Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas
Crispy shredded Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas, a slow-cooked dish your can pressure cook in minutes!
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 a 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!)
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 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.
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!)
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.
Pressure cook the pork carnitas for 30 minutes to soften and break down the meat.
Then shred the meat with tongs and leave it in it’s 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!
Instant Pot Perfect Carnitas
- 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.
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.