over the meat. Broil, rotating the pan occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned and crisp. Pour another ½ cup cooking liquid over the meat and toss to combine.
  5. Divide the pork among the tortillas and top with the pineapple salsa. Serve immediately.
  6. Do Ahead: The pork (without broiling) can be made 2 days ahead. Shred, toss with the cooking liquid, and let cool; cover and refrigerate. Broil before serving.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kim
  • sueshin67

Recipe by: saratane

Food writer, recipe developer, and private chef

2 Reviews

Kim July 23, 2022
My family LOVES this! We use a slow cooker, though, instead of an instant pot. I also 1/2 the salt because we are a little more sensitive to salt. Delicious.
sueshin67 February 15, 2022
I was looking forward to trying these carnitas. The 2 Tbsp of salt sounded way too much so I cut it in half. It was still way too salty. Was the recipe suppose to be 2 tsp salt? Also there was not enough liquid so the pork burned at the bottom of my instant pot. I do not recommend this recipe.