Still haven’t decided what to have this Thanksgiving, try this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe. Carnitas is a popular Mexican pork dish, cook in spices, lime juice and jalapeno. Conventionally, pork is braised for hours on the stove but making this scrumptious carnitas in an instant pot you can serve it in an hour.
This is every working mom’s (or if dad is the cook) dream to have something on the table in an hour to feed their hungry noisy kids. Instant pot comes to the rescue.
What are Pork Carnitas?
Carnitas is the Mexican’s version of pulled pork. Traditionally, pork is braised in lard for hours until tender. After simmering for hours, pork is crisp by turning up the heat. This juicy, very tender pork is pulled into shred, placed on a tortilla topped with chopped cilantro, diced onion, salsa, refried beans and sliced avocado or guacamole.
Can I make other Mexican dish with this braised Pork?
Absolutely, this braised pork is very versatile. The good news, if you love tamales, burritos, tortas, or tacos, any leftover pulled pork can be use to make these other popular, delicious dishes.
Pork can be refrigerated up to 3 days and freeze for a month in a food saver. I also suggest to freeze some sauce.
Why buy an Instant Pot?
Instant Pot has many uses and one of it’s best feature is the “Pressure Cook” function that can tenderize meat in no time. It is a melting pot of goodness and one of the best investment to add to your kitchen that will be used many times.
You can cook meat, chicken, fish, pasta, cake, soup, sauce and many more. Who doesn’t like quick meals, simply push a button and its cooking. It is safe to use and easy to clean.
Instant Pot comes in 3 sizes, 3, 6 and 8 quart but not every model comes in all sizes.
- 3 quart can feed 1 to 2 people. Note: Ribs should be cut in half and other meat to fit.
- 6 quart can cook for 3 to 6 people and it is the most popular size.
- 8 quart is great for large families or gatherings.
Get this as a Christmas gift to yourself, you won’t be sorry.
My cooking instruction doesn’t replace the owner’s manual. Please read it, if you haven’t, to familiarize yourself with all the Instant Pot features and safety precautions.
Other Ways to Cook Pork Carnitas?
If you don’t own an Instant Pot, you can cook it on the stove or in a slow cooker.
To cook on stove, braise pork with all the ingredients for 3 hours or until very tender at low heat then crisp in the oven or stove.
To cook in a slow cooker or crock pot, set at low temperature for 8 hours then broil in the oven to crisp.
How to Cook this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe
- First, use the Instant Pot SAUTE program to sear and brown pork. This process adds so much flavor.
- Once pork is seared, add all the ingredients. Simmer mixture for 15 minutes to create a depth of flavor before using the PRESSURE COOK program.
- After 15 minutes, set PRESSURE COOK program for 20 minutes. Depending on the amount and cut of meat, cooking time need to be adjusted.
- When done, wait for FLOAT VALVE to drop and open instant pot. Separate pork from sauce. Shred pork using 2 forks then transfer to a baking tray. Pour some sauce over shredded pork.
- Broil pork carnitas in oven for 5 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and pour a little big of sauce to keep moist and juicy.
- Assemble pork carnitas with tortilla, avocado, onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno or whatever topping you like. Enjoy!
Try Other Delicious Mexican Dish
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe & Video
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 pounds pork shoulder or pork butt trim excess fat
- 1 lime juiced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 big jalapeno diced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Before turning on Instant Pot, install the condensation collector behind the cooker and plug the instant pot.
- Press “SAUTE”, set time to 30 minutes and set temperature to “LESS” (press SAUTE repeatedly). After a few minutes, display will show”ON” then “HOT”. Note: Time can be set to any time, 30 minutes is long enough to saute all the ingredients. Press “CANCEL” when done.
- Add oil and sear all sides of pork for 2 minutes or so.
- Pour chicken broth and add onion, garlic, jalapeno, bay leaves,chili powder, gound pepper, salt, cumin, oregano and garlic powder.
Stir the mixture and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Press “CANCEL” to cancel Saute program.
- Place and close lid and turn the steam release handle to “SEALING”.
- Press “PRESSURE COOK” and adjust pressure level to “HIGH”.
Set time to 20 minutes. Leave it alone until done. Note: Cooking time will vary depending on the cut & amount of meat. Experiment is key! I tend to set it for short cooking time. If not tender, you can repeat the cycle for less time. However, if you think you have set the time longer than it should be – you may cancel the program at any time.
- Float valve will pop-up & the countdown begins.
- When cooking time is done, “PRESSURE COOK” will no longer be lit & display will show the elasped time. Example: L000
- Press “CANCEL”.
- Wait when “FLOAT VALVE” drops, turn “STEAM RELEASE HANDLE” to “VENTING”. It is now safe to open lid.
- Note: You can manually do a quick pressure release but be very careful when doing this. Cover “STEAM RELEASE HANDLE” with towel and turn to “VENTING”. Steam is released and liquid will splatter everywhere even on you. It is hot so make sure it is covered with towel.
- Open lid.
Separate pork and sauce. Shred pork with 2 forks.
Transfer pulled pork into an oven safe baking tray lined with foil for easy cleanup.
- Pour ¼ cup of juice from sauce over pulled pork.
Broil for 5 minutes or until pork is crispy.
Remove from oven and pour another ½ cup of juice for a moist and juicy carnitas.
Assemble pork carnitas on tortilla with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!
1. You can crisp pork in the instant pot using the SAUTE program, but I prefer using the oven or the stove. Add oil if you use your instant pot.
2. Cooked pork can be refrigerated up to 3 days and freeze for about a month in a food saver. Freeze some sauce too.