If you haven’t bought into the Instant Pot craze yet, you are really missing out. I use mine at least once a week and it is easily my favorite kitchen appliance. You can take a frozen roast from frozen to fall apart tender in less than 2 hours. Now that is convenient! One of the very first recipes I ever created was these Instant Pot Carnitas. If you don’t know what carnitas are they are essentially braised or roasted pork, served shredded in small pieces, often served as a filling in tacos and burritos. Typically carnitas are marinated in citrus and garlic and then cooked for an extended period of time until they are fall apart tender.
I am a huge Mexican food fan. Mexican food is a food that I will never get sick of. Growing up, my sister and I would always order carnitas at Mexican restaurants if they were on the menu. As I grew into adulthood, I sought out to make my own homemade carnitas. It took years and a lot of trial and error to come up with this recipe. There were many failed attempts before this one.
This recipe has truly been a labor of love and its something I am very proud of. We have ate these carnitas on the monthly basis for years now and they are my go to meal when having company over. The Instant Pot is the perfect vessel to create that fall apart, melt in your mouth texture that really makes these carnitas stand out. They are definitely not lacking on flavor and you’re whole family will be sure to love them!
Tips & Tricks
- I’ve been asked before if there is a way to cook these without an Instant Pot. The answer to that question is yes, there is a way but I much prefer you buy yourself an Instant Pot and cook them in there. If you are unable to do so, you can use a saute pan for browning the meat and then transfer the meat to a crock pot and add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
- The jalapeno adds flavor but not spice, just make sure you remove the seeds.
- Save the leftover cooking juice and use it as the base for a homemade soup. I like to add potatoes, carrots and leftover carnitas to the cooking liquid and turn it into carnitas soup!
Instant Pot Carnitas
- 4-6 lb boneless pork shoulder
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp garlic salt
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 1/2 tsp pepper
- 2 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 tbsp oregano
- 1 jalapeno, deseeded
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 40 oz orange juice
- 5 large garlic cloves
- Tortillas, salsa and cheese for serving
- Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks.
- Season all sides of the pork shoulder with salt, 1 1/2 tbsp garlic salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and oregano.
- Turn your instant pot to saute mode and add olive oil.
- In batches, sear all sides of the pork chunks, one batch at a time. Set each browned batch to the side until all chunks are browned.
- Once all pork chunks are browned, add them back to the instant pot and add jalapeno, onion, garlic cloves and orange juice.
- Put on the lid and turn the valve to the sealed position.
- Cook on manual, high pressure for 45 minutes.
- Once 45 minutes is up, let pressure naturally release for 15 minutes and then manually release the remaining pressure.
- Remove lid. Using a slotted spoon, remove pork chunks and add them to a medium sized bowl.
- The meat should be tender enough that as you stir the pork chunks, they shred easily. Stir until all the meat is shredded.
- Turn the oven to high broil.
- Line a sheet pan with tinfoil and spread shredded pork evenly onto the sheet pan.
- Pour 1 cup of the cooking liquid from the instant pot, evenly over the shredded meat.
- Sprinkle the pork with remaining 1/2 tbsp garlic salt.
- Broil for 2-5 minutes, watching very closely until the top of the meat is crisp and browned.
- Remove from the oven and pour an additional 1 cup cooking liquid evenly over the top of the pork.
- Serve meat in tacos, burritos, nachos, etc.
Whitney Alvey says
I’ve made this recipe 5+ times now and everytime I can’t get over how good it is. It is some of the best tasting comfort food. Definitely 10/10!