This Instant Pot Crispy Pork Carnitas recipe is perfect for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, taco salads, etc. It's quick and easy to make and has so much flavor. Crisp it up in the oven after cooking and you will have a homemade meal that tastes just like it came from a Mexican restaurant!
- Why I Love This Recipe
- What is Pork Carnitas?
- Key Ingredient FQAs for Crispy Carnitas
- How to Make Crispy Pork Carnitas in the Instant Pot
- What if I don't have an Instant Pot or an Electric Pressure Cooker?
- Crispy Pork Carnitas Serving Suggestions
- How to Grind Your Own Chile Spice
- Do I Have to Grind My Own Spices?
- Other Easy Mexican-Inspired Recipes
- Instant Pot Carnitas
- Did You Make This Instant Pot Recipe?
Why I Love This Recipe
I love all 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 Crispy Pork Carnitas. There are so many ways to serve this shredded pork, I have some suggestions listed below.
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 shred and stay moist while cooking it slowly. Pork is a great source of protein and can be used for many dishes.
Key Ingredient FQAs for Crispy Carnitas
- Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt: The recipe calls for 4-5 lb of pork shoulder or pork butt, which is ideal for achieving tender and flavorful meat in the carnitas.
- Ground Ancho Chili Powder: Ancho chili powder adds a deep and smoky flavor to the dish, enhancing the overall taste profile of the pork carnitas.
- Ground Chipotle Chili Powder: Chipotle chili powder adds a rich and slightly spicy kick to the carnitas, contributing to its robust and bold flavor.
- Ground Cumin: Cumin brings a warm and earthy note to the dish, adding a distinct aroma and taste that complements the other spices and ingredients.
- Ground Coriander: Coriander offers a citrusy and slightly floral flavor, providing a refreshing balance to the richness of the pork.
- Dried Oregano: Dried oregano adds a pleasant herbaceous taste to the carnitas, enhancing the overall complexity of flavors. If you can find it, use Mexican Oregano with more citrus and licorice notes that are perfect for Mexican food.
- Beer: A can or bottle of pilsner or lager-style beer, such as Corona, is used to add moisture, flavor, and depth to the carnitas during the cooking process.
- Orange Juice: The juice from an orange adds a tangy and bright citrus note to the dish, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
- Canned Chipotle Peppers: Canned chipotle peppers provide a smoky and spicy flavor to the dish, adding delightful heat and complexity.
How to Make Crispy Pork Carnitas in the Instant Pot
Mix the spices and salt together in a small bowl. Cut the pork into 2-3 inch cubes and rub the spice mixture all over.
Set your Instant Pot to Sauté, add the oil to the bottom of the pot, and brown the cubed meat on all sides. After all of the pieces are browned, remove them from the pot and set them aside.
Add the beer and orange juice to the pot and scrape up all the browned bits from the bottom. Place the onion, chipotle peppers, garlic, and bay leaves in the pot and place the pork pieces on top.
Put the lid on the Instant Pot, lock it into place, and set it to Pressure Cook on High for 90 minutes. When done, allow the steam to release naturally.
Once the pressure has been 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 on your oven broiler to HIGH. Shred the meat using forks, a knife, or shredding claws. Place the shredded pork on a sheet pan with foil.
Pour some of the leftover liquid on top of the meat to keep it moist and broil until crispy and brown on top.
What if I don't have an Instant Pot or an 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 another 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, shred, and enjoy!
Crispy Pork Carnitas Serving Suggestions
- Put them in Air Fryer Taquitos
- Add them to these Roasted Veggie Cheese Quesadillas
- Make Enchiladas, Nachos or Burritos
- Carnitas also make a delicious breakfast burrito with eggs
How to Grind Your Own Chile Spice
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 have it as a garnish.
This is my secret... my mini coffee grinder! I do A LOT with this small gadget, you can read about it in this post: 5 Things You Can Do With Your Coffee Grinder. You can also use a small food processor.
Take a package of dried chilies and cut up the dried chile and remove the seeds if you want to (they can add a little heat). Put the chile pieces in the grinder, and pulse it until it turns into a powder.
It's that easy and it really works! The smell is amazing and it makes quite a bit of spice powder. Put the excess in a small sealable container, label it, and save it for your next spicy recipe!
Do I Have to Grind My Own Spices?
It may seem 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. If you are missing one, just add more of what you do have or substitute chili powder.
Other Easy Mexican-Inspired Recipes
- Baked Chile Rellenos
- Air Fryer Chimichangas
- Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
- Easy Chile Relleno Enchiladas
- Chunky Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Instant Pot Green Chile Chicken
Instant Pot Carnitas
- small bowl
- baking sheet lined with foil
- fork, knife, or shredded claws to shred the meat
- 4-5 pound pork shoulder or butt, cut into large cubes (bone-in or out)
- 1 tablespoon ground ancho chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (can sub vegetable oil)
- 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 tablespoons canned chipotle peppers
- 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- Mix the ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder, cumin, coriander, oregano, and salt together 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 the oil to the bottom of the pot, and brown the cubed meat on all sides using tongs. You will need to do this in batches so you can move the meat around and get all of the sides nice and brown. After all of the pieces are browned, remove them from the pot and set them 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 then place the browned pork pieces on top.
- Place lid on the InstantPot, lock it into place with the steam vent closed, and set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook on High for 90 minutes. When done, allow the steam to release naturally. Once the pressure has all released completely, remove the pork pieces from the pot and place them on a cutting board. Leave the cooking liquid in the pot and turn the Instant Pot back to Sauté to allow the cooking liquid to simmer.
- Turn on your oven broiler to HIGH. Shred the meat using forks, a knife, or shredding claws. Place the shredded pork on a sheet pan with foil. Pour some of the leftover liquid on top of the meat 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 kid). It freezes really well (EXTRA TIP: Add a little bit of the leftover cooking liquid to a 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.
Any nutrition calculations are only estimates using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
Did You Make This Instant Pot Recipe?
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