Instant Pot Carnitas

Jump to Recipe

Savory shredded pork for tacos, tamales, burritos, or just to serve over rice. A squeeze of orange juice and orange peel adds just the right acidity to balance the fragrant, peppery Mexican spice blend. Experiment a little with the seasonings, as foods cooked in the Instant Pot tend to be a little blander and need a little more salt and flavor. Serve this moist, tender meat with warmed soft tortillas, some fresh pico de gallo, avocado, and a squeeze of lime juice. Delicious!

Prepare the Pork

I had a rather large (9 lb!) blade-in pork shoulder roast I needed to use up. Since one of my instant pots was tied up with yogurt making, I had to also use one of my conventional pressure cookers (my favorite is the Kuhn Rikon braiser), keeping me in the kitchen for the 80-minute cook time. It’s not a set-it-and-forget-it machine like the Instant Pot, but that brand is one of the best for conventional pressure cooking. I’ve been known to have both the braiser, a pressure cooker stockpot, and an Instant Pot going at the same time. Instructions are given here for a smaller roast cooked in the Instant Pot. Cook time remains the same for a conventional pressure cooker.

The meat needs to be cut up into chunks for easier browning and more even cooking.

Pork Shoulder Picnic (has bone)

Using a sharp knife, remove the rind from the bottom of the pork roast and discard. Do not remove the fat.

Cut roast into rough chunks, and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet, and brown all sides for about five minutes. Brown the bones, too. They will add to the rich flavor the broth. Can you skip the browning to save time (not to mention mess)? Of course. But keep in mind that browning is what gives meat a deeper, “meatier” flavor, thanks to the maillard effect, that lovely caramelization of the meat and fat that makes beef and pork taste so wonderful. Can you use the Sauté function on your Instant Pot? Again, yes. I just prefer the control I have with my gas stove and my well-used-and-loved Calphalon skillet to achieve the perfect sear. It’s one extra pan to wash, and for me, it’s worth the flavor boost.

Add meat and bone to inner liner of Instant Pot, along with remaining ingredients. Squeeze oranges over meat, and toss them into the pot.

Cook for 80 minutes at high pressure, using a full natural release.

When done, remove the pork from the pot, and allow to cool long enough to be able to handle. Remove excess fat, if desired, and shred or chunk pork as desired.

Save some of the broth to keep meat moist for storage.

Spoon carnitas meat onto a warmed tortilla. Add your favorite toppings, and a squeeze of lime. Eat delicious tacos.


Pork Carnitas

  • Servings: 8-12
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  • 4-5 lb pork shoulder picnic or pork butt roast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/canola oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth (I use Better than Bullion dissolved in one cup of water)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp Adobo seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 packet Sazon Goya
  • 1 orange, halved


  1. Remove rind from pork shoulder picnic roast. Cut up roast into about four or five chunks, and season with salt and pepper. Brown chunks (and bone) in oil for about five minutes, turning to brown evenly on all sides.
  2. Combine remaining seasonings in a small bowl. Season the browned meat and add to Instant Pot liner, along with chicken broth. Squeeze orange halves all over meat, and then toss the orange halves into the pot.
  3. Set Instant Pot to 80 minutes at high pressure. Allow full natural release, and remove from pot.
  4. Shred or chunk meat, and remove fat as desired.
  5. Optional (but tasty) step: Spread shredded pork out on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet. Pour about 1 cup of the cooking liquid over the meat, and broil for about 5 minutes (watch this carefully!) until the meat crisps up at the edges.

One thought on “Instant Pot Carnitas

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.