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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

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This highly versatile and fall-apart-tender pork recipe can be served in so many ways. For starters, this seasoned, tender pork is delicious in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, or served over rice.  

These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are highly versatile and a fall-apart-tender pork recipe that can be served in so many ways.

For starters, this seasoned, tender pork is delicious in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, or served over rice. My personal favorite is to enjoy them in these Pork Carnitas Bowls

Of course, if you don’t have an instant pot, feel free to make this in your slow cooker! Or if you don’t like pork, try chicken thighs! 

Instant Pot Carnitas on a platter

Shredded Instant Pot Carnitas

Important Note: Different Instant Pot models offer different features and buttons. (These instructions are for the IP-Duo series).

How to make this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe:

chicken broth
fresh orange juice or  2 large oranges
lime juice
salt & pepper
extra virgin olive oil
3½ – 4  lbs pork shoulder roast
1  medium  red onion
1  medium  jalapeno
2-3  cloves garlic

Make Your Dry Rub for your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:

I keep this on hand already made for when I want to make this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe. In a bowl or small jar, combine: 

  • ½ T. chili powder

  • ½ T. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 t. garlic powder

  • 1 t. ground cumin

  • ½ t. smoked paprika

  • ½ t. chipotle powder
  • 
1 t. dried Mexican oregano

  • 1 t. sea salt

  • ½ t. ground black pepper

To cook your Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:

In a bowl, whisk together chicken broth, fresh orange juice, and lime juice with the chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, garlic and ground cumin. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside. 

Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine.

Season and sear the pork

Rub mixture onto pork until each piece is thoroughly covered. Press well to adhere. Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot® and set to “High.”

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the seasoned pork shoulder pieces to the container. Sear until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.

Note: DO NOT use lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot. Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot® and set aside.

Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion and jalapeño. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.

Pressure cook

Add the browned pork back back into the instant pot and pour the seasoned broth on top. 

Add lid and lock into place. Set the steam vent to “Sealing.” Press the “Manual” button and adjust to the “High” setting, if necessary.

Adjust cook time to 30 minutes. (Select 40 minutes for 4+ pound roasts). When the Instant Pot® cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before doing a quick release of any remaining steam.

Shred

Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and gently shred with two forks.

(Optional) Broil

Want Crispier Instant Pot Pork Carnitas? Pre-heat the oven broiler to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and gently shred with two forks.

Drizzle with ¼ cup juices from the Instant Pot® and toss to combine before spreading into a thin, even layer. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.

Place pork under broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.

Instant Pot Carnitas on a white platter

These Pork Carnitas make enough to feed a crowd. Which is fine, since I always love to have leftovers!

What to Serve with Instant Pot Pork Carnitas:
homemade guacamole,
salsa,
sour cream 
homemade tortillas
Refried Beans 
Cilantro 
Diced Red Onion 
or make these pork carnitas into Pork Carnitas Rice Bowls

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Yield: 6-8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

This highly versatile and fall-apart-tender pork recipe can be served in so many ways. For starters, this seasoned, tender pork is delicious in lettuce wraps, tacos, salads, or served over rice.  

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice , approximately 2 large oranges
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3½ - 4 lbs pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno, diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled & chopped
  • Dry Rub Ingredients:
  • ½ T. chili powder

  • ½ T. unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1 t. garlic powder

  • 1 t. ground cumin

  • ½ t. smoked paprika

  • ½ t. chipotle powder
  • 
1 t. dried Mexican oregano

  • 1 t. sea salt

  • ½ t. ground black pepper
  • 
3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided

Instructions

  1. Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine:

½ T. chili powder


½ T. unsweetened cocoa powder


1 t. garlic powder


1 t. ground cumin


½ t. smoked paprika


½ t. chipotle powder

1 t. dried Mexican oregano


1 t. sea salt


½ t. ground black pepper

  1. Rub mixture onto pork until each piece is thoroughly covered. Press well to adhere. 
  2. Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot® and set to “High.” Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the seasoned pork shoulder pieces to the container. Sear until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
  3. Note: DO NOT use lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot.
  4. Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork.
  5. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot® and set aside.
  6. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion and jalapeño. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  7. Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth, orange juice, and lime juice on top. Add lid and lock into place. Set the steam vent to “Sealing.” Press the “Manual” button and adjust to the “High” setting, if necessary. Adjust cook time to 30 minutes. (Select 40 minutes for 4+ pound roasts).
  8. When the Instant Pot® cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before doing a quick release of any remaining steam.

Notes

The instructions for this recipe include a couple of optional steps that can be omitted to save time. For example, the aromatic blend of onion, jalapeno, and garlic does not need to be sautéed before cooking the pork, but doing so deepens and releases more flavor.

In addition, the pork can be shredded and served as soon as it is done cooking. However, the extra step of tossing it with some cooking liquid and broiling under high heat delivers the delicious, crispy edges found in traditional carnitas recipes.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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Becca

Friday 15th of January 2021

A very confusing but good recipe. lol I too didn’t understand where the second set of dry ingredients came in. I just used the first list of dry ingredients as a dry rub then browned the meat, then sautéed the veggies, put the meat back in, poured the chic broth, lime and orange juice over top and cooked it. It was yummy. The cocoa did some smoky magic, I suggest it be used. It added a lot of depth to the flavor of the meat.

momma lew

Saturday 16th of January 2021

I am sorry that was confusing for you. I will have to revamp the instructions for these instant pot pork carnitas. I am glad you enjoyed them though!

Dadcooks

Monday 4th of January 2021

There are no instructions on what to do with the additional dry ingredients listed at the top of the ingredient list. When do I add these to my pork carnitas?

momma lew

Monday 4th of January 2021

Just under how to cook your instant pot pork carnitas - you will see it says what to do with them. You make a rub, rub the pork with it and then make a seasoned broth.

Sarah

Monday 26th of October 2020

The previous commenter mentioned this but I don’t think it was understood. There are seasonings listed in addition to the dry rub “ 1 tbsp chili powder 1/2 tsp smoked paprika 1 tsp cumin salt & pepper, to taste 1 tsp oregano” but then never mentioned in the instructions. I added the additional seasonings after cooking before broiling once I shredded the meat. But I think that is where the confusion was coming from.

momma lew

Monday 26th of October 2020

Hi, all of the ingredients are accounted for. Scroll down to the printable recipe for full ingredient measurements. Thanks!

Sarah

Monday 26th of October 2020

But also this was delicious. Made it this evening.

Finetta

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Hi, do we cut up the pork into chunks or can it be seared as a whole? I have a 2.080Kg piece. Thanks!

momma lew

Wednesday 17th of June 2020

Hi, it's up to you! Readers and myself have done both!

Amari

Thursday 30th of April 2020

I’m in the middle of making this recipe but I’m so confused. Are the ingredients listed in top in addition to the dry rub or the same? If so the measurements differ so which to use? If not when do you use them? No instructions....

momma lew

Thursday 30th of April 2020

All of the measurements & ingredients are in the recipe card.