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Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe: Juicy & Flavorful Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe: Juicy & Flavorful


Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe: Juicy & Flavorful

Written by: Lucas Johnson

Sure thing! These Instant Pot carnitas are my go-to for a quick, flavorful dinner. Tender pork shoulder, zesty citrus, and warm spices all come together for a mouthwatering feast. Love it!

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Alright, buckle up, because I'm going to share with you my instant pot carnitas recipe. Trust me, it's a game-changer. You've got beautifully tender pork shoulder mixed with bold spices, and a zesty kick from lime and orange juice. It’ll have your kitchen filled with an aroma that'll have you salivating. It's so simple, yet delightfully complex in flavor. Just one bite and you'll wonder where it's been all your life. Now, let's get down to business and start cooking!

Ingredients for Delicious Instant Pot Carnitas

  • Pork shoulder: Tender and flavorful cut that becomes melt-in-your-mouth when cooked low and slow, perfect for carnitas.
  • Onion: Adds a sweet and savory depth to the dish, enhancing the overall flavor profile of the carnitas.
  • Garlic: Infuses a rich and aromatic taste into the pork, elevating the dish with its pungent flavor.
  • Cumin: Brings a warm and earthy flavor to the carnitas, adding a hint of smokiness to the dish.
  • Oregano: Provides a subtle herbaceous note to the pork, enhancing the overall complexity of the carnitas.
  • Chili powder: Adds a kick of heat and depth of flavor to the carnitas, balancing out the other spices.
  • Orange juice: Offers a touch of sweetness and acidity to the dish, complementing the savory flavors of the pork.
  • Lime juice: Brightens up the carnitas with a zesty and tangy flavor, adding a refreshing contrast to the dish.
  • Chicken broth: Infuses the pork with rich umami flavor and helps keep the meat moist and tender during cooking.

READ MORE: Instant Pot Quinoa Recipe: Simple & Nutritious

Essential Tools for Making Instant Pot Carnitas

  • Instant Pot: Essential for pressure cooking the pork quickly while keeping it tender and flavorful.
  • Knife: Needed to cut the pork shoulder into smaller, manageable pieces for cooking.
  • Cutting board: Provides a safe and stable surface for cutting the pork and other ingredients.
  • Measuring cups: Ensures accurate amounts of liquids like orange juice, lime juice, and chicken broth are added.

Serves: 6 people

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Total time: 1 hour


  • 3 lbs pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth


  1. Season the pork with cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Place the seasoned pork in the Instant Pot.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, orange juice, lime juice, and chicken broth.
  4. Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 45 minutes.
  5. Once done, allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes before quick releasing the remaining pressure.
  6. Shred the pork using two forks.
  7. Optional: crisp up the carnitas in a skillet for a few minutes.
  8. Serve in tacos, burritos, or over rice.

Nutritional value:

Per Serving in Calories: 350 kcal | Carbohydrates: 3 g | Protein: 25 g | Total Fat: 26 g | Saturated Fat: 9 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4 g | Cholesterol: 95 mg | Sodium: 400 mg | Dietary Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Calcium: 40 mg | Potassium: 500 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Vitamin A: 100 µg | Vitamin C: 10 mg

Tips for Making Instant Pot Carnitas Ahead of Time

Make Ahead Instructions

  • Cook the carnitas as per the recipe instructions.
  • Allow the carnitas to cool completely.
  • Store the carnitas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Freezing Instructions

  • Cook the carnitas as per the recipe instructions.
  • Allow the carnitas to cool completely.
  • Place the carnitas in a freezer-safe container or bag.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Thaw in the refrigerator before reheating.

When making these instant pot carnitas, try adding a cinnamon stick to the pot for a subtle, warm flavor that complements the spices beautifully.

Common Questions About Making Carnitas in an Instant Pot

Can I use a different cut of meat for this instant pot carnitas recipe?
Pork shoulder works best for carnitas, but you can also use pork butt or pork loin for this recipe.
How can I make the carnitas crispy after cooking in the instant pot?
To crisp up the carnitas, you can spread the shredded meat on a baking sheet and broil it in the oven for a few minutes.
Can I make this recipe ahead of time and reheat it later?
Yes, you can make the carnitas ahead of time and reheat them in a skillet or the oven to crisp them up before serving.
Is there a substitute for orange juice in this recipe?
If you don't have orange juice, you can use pineapple juice or a combination of lime juice and a bit of sugar for a similar citrus flavor.
How long can I store the cooked carnitas in the refrigerator?
Cooked carnitas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

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