These Instant Pot Carnitas are both crispy and mouthwateringly tender and juicy, cooked only in the pressure cooker. These carnitas are amazing served with rice and beans or as a favorite taco filling.
Instant Pot Carnitas
This Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is about as close as you can get to authentic carnitas in an Instant Pot. Pork is seared to crispy perfection and then simmered in seasonings until it's so tender that shredding is almost unnecessary, all done in a pressure cooker!
This is a straightforward, simple, and inexpensive recipe that results in the most tender and juicy bites of pork you can imagine.
It's lightly seasoned and has just hints of sweetness and fresh orange.
What Are Carnitas?
Carnitas literally means "little meats" in Spanish. It is a Mexican version of pulled pork, where pork is crisped up over high heat then simmered for hours with seasonings and lard until it's so tender that it falls apart to shred.
It is often served a main course or as a filling for tacos.
What Cut of Meat Should I Use for Instant Pot Carnitas?
I recommend pork butt or Boston butt. The marbling in this cut of meat is great for cooking in the Instant Pot and keeping a juicy, tender bite of pork.
Alternately, you can use pork shoulder, which has a little less marbling but will still stand up fairly well to the pressure cooker. Pork butt and pork shoulder both come from the shoulder area of the pork, but a butt will generally have a fat cap and more marbling, whereas shoulder will have slightly less marbling and hold its shape better.
Do I have to Use Lard?
Lard is used in traditional recipes. It's easy to find at most supermarkets or butchers, and also inexpensive.
If you're in a pinch, you can use olive oil or vegetable oil for this recipe as well.
How to Make Instant Pot Carnitas Crispy
In this recipe, we cook the pork on high heat with fat to sear all the edges, which adds the crispness.
If you wish to add more crispy texture, after cooking and shredded the carnitas, add the meat to a hot skillet on the stove and give it a quick sear.
Ways to Serve Instant Pot Carnitas
Carnitas is often served as a main course with rice and refried beans. This instant pot carnitas can also be served as the filling for tacos, burritos, flautas, enchiladas, or on top of nachos or tostadas.
Different salsas and toppings can also be added. Try a traditional tomato salsa or a fun pineapple salsa!
We typically serve these Instant Pot carnitas with refried black beans, rice, corn tortillas, pico de gallo or chopped onions, lime wedges, and sometimes a sprinkle of cotija cheese.
Can I Make Carnitas in the Slow Cooker?
Yes, you can! Here is my slow cooker carnitas recipe.
OR Simply cook this recipe in the slow cooker on low for about 8 hours. You can sear the pork in a skillet on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker or skip it.
More Mexican Recipes You'll Love
- Refried Black Beans - creamy slow simmered black with soft, comforting flavors.
- Authentic Guacamole - ultra creamy guacamole packed with flavor from tomato, jalapeno, onion, and lime.
- Instant Pot Barbacoa - tender beef in an earthy, spicy sauce. Goes great on tacos!
- Homemade Corn Tortillas - make the best tacos with easy and fresh tortillas!
- Cilantro Lime Rice - round out your meal with this zesty, fresh rice.
Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas Video
Instant Pot Carnitas
- ¼ cup lard
- 3½ pounds pork shoulder cut into chunks
- 1 large orange sliced
- 1 white onion sliced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup Coca Cola
- ½ cup orange juice
- ½ cup evaporated milk
- Turn your Instant Pot to saute setting. Add lard and melt until liquid.
- Add pork pieces to oil (only enough that will fit on the bottom. You will probably have to work in batches. I usually do 2 batches in my XX quart Instant Pot) Allow to cook without stirring or moving for about 5-7 minutes, until golden and crispy on the bottom. Flip pork over and repeat cooking until crispy. Remove from instant pot onto a plate and repeat with remaining pork.
- Add all pork and all remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot. Stir gently to incorporate.
- Place lid on and close vent.
- Pressure Cook at High Pressure for 30 minutes, followed by a 15 minutes Natural Release. Release the remaining pressure after 15 minutes and open the lid carefully.
- Remove pork pieces from liquid. Shred or chop. Serve warm.
- Lard: Vegetable oil can also be used.
- Storage: Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days. Reheat in the microwave, in a skillet, or in the oven on a baking sheet at 400°F for about 15 minutes.
- Freezer Directions: Transfer cooked and cooled pork to a freezer bag or container. Store for up to 3-6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheat in the microwave, in a skillet, or in the oven on a baking sheet at 400°F for about 15 minutes.
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