Instant Pot Carnitas

Ultimate Instant Pot Carnitas Fiesta: A Flavor Explosion Worth Celebrating

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Get ready for a taste bud fiesta with our Instant Pot Carnitas recipe! This culinary adventure takes you on a journey to savor the rich, savory goodness of perfectly seasoned pork cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot. Embrace the flavors of Mexico in the comfort of your home with this crowd-pleasing dish that promises to elevate your dining experience. Let’s dive into the world of carnitas and unlock the secrets to making your Instant Pot the hero of your kitchen.

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  • 1 (6-pound) pork butt roast
  • 1 ½ tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chile powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, or more to taste
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced, or more to taste


Step 1: Pork Butt Prelude

Begin the culinary fiesta by preparing the pork butt roast. Trim excess fat, if desired, and cut the meat into large chunks for optimal cooking.

Step 2: Seasoning Extravaganza

In a bowl, combine salt, dried oregano, ground cumin, ground black pepper, chile powder, and paprika. This seasoning extravaganza will be the secret to the bold and aromatic flavor of your carnitas.

Step 3: Spice Symphony

Rub the spice mixture generously over the pork chunks, ensuring every piece is coated with the flavorful blend. Let the spice symphony marinate on the meat for at least 30 minutes, allowing the flavors to penetrate.

Step 4: Instant Pot Sizzle

Set your Instant Pot to the sauté function and heat olive oil. Sear the seasoned pork chunks in batches until golden brown, creating a sizzling prelude to the carnitas fiesta.

Step 5: Citrus Infusion

Pour in the orange juice, bringing a burst of citrus freshness to the Instant Pot. Add coarsely chopped onions and diced garlic to the mix, introducing layers of aroma and complexity.

Step 6: Pressure Cooking Fiesta

Secure the Instant Pot lid, set the valve to the sealing position, and switch to the pressure cooking function. Cook the carnitas on high pressure for 60-70 minutes, allowing the meat to become fork-tender and infused with flavors.

Step 7: Carnitas Unveiling

Once the pressure has naturally released, open the Instant Pot to unveil the masterpiece. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the carnitas to a baking sheet, creating a canvas for the final crisping step.

Step 8: Crispy Finale

For the grand finale, crisp up the carnitas under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, turning them occasionally to achieve an irresistible golden brown exterior. This step adds a layer of texture that elevates your carnitas to perfection.

Step 9: Carnitas Feast

Serve the Instant Pot Carnitas on warm tortillas or over rice, and let the feast begin. Garnish with your favorite toppings like cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime for the ultimate flavor explosion.

Cook Notes and Variations:

Cook Notes:

  • For an extra kick, add diced jalapeños or a pinch of cayenne to the spice rub.
  • Experiment with different citrus juices such as lime or grapefruit for a unique twist.


  1. Pineapple Paradise: Add diced pineapple to the Instant Pot for a sweet and tangy variation.
  2. Tequila Twist: Infuse a splash of tequila into the spice rub for a spirited flavor dimension.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions:

Keto Version:

Ensure the orange juice is unsweetened and opt for a keto-friendly sweetener if desired. Serve the carnitas over cauliflower rice or in lettuce wraps for a low-carb option.

Low-Carb Version:

Limit the amount of orange juice and replace it with chicken or beef broth. Serve the carnitas over a bed of shredded cabbage or with sautéed low-carb vegetables.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: Can I use a different cut of pork? A1: While pork butt is traditionally used for carnitas, you can experiment with pork shoulder or a leaner cut for personal preference.

Q2: Can I make carnitas in advance? A2: Absolutely! The pork can be cooked ahead and stored in the refrigerator. Crisp it up under the broiler just before serving.

Q3: Can I freeze leftover carnitas? A3: Yes, carnitas freeze well. Store them in an airtight container for up to three months and reheat as needed.

Q4: Can I use a slow cooker instead of the Instant Pot? A4: Certainly! Cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours, then crisp under the broiler.

Q5: What’s the best way to reheat carnitas? A5: To maintain crispiness, reheat carnitas in a hot oven or skillet. Add a touch of water to prevent drying.

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As you savor each bite of the Instant Pot Carnitas, you’re not just enjoying a meal; you’re partaking in a culinary fiesta that celebrates the art of flavor and texture. This recipe, with its bold seasoning, citrus infusion, and crispy finish, is a tribute to the rich tradition of Mexican cuisine. Whether you’re hosting a gathering or treating yourself to a flavorful dinner, let the Instant Pot be your kitchen companion in creating the ultimate carnitas experience. So, gather around the table, dive into the vibrant world of spices and succulent pork, and let the Instant Pot Carnitas fiesta be a celebration of good food and great company.

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