Instant Pot Carnitas


The most amazing instant pot carnitas are so easy to make!

Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

Just look at that crispy, caramelized pork! This meat is so juicy and tender and tasty!

Do you know why instant pot carnitas are the best? I mean, you probably do if you’re reading this post but let me put it out there anyway – in bullet form, of course:

  • carnitas are silly simple to make in an instant pot, requiring little prep and little hands-on time
  • this recipe makes a lot of carnitas, so you can freeze half for a rainy day
  • the whole family will love them… because tacos!
  • perfect weekend meal + makes a weeknight feel special… because taco party!
  • they’re DELICIOUS!
Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

Why Use an Instant Pot to Make Carnitas?

The Instant Pot does all the heavy lifting in this recipe and it’s the reason that you can have this ready so quickly (relative to a slow cooker, which takes all day). The meat cooks in a sweet and tangy sauce made up of orange juice, lime juice and spices. Once the meat is done pressure cooking, you pour it out onto a sheet pan and then let the broiler take over. Broil the meat before you eat it so that you’ll get tender AND crispy meat. The BEST.

Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

If this recipe looks a bit familiar, that’s because it is. I figured out the secret to good carnitas awhile ago when I shared this slow cooker carnitas recipe on the blog. I thought about just updating that recipe to include notes on how to make this in an Instant Pot, but so many of you like it the way it is so I didn’t want to suddenly change up the ingredients/method on you. Instead, I’m sharing this recipe which is similar, but to be honest – I like this one better. 

Go ahead and make some tacos!

Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

Instant Pot Carnitas

5 from 6 reviews
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Servings 10


  • 1 3 pound pork shoulder roast
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 5 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • Add all of the ingredients to the Instant Pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 75 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Shred the pork using two forks.
  • Place the meat onto a foil-lined baking sheet, ladling some of the sauce on top. Broil the meat for 10 minutes, stirring the pork at the halfway mark. The edges of the pork start to brown and crisp up.
  • Spoon more sauce onto the pork prior to serving.


  • Store the carnitas in their sauce to maintain flavor and moisture. Broil the meat prior to serving.
  • Serve with: avocado, salsa, limes, cilantro, red onion and tortillas.
  • If you would like to reduce the cook time, then cut the pork shoulder into smaller pieces.
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Instant Pot Carnitas by Ashley of

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Jay says


    For this (and other Instant Pot recipes on your site) how do I adjust for the 3-quart model? Is it as simple as cut all ingredient quantities in half and keep cook time the same?

  2. Marianne says

    I’ve never cooked pork before… do you just dump the thing of meat in or does it need to be cut up or prepped in anyway?

  3. Emily says

    5 stars
    I get so many compliments on this meal and it’s so easy to make. I use a 9-10lb pork butt roast instead and double the spices/juice. I cook it for 4 hours in the instapot to be sure it’s really tender. It’s great for leftovers and I freeze extra. Thanks so much!

  4. Emily says

    5 stars
    This is my favorite to make; it’s so good and great for multiple meals. I usually use a 9 pound pork roast and double the spices/juice. I Instapot it for 4 hours to be sure it’s really tender. Thanks!

  5. Kimberly C says

    I have 5lb bone in pork butt. Would this work? Would I adjust the time? Can’t wait to try this. Not really used to pork so don’t know much about the cuts but I received the butt in my butcherbox… is it fattier?

  6. Kasie says

    What if you use a 6lb roast, could I just double the ingredients and then how long should I cook it for?

    • My Heart Beets says

      I haven’t tried doubling the recipe but my thought would be to double all the ingredients and keep the cook time the same – the pot should account for the heavier contents and take longer to reach pressure/naturally release. If not, you can always put the lid back on and add extra time – let me know how it goes!

  7. Kasie says

    What if you use a 6lb roast, could I just double the ingredients and then how long should I cook it for?

  8. Nicole says

    This seems like it will make a ton of meat. I was thinking about freezing half. Would you freeze it in the sauce and then broil it once thawed and ready to serve?

  9. Nikki says

    Hi Ashley – Pork should roast? or do you just get pork shoulder meat? sorry but what’s the difference?

    • My Heart Beets says

      It’s the same thing 🙂 You can always ask someone in the meat department to make sure you are getting the right cut but typically it’s called pork shoulder roast. Let me know what you think if ya try this!

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