A Spicy Perspective

Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas

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Crispy shredded Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas, a slow-cooked dish your can pressure cook in minutes!

Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe

There’s nothing quite like walking into a kitchen filled with the aroma of rich spicy pork carnitas. The air feels warm and heavy around you, as the tantalizing blend of herbs and spices capture your thoughts and senses.

Knowing that whatever is creating that alluring fragrance is going to be on the dinner table, causes heady anticipation.

I’ve watched it happen dozens of times as friends and family walk into my kitchen. Their expressive reactions are pure magic. (I should set up a video camera to capture them!)

Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

Yet it’s not only the smell of carnitas that do us in, it’s the decadent fatty essence contrasted by the vibrant blend of chiles, citrus, and herbs that dance on our palates. It’s the silky shredded pork texture, with little crispy charred bits around the edges.

It’s even the versatility of a recipe that can be served in so many ways, from simple street tacos with cilantro and onions to salads, nachos, burritos, rice bowls, and even soups and chilis.

Zesty Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

I shared my Best Slow Cooker Carnitas recipe several years ago, a recipe we make regularly. However, I recently decided I like carnitas even better when made in the pressure cooker!

Pressure cooking the pork intensifies the flavor so quickly, there’s no need to slow cook it, unless you like setting-and-forgetting dinner first thing in the morning.

So if you have an Instant Pot, or another type of electric pressure cooker, this recipe is for you!

Today’s Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas is the best way to get that luxurious carnitas taste and texture in a hurry. This pressure cooker carnitas recipe combines pork roast, onions and garlic, orange juice, spices, liquid smoke, and Old El Paso Green Chiles to create a tangy yet smoky flavor.

Our Instant Pot Carnitas are paleo, gluten free, dairy free, nut free, and low carb so you can serve them to those with special dietary needs. (Although I like them best on fluffy Old El Paso Flour Tortillas!)

Simple Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

What Ingredients You Will Need

  • 3 1/2 pounds boneless pork butt roast
  • 1 large onion, peeled and chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4.5 ounces Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles (1 can)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper
Making Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

How to Make Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas

Simply cut the pork into chunks and brown the meat on the sauté setting.

Then sauté the onions and garlic, and add all the ingredients to the pot and lock the lid into place.

How to Make Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

Cook the pork carnitas on high pressure for 30 minutes to soften and break down the meat.

Must-Make Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!

Then shred the meat with tongs and leave it in its juices until ready to serve.

If you like crispy restaurant-style carnitas, spread the meat on a baking sheet and place it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. The contrast of soft shreds with charred edges is utterly irresistible.

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Carnitas (or Chicken Carnitas)

The beauty of this easy pressure cooker carnitas recipe is that you can use the exact same proportions to make beef and chicken carnitas!

For Instant Pot Beef Carnitas substitute a 3 – 3.5 pound beef chuck roast for the pork, and follow the instructions as-is.

For Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas, substitute an equal amount of boneless skinless chicken breast. Make sure to add 1 tablespoon of oil with browning the chicken so it does not stick to the bottom of the pot.

Our Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas recipe is truly the perfect main dish to serve this Cinco de Mayo.

Try it with flash-fried puffy tortillas for that little extra something!

Frequently Asked Questions

How long will leftovers last? 

This is a great dish to make for your meal prep because you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

What can I serve this entree with?

This pork dish is great in tacos with corn tortillas, burrito bowls, or even nachos. Top these dishes with some salsa, lime juice and wedges of limes, and a sprig of cilantro. 

What to do if I want them crispy?

If you are not a fan of tender carnitas, you can broil them in the oven for a few minutes to create an extra-crispy texture around the edges. 

Don’t have an Instant Pot? 

You can make this recipe in your slow cooker. Get the instructions here.

Check out the printable recipe card below for the nutrition information including calories, carbohydrates, protein, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and fiber percentages. Make sure to share the recipe on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest!

Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas - Paleo, Low Carb, and Gluten Free Pressure Cooker Pork!
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5 from 8 votes
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Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas Recipe – A simple foolproof pressure cooker carnitas recipe that creates smoky crispy shredded pork for tacos and salads… In a hurry!
Servings: 8



  • Trim the extra fat off the pork roast and cut it into large 2-inch chunks. Turn the Instant Pot on Sauté. Sprinkle the pork chunks with the ancho chile powder, cumin, oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat. Add half the pork to the Instant Pot and brown on all sides. (The pork will pull away from the bottom of the pot when it’s caramelized. No need to add oil.) Then transfer the pork to a plate and repeat with the remaining pork.
  • Take all of the pork chunks out of the pot. Sauté the onions and garlic for 2 minutes to soften. Then add the pork, orange juice, Old El Paso Chopped Green Chiles, and liquid smoke to the pot. Stir well.
  • Lock the lid into place. Set the Instant Pot on the Meat setting. Pressure cook for 30 minutes.
  • Once the timer goes off, turn off the Instant Pot and perform a Quick Release. When the steam valve button drops, it is safe to open the pot. Use tongs to shred the meat.
  • You can serve the carnitas as-is on Old El Paso Flour Tortillas. For crispy restaurant-style carnitas, scoop the shredded pork out of the pot with a slotted spoon, and spread in a thin layer on a baking sheet. Broil the carnitas for approximately 5 minutes to form crispy edges. Then serve on tortillas or as a topping for salads and nachos.



Don’t have an Instant Pot? You can make this recipe in your slow cooker. Get the instructions here


Serving: 6ounces, Calories: 294kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 11g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 119mg, Sodium: 221mg, Potassium: 820mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 535IU, Vitamin C: 22.7mg, Calcium: 58mg, Iron: 3.4mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Sommer Collier

Making this recipe? Follow us on Instagram and tag @ASpicyPerspective so we can share what you’re cooking!

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Old El Paso. All opinions are my own.

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8 comments on “Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas”

  1. Pingback: 21 Low-Carb Instant Pot Recipes That Are Easy and Delicious - Men's Health - Keto Blogs

  2. Pingback: 23 Super Bowl Instant Pot Recipes To Try Out On Sunday - quotationscoffeecafe

  3. Pingback: Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas – foodahead.com

  4. Made this for dinner this week. It was so easy and delicious! Everyone in the family loved it.

  5. This was absolutely delicious. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Pingback: Keto Instant Pot Salsa Chicken | All Day I Dream About Food

  7. I just made the chicken version tonight and my picky hubby scarfed three tortillas full. Super easy, super tasty, super recipe! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. Delicious !!!! Delicious !!!!!! Easy to do and New to the instant pot this is the perfect recipe for it !!!!! Also love that you can use the slow cooker too !!!! thank you !!!!