The BEST Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (5-Star Rated!)

This easy Instant Pot Carnitas recipe results in tender, juicy pork carnitas with the most perfect crispy texture!

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No instant pot? Try my slow cooker carnitas recipe!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m all about quick and easy Instant Pot recipes. And while the name may imply otherwise, the Instant Pot doesn’t actually make everything in an “instant.” But it does make cooking so much easier and hands-free.

Traditionally, I would make these carnitas in the slow cooker, letting them cook for 10 hours while I’m away at work. That slow cooking process really gets the pork nice and tender, and shred-able, exactly what you want with pork carnitas.

But you know, there are some days when I just don’t make the time to plan ahead for dinner.

That’s usually when the Instant Pot comes out. It can transform a tough cut of meat that would normally take all day to cook, in a fraction of the time.

Plus, while those juicy pork carnitas cook away in the Instant Pot, that’s the perfect time to prep your garnishes for these Instant Pot Pork Carnitas – quick pickled red onion, cilantro lime crema, guacamole, pico de gallo, fresh cilantro and  lime wedges.

It’s also the perfect time to warm up some corn tortillas.

Traditional carnitas would take all day in my crockpot. But this instant pot version cooks in only 40 minutes. To that, you’ll need to add about 10 minutes for the pressure to build and 15 minutes for the pressure to release, so you’re looking at just over an hour from start to finish.

But there’s one last step – the most important part to get those pork carnitas nice and crispy at the end – popping them under the broiler with a sprinkle of salt for about 5 minutes to get those beautiful browned bits. Yum!

This is a great recipe for parties, since it makes a lot of carnitas. Or for meal prep, since you can keep the shredded pork on hand for making burrito bowls, quesadillas, tacos, or salads throughout the week.

Ingredients needed

  • Pork – Pork shoulder results in fall apart tender carnitas. You can also use pork butt.
  • Spices – Garlic salt, cumin, oregano, brown sugar, dried basil, coriander, chili powder, and paprika.
  • Citrus – Oranges & Lime

How to make them

  • Cut your boneless pork shoulder into large cubes – This helps to cut down on cooking time.
  • Season the pork cubes well with loads of yummy spices – garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika. You could also use taco seasoning here.
  • Add in the cooking liquids. This is what helps the pressure build in the instant pot, but it also flavors the meat – fresh squeezed orange and lime juice and bit of water to top it off.
  • Then just seal the pot and pressure cook on high pressure for 40 minutes.
  • For crispy carnitas, arrange the cooked carnitas on a baking sheet and pop them under a hot broiler for a couple minutes to get those delicious, crispy edges.
  • Serve them up with your favorite toppings!

I like to serve my Instant Pot pork carnitas in the traditional style of the street taco – dressed simply with cilantro, avocado and some quick pickled onions.

You can make those pretty pink pickled onions up to two weeks ahead of time. In truth, I normally have a jar in my fridge at all times.

I’ve even got an entire post dedicated to how I pickle my onions. I love having them on hand for topping all kinds of things – salads, Instant Pot Split Pea Dal, Chicken Gyro Bowls, Migas.

Topping ideas

My favorite way to serve carnitas is in the traditional style of the street taco. Dressed simply with cilantro, avocado and some quick pickled onions.

The best part is, you can make those pretty pink pickled onions up to two weeks ahead of time. In truth, I normally have a jar in my fridge at all times.

I’ve even got an entire post dedicated to how I pickle my onions. I love having them on hand for topping all kinds of things – salads, Instant Pot Split Pea Dal, Chicken Gyro Bowls, Migas.

What to serve with them

Crispy carnitas on baking sheet.

How to make ahead & store

Carnitas will last in the fridge for up to five days. Store them in an airtight container. They can also be frozen for up to three months. I like portion the cooked pork into individual freezer bags and freeze them flat.

Recipe FAQs

What is Pastor vs Carnitas? 

Al pastor and carnitas are both pork, however they are prepared differently. Carnitas are slow braised in cooking liquid or fat. Al pastor is marinated (often with pineapple), then put on a hot grill to caramelize. 

What is Carne Asada vs Carnitas? 

Carne asada is marinated beef that is most often grilled. Carnitas are made from pork, that is braised until it is fall-apart tender. 

Why is the secret to tender pulled pork? 

Cooking carnitas requires a long cook time for the meat to become tender. If you find that your meat is tough, you may need to cook it a bit longer. Place the lid back on your pot and cook for 5 minutes longer. Repeat the process if you still find that your meat is tough. 

Can you overcook pork shoulder? 

Unlike more lean cuts of pork, like the chops and tenderloin, pork shoulder becomes more tender the longer it cooks. So even if you cook it a bit too long, it won’t become  dry or rubbery. 

What if I can’t find pork shoulder? 

You can also use pork butt for this recipe. You want something with a good amount of fat. Lean cuts, like a pork tenderloin, will not become fall apart tender, which is what you want for this carnitas recipe. 

Why do you put orange juice in carnitas?

By adding orange and lime juice to carnitas, it gives the meat a great tang and amazing flavor!

Close up of carnitas taco topped with pickled onion, jalapeno and avocado.

Wine pairings

  • If you’d like to pair these tacos with a bottle of wine, a Tempranillo would be an excellent choice to compliment the spices in the pork carnitas.
  • An authentic Mexican dish is always excellent with beer. Try a light Mexican lager.
  • Margaritas – Try this one, this one, or this one.

More instant pot recipes

Did you try these instant pot pork carnitas?

If you thought these were the best instant pot carnitas, I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished carnitas tacos and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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No instant pot? Try my slow cooker carnitas recipe!

Crispy carnitas on baking sheet.

Instant Pot Carnitas

The BEST Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are easy to make at home with your electric pressure cooker. A quick pop under the broiler at the end ensures that the carnitas get nice and crispy!
4.98 from 309 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Time for Pressure to Build and Release: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 people


For Serving


  • 4-6 pounds pork shoulder (slightly trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 oranges (sliced in half)
  • 1 lime (sliced in half)
  • 1 cup water



  • Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork pieces and place in Instant Pot.
  • Squeeze the juice from the oranges and limes over the pork. Place rinds pulp side down in Instant Pot and add 1 cup water.
  • Make sure your sealing ring is in place on the lid. Lock the lid onto Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the “sealing” position.
  • Press the “manual” button and set Instant Pot for high pressure for 40 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then the display will show a countdown timer.
  • Once the 40 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Open the lid.
  • Preheat oven broiler. Shred the pork using two forks then use a slotted spoon to remove the pork, and place on a baking sheet. 
  • Taste the pork for saltiness. You may want to sprinkle some additional salt on top. (I especially like using my homemade citrus salts at this stage of the recipe!
  • Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes. (Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned).


  • Warm your tortillas either by wrapping in a wet paper towel and mirorwaving for 30 seconds, or wrapped in foil in the oven.
  • Place carnitas in tortillas and serve topped with sliced avocado, cilantro and pickled onions. Garnish with lime wedges.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 546kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 60g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 202mg | Sodium: 1988mg | Potassium: 1360mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 530IU | Vitamin C: 38.9mg | Calcium: 84mg | Iron: 5mg

This recipe was originally published in 2018. It was updated in 2019 to add instructional photographs and a video. The instant pot carnitas recipe remains the same. Enjoy! 

246 thoughts on “The BEST Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (5-Star Rated!)”

  1. 5 stars
    I should’ve eaten dinner before reading this post- my mouth is watering and now I am scrambling to figure out what could even compare over at my house. And furthermore – I need and Instant Pot!

  2. I have to get an instant pot! I love the idea of being able to cook a tough piece of meat quickly and it still being tender and juicy. These carnitas look incredible – and side note, I am obsessed with the picked onions at mi mero mole in Portland, so I’m so happy you posted a recipe for picked onions 🙂 I never think to do them at home!

  3. 5 stars
    I love making carnitas in my pressure cooker and your recipe looks killer! I’m also adoring all of the fresh radishes right now. The PSU Farmers Market has had beautiful purple and watermelon radishes lately.

    • Ooohhh! I need to stop by the Farmer’s Market ASAP – I love watermelon radishes and I’ve really been wanting to try the purple ones too!

  4. So I followed the instructions, but then went back and looked at your pictures. The pork doesn’t look like it’s cut into 2 inch cubes. As I’m listening to the pressure cooker I’m wondering if I cut it up too much….

    • Hi Tracie – So sorry about that! The day I shot the photographs, I actually left the pieces whole. But after testing the recipe again, I did in fact find that it helps to cut the pork into those 2-inch cubes. Hope that clarifies things a bit!

  5. Hi – These look great! I’m going to give them a try. But, question… the recipe says to put the oranges and limes pulp side down. The picture looks like they are pulp side up? Can you confirm how it should be? Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    Made these last night (only my second time using my new instant pot, after making some black beans). They came out GREAT!!! Thanks for the fantastic recipe. My family loves spice, so I threw in 1 jalapeno and 1 chipotle pepper (in sauce) and subbed the garlic salt with 6 cloves of garlic and about 2 T of sea salt. My guests LOVED these and I was so happy that instead of an 8-hour crock pot dish, I could churn these out in just over an hour between the prep and the cook time.

    A+ recipe!

  7. If I’m making this for one adult and 3 young children (8, 6, and 2) should I have the recipe? I’m guessing cook time would be the same?

      • 5 stars
        I made this mistake and I didn’t adjust the cooking time – they turned out perfect. But, to be fair my pork was right at 4lbs so the smallest size suggested in the recipe. It was soooo delicious.

      • I had a giant pork picnic shoulder with bone so cut off some big chunks and then put that giant piece in. I upped the time to 90 minutes ( plus 15 natural release) to take in the fact that it was just about a whole piece of meat. Came out perfect.

  8. 5 stars
    This was really good the second time I made it, so the first wasn’t luck! Next time I’ll try key lime, see if that cuts the bitterness or maybe half a lime. It wasn’t bad just more noticeable than I like.

  9. Trying this recipe out right now! What do you suggest to do with the all the juice that comes out from cooking? It seems like it would be a waste to discard it.

  10. 5 stars
    Wow, my mother’s family is Mexican so I am extremely picky with my carnitas tacos and these came out AMAZING. The pickled onions definitely added extra flavor, but I also added some fresh salsa verde, lime, as well as sour cream. Delicious!

  11. 5 stars
    This recipe is the real deal. It’s the recipe that fully sold me on the Instant Pot, as well. I’ve cooked 2.5-3.5 lbs using this recipe and haven’t adjusted timing…it’s been fine. I would highly recommend dousing the meat in the juice. Tonight after I removed the meat and citrus, I used the saute function for 20+ minutes to reduce the sauce, then dumped it all over the meat before broiling. I also salted the meat after shredding.

    If you’re using <4 lbs of meat I’d half the citrus (juice and the parts in the Pot), just b/c I found it a tad bitter with full citrus. Experiment to your heart’s content – you can’t get this wrong. Oh and the pickled onions are mandatory.

  12. I just made these, my first time making carnitas. I think it turned out well, but it seems bitter to me. In retrospect I’m wondering about putting all that citrus rind in there… isn’t the white part between the skin and the fruit actually pretty bitter? If I make them again I’ll definitely use just orange juice. I had to add some more sugar (which you suggested in the recipe anyway) to cut down on some of the bitterness, but it’s still too bitter for my taste. 🙁

  13. 5 stars
    The pickled onions are fantastic! They totally complete the recipe! I added blended chipotle in adobo to the roast during the cooking process. I then tossed the pulled pork in the chipotle infused cooking juices. It turned out to be the best carnitas I’ve ever had. I also suggest making your own corn tortillas- 2 cups masa harina to 1.5 cups water, with a teaspoon of salt. Excellent addition!

  14. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious! I followed the recipe exactly. The prep was fast and easy and broiling the meat after it came out of the pot is a great touch. Thank you!

      • 4 stars
        Overall, very good. This was my First try with an Instapot and I was pleasantly surprised to find the pork cooked perfectly. My only comment is that the amount of citrus doesn’t produce a typical carnitas flavor. It is very good, but has a strong floral, citrus flavor. For me, I am going to drop the oranges and add more chili and cumin.

  15. This looks so good! However, I haven’t jumped on board the instant pot bandwagon yet. Is there anything I would do different with the ingredients to make in the crockpot?

  16. Love this recipe. Delicious tender pork with layers and layers of flavor! Will definitely be adding these into the rotation. The citrus adds a lot of flavor.

  17. 5 stars
    This was a great recipe for my new instapot we got for Christmas! I xamnot beliwve how tender it turned out and how little time it took.
    I wish i had the onions…because those look yummy. Will make them this weekend!

  18. 5 stars
    Great Carnitas, but with the quantity this recipe produces I typically take a portion and serve bbq pork sandwiches as well. Just add your favorite bbq sauce and serve on a bun. The carnitas flavors are an interesting variation to a family favorite.

  19. 5 stars
    I decided to add a little chipotle powder as well and then cook down the leftover liquid using the saute button to a concentrated sauce to coat the meat in a second time. This gives the meat even more flavour after it cames out from under the broiler.

  20. Would you adjust the cooking time for the meat if you were using less pork? I want to do this but I’ve got a 3lb pork shoulder to work with. Thank you in advance!

  21. I’m making this today and looking forward to it. I’m going to add chipotle en adobo, and use Mexican oregano because it’s SO MUCH tastier than regular! I’m going to make some cooked tomatillo sauce (old family recipe). I’m on the fence about adding some to the cook, or just using it on the tacos afterward. Now I’m thinking about tomatillo salsa cruda…Maybe I’ll do both!

  22. 5 stars
    This was by far the greatest carnitas I have ever tasted! I owe you a debt of gratitude. So quick and easy, and the broil at the end really puts it over the top. Fantastic!!!!

  23. Nice recipe.
    The orange rinds disintegrated so each bite of meat had a bitter taste which wasn’t good. Meat also was very mushy, not pulled like normal smoked pulled pork.

    • Hi Mackenzie – This makes quite a bit of carnitas, but it is possible to double the recipe if you have a large enough Instant Pot. You just want to be sure not to overfill it (go over the MAX line).

      • thanks! if you want to avoid it being too bitter would you suggest not leaving the rinds in the instant pot to cook and just use the juice?

    • Hi Mindy – I haven’t yet tried this, but I would add at least 10 minutes of cook time for each pound of meat you are using. It would be best if it could be cut into chunks as well. Hope that helps!

  24. 5 stars
    Wow – these were delicious! The family requested this recipe be placed on the ‘keep’ pile. The picked onions are a must to complement the carnitas!

  25. 5 stars
    My husband made these last night & they were SO good. The only thing I would say is skip putting the “rind of the orange” in the Instant Pot before cooking the pork. It made our pork have a bitter after-taste. The pickled onions were delicious & helped cut thr bitterness, but next time we will add the orange juice sans the peel/rind.

  26. 5 stars
    Hi! I am going to try this recipe for Super Bowl Sunday, but I need to make the pork the night before. Can the pork carnitas be stored in the fridge the night before and then heated up in the oven on game day? What do you recommend for reheating the pork in the oven? Thanks!

    • You can definitely make this the night before Bradley. I would pressure cook it, but then don’t brown it under the broiler until Super Bowl Sunday. That should heat it up enough… Or, maybe pop it into the microwave for about 30 seconds before hand.

  27. Hello Erin,
    I would like to make this for the Super Bowl tomorrow and I’ve got all the ingredients but I’m just now noticing my pork shoulder is 6 lbs!😝 Is there anything I would need to do different to accommodate this extra meat considering the recipe only calls for 4 lbs.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Joy – I would just be sure to cut it into chunks and then I would add 20 minutes to the cook time. So, pressure cook for 60 minutes. I hope you enjoy!

  28. I can’t wait to try this recipe! I apologize if this question was already answered in the comments, I scrolled through if you comments and didn’t see it… Are the nutrition facts for the completed tacos, or just for the meat?

  29. 5 stars
    Followed the recipe and made the best home made carnitas ever. We’re making them again tonight, its fast, easy, and fantastic. It was really unbelievable how good they are!

  30. 5 stars
    We made this tonight exactly as is but with pork chops I got on sale. Everyone in my family loved them! I highly recommend the homemade citrus salt sprinkled on before broiling. We used lime and orange zest for ours. Thanks for the great recipe!

  31. 5 stars
    These are very, very good! The pickled red onion recipe was an unexpected bonus. Pro tip: use the leftover carnitas to make a batch of chile.

  32. 5 stars
    Fantastic recipe! Have made multiple times and every time was a success! Thanks for the recipe. I might try putting a fresh jalapeño in the instapot next time for an extra kick. Although they really are perfect as is.

  33. This is my go too carnitas recipe…I LOVE it and have made it multiple times! And yes the onions are a bonus! Great great recipe’

  34. 5 stars
    I love this recipe! We have citrus trees and I love to use them in recipes.
    I’ve made it multiple times with different cuts of pork. It’s my go to carnitas recipe and the onions are a fantastic bonus!

  35. 5 stars
    Such a great recipe! Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. It’s mainly for the spice rub. It’s so easy! This is a keeper for sure! We top our tacos with avocado or guacamole, diced onions, cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and sometimes radishes and pickled jalapeños. Thank you!

      • 5 stars
        This is one of my favorite recipes. I tweaked it a little because I like things spicy. I add 4-5 cloves of garlic and a 2-3 fresh jalapeños, halved and seeded. After I remove the meat and shred it, I blend up the liquid in the pot (I take the rinds out first) with an immersion blender. Then I pour some of the blended liquid over the shredded meat once it’s on the cookie sheet. When I crisp it under the broiler I take it out and stir it up several times to maximize the browning and caramelization of the sauce. So good!!!

  36. 5 stars
    This recipe was great! Super easy and not something I would have guessed I was capable of making! My only thought is that the number served seemed a bit on the low side. We went for about 4 pounds of pork shoulder, and fed 5 ravenous teens, with multiple meals of left overs (not at all a bad thing, just made more than we realized).

  37. 5 stars
    So I followed the recipe exactly but the pork came out really bland! I added more spices after. It was also really watery in the instant pot after cooking. Any ideas on what may have happened? It looks so good and I usually have good luck with cooking!

    • Hi! So there is a lot of liquid after the cooking process, but that should be ok. You need enough liquid in the pot to be sure that it comes to pressure. Definitely be sure to season the carnitas well before popping them under the broiler. I like to give them a good sprinkle of salt. Hope that helps!

  38. 5 stars
    I’ve been getting Smithfield premarinated meat that’s pretty good, but wanted to try a recipe. SO glad I found this one!!! Amazing, absolutely delicious…and the pickled onions OMGAAAHH!!! I will be making the onions constantly

  39. 5 stars
    Made this for my family and everyone loved it! You’re right – the pickled onions made it! I followed the recipe to a T and it was perfect. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  40. 5 stars
    Made this recipe last night. Although you cannot beat the flavor of true deep fried Carnitas. For being made in an instapot these were the bomb! My husband put the meat in a salad. I made burritos. And today, I used the left overs in a chile verde casserole. So delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  41. 5 stars
    I love carnitas so much, I also love our favorite wedding present, the Instant Pot! This is a great recipe, and I have used it at least four times! My husband insists on me using oranges in making carnitas , but the limes also add flavor. I half the recipe for us, cooking for two. I add some thin sliced radishes to top with the pickled onions, and it’s a hit! I typically make this about once every other month, as the meat leaves us with dinner or lunch the next day, or so. Also our house smells amazing while it’s cooking! Thank you! A staple recipe in our little home!

  42. 5 stars
    So easy to make and oh soooo good!! I love how the carnitas just fall apart and the citrus flavors enhanced by the skins in the pot during cooking added so much flavor. And the onion pickles were great as well and also so easy to make. They added color as well as a little zest to the carnitas.
    Both are definitely keepers!!!
    Thanks so much! Cyndy

  43. Love this recipe and have made it multiple times because the kids keep asking for it. Do you normally get bone-in or boneless at the 4-6 lb mark? Also, if we get a larger cut for a big gathering (8.3 lbs with the bone) do we have to cook it longer??

  44. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight along with our favorite Mexican rice. Everyone loved it! Even our picky granddaughter. We didn’t try all the add ones. They added cheddar cheese I just wanted to have the full flavor of the meat. It is so tender. Yum!

  45. There are instructions for oranges but it’s not listed in the ingredients section. Do I omit? If not, how many do I need? Wanting to make this tonight. TIA!

  46. 5 stars
    I just got an instant pot and this is the first recipe I tried in it! SO amazing and the pickled onions were extremely tasty!!!!

  47. 5 stars
    Really good. After reading that some found that the citrus skins made the dish too bitter, I realized that the bitterness comes from the pith (the white part), not the peel. So instead of adding the fruit halves after juicing, I used a vegetable peeler to remove strips of peel before I juiced. Then I just added the strips of peel to the pot. It worked extremely well. Lots of citrus flavor but no bitterness. And the pickled onions are fantastic. I may have broiled it a little too long, as it seemed to need some sour cream or something to make the taco less dry. Maybe a nice pico de gallo.

  48. Visiting family and want to share this awesome dish I’ve made several times at home in my instant pot, but they don’t have an instant pot OR slow cooker! Suggestions for time and temperature when best option is a Dutch oven?

  49. 5 stars
    This is by far the BEST carnitas recipe I’ve found for a very food-focused family. From the rub to the citrus to the broiler finishing to the pickled onions – BOMBtastic! Have added to the favorites file and will be checking other recipes out. Keep ’em coming!

  50. Is it okay to start the process and then leave on natural release for over an hour? We would typically start this and then not be back home to eat for 2-3 hrs.

  51. Thank you for this. I greatly appreciate your directions – easy to follow and helpful, I’ll definitely check out more of your recipes. Thanks!

  52. 4 stars
    Back in January 2019, I commented that I was going to try this, and perhaps modify it. I didn’t modify it; I followed the recipe to the letter. While it was tender and good, it needed something else. I didn’t write down quantities for everything because, well, that’s just the way I roll. It was very good, so next time I’ll write things down and post here. 😉 Here’s my variation.

    1. Pork shoulder, slightly trimmed (6-7 lbs)
    2. Goya Adobo seasoning
    3. Five packets of Goya Sazon (Cilantro & Achiote)
    4. Onion powder
    5. Cumin
    6. Mexican oregano
    7. 1/8 cup brown sugar
    8. Dried basil
    9. Ground coriander
    10. Chili powder
    11. Cayenne pepper
    12. Paprika
    13. Smoked paprika
    14. Onion powder
    15. Garlic powder
    16. Juice of two oranges
    17. 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
    18. 1 cup of water
    19. 1 container of Knorr’s chicken stock gel
    20. 6 small, dried chipotle, no stems (1/4 – 1/3 cup)
    21. 3 large dried California peppers, no stems (Guajillos will do too)
    22. 2 pieces of star anise
    23. 1 large onion, sliced
    24. 6 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
    25. 2 cloves of garlic, whole

    – Cilantro, minced
    – Jalapeno, minced
    – Red or white onion, minced
    – Avocado, sliced (or Guacamole)

    • Combine Cut pork shoulder into 2” cubes
    • Remove big chunks of fat
    • Combine the dried spices (2-15) well in a bowl
    • Roll the pork chunks in the seasoning, then put in the Instant Pot
    • Distribute minced garlic and garlic cloves evenly around the pot
    • Add 1 tablespoon of liquid smoke down the side of the pot so it gets to the bottom
    • Add the orange juice
    • Add the water
    • Add the following ingredients:
    o Knorr’s chicken stock gel
    o 2 pieces of star anise
    o Dried peppers
    • Put about 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup of lard (Yes! Lard = Flavor!) on top of everything. I used about three 1/4” slices from the block.
    • Put the halves of one of the oranges on top of everything, rind side up.
    • Cover the Instant Pot and cook for 40 minutes on high pressure.
    • When the timer goes off, let the pot release naturally for 15 minutes, then release the rest manually.
    • Shred in a separate bowl, with just a little of the liquid. You can broil if you want to. I didn’t.

    – Make tacos with corn tortillas. Warm four at a time in the microwave, wrapped in a dish towel, for 20-30 seconds.
    – Garnish with onion, cilantro, jalapeno, and an avocado slice.
    – Eat.

    You don’t need no stinkin’ sides! Why? Because Tacos!

  53. 5 stars
    Cooked exactly like directions and it came out amazing! I had a 4 lbs piece of pork with the bone… cut all the meat away from the bone and put the bone in the instant pot for more flavor… it was very flavorful… thank you!

  54. 5 stars
    This recipe is the bomb. I put the spices on the meat chunks the day before and let the mix set overnight in the fridge, and reduced the leftover juices and added them to the meat before broiling, but otherwise followed the recipe exactly as written.
    Thank you!

  55. 5 stars
    Delicious! Turned out perfect, tender, and adding salt right before broiling was a great touch. The pickled onions were devoured. I had cilantro, pickled onions and cotija cheese as toppings. I would definitely make it again, and probably will for our Super Bowl party.

  56. 5 stars
    I made this last night and it came out soooo good! I did a half-recipe in my InstantPot Mini, and wound up using half a Cara-Cara Orange, two limes, and a half-cup of water. I didn’t notice much bitterness, but I’m also a huge fan of whole-fruit marmalade, so that might be a factor. I actually let the pot naturally depressurize over night, and fried up the pork in a little of the juice this morning. Since I’ll probably be eating most of it chilaquiles-style, I reckon that’s how I’ll serve up the rest of it.

    I actually wound up making a pint-jar’s worth of the seasoning, since I was buying my spices from the bulk bins at my co-op. Using the small scoops they had available, I did three scoops cumin, two scoops each oregano and salt, one scoop each basil, coriander, chili powder garlic granules and paprika, and a half-scoop of onion granules. (It’s 4 tablespoons for 4-6 lbs of meat, or 2 Tbsp for 2-3 lbs.) I just wound up drizzling a bit of honey on before adding the citrus.

    So good! Thanks so much!!

      • I havev made this twice!!!! I love it. I love it. I love it!! I am a bit taken aback though as I just read through the nutritional info. 1988 mg of sodium?? Per serving?. Please tell me that is a typo. I don’t buy garlic salt so I added tablespoon kosher salt for 6lbs of pork and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder instead of the tablespoon of garlic salt.
        Thank you for sharing this recipe and technique. Please say it ain’t so on the salt per serving.

  57. 5 stars
    I made these for the first time last night and we LOVED them. I did 1 1/2 of the dry rub/ spices because we had a little over 6 lb of pork. When broiling the carnitas after they were done in the instapot, we put a couple of ladles of the liquid from the pot with them so they wouldn’t dry out too much. Will definitely make again!

  58. 4 stars
    Hi! I just need to double check the nutrition label on this — it says 60g of protein PER SERVING. That doesn’t seem possible! Is this accurate or is that for the entire roast? 4oz of pork shoulder is generally about 19g.

  59. I was quite disappointed in this recipe. I followed everything to a T – and the meat came out overwhelmingly bitter. I drained most of the excess juice and removed all of the citrus pulp that I could. However, it was pretty difficult to down as the citrus ha all broken down into tiny pieces. Aside from the bitterness, the meat didn’t have enough seasoning and I had to add more to make it more palatable. Personally, I would find a new recipe. But if you try this one, I would definitely NOT put the orange and lime in the instant Pot after squeezing the juice and I would also increase the seasoning by at least a third or half if you are using a larger 5 or 6 lb roast.

  60. If I halve the recipe for a smaller amount of pork shoulder, do I need to adjust the time in the insta pot? I’m new to insta pots and don’t want to ruin it.

  61. 5 stars
    This was absolutely delicious, my husband and I loved it and honestly we dont do alot of onions, but these pickled onions were so tasty. Yummy!!!!!!

  62. Sadly I have to agree with Lindsey. Wish I had read her comment before I tried it – now I have a lot of very, very, very bitter pork that will need to be thrown away. Lindsey is probably right – just add the juice not the not the pulp or the rind. Also, did the author really mean “garlic salt”? Surely they meant garlic powder.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t enjoy the recipe Mike. I think that you’re probably right. If you find this recipe too bitter, you can leave out the rinds. I did mean garlic salt in the ingredients – I think that the extra salt is definitely needed to give good flavor to the meat.

  63. Looking forward to making this tonight! Already have my green sauce topper done! 🙂 Question though: Do you think there should be adjustments to make this work with beef? Meat counter gave Hubby the wrong thing & he didn’t catch it until he’d brought it home.

    • Hi Janice – I’ve never tried this recipe with beef, but the cook time should remain the same. I’d love to hear back on how it turned out for you!

  64. Will this work with a frozen pork butt? It seems like I’d have to defrost it first since it’s just one big 4lb piece. Can’t wait to try this recipe. Also, I don’t have any oranges, can I just use orange juice or will it burn on the bottom of the pot?

  65. 5 stars
    It was really good with a few mods (I can’t help myself!) — didn’t keep the rinds in the instant pot, doubled the spices, added a touch of honey & mango juice to counteract the bitterness (had some on hand), and reduced the liquid remaining the instant pot *all the way down* to a thick sauce with a bay leaf and a dried star anise and mixed it in with the carnitas before the broil. Delicious, tender & crispy after the broil!

  66. 5 stars
    Very, very good! I did some minor modifications because of limited pantry stock, so had to sub whole wheat flour tortillas. We loved them. The pickled onions are key. Thanks for a super recipe!

  67. 5 stars
    I know this is a sin, but I used OJ and lime juice (squeeze container) vs. the fresh-squeezed stuff. Half cup of OJ and 1/4 cup of lime juice. (Thinking the rinds will make the dish bitter and with COVID-19 concerns I did not run to the store). Great news on the outcome, it was fantastic! I have one in my house that does not like carnitas, but she gobbled these up.

    Nice job and I followed the recipe to the letter otherwise.

  68. 5 stars
    Tried this recipe tonight and it was amazing. I did marinate the prepared pork in Mojo for six hours prior to putting the rub on and because I didn’t have any oranges or lemons on hand and didn’t want to go back to the store due to the pandemic, I just added some orange juice and a splash of lime to my cup of water. Better than any restaurant! Thank you!

  69. 5 stars
    OMG, this was my first time making carnitas. I’m fairly new with the instant pot and this recipe easy to follow and was fabulous. A definite keeper.

  70. 5 stars
    I made this recipe exactly as written and it’s right on! I’d say it’s citrus forward but with the rub spices, it all balances. Will definitely make this again! I had a 12lb butt, I cut in half and did both, one after the other, doubling rub. Perfect cabin meals! Is there any use for the very flavorful liquid? Thanks for s great recipe. New to your site.

  71. Can you use a pork sirloin tip roast for this?
    I make carnitas in my slow cooker with it and it comes out great

  72. This a very tasty dish with good balancing in the flavors. I would like to suggest to change the name and not ti use carnitas. I am from the State of Michoacan where part of my family has being making a living for four generations selling carnitas. Most of the recipes that I find are fried or steamed pork with citrus. I was born and raised in a town that is world wide famous for their carnitas. Carnitas means: small pieces of pork deep fried in lard and the only additional ingredient is salt dissolved in water. The flavor develops by heating lard to 375 F and cooking the meat at that temperature for about 10 minutes to brown the meat. Then, the meat is simmered submerged in lard for about 2 hours at a medium low heat until the meat can be cut with a fork. For some, it may sound gross to think of summerging the pork in lard. But in reality, at the end there is more lard in the cazo (special type of cauldron to make carnitas) than the amount one starts with. That means that the lard is drained from the meat instead of the lard going into the meat.
    If I can make one suggestion it would be to brown the meat first and then cooking the meat in the instant pot for 45 minutes on low pressure. I am not just trying to retell the true story and recipe of the original carnitas which were invented in Michoacan during the 1500s.

  73. 5 stars
    This was my first recipe in my new instant pot. I am a little late in the game on getting one. My family loved the meat for tacos. I will be making this again. They are pretty perfect, our meat was very lean since a lean tenderloin was all we could find, but the juice from the pot was good to drizzle on it when I broiled the shredded pork. So next time I think I might add some jalapenos or garlic to the pot. I ended up with leftovers from 5.41 lb meat, so that is always a bonus too! I was a little fearful of having a bad recipe for my first instant pot meal, so thank you for helping me to avoid that!

  74. 5 stars
    I am about to make this recipe for the second time tonight because it’s so successful and turns out amazing. It’s the first thing I made in our new instapot. The citrus flavor is just the right amount, and crisping up the meat under the broiler with crunchy sea salt is like the cherry on top! Thank you so much for sharing this deliciousness!

  75. 5 stars
    This is my go to recipe for carnitas. The only change I make is to throw in 2 cinnamon sticks to the instant pot before the meat goes it. After taking the meat out of the IP and shredding it, I reduce the left over liquid by about half and then pour some of it over the meat that has been spread out on a baking tray. Under the broiler for about 5 minutes to crisp it up a bit, stirring half way through. Better than any restaurant carnitas, hands down! Everyone I’ve made this for also raves about it!

  76. 4 stars
    This initially came out REALLY bland and soupy, had to fish out the meat when it was done to tear it apart and re-season. It was really tasty after I did that. I doubled the recipe and I think there was too much orange juice, so it watered all the flavor down. I didn’t even add the additional water because there was so much juice. Next time I would use less oranges. This is a good base recipe, the pickled onions were fantastic.

  77. Looks delicious. Have seen people add 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk to the mix. Makes the pork even more tender and caramelizes beautifully under the broiler.

  78. 5 stars
    I’ve been testing the recipe for a while. It is now my go-to Carnitas recipe.

    It’s got all of the critical flavors, is easy to prep and never gets complaints from my family of five (they’re a tough crowd).

    The only modification I make is adding a few bay leaves to the cook.


  80. 4 stars
    Added some chilis in adobo because we like spice. But other than that followed recipe as written- very good. I just wanted to share that I made the onions without cooking/boiling anything. Just added everything and stirred, let sit a bit. Still turned out great, so you can totally eliminate that extra step if you want.

  81. 5 stars
    I have made this several times for both at home and for parties and work potlucks. It has been a hit everytime. The flavoring is balanced just right. It tastes even better on reheating. Freezes very well also.

    Funny thing, I always used 4 clementines instead of 2 oranges because that was what I had on hand the first time I made it. Always thought that was part of the recipe until tonight when I reread it.

  82. Hi! This looks delicious! Did you use a six or eight quart instant pot in your video? Which would you recommend? Thanks!

  83. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite! Leftovers freeze well. I make the recipe as is and it comes out perfect every time! The pickled onions are a must! I top the carnitas with pickled onion, cilantro, guacamole, and feta cheese

  84. 4 stars
    I questioned the addition of the citrus rinds because I feared it would make everything taste bitter and I was right. 🙁 I had to add quite a bit of brown sugar and salt to balance out the bitterness of all the citrus, and it tastes okay… the juices aren’t very tasty, hence, not really usable and overall just kind of disappointing.
    The pickled onions are really good, though. I paired everything with some plain white rice and another recipe for authentic pinto beans, which came out great. I just wish I could say the same for the meat. v.v

  85. 3 stars
    I appreciated the ease of the recipe but wasn’t a win for me. I’m giving a taco kit to some new parents and it’s too late to make anything else.

    Followed the recipe exact with 4.21 lbs of bone-in pork shoulder I chopped up. The actual meat itself is too orange-y (if that’s a word). I questioned why you’d use 2 oranges to 1 lime (typically I think it would be 1 orange to 2 limes) but did what the recipe said.

    I don’t think you should put the whole peel in the instant pot. It breaks down too much. If I try this again I’d do the juice for 1 orange + 2 limes then the zest from half the orange and 1 lime. Would also consider adding just a dash of sugar or agave to balance it out.

    Thankfully I tasted the liquid left after cooking before drizzling on the meat. The liquid was bitter from the rinds. I chose not to put any liquid on the actual meat but even then the meat has too strong of a orange flavor.

  86. 4 stars
    Do NOT add the the rinds! The orange rinds will make the dish bitter. Just add the orange and lime juice. I also added a bottle of Mexican coke. The recipe was excellent!… other than telling you to add the rinds.

  87. 5 stars
    I made this exactly how it was written and it was the BOMB! I had no issues with bitterness, my oranges had quite a thin peel. It was so flavorful and tender! Did fresh corn tortillas. Topped it with homemade pickled onions, fresh Pico de gallo and avocado crema. Delicious! But the next day I just did the pulled pork on a corn tortilla with a lil Pico de Gallo and Mozza melted on top….it was sooooo good! The flaovor of the meat was the star. Thanks for the fantastic recipe. Will make again and again!


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