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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are a delicious way to make restaurant-worthy carnitas at home! Thanks to the Instant Pot these carnitas are loaded with big flavors and tender, juicy pork. You can’t go wrong with this dinner recipe.


instant pot pork carnitas


I already know that you love my Instant Pot pork recipes because my Instant Pot BBQ pork chops recipe is wildly popular. I love using my Instant Pot to cook pork because pork can be very dry meat. By using the Instant Pot I ensure it will come out juicy every time. This recipe is no exception! The pork carnitas bowls are amazing. The perfect healthy dinner to add to your menu.


Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

These pulled pork carnitas can be made into a healthy bowl for a lower carb option or you could make them into tacos if you prefer that. We ate them as a bowl for a healthy option. No matter how you like your carnitas, this recipe is where it’s at! I love Instant Pot recipes because they are juicy, tender, and easy.



pork carnitas ingredients

How To Make Pork Carnitas

Making pork carnitas is easy thanks to the Instant Pot. You’ll need several spices and a little bit of time (but not much thanks to the pressure cooker). We will start by mixing up a dry rub and rubbing it all over the pork roast until it is covered. Be sure to press the dry rub into the meat.



saute pork roast


Next, we will use the Instant Pot to saute the pork roast pieces on all sides. You want to achieve a nice sear as this will seal in the juices and help deliver more juicy pork. We will use the saute function on the Instant Pot for this portion and be sure you do not use a lid during this process. You’re simply sauteing the pork with no lid on the pressure cooker, turning until all sides are browned. Then remove the meat from the pressure cooker and continue until all the pork pieces are seared. Remove all pieces and set aside.


pork carnitas bowl


Once all the pork has been browned, it is time to add the remaining ingredients and pressure cook it to get it nice and tender. Follow the recipe below.

While the pressure cooker is cooking the pork, make the cilantro-lime rice and pico de gallo.

When the pressure cooker is done cooking, allow it to naturally release for 20 minutes before doing a quick release. This will help the pork stay juicy. If you quick release the pressure right away it doesn’t give time for the juices to settle into the meat and your meat will be dry. Don’t skip this step!

At this point, you can shred the pork and assemble your carnitas bowl or you can take one more optional step if you like crispy pork carnitas.


pressure cooker pork carnitas

How To Make Crispy Pork Carnitas

If you want crispy pork carnitas you’ll want to take one step further to get the best tasting carnitas around!

Remove the pork from the pressure cooker and use two forks or meat shredding forks to shred it. Put it on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet and drizzle it with 1/4 cup of the juices out of the Instant Pot. Broil 4-5 minutes, add juices, flip the meat and broil an additional few minutes.

Now you can assemble the carnitas bowls.


carnitas bowl


Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe

instant pot pork carnitas

Instant Pot® Pork Carnitas Bowls

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Sautee Time 30 minutes
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American


  • Instant Pot


Dry Rub Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 1 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided 

Pork Carnitas Ingredients

  • 3.5-4.5 lbs pork shoulder roast trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 medium red onion diced
  • 1 medium jalapeno diced
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth preferable organic
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice 
  • 3 tbsp lime juice

Cilantro-Lime Rice Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked rice prepared according to package ingredients 
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh lime juice divided
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste 

Pico de Gallo Ingredients

  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes quartered
  • 1/4 cup red onion diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro leaves finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • Sea salt & black pepper to taste

Remaining Bowl Ingredients

  • 1 large avocado sliced
  • 1 cup  black beans warmed
  • 1 cup whole kernel corn warmed
  • 2 large limes cut into wedges
  • 3 tbsp fresh cilantro for garnish


  • Mix the dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and rub onto pork roast until it is thoroughly covered with dry rub.
  • Push the “Sauté” button on the Instant Pot® and set it to “High.” Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the seasoned pork shoulder pieces to the pot. Sear pork and brown on all sides, approximately 2-3 minutes per side.
    Note: DO NOT use the lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot.
  • Once pork pieces are browned, transfer to a plate and repeat this process by adding another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot® and set aside.
  • Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the pot, along with the onion and jalapeño. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the browned pork you set aside back to the pot and pour chicken broth, orange juice, and lime juice on top. Add lid and lock in place. Set the steam vent to “Sealing.” Press the “Manual” button and adjust to the “High” setting. Set cook time to 30 minutes. (Select 40 minutes for 4+ pound roasts).
  • When the Instant Pot® cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before doing a quick release of any remaining steam.

Cilantro-Lime Rice and Pico de Gallo

  • While the pork is cooking, prepare the Cilantro-Lime Rice and Pico de Gallo by combining the ingredients for each in medium bowls. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to use.

Optional Steps for Crispier Carnitas

  • Pre-heat the oven broiler to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Remove pork from Instant Pot and shred with two forks. Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with ¼ cup juices from the Instant Pot® and toss to combine before spreading into a thin, even layer. Season with additional salt and black pepper, if desired.
  • Place pork under broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges. 
  • When finished broiling, remove baking sheet from oven and assemble the burrito bowls by dividing the shredded pork, Cilantro-Lime Rice, Pico de Gallo, sliced avocado, black beans, and corn between 4 to 6 serving bowls.
  • To serve, top with chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!


Prepare the Cilantro-Lime Rice and fresh Pico de Gallo once the pork is in the Instant Pot® to save time.

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Instant Pot pork carnitas recipe

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