Instant carnitas

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When you sink your teeth into these amazing instant pot carnitas, you will be in food heaven. Succulent and juicy pork that is tender and minced combined with your favorite ingredients, what don't you love? You can never go wrong with some of these delicious pork carnitas.

If you love Mexican food (and who doesn't), you will be very impressed by the taste of this pork carnitas recipe. Whether you have a specific night of the week when you eat tacos or prepare Mexican food at any time, you will want to add them to your rotation.

Don't get me wrong, eating tacos, burritos or enchiladas tastes great with traditional ground beef. But I miss the taste, the texture and something different. This pork carnitas recipe gives me the variety I'm looking for. You don't even need to eat it at all; you can just toss it in a bowl, add some ingredients, and you're done.

What are carnitas?

I've done all of this talking about how delicious these pork carnitas are, but I still haven't told you exactly what they are. Essentially, carnitas are the same as minced pork; It's only made with Mexican spices instead of barbecue-style ingredients.

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You can eat it as a bowl, in a lettuce wrap, in a gluten-free omelette, in tacos, as an enchilada or anything else with a Mexican flavor. The meat is quickly separated with a pair of forks and combined with many dishes.

Ingredients on Carnitas Instant Pot

  • pork shoulder
  • jalapeno
  • garlic cloves
  • onion
  • Salt
  • Dried oregano
  • smoked paprika
  • ground cumin
  • Orange peel
  • black pepper

How to make instant carnitas

I'll warn you that after you make these pork shoulder carnitas the first time, you will crave them! They take a little time to cook, but are worth the wait. You can catch up on other projects while they are cooking.

Step One: Make sure the inner pot is inserted into the instant pot, then add the pork chops, jalapeño, minced garlic, onion, salt, oregano, paprika, cumin, orange zest, and pepper. Mix everything, so that it combines well.

Step Two: Cook the pork mixture for 40 minutes with high manual pressure.

Step Three: Once the pork carnitas have cooked, allow Instant Pot to release naturally. Then shred the meat in a large bowl, serve with your favorite ingredients, and enjoy!

How to serve carnitas toppings

There are no wrong answers when it comes to toppings, as long as they fit your dietary needs. Here are some of my favorite ingredients that pair wonderfully with this pork shoulder carnitas recipe:

  • cheese – You can use any type of cheese you prefer. I like cheddar cheese, but anything would work!
  • Onions – Dice some red onions and add them to the carnitas for an explosion of flavor.
  • Avocado – If you want to add some good fat to your diet, avocado is super creamy and delicious. It is also packed with nutrients.
  • Sour cream – All I can say is yum! Add a tablespoon of sour cream and enjoy.
  • Lettuce – You can use iceberg, spinach, romaine lettuce or anything else you love with your tacos.
  • Tomatoes – I love the taste of freshly cut tomatoes with everything that has a Mexican flavor.
  • Keto tortillas – try this recipe for low carb omelets
  • Coriander – Can you eat pork carnitas without a little (or a lot if that's what you like) coriander?
  • sauce – Use your favorite keto sauce to add some additional flavors to this dish. So good!
  • Jalapeños – Chop some fresh bell peppers and add them as a little heat. Remove the seeds if you don't want them too hot.
  • Lime juice – Drizzle a little fresh lemon juice just before serving. Add a touch of acidity that goes perfectly with the orange zest in the pork carnitas.
  • Cauliflower rice – Cook some cauliflower rice for some additional nutrients and texture.

Is it spicy carnitas?

In general, these Instant Pot carnitas are not terribly spicy. You can always add additional jalapeños if you want them to be spicier. Or add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper for a little extra heat. Also, when adding your ingredients, choose items that are very spicy if that's what you like. Or enjoy them as-is for a mild but tasty dinner option.

Can you make carnitas with beef?

Yes, you can make this pressure cooker carnitas recipe with beef instead of pork if you prefer. Just use a roast and cut it instead of the pork shoulder. Follow the rest of the instructions as written, and it should go perfectly.

How are instant pork carnitas stored?

Store leftover pork carnitas in the refrigerator in a sealed container. It will last 4-5 days and can be easily reheated. When you're ready to serve, just pour a little olive oil into a pan and add the cooked pork. Frying it in the pan will crunch the edges of the pork and give it a little crisp.

You can also heat the meat in the microwave if you like. Just cover it and heat it for a minute or two until it's hot.

Can you freeze Carnitas?

Yes, you can freeze carnitas quite easily. Place the meat in a freezer-safe bag, smooth and freeze. Or you can put it in another freezer container if that works best for you. I like the bags because once they are frozen, I can move them around to make more freezer space for other foods.

Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat before serving.

If you can't get enough of these pork carnitas, try some of my other Mexican dishes:

And don't worry about this Instant Pot Turkey Chili!

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Instant carnitas

When you sink your teeth into these amazing instant pot carnitas, you will be in food heaven. Succulent and juicy pork that is tender and minced combined with your favorite ingredients, what don't you love? You can never go wrong with some of these delicious pork carnitas.

Preparation time: 10 minutes.

Cook time: 40 minutes.

Total time: 50 minutes

Course: main course

Cuisine: American, Mexican

Servings: 6

Calories: 213kcal


  • 3 lb chopped pork shoulder, fat-free when possible
  • 1 jalapeño cut in half lengthwise, without stems and seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Place the pork, jalapeño, garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, cumin, orange zest, and pepper in the instant pot. Mix until well combined. Cook at high manual pressure for 40 minutes.

  • Release the pressure naturally. Transfer the meat to a large bowl and mash. Serve with your favorite ingredients.


Serving: 1/6 of recipe | Calories: 213kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 1269 mg | Potassium: 500mg | Fiber: 0g | Sugar: 0g | Vitamin A: 190 IU | Vitamin C: 5.3mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 2.1mg

Instant carnitas

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