This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe is full of wonderful flavors including orange, lime, chili, paprika, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Carnitas are the Mexican version of pulled pork, but have the amazing combo of being tender, juicy, and full of flavor and having crispy edges too! You DO NOT want to miss out on this delicious dish!
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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions; to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required, and to understand the steps and timings involved.
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.
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 (grilling) under high heat delivers the delicious, crispy edges found in traditional carnitas recipes.
And if you don’t have an Instant Pot, this recipe can be cooked in a slow cooker – it will just take 8-12 hours. But trust me, the aroma as it cooks all day is out of this world!
Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe
While most ingredients can be bought in grocery stores, for your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients (and equipment) needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon or other stores if available online. The complete list of ingredients with measurements is found in the recipe card.
- Protein – Pork Shoulder also known as Pork Butt is one of the best cuts for pulled pork (which is essentially what carnitas is).
- Fresh Produce – Oranges, Limes, Red Onion, Jalapeño, Garlic
- Chicken Broth/Stock
- Chili Powder – use mild or hot depending on your personal tastes and spicy heat preference!
- Smoked Paprika
- Dried Oregano – use Mexican Oregano if possible.
- Ground Cumin
Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog use both cup measurements and/or weighted measurements. American cups and kitchen food scales are handy pieces of equipment to have in your kitchen as it means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog. I try to give American, imperial, and metric measurements in my recipes. You can mix cup measurements with weighted measurements, but never mix imperial (pounds, ounces, pints, etc.,) with metric (kilograms, grams, litres, etc.,).
More Recipes Using Pork
One of the hero ingredients in this dish is pork, so here are some more recipes using the same:
- Apple and Rosemary Stuffed Pork Chops
- One-Skillet Honey Applesauce Pork Tenderloin
- Amazing Pecan Crusted Pork Chops with a Fresh Plum Sauce
More Mexican Recipes
Looking for more Mexican recipe inspo? Check these recipes out next:
- Pozole Rojo de Pollo (Red Pozole with Chicken)
- Mexican Chopped Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Mexican Hot Chocolate Recipe
- Different Instant Pot models offer different features and buttons. (These instructions are for the IP-Duo series).
- This recipe can be cooked in a slow cooker. Full instructions are found in the notes section of the recipe card.
How Do I Make Instant Pot Pork Carnitas?
Just check out the printable recipe card below with full ingredients and instructions. Any demonstration photos do not print out to save your ink.
- ¾ cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup fresh orange juice (approximately 2 large oranges)
- 3 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 Tbsp chili powder
- ½ tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- 2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3½ - 4 lbs (1.5 - 1.8kg) pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, diced
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and chopped
- Place the chicken broth, fresh orange juice, lime juice, chili powder, smoked paprika, oregano, and ground cumin into a medium mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
- Push the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot. Once the display reads “On,” add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half of the pork shoulder pieces to the container. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste, and cook until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 1-2 minutes per side.
Note: DO NOT use the lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot!
- Once browned, transfer the seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with additional olive oil and the rest of the pork. Remove the browned pork from the Instant Pot and set aside.
- Optional Step: Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the container, along with red onion, jalapeno, and fresh garlic. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
- Add the browned pork back to the pot and pour the chicken broth/orange juice mixture over top. Add the lid and seal, making sure the steam release handle is positioned toward “Sealing.”
- Press the “Manual” button and set the time to 30 minutes at high pressure. Once the cooking time is up, allow 20-25 minutes for the “natural release” of the steam inside the Instant Pot. After that time, perform a manual “quick release” to vent any remaining steam to release the lid, if necessary.
- A few minutes before the steam is fully released, preheat the oven broiler (grill) to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Transfer the 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.
- Place the shredded pork under the broiler (grill) for 4-5 minutes, then remove from the oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under the broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.
- Once the pork is under the broiler, press “Sauté” on the Instant Pot to reduce the cooking liquid by one-half while the pork is broiling (grilling).
- When finished broiling, remove baking sheet from oven and serve immediately with the reduced cooking liquid, fresh lime wedges, and chopped cilantro. Enjoy!
Different Instant Pot models offer different features and buttons. (These instructions are for the IP-Duo series).
To cook in a slow cooker you don't need to cut the pork shoulder into chunks, but do remove the big layer of fat from the top of the meat.
- Place the chopped onion, jalapeño, and garlic in the bottom of the slow cooker pot.
- Place the prepared pork shoulder into the pot.
- Whisk together the chicken broth, orange and lime juices, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cumin, salt, black pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a bowl then pour over the pork.
- Cook on low for 8-12 hours then follow the recipe to broil/grill.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 4868Total Fat: 361gSaturated Fat: 128gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 200gCholesterol: 1430mgSodium: 1392mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 6gProtein: 371g
This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.
Make It A Meal!
You’ve made the main dish, but what about the rest of the courses?
Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!
- Appetizer: Gluten-Free Baked Coconut Shrimp with Avocado-Lime Dip
- Side Dish: Quick & Easy Spicy Salsa
- Side Salad: Mexican Chopped Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing
- Beverage: Watermelon Moscato Slushie Cocktail
- Dessert: Chocolate + Peanut Ice Cream Cake
There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!