Growing up I ate a lot of Mexican food. Pork carnitas were always a personal favorite. Traditional pork carnitas take hours of preparation and cook time. Ain't nobody got time for that! These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are a shortcut to that same flavor. That’s the beauty of the Instant Pot isn’t it?
When I was younger my dad used to make Mexican food all the time. It was his favorite type of cuisine. Rick Bayless was his idol. If you don't know who that is a quick Google search may help. Sometimes I got tired of all the Mexican food. I asked for Chinese, Italian, or basically anything different from the usual tacos, enchiladas, or other south-of-the-border meals.
Don’t get me wrong, my dad is an excellent cook. I thoroughly enjoyed (and enjoy) his cooking. I just wanted a little variety.
Fast forward several years and now I’m married to a man that hates Mexican food! Now I crave it and wish I could have it more. Oh the irony.
Despite my husband’s dread for most Mexican food he actually asks for these pork carnitas! They are a staple around our house and trust me, I’m not complaining about that. Not only are they tasty, but they are simple to make and the leftovers make great lunches. The meat is so versatile it can be used in salads, tacos, burritos, rice bowls, etc.
Sometimes we will simply serve the carnitas over steamed vegetables for a quick meal. This great with a bit of the natural juices and almost makes a stew.
Anyway, you get the idea. This is a great versatile recipe with many uses. Give them try and let me know how you’ve used these tasty Instant Pot Pork Carnitas.
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Tips to Make Sure this Recipe Turns Out Great
- Cook the jalapeños well before adding the pork. Cooking them well removes most of the spiciness, but leaves the flavor.
- Make sure to mix in the spices well. You should see spices coating all of the chunks of pork before pressure cooking. Every piece deserves those yummy spices.
- Salt and pepper well after cooking. The proper amount of salt really makes the flavors pop! But don’t over-salt.
- The optional step of crisping the pork on the stove really makes a difference. If you’re serving the pork in tacos then this step is a must, in my opinion.
- Lime, cilantro, and green salsas pair well with this recipe.
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe saves you hours of prep time versus traditional pork carnitas without sacrificing flavor. This versatile recipe is great for tacos, burritos, lettuce wraps, salads, or any other place you could use flavorful pork.
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder roast cut into 2" chunks
- 1 large white onion diced
- 2 jalapeños seeded & diced
- 5 cloves garlic diced
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 large orange or lemon for Keto
- salt & pepper to taste
Combine the spice mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté mode and add the ghee or oil. Once it is hot add the diced onion and stir frequently to avoid sticking.
After the onion starts to cook (becomes translucent or clear) add in the diced jalapeños and garlic. Be sure all the jalapeño seeds are removed or the carnitas will be very spicy. Cook for another couple of minutes until the jalapeños and garlic are fragrant.
Add in the pork chunks and top with the spice mixture. Stir well until the spices are coating all of the pork. Press the Cancel button on the Instant Pot. Juice the orange and pour the juice over the top of the pork. Stir the pork a little so that the juice reaches the bottom of the pot. Place the bay leaf on top of the pork.
Secure the lid and check that the vent is in the Sealed position. Press the Manual/Pressure Cook button and cook on high for 30 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally or at least let the pork sit for 20 minutes after cooking. If there is still pressure then manually release it using the valve on the lid and then open the lid. Remove the bay leaf and discard it. Stir well to break the tender pork into smaller pieces.
Salt and pepper to taste. Optionally, you can transfer the pork to a heavy bottomed pan, such as a cast iron skillet. Add a little oil of your choice and brown on medium heat over the stovetop until the desired crispiness is achieved. Or you can serve straight from the Instant Pot.
This pork is great for tacos, burritos, lettuce wrap ‘tacos’, or even salads. Squeeze some lime over it, add a dollop of guacamole, cilantro, chopped onion, and your favorite salsa if you so choose.