Tender, juicy pork bursting with so much flavor! This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe is the perfect family dinner recipe. It’s easy to make in your pressure cooker and makes the perfect taco, burrito or quesadilla.
If you’re looking for the best taco meat, enchilada or burrito filling look no further than this Instant Pot pork carnitas recipe!
This post is sponsored by the Iowa Pork Producers Association. All text and opinions are my own.
If you made carnitas in the oven it would take hours! I don’t know about you, but I don’t have hours to babysit something in the oven. Give me the IP instead – it cooks the cooking time way down.
In about an hour and a half you can have tender shredded pork that is loaded with flavor! You can use it to make so many things – tacos, nachos, and burrito bowls are just a few. Plus, pork is packed with protein so I feel good feeding it to my family!
Delicious Homemade Pork Carnitas
My family LOVES pork carnitas! You can wrap that delicious meat up in tortillas and add all of your favorite toppings. Add some chips, salsa, and guacamole on the side and I can guarantee everyone around your table will love it.
I love this recipe even more because of my partnership with Iowa Pork Producers Association. If you’ve been following along you already know I grew up on a farm, so I love supporting other family farms! Iowa Producers Association does just that and I love knowing the pork I buy supports a farming family just like mine.
Did you know about one third of the pork raised in the United States comes from Iowa? Most of that pork is eaten here in the United States!
I’m not part of the day-to-day farm operations these days but I love to surprise my dad and brother with a delicious meal after a long day. Pork carnitas is perfect! I can make it ahead in my electric pressure cooker and warm it up for them later – it really hits the spot. Field meals anyone? These would be great to bring out to field during planting and harvesting!
If you think homemade carnitas is too complicated or time-consuming, you have got to try this Instant Pot recipe. It’s so delicious, so easy, and a hit every time I make it.
If you don’t have an IP, no worries! I have a really great slow cooker carnitas recipe that’s just as easy.
The Best Cut of Pork to Use
The first thing you’ll need is pork and not just any cut! Pork shoulder is the best cut of meat to use because it’s marbled with fat. When you cook it, the fat melts into the meat giving it tons of flavor. It also makes the meat incredibly tender.
I like to use a 3 to 4 pound pork shoulder. If you cooked it in the oven it would take quite a while to cook – that’s why I love the Instant Pot. Pressure cooking means less cooking time, which means dinner is on the table faster.
I like to trim the excess fat and cut the shoulder into chunks. This makes it easier to brown in the IP.
What makes pork carnitas so delicious are all the seasonings, juices, herbs, and spices. If you make carnitas the traditional Mexican way, you would braise the pork in lard and spices in the oven.
For this recipe, I skip that extra fat – the pork has plenty so all you need are a few ingredients to make a delicious braising liquid.
- Mexican beer, Pilsner or lager beer
- Fresh orange juice
- Fresh lime juice
- Minced garlic cloves
- Salt and ground black pepper
- Chili powder
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Ground cumin
When you cook the pork shoulder in the braising liquid all of the flavors get infused into the meat. I love the mix of citrus, beer, and seasonings – the complement the flavor of the pork. It’s so good!
How to Make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
Once you have your pork shoulder and the other ingredients, you’re ready to make some delicious carnitas! Here’s the step-by-step so they turn out perfectly every time.
First, season the pork all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Cut it into 4″ chunks.
Turn on the sauté setting on your Instant Pot. Add canola oil, vegetable oil or olive oil to the pot and warm it.
Once it’s hot place some pork pieces in the pot. Don’t overcrowd them – there should be some space between them so they can brown evenly. If needed, cook them in batches.
Brown them on all sides and then take them out of the pot. Turn off the sauté setting and then pour the beer into the pot. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to scrape up the browned bits off the bottom.
Add all of the other ingredients and stir to combine. Place the browned pork pieces in the liquid (add any juices that collected on the plate you rested them on, too). Secure the lid and close the steam vent.
Cook at high pressure for one hour and then do a natural release for the pressure. After 15 minutes, open the steam vent and remove the lid.
Take the pork out and place it in a bowl. Turn on the sauté setting and simmer the liquid for about five minutes while you shred the meat. Place the shredded pork in the cooking liquid and stir to coat it evenly. Turn off the IP.
To crisp up the meat, turn on the broiler and move an oven rack to six inches below the broiler.
Spread the shredded meat on a baking sheet and broil it for about four to five minutes. Turn the meat over and broil it for four to five minutes on the other side. Once the edges of the shredded pork are browned and crispy, it’s ready.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and it’s ready to serve!
How to Serve It
Pork Carnitas Tacos: Pile that delicious meat in corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Top them with onions, salsa, avocado, and sour cream!
Burritos: Or, use it to make the best burritos! Fill large flour tortillas with Spanish rice, carnitas, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and all of your other favorite fillings.
Taco Bowls/Burrito Bowls: Skip the tortillas and pile the meat on rice and add your favorite taco toppings. Enchiladas: Roll the carnitas up in corn tortillas, place them in a baking dish, add enchiladas sauce and cheese. Bake them until hot and bubbly.
Nachos: Grab the tortilla chips and use your carnitas to make the best nachos ever! Top them with cheese, diced jalapenos, red onion, and sliced olives and add some sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side for dipping.
Make Ahead Tips
This Instant Pot carnitas recipe is great for meal prep! You can make a batch, pop it in the fridge, and use it to make easy meals during the week.
It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to four days. Be sure to store it with the cooking liquid – this will keep the meat from drying out. Reheat in the microwave for quick meals!
You can also freeze it for several months to have on hand later.
Are you ready to break out the IP to make this easy pork carnitas recipe? You are going to love the flavors in this dish and you’ll love how many ways you can use it to make delicious dinners. Try it soon, friends – you’re going to love it!
More Amazing Pork Recipes
- If you need a quick weeknight dinner or freezer meal, you have to try my Lasagna Casserole!
- Learn how to make the best Pork Loin with Vegetables. This is a great meal for Sunday supper!
- Need a great appetizer? My Cream Cheese Sausage Dip is a hot dip that no one can resist. It’s always the first to go at parties!
- 3-4 pounds boneless pork shoulder trimmed and cut into 4 inch by 4 inch squares
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 Tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
- 12 ounces Mexican beer Pilsner or lager beer
- ½ cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 5 garlic cloves minced
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- Chopped fresh cilantro to garnish optional
- Warm corn tortillas chopped onions, chopped cilantro, avocado, salsa, pico de gallo, crumbled Queso Fresco, lime wedges etc.
- Season the pork with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
- Turn the Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil and, working in 2 batches, add the pork pieces and sear until evenly brown on both sides, about 3-4 minutes per side. Transfer meat to plate and proceed with remaining oil and pork. Remove the last batch and place on a plate. Press cancel on the Instant Pot to turn off heat.
- Pour the beer into the hot Instant Pot and using a wooden spoon scrape the bottom of the pot to remove any browned bits stuck to the bottom. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and return the pork and any juices on the plate to the Instant Pot.
- Place the lid on top of the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is in the sealed position. Cook in HIGH pressure for 60 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes at the end of cooking time. Then release any remaining pressure and remove the lid.
- Remove the pork from the pressure cooker and shred the meat.
- While you are shredding the meat, turn the pressure cooker to the Sauté mode and reduce the liquid for about five minutes.
- Return shredded pork to the Instant Pot and toss to get the meat coated in cooking liquid. Then press cancel to turn off heat.
- Turn the oven broiler to high. Place the top oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source.
- Transfer the pork to a baking sheet and spread the pork out into an even layer. Transferring some liquid with the pork is ideal.
- Broil pork for about 4-5 minutes, flip it over and broil for another 4-5 minutes or until the edges of the pork begin to brown.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven, sprinkle with chopped cilantro (optional) and serve with suggested toppings.
Pork Carnitas Tacos: Pile that delicious meat in corn tortillas or flour tortillas. Top them with onions, salsa, avocado, and sour cream! Burritos: Or, use it to make the best burritos! Fill large flour tortillas with Mexican rice, carnitas, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, and all of your other favorite fillings. Taco Bowls/Burrito Bowls: Skip the tortillas and pile the meat on rice and add your favorite taco toppings. Enchiladas: Roll the carnitas up in corn tortillas, place them in a baking dish, add enchiladas sauce and cheese. Bake them until hot and bubbly. Nachos: Grab the tortilla chips and use your carnitas to make the best nachos ever! Top them with cheese, diced jalapenos, red onion, and sliced olives and add some sour cream, guacamole, and salsa on the side for dipping. Make Ahead Tips
It will keep well in the refrigerator for up to four days. Be sure to store it with the cooking liquid – this will keep the meat from drying out. Reheat in the microwave for quick meals! You can also freeze it for several months to have on hand later.