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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Our easy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe crazy good - the whole family will love the tender, crispy and juicy pork. This recipe is great for tacos, burritos, salads, and more!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Time for Pressure to Release 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Author Ang Paris


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 5 lbs pork shoulder (I trimmed the larger fat areas off)
  • cups chicken stock
  • tablespoons fresh garlic, minced
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1-2 limes (plus more for serving)
  • 4-6 clementines
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Trim the pork shoulder of any excess fat (discard).
  • Cut the pork into 2-inch pieces and then season it with salt and pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in the inner pot of the Instant Pot using the sauté setting.
  • Working in batches, brown the pork on all sides.
  • Place the cooked meat into a bowl.
  • Cancel the sauté mode.
  • Add the chicken (or vegetable) stock to the Instant Pot and use a whisk or wooden spoon to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the cubed pork back to the pan.
  • Juice the limes and clementines and add the juice and the pieces of fruit to the pot (these will be discarded later).
  • Add the garlic, spices and fresh cilantro and stir to combine.
  • Check that the sealing ring is in the lid correctly and then twist the locking lid.
  • Select the Meat/Stew setting and set the pot to 35 minutes.
  • When the cooking time has finished, let the pot natural pressure release for 15 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure.
  • Carefully remove the lid.
  • Using tongs, remove the clementines and discard.

How to get Crispy Carnitas - Broiler Method

  • Place the meat onto a rimmed baking sheet and break it up.
  • Season with additional salt and pepper and drizzle half of the leftover juices from the Instant Pot on top of the meat.
  • Place the tray under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, watching closely - remove the meat when the edges start to look crispy.
  • Remove the tray from the oven and drizzle with the remaining leftover cooking juices from the pot.
  • Stir the meat and place under the broiler again for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Serve with corn tortillas and lime wedges.


TIP: Broiling the pork at the end ensures that the carnitas get crispy!

Fresh pork should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 145-degrees F according to FoodSafety.gov. Remember you always want to allow your pork to rest for three minutes.

Can you put frozen meat in Instant Pot?

Using frozen meat in an Instant Pot is not recommended.

Do I have to use cilantro?

If you're like me and think that cilantro tastes like soap, don't use it. I use fresh parsley as a garnish as that's what I prefer and skip using cilantro in the recipe.
You can also use a little dried oregano (1 teaspoon) to help season the pork, if desired, in lieu of cilantro.

How do you warm tortillas for carnitas?

Preheat the oven to 350-degrees F. Wrap a stack of corn (or flour) tortillas in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped tortillas in the oven for about 10 minutes. This will make the tortillas work and soft.

How do you store leftover carnitas?

Store leftovers in the refrigerator for 3-5 days in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can place the pork into a freezer bag and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months (don’t forget to label it!)

Slow Cooker Recipe Variation

  1. Keep the pork shoulder whole and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add the avocado or olive oil.
  3. Sear the pork in a skillet on all sides.
  4. Transfer the pork to a slow cooker.
  5. Add the chicken stock, spices, garlic, juices, cilantro and whole fruits.
  6. Cover and set for 6 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  7. Before serving, discard the whole fruits and wilted cilantro.
  8. Use the broiler method above to crisp the pork.