Instant Pot Carnitas
This Instant Pot Carnitas recipe is perfect for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, taco salads, etc. It’s quick, easy and had so much flavor. Crisp it up in the oven after cooking and you will have a homemade meal that tastes like it came from a Mexican restaurant!
I love Mexican food. And I love that you can take any meat and turn it into several easy meals after cooking it. Now that I have an Instant Pot, the possibilities are endless. My go-to right now is Instant Pot Carnitas. It’s shredded and crispy and delicious. There are so many ways to serve this shredded pork, I have some ideas after the recipe.
What is Pork Carnitas?
Carnitas is the Mexican version of shredded pork. It’s usually made with a pork butt or shoulder because those cuts of meat have more fat content. This helps the pork shread and stay moist while cooking it slowly. Pork is a great source of protien and can be used for many dishes.
What if I don’t have an Instant Pot or Electric Pressure Cooker?
You can still make this Carnitas recipe in your slow cooker! Brown the edges of your meat in a cast iron pan, dutch oven or other heavy pan. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker and cook on high for 8 hours. Once it’s done, remove the bay leaves, shread and enjoy!
Grinding your own spices
This recipe has A TON of flavor and spice (not spicy, but a spice flavor). Since ground ancho chili powder and ground chipotle powder were not available at my grocery store, I ground my own. This sounds hard, but it was super easy. Also, if you do love heat spice, I would recommend adding a chopped jalapeño or habanero into the liquid or just have it as a garnish.
This is my secret… my mini coffee grinder! I do A LOT with this small gadget (see post HERE), included grinding my own spices. You can also use a small food processor. Here’s how I did it:
1. I got a package of dried chilies, here is what it looks like:
2. I cut up the dried chili, put it in the grinder and pulsed until it turned into a powder. It’s that easy and it really works! The smell is amazing and it makes quite a bit of spice powder. I put it in a small sealable container, labeled it, and added it to my spice cabinet for next time.
What if I don’t want to grind my own spices?
Look, I get it. It seems like a lot of work. and although it’s easy, it does take extra time. So, if you don’t want to or don’t have the equipment, skip it! Most of these spices you can find at your local grocery store either in the spice aisle or the Mexican food aisle. Can’t find one? Don’t fret. Your Instant Pot Carnitas will still turn out delicious, I promise.
Instant Pot Carnitas
- Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
- 3-4 lb pork shoulder or butt, cut into larger cubes (bone-in or out)
- 1 tbsp ground ancho chili powder
- 2 tsp ground chipotle chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp oil (olive, vegetable, coconut…I use olive)
- 1 can/bottle beer, use a pilsner or lager style (think corona!)
- 1 large orange, juiced (about ½ cup)
- 1 large onion, cut into fourths
- 1-2 tbsp canned chipotle peppers
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- Mix the ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt in a small bowl. Cut the pork into 2-3 inch cubes and rub the spice mixture all over
- Set your InstantPot to Sauté, add oil and brown the cubed meat on all sides in batches so it goes faster and you can move the meat around. After all of the pieces are browned, remove and set aside.
- Add the beer and orange juice to the pot and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Add the onion, chipotle peppers, garlic and bay leaves to the pot and place the pork pieces on top.
- Place lid on the InstantPot, lock into place and set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on High for 90 minutes (make sure steam vent is closed).
- When done, allow the steam to release naturally. Once the pressure has all released, remove the pork pieces from the pot, leaving the cooking liquid in the pot. Turn the Instant Pot back to Sauté and allow the cooking liquid to simmer.
- Turn your oven broiler to HIGH. Shred the meat using forks, a knife or shredding claws. Place on a sheet pan with foil or parchment. Pour some of the leftover liquid on the shredded pork to keep it moist and broil until crispy and brown on top.
- This makes a lot of shredded pork so I always freeze half for later (we have 2 adults and 1 toddler). It freezes really well (EXTRA TIP: Add a little bit of the leftover cooking liquid to bag/container for freezing to have when it thaws out).
- Always read the instruction manual that came with your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker and follow all safety guidelines.
→Tacos: soft, crunchy, fried, you decide!
Other Easy Mexican Inspired Recipes
- Baked Chile Rellenos
- Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
- Air Fryer Taquitos
- Easy Chile Relleno Enchiladas
Enjoy your Instant Pot Carnitas and let me know how you served them. Tag me on Instagram @emilyfabulous_blog or Facebook. If you love this recipe, sign up for my email list and I will send you even more delicious and fun recipes!