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Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas

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Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas are super easy to make, and combine pork shoulder with a tried-and-true spice rub, an orange, lime, and broth combo – all topped with a delicious pico de gallo. It doesn’t get much better than this!

Overhead shot of three pork carnitas on a black plate, with avocado slices and pico on top.

Let’s see a show of hands for instant pot lovers! Anyone? 😀

I’ve gotta say, I was pretty scared to try this new appliance, even after seeing ALL the recipe development using this new’ish kitchen appliance. My boys bought me one for Christmas a couple of Decembers ago, and it took me exactly eight months to start REALLY using it. Confession – I didn’t really have a choice but to try it while enduring a major kitchen remodel last fall. It was either eat cereal and toast every meal, go out, or use my instant pot. And if you know my hubs and I, you’ll know that eating out during the week really isn’t our style.

Now? I use my instant pot several times a week. But instead of making entire meals in it, I’m using it for all of my “this is better in the instant pot” foods. Steel cut oats, quinoa, rice, hard boiled eggs, beef roast, and pork shoulder. So far, so good.

Overhead shot of the crispy pork on a sheet pan, with limes and cilantro.

Ingredients needed for Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas:

  • Pork Shoulder – I buy a big one at Sam’s and cut it in half, freezing what I don’t use.
  • Dry Rub – This is a rub I use on SO many things, and came straight from my brother, Dave (aka The Grill Master).
  • The liquid – Just use a simple combo of freshly squeezed lime juice and orange juice, and chicken broth.
  • Pico de Gallo – I love these with this simple topping, easy to make with just five ingredients.
  • Mexican Ingredients – Tortillas (flour or corn), cilantro, Cotija cheese, avocado slices, and extra limes.

I have seen a lot of recipes that use beer along with the juices and broth. When I tried this, I didn’t notice a difference, but feel free to experiment. Beer can’t hurt anything, am I right? 😀

Overhead shot of the crispy pork on a sheet pan, with limes and cilantro.

How to make Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas:

  1. Cube the pork shoulder. Take the pork and cut it into 2-3 inch cubes.
  2. Prep the spice rub. Combine the sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder. OR, head to my large batch dry rub post, and keep it in a Tupperware for a rainy day.
  3. Marinate the meat. Massage the spice rub into the pork, and let it come to room temperature.
  4. Sauté pork and add liquid. Using sauté function on instant pot, sear the pork on all sides in some olive oil. Do this in two batches. so the pork is in a single layer. Then add the lime juice, orange juice, and chicken broth until meat is covered.
  5. Start the pressure cooking. Place lid on the instant pot, closing vent. Push the Pressure Cooker button, and adjust time to 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, let the IP do a natural release for 15 minutes. Then open vent and let the remaining steam escape. Open lid and remove pork to a dish.
  6. Shred the pork. Let the pork cool for about 5 minutes, and then shred with two forks.
  7. Crisp the pork. Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper, and arrange about half of the shredded pork on top of it. Add about 1/3 cup of the broth drippings, and broil for five minutes.
  8. Finish the carnitas. Using either flour or corn tortillas, add the pork, Pico de Gallo, Cotija cheese, avocado slices, and extra cilantro. Finish with a squeeze of lime juice.
  9. EAT!

Process shots of 1) the raw pork, 2) the spice rub, 3) the pork with the spice rub, 4) the pork with the marinade on, 5) the instant pot set at 40 min., and 6) the shredded cooked pork.

Pro-Tip: Make my large-batch dry rub, and keep it on hand for all the things, including:

  1. Slow Baked Pulled Pork – Make this while you sleep!
  2. Barbecue Baby Back Ribs – These are fall-apart tender.
  3. THESE carnitas
  4. Along with any other meat you’re throwing on the grill!

While you’re making these carnitas, don’t forget to whip up a batch of skinny margaritas, some chunky guac (because duh!), and maybe a quick batch of Cilantro Lime Rice.

Enjoy!

Shot of my hand holding one large crispy pork carnita, topped with pico and avocado

Make these Easy Taco Crunch Wraps next!

Please let know if you try this recipe. Be sure to comment and leave a review on the blog so I can see what you think. You can also like my Facebook Page, follow me on Pinterest, and catch me on Instagram.

Overhead shot of three pork carnitas on a black plate, with avocado slices and pico on top.

Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas are super easy to make in the instant pot, and combine pork shoulder with a tried-and-true spice rub, an orange, lime, and broth combo - all topped with a delicious pico de gallo. It doesn't get much better than this!
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: crispy pork carnitas, instant pork carnitas
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
natural release: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 304kcal
Author: Sue Ringsdorf

Ingredients

For the pork:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4-5 pound boneless pork shoulder - cut into 3-inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 medium oranges - freshly squeezed
  • 2 large limes - freshly squeezed
  • 4 cups lower sodium chicken broth - or more to cover pork

For the carnitas:

  • flour or corn tortillas
  • Pico de Gallo
  • cotija cheese
  • limes and cilantro

Instructions

For the pork:

  • Mix together the spice rub ingredients - the sugar, salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper, and garlic powder.
  • Cut the pork shoulder into 3-inch cubes. Massage the spice rub into the meat. Let the meat come to room temperature.
  • On a 6-quart Instant Pot, turn the Sauté Function on. Coat bottom with olive oil, and brown the pork on all sides, working in batches. 
  • Pour the freshly squeezed orange, lime juice, and chicken broth over the pork. If it's not covered, add some water or more broth. Turn the Pressure Cooker setting on, tighten the lid, and close the vent. Set the time to 40 minutes. After the 40 minutes are up, let the Instant Pot do a natural release for 15 minutes, then do a quick release by opening the vent.
  • Remove the pork to a bowl, and let it partially cool. Then use two forks to shred the pork.

For the carnitas:

  • Preheat the oven to broil on high. Prepare a sheet pan with tin foil or parchment paper (that can take high heat), and spread about half of the shredded pork on it. (If serving a big group, you may want to do two sheet pans of pork.) Drizzle about 1/3 cup of reserved liquids (from the instant pot) over the pork. Broil for about 5-6 minutes, or until pork gets nice and browned on top.
  • To serve carnitas, layer pork, Pico de Gallo, cotija cheese, and avocado slices on top of flour or corn tortillas. Add a squeeze of lime and enjoy!

Notes

Nutrition

Calories: 304kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 592mg | Potassium: 844mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 305IU | Vitamin C: 17.8mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @Suebeehomemaker or tag #suebeehomemaker!

3 Comments

  1. I’m drooling right now! Can’t wait to make this!

    1. Suebee Homemaker says:

      Thanks so much Karly! 🙂

  2. Your husband is a smart man! Why eat out when you can eat awesome recipes like this? Tip: Don’t forget the rub!

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