plate of pork carnitas and tortillas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas is the perfect way to celebrate Taco Tuesday or just about any other day. Savory shredded pork, topped with fresh cilantro is a great way to spice up your meal planning routine.

INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS RECIPE

Do you remember that scene in the Wizard of Oz where everything in Oz turns from black and white to color? Almost all of us can look back on a time in our lives when we had a similar experience. Maybe not with the Lollipop Guild dancing around us, but when we had a moment when we realized what we were used to isn’t nearly as great as what just happened.

One of my “Oz Moments” when it comes to food happened in Mexico. I grew up in suburban Connecticut, not exactly the locale for a ton of taco trucks. It would have been great, but, not too much foot traffic or parking areas on suburban streets. So, for me, tacos were either an item in a Taco Bell bag or something we cooked at home with a packet of seasoning. Tasty? Yes. Authentic? Not so much. A few years ago we took the boys on a vacation that included a couple of stops along the Gulf Coast of Mexico. It was in one of these bustling port towns that everything went from black and white to color. My first real taco. Pork carnitas to be exact. The perfectly seasoned meat, slow-cooked overnight, required only a dash of hot sauce and a squeeze of lime. Man, I was off to see the Wizard at that point.

This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe may not be the exact recipe that they are serving up in coastal Mexico, but, it is bursting with flavor, and can be prepared very quickly for a busy household. Grab the Tin Man and Scarecrow, and serve this up on your next Taco Tuesday.

bowl of pork carnitas spices

WHAT IS PORK CARNITAS

Carnitas, which is translated to little meats, comes from the Mexican state of Michoacán. Slow-cooked pork is shredded, served with warm tortillas, and topped with onion, salsa, guacamole, and refried beans.

WHAT DOES PORK CARNITAS TASTE LIKE?

Pork Carnitas is a very savory dish. The texture is similar to a pulled pork sandwich found across the Southeastern U.S. just not as juicy. Aside from the pork, the fresh cilantro adds a nice herbaceous kick. Though this carnitas recipe is cooked in orange juice, it is not citrusy, the OJ helps with caramelizing the pork during the brief broiling step at the end.

shredded pork in a mixing bowl

INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS INGREDIENTS

  • Boneless Pork Shoulder – 3.5 pounds
  • Salt – 1 tablespoon
  • Ground Cumin – 1 tablespoon
  • Dried Oregano – 2.5 teaspoons
  • Light Brown Sugar – 2.5 teaspoons
  • Dried Basil – 1 teaspoon
  • Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Paprika – 1.5 teaspoon
  • Orange Juice – 2 cups
  • Water – 1 cup
shredded pork on a baking tray

HOW TO MAKE INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS

Making Pork Carnitas in the Instant Pot not only is a massive time saver but also guarantees that every bite will be bursting with flavor.

  1. Trim any skin and excess fat from pork. Using a sharp knife, cut pork into chunks about 2 inches wide.
  2. To make the carnitas dry rub, in a small bowl, combine salt, cumin, dried oregano, brown sugar, dried basil, chili powder, and paprika. Stir with a fork or small whisk until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
  3. Generously coat pork with dry rub seasoning.
  4. Put seasoned pork in your Instant Pot and add orange juice and water.
  5. Secure lid on Instant Pot, make sure the pressure valve is set to the sealed position. 
  6. Cook on High/Manual for 45 minutes.
  7. Allow Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  8. Shred pork with forks or using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
  9. Spread shredded pork across a large metal baking tray and broil at 500 degrees F for 5 minutes.
  10. Serve with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.
broiled shredded pork

CAN YOU MAKE THIS PORK CARNITAS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME?

Yes, you can make this Pork Carnitas recipe and save it. I have doubled the recipe before so I can use it for carnitas bowls while meal prepping.

CAN YOU FREEZE INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS?

As long as you store the shredded pork in an airtight container to protect it from freezer burn, you can save this in the freezer for future recipes.

pork carnitas tacos on a plate

WHAT TO SERVE WITH PORK CARNITAS?

In my opinion, the shredded pork is the main character, anything you serve it with should be like non-speaking extras in the background. I like to serve mine with warm flour tortillas (some prefer corn tortillas). You can also use the pork for:

pork carnitas tacos

WHAT KITCHEN TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS?

  1. Instant Pot (or similar electric pressure cooker)
  2. A sharp chef’s knife
  3. A stand mixer or hand mixer for easy shredding
  4. Metal baking sheet
plate of pork carnitas and tortillas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas is the perfect way to celebrate Taco Tuesday or just about any other day. Savory shredded pork, topped with fresh cilantro is a great way to spice up your meal planning routine.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Pressurizing and Pressure Release: 25 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Pork
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 315kcal
Author: House Hunk

Ingredients

Carnitas Dry Rub

Pork Carnitas

  • 3 ½ pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1 cup Water

Instructions

  • Trim any skin and excess fat from pork. Using a sharp knife, cut pork into chunks about 2 inches wide.
  • To make the carnitas dry rub, in a small bowl, combine salt, cumin, dried oregano, brown sugar, dried basil, chili powder, and paprika. Stir with a fork or small whisk until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
    bowl of pork carnitas spices
  • Generously coat pork with dry rub seasoning.
  • Put seasoned pork in your Instant Pot and add orange juice and water.
  • Secure lid on Instant Pot, make sure the pressure valve is set to the sealed position. 
  • Cook on High/Manual for 45 minutes.
  • Allow Instant Pot to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.
  • Shred pork with forks or using a hand mixer or stand mixer.
    shredded pork in a mixing bowl
  • Spread shredded pork across a large metal baking tray and broil at 500 degrees F for 5 minutes.
    broiled shredded pork
  • Serve with warm tortillas and your favorite toppings.
    pork carnitas tacos on a plate

Nutrition

Calories: 315kcal
Tried this recipe? Did you love it?Mention @HouseHunk or tag #househunk!
Instant Pork Carnitas Pinterest Pin

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