Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time and make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.

Cut short cooking time & make this Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas)! Crispy & Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork is so addictive to eat. Add a scoop of refreshing Salsa for tacos, burritos, or tamales.

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Mexicothis beautiful & warm country – holds a dear place in our hearts, as it was one of the stops in our Honeymoon trip. 🙂

Streets of Cozumel Mexico

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Our stay was waaay too short and there’s so much more to this colorful place than just the magnificent Chichen Itza, fun snorkeling, and the relaxing beaches…

Tacos & margaritas are calling my name… 😛

Mexican Food - Cozumel, Mexico
Tacos de Pescado (Beer-battered Mahi-Mahi fillet with shredded cabbage, light mayo + chipotle sauce), with a yummy Mangorita!

Every time Jacky & I have Mexican food, the sweet memories from our Honeymoon would bring a smile to our faces. Mexican food is our Happy Food. 🙂

So, we’re more than thrilled to share this Mexican Carnitas Recipe – a delicious Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork with you.

The savory browned crisp edges with juicy & tender pork meat is so irresistible to eat!! 

Manners don’t really matter anymore as we couldn’t help but fight over the crispy bits…hehe~

Wrap the crispy & juicy pork with warm crisped tortilla, with a scoop of refreshing Salsa with a squeeze of lime. A mouthful sensation full of exciting & satisfying bites! 😀

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time and make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.

Carnitas are normally made by simmering pork in lard for hours until tender & juicy.

And what’s amazing with Instant Pot Carnitas is it’s so simple & much quicker to make!! 🙂

5 Simple Steps to Make Pressure Cooker Carnitas:

  1. Cube Pork Shoulder Meat
  2. Marinate Cubed Pork
  3. Pressure Cook Marinated Pork
  4. Crisp Pressure Cooked Pork
  5. Shred & Eat!! 😀 😀

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time and make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.

You’ll Enjoy Instant Pot Carnitas (Pressure Cooker Carnitas) Because:

  • Simple & easy to make, yet addictive to eat!
  • Great texture & flavor – crisped browned edges + juicy & tender meat
  • Shorter cooking time comparing to the traditional or slow cooker methods
  • Versatile dish – can be made into tacos, burritos, tamales, or eat with rice…
  • Made with mostly whole, real ingredients

Instant Pot Carnitas (Pressure Cooker Carnitas) are Great for:

  • Mexican fiesta celebrations (e.g. Cinco de Mayo)
  • Outings, Picnics, Potlucks…
  • Holidays, Dinner Parties, Gatherings…
  • Game Days, Football Parties, Men’s/Ladies’ Night, Taco Bar Parties…

Ingredients for Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)


Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas) Ingredients

  • 3 ¼ pounds (~1475g) pork shoulder meat (pork butt meat), cut into 2 – 2 1/4 inches cubes
  • 200ml (~4/5 cup) unsalted chicken stock

Marinade

Optional

Tools for Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)


Instructions for Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)


Preparation

Ingredient

4 (13g) garlic cloves, crushed
1 (200g) medium onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon (2g) cumin seed, ground

First prepare the above ingredients.

Step 1
Prepare Pork Shoulder Meat

Ingredient

3 ¼ pounds (~1475g) pork shoulder meat (pork butt meat)

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): cut pork shoulder (pork butt) meat into 2 inches cubes

Remove rind and bone from the pork shoulder meat. Cut pork shoulder meat into cubes (~2 – 2 1/4 inches cubes)

*Pro Tip: Don’t throw away the excess fat!

Step 2
Marinate Pork Shoulder Cubes

Ingredients

Cubed pork shoulder + fat
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Crushed garlic cloves
Chopped onion
Ground cumin
1 teaspoon (2g) cinnamon powder or 1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon (15ml) light soy sauce (not low sodium soy sauce)
55ml juice from 1 fresh orange

Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

Inactive Time (for Marinating): 20 mins

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Marinating pork shoulder (pork Boston butt meat)

Place pork shoulder cubes & fat into the Instant Pot’s inner pot.

Season very generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper.

Add 4 crushed garlic cloves, chopped onion, 1 tsp (2g) ground cumin, 1 tsp (2g) cinnamon powder, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp (15ml) light soy sauce, and juice (55ml) from 1 orange to the inner pot.

Mix well and let the meat marinate for 20 minutes.

Step 3
Pressure Cook Pork Shoulder Cubes

Ingredient

200ml (~4/5 cup) unsalted chicken stock

Pour ~4/5 cup (200ml) unsalted chicken stock in the inner pot.

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): pouring chicken stock in Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker

Close lid and pressure cook at

  • Pressure Cooking Method: High Pressure for 30 minutes
  • Pressure Release Method: 15 minutes Natural Release

Release the remaining pressure after 15 minutes and open the lid carefully.

Instant Pot Ultra Electric Pressure Cooker

Step 4
Crisp Pork Shoulder Cubes

Ingredients

Pressure cooked pork shoulder cubes
Kosher salt
Cooking liquid (optional: 2 tbsp (30ml) vegetable oil)

Baking tray
Broiler

Transfer the pork shoulder cubes onto a baking tray.

*Pro Tip 1: Now is a good time to take a bite and see if the pork cubes are salty enough. If the pork cubes are not salty enough, add more kosher salt into the cooking liquid. Taste & adjust accordingly.

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): remove pressure cooked pork shoulder from Instant Pot Ultra

Drizzle some of the cooking liquid on to each piece.

*Pro Tip 2: The cooking liquid should be mostly fat. If not, mix ¼ cup (63ml) cooking liquid with 2 tbsp (30ml) of vegetable oil and drizzle over each piece of pork. The fat & oil will protect the meat from drying out and the surface will crisp faster.

Place pork shoulder cubes under a broiler or the top rack of a preheated 450°F toaster oven until the surface is crisped. Roughly 8 – 10 minutes.

Flip the pork shoulder cubes, drizzle each piece with more cooking liquid and place in the oven again until the surface is crisped.

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): crispy Mexican pulled pork

Step 5
(Optional) Heat Corn Tortillas

Ingredients

8 – 12 corn tortillas
Salsa (pico de gallo)

If you are serving the Carnitas with corned tortillas, you can heat up the corn tortillas when the pork is browning in the oven.

Our Pico de Gallo Recipe: Homemade Salsa Recipe

Make Easy Mexican Homemade Salsa Recipe (Pico de Gallo)! Excite your taste buds with this refreshing Salsa Fresca as a side dish, dip, or topping for tacos.

Step 6
Serve Pressure Cooker Carnitas & Enjoy

Ingredient

Optional: 1 lime

You can shred the Pressure Cooker Carnitas with forks or leave them as chunks.

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Crispy Mexican pulled pork

Place piping hot Instant Pot Carnitas on top of the warmed corn tortillas with a spoonful of salsa (Pico De Gallo). Finish off with a squeeze of a lime.

Ta da! Serve immediately & eat!!! 🙂

*Pro Tip: After crisping the carnitas in the oven, try to eat immediately or else the meat will dry out if you let it sit for too long.

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time and make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.

Cooking Tips for Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)


What is Pork Shoulder (Pork Butt) Meat?

Pork Butt Meat or Boston Butt is one of our favorite cuts of pork. It’s the upper part of the pig’s shoulder, above the picnic shoulder cut in the front legs.

It’s marbled with enough fat to keep the meat moist while cooking. So, remember to pick a piece of pork butt with some nice marble and fat.

*Caution: What we aim for is crisp on the outside and moist & tender on the inside. Don’t overcook the pork shoulder meat in both the Instant Pot & oven, or they will be dry inside!

*Little Shopping Tip: Pork Shoulder Meat (already a cheap cut) is usually quite a bit cheaper in Asian markets marked as Pork Butt Meat or Char Siu Meat. So if you have Asian market near you that sells fresh meat, go check it out. 😉

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4.9 from 39 reviews
Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)
 
Prep
Cook
Total
 
Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time & make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Meat, Party Food, Snack, Easy
Cuisine: Mexican
Serving: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 3 ¼ pounds (~1475g) pork shoulder meat (pork butt meat), cut into 2 – 2¼ inches cubes
  • 200ml (~4/5 cup) unsalted chicken stock
Marinade
Optional:
  • 8 – 12 corn tortillas
  • Salsa (pico de gallo)
  • 1 lime
Instructions
  1. Prepare Pork Shoulder Meat: Remove rind and bone from the pork shoulder meat. Cut pork shoulder meat into cubes (~2 inches). Keep the excess fat.
  2. Marinate Pork Shoulder Cubes: Place pork shoulder cubes & fat into the Instant Pot’s inner pot. Season very generously with kosher salt and ground black pepper. Add 4 crushed garlic cloves, chopped onion, 1 tsp (2g) ground cumin, 1 tsp (2g) cinnamon powder, 2 bay leaves, 1 tbsp (15ml) light soy sauce, and juice (55ml) from 1 orange to the inner pot. Mix well and let the meat marinate for 20 minutes.
  3. Pressure Cook Pork Shoulder Cubes: Pour ~4/5 cup (200ml) unsalted chicken stock in the inner pot. Close lid and pressure cook at High Pressure for 30 minutes + 15 minutes Natural Release. Release the remaining pressure after 15 minutes and open the lid carefully.
  4. Crisp Pork Shoulder Cubes: Transfer the pork shoulder cubes onto a baking tray. Now is a good time to take a bite and see if the pork cubes are salty enough. If the pork cubes are not salty enough, add more kosher salt into the cooking liquid. Taste & adjust accordingly.

    Drizzle some of the cooking liquid on to each piece (The cooking liquid should be mostly fat. If not, mix ¼ cup (63ml) cooking liquid with 2 tbsp (30ml) of vegetable oil and drizzle over each piece of pork). The fat & oil will protect the meat from drying out and the surface will crisp faster.

    Place pork shoulder cubes under a broiler or the top rack of a preheated 450°F toaster oven until the surface is crisped. Roughly 8 – 10 minutes. Flip the pork shoulder cubes, drizzle each piece with more cooking liquid and place in the oven again until the surface is crisped.
  5. (Optional) Heat Corn Tortillas: If you are serving the Carnitas with corned tortillas, you can heat up the corn tortillas when the pork is browning in the oven.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Place piping hot Carnitas on top of the warmed corn tortillas with a spoonful of salsa (Pico De Gallo). Serve immediately!
Notes
*Total Cooking Time: cooking time did not include inactive marinating time.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12 Calories: 373 Fat: 26.4g Carbohydrates: 3g Sugar: 1.4g Sodium: 165mg Fiber: 0.3g Protein: 29.3g

Other Instant Pot Pulled Pork Recipe


Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe (Pressure Cooker Carnitas): Cut short cooking time and make this crispy and Juicy Mexican Pulled Pork! Perfect with tacos, burritos, or tamales.

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Leave a Reply

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Hoa

Hi! Can this be made ahead of time – cook in instant pot the morning of and then crisp before dinner? Also can this recipe be doubled or should I make them in separate batches?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot MAX
Stephanie J Heine

I have a pork sirloin roast. Would this work for this recipe or do I need a pork shoulder? The recipe looks so delicious. Thanks!

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Stephanie J Heine

Thanks for the response! I’m going to get the right cut for this next grocery trip and do something else with my roast.

Sev

Just made this this past weekend, and it was amazing. Such wonderful flavor, I was amazed at how much you could taste the orange juice and cinnamon. Ate it with pico and cilantro and lime on corn tortillas, it was delicious. Another wonderful Instant Pot recipe. I used a pork roast not pork butt and it worked very well. Slightly leaner but still tender and juicy. Definitely store it in the juice when you fridge the leftovers, if there are any.

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 80
Alisa Suzuki

So delicious and very easy. Everyone loved it! thank you very much for sharing.

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Joseph

Two questions if you don’t mind. Will this fit in a 3-quart instant pot or I need a 6-quart one? If I can’t get fresh oranges, can I use lemons instead? Or is there something else you recommend as a substitute?

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot Mini (3 Quart)
Glinda

This is a great recipe…you cannot go wrong! Delicious! I did not want to stop eating😂Thank you Amy + Jack for sharing!

Pressure Cooker
Instant Pot DUO 60
Julia

These are SO GOOD omg. They looked like absolute garbage out of the instant pot so I was a little hesitant, but after 2×15 minutes under the broiler of my toaster oven they were PERFECT. I’m actually shocked. I just spent a week in San Diego and these were 100000x better than any tacos I had there.

We had these on fresh corn tortillas with pickled red onion, salsa, and avocado, and queso fresco. I couldn’t stop eating them. Perfect way to end a long weekend.

Corinne

Carnitas are one of my standard Mexican restaurant orders, and this recipe is better than anything from a restaurant. My husband ate his in a flour tortilla; I wrapped mine in Bibb lettuce leaves; and my son just forked them straight from a bowl. The other half of the 7-lb Boston butt is ready for your pulled pork recipe tomorrow. Y’all never disappoint!

Paulaz

Vacationing with a group of friends and will be out all day, back in time to cook dinner. Do you think it would be ok to marinate the meat all day so we can put it in the IP when we get back to our rental house?

Alessa

This is the best recipe. I’ve never been blown away this much by something so so delicious, I can’t believe I made this and it wasn’t even difficult! An absolute gem of a recipe, thank you Amy and Jacky!

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