Instant Pot Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

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These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are one of our favorite meals to make. The meat is so juicy and tender with crispy bites on the outside. We enjoy it in tacos, burrito bowls or even with fried eggs for breakfast. This recipe is Paleo, Keto, and Whole30 compliant too!

*originally posted 03/2019

instant pot pork carnitas in a serving dish with lime slices on the side

The Instant Pot makes this recipe quick and easy, but there is so much flavor. You can also make it in the slow cooker (instructions in the notes of the recipe card). The citrus juice helps keep the meat fall-apart tender.

pork carnitas in corn tortillas topped with onion and served with lime wedges

Making Pork Carnitas:

  • Choosing the right cut of meat – pork shoulder (or pork butt) is the best cut of meat to use for this recipe. I get my pork from ButcherBox, it is the best and most flavorful meat!
  • Seasoning mixture – salt, pepper, Mexican oregano, coriander and cumin make this dish so delicious
  • Flavor add-ins – onion, garlic, jalapeno and citrus boost the flavor while the meat is cooking
  • Crisp the pork – my preferred way of doing this is in a cast iron skillet, but you can also broil it in the oven

How to Serve:

  • Tacos – my favorite is in corn tortillas
  • Burritos or Burrito Bowl – serve as a burrito bowl over cauliflower rice to keep this Whole30 compliant
  • With Fried Eggs on top and fresh Pico de Gallo (this is my favorite way to enjoy leftovers)
  • Quesadillas
  • Over rice with fresh toppings

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*photography by Loren Runion of

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are one of our favorite meals to make. The meat is so juicy and tender with crispy bites on the outside.
4.60 from 25 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Natural Release Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Latin
Servings 10 servings
Calories 184 kcal


  • 4 lb Pork Shoulder (pork butt)
  • 1 White Onion diced
  • 4-6 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1 Jalapeno sliced
  • 3/4 cup Orange Juice about 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup Lime Juice about 3-4 limes
  • 3 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1.5 Tbls Mexican Oregano or regular dried oregano
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Dried Coriander
  • 1 Bay Leaf


  • Mix the spices together (salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, coriander) and rub the pork all over with the mixture
    Place the pork in the Instant Pot and top with the onion, garlic, jalapeño, and the orange and lime juice
    Close the lid and move steam valve to 'seal'. Set to high pressure for 90 minutes
  • When timer goes off, turn pot off and let it naturually release steam (takes about 30 minutes)
    Remove pork from the pot and shred it with two forks (reserving the cooking liquid)
  • To caramelize and crisp up the shredded pork, heat a cast iron skillet over medium/high heat with some avocado oil
    Add a layer of pork and some of the juices from the pot. Leave it alone for 3-5 minutes (be carefeul not to burn) and then flip and crisp up the other side
    Do this in batches to ensure even browning of the meat
    You can also spread the shredded pork and pour over about 1/2 to 1 cup of cooking liquid on a baking sheet and crisp under the broiler for 3-5 minutes


For the slow cooker, rub the pork with the spice mixture and add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and set on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours. See step two in recipe card for instructions on how to crisp the pork 
Nutrition facts are auto-calculated and can vary based on products or brands used 
WW SmartPoints are based on the blue plan and are calculated in the app 


Calories: 184kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 22gFat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 74mgSodium: 784mgPotassium: 459mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 77IUVitamin C: 15mgCalcium: 38mgIron: 2mg
Keyword gluten free, instant pot, low carb, paleo, whole30
Tried this recipe?Mention @thebetteredblondie


  1. 5 stars
    Wow! Favorite carnitas recipe I’ve ever made! So tender and full of flavor! My pork shoulder was a little over 5 lbs and I did have to cook it longer for all of it to shred. 5 stars!

  2. 5 stars
    LOVE this recipe so much. It’s so easy, has a lot of ingredients that I usually have in my kitchen anyway, and is delicious. I’ve used this recipe over a handful of times and love it every time. Crisping in the pan after shredding is 100% worth taking the extra time and pan and doing, trust me! I also use the liquid from the pot it the pan when crisping, and pour a little over again and toss before serving. Leftovers taste even better the next day, can’t go wrong with this recipe.

  3. 5 stars
    great flavor. i seared my seasoned meat on all sides by using the saute function on the instant pot before starting the pressure cooking. after 90 minutes cooking and 30 minus self-release, my meat still wasn’t falling off the bone. i popped the lid back on, added 45 minutes, and went through a second go of pressure cooking. at that point it was falling off the bone. today, i skimmed the fat off the top of the refrigerated leftovers and noticed the broth made from cooking the pork was nice and gelatinized from the bone. my shoulder weighed in at 4.03 lbs so it wasn’t far off from the recipe. i serve mine on top of baked sweet potato and omitted the jalapeno (i am AIP).

  4. 5 stars
    This tasted amazing! My whole family including my picky kids loved it. I passed the recipe on to my sisters and mom and they loved it as well. And, bonus-it’s a super easy recipe!

  5. 5 stars
    Wow! This was so good. Don’t skip the caramelizing the cooked meat step. Topped mine with fresh cilantro and avocado. Will cook again.

  6. Could you just remove some of the liquid and use the sear/saute function to caramelize….instead of dirtying another pan?

    1. 5 stars
      You would have to do quite a few batches of it, because there is not enough surface space in the IP. And it just won’t caramelize the way it will in a pan or under the broiler

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