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Crispy Pork Carnitas

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Crispy pork carnitas. They’re insanely delicious! Today we’re making this Mexican pulled pork recipe in an electric pressure cooker. For Instant Pot carnitas, I use the Mealthy MultiPot. Once done, the flavorful pork is shredded and crisped in a sizzling-hot skillet. Serve carnitas tacos at your next fiesta!

PIN CRISPY PORK CARNITAS TO MAKE IT LATER!

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas served in a rustic metal bowl with limes and cilantro.

INSTANT POT CARNITAS

Grandma cooked this Mexican recipe the traditional way. But immersing meat in boiling fat takes a whole lot of lard! So when I crave carnitas tacos, I make Instant Pot carnitas in the Mealthy Multi-Pot 2.0. To maintain an authentic flavor profile, I cook the meat with all the fat left on.

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Tacos served in a metal food tray.

As this mouth-watering recipe simmers in the pressure cooker, the fat combines with spices, citrus flavors, and Coca-Cola. After pan frying the pulled pork in its own savory juices, I’m transported back to Grandma Mercie’s ranch-style kitchen and the taste of her authentic carnitas!

Pork carnitas cooking inside an electric pressure cooker on a gray kitchen countertop.

RECIPE INGREDIENTS

These are the ingredients you’ll need for this delicious recipe:

  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • Dried oregano
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cumin
  • Chili powder
  • 4 pounds pork butt (or shoulder), boneless
  • Coca-Cola
  • Pineapple juice (optional)
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Onion
  • Cloves of garlic
  • Jalapeno peppers

MEXICAN RECIPES TO MAKE ASAP: Festive MEXICAN SALSA, authentic MEXICAN GUACAMOLE, crispy BAJA FISH TACOS, and savory CARNE ASADA FRIES.


Ingredients for making pork carnitas laid out on a Boos Block cutting board.

BEST CARNITAS RECIPE

Here’s how to make the best carnitas you’ve ever tasted!

CREATE THE SPICE RUB: Add olive oil and spices to a small bowl. Mix well.

Spice rub for pork carnitas.

PREP THE MEAT: Rinse the pork well. Dry it with paper towels.

Boneless pork butt and a bowl of spice rub for carnitas on a Boos cutting board.

EASY PULLED PORK RECIPE

Follow these quick easy steps for Instant Pot carnitas.

  • STEP 1: Spoon spice rub over the pork. With clean hands, rub it into the meat.
  • STEP 2: Add the pork (fat cap up) to the inner steel pot of an electric pressure cooker.
  • STEP 3: Chop onion and jalapenos. Mince or press the garlic.
  • STEP 4: Spread the onions, jalapeno and garlic on top of the meat.
Four images showing how to make Instant Pot Carnitas, step by step.

RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS

Continue following these easy instructions for this delicious pressure cooker recipe!

  • STEP 1: Pour Coca-Cola and citrus juices over the meat.
  • STEP 2: Lock pressure cooker lid in place. Cook for 80 minutes on high. Let pressure release naturally. For Mealthy Multi-Pot users: PRESSURE COOK + HIGH PRESSURE + NATURAL RELEASE. Cook for 80 minutes.
  • STEP 3: After allowing pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, press CANCEL. Press and hold PRESSURE RELEASE for 3 seconds to quick-release remaining pressure.
  • STEP 4: Lift meat from pressure cooker and transfer to a plate. The pork will be pull-apart tender, and may not lift out in a single piece. Reserve the liquid. With two forks, shred the pulled pork. Remove and discard chunks of fat.
Four images showing how to make Instant Pot carnitas.

HOW TO MAKE CRISPY PORK CARNITAS

  1. Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over high heat. It’s important that the pan is well seasoned, as we don’t want the meat sticking to the pan while crisping!
  2. Work in batches so the pan is not crowded. Add carnitas to the pan.
  3. Drizzle some reserved liquid over the top.
  4. Once meat has become golden and crisp on one side, flip it over with a spatula. Allow the second side to sear just briefly! All of the liquid should evaporate during this process, leaving you with perfectly crisp and tender carnitas.
  5. Repeat above steps with remaining batches of pulled pork. To keep this dish from drying out, drizzle a bit of reserved liquid over the meat to keep it tender and juicy.
Pork carnitas being fried until golden and crisp in a Staub cast-iron pan.

RECIPE FAQ

  • WILL JALAPENOS MAKE THIS RECIPE SPICY? No. The primary heat of a chile is in the seeds and veins. Once removed, a chile pepper’s heat is mellowed out. After flavoring the meat while cooking, most of the jalapeno will stay behind in the liquid.
  • HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE LOWER IN FAT? Remove chunks of fat from the pulled pork. Refrigerate juices in a heat-safe bowl. Once fat rises to the top and solidifies, skim it off and discard it.
  • HOW MUCH FAT IS IN THE COOKED PORK? When separating out and discarding loose fat from the shredded meat, you may lose up to 1/3 of the total volume. It’s important to take this into account when planning how much meat to prepare for dinner.
  • HOW TO SERVE CARNITAS? Serve it with beans, rice, salsa and tortillas. Serve carnitas tacos with chopped onion, cilantro, and slices of lime. Make carnitas burritos, chimichangas, tostadas or enchiladas.
  • HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CARNITAS? In the refrigerator, store the shredded meat and juices in separate air-tight containers. Pork carnitas will stay fresh for up to four days.
  • CAN PULLED PORK BE FROZEN? Yes! It’s the perfect make-ahead recipe and freezer meal! After the meat has cooled, place it in a freezer bag with excess air pressed out. Store juices in separate freezer bags. Pulled pork can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw carnitas overnight in the refrigerator.
Carnitas plated with Mexican rice, refried beans, pico de gallo and limes.

MORE COOKING METHODS FOR PULLED PORK

No pressure cooker? No problem! Here are two additional methods for cooking pork carnitas at home:

  • HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER CARNITAS: Crock Pot carnitas are easy to make! Follow the above recipe. But instead of using an Instant Pot, use a large slow cooker. Cook meat on low 8-10 hours OR on high 5-6 hours, until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.
  • OVEN METHOD FOR CRISPY PORK CARNITAS: Preheat oven to 275 °F. Remove fat from pork. Roughly chop fat. Cut meat into 2-inch cubes. Rub all pieces with spice mix, and place them in a 9X13 baking dish. Pour citrus juices and Coca-Cola over the top. Sprinkle in onion, jalapenos and garlic. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 3-1/2 hours or until pork is fork-tender. Transfer meat to a plate and shred it. Reserve liquid. Preheat broiler. Arrange shedded meat on a baking tray. Drizzle it with some of the reserved juices. Broil 3 minutes. Drizzle more juices on top. Broil another 3-5 minutes until crispy.
Carnitas tacos served with fresh salsa, cilantro and slices of lime.

I WANT WHAT SHE HAS

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RATE THIS RECIPE ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Friends and family say this Mexican pulled pork is wildly flavorful! Many rave it’s the best recipe for making carnitas tacos! If you agree, give it a 5-star rating in the comments below!

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com
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Instant Pot Pork Carnitas served in a rustic metal bowl with limes and cilantro.

Crispy Pork Carnitas


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Prep Time: 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 80 Minutes
  • Total Time: 1 Hour 35 Minutes
  • Yield: 68 Servings 1x

Description

These irresistible pork carnitas are cooked to perfection in a pressure cooker, then beautifully crisped up in a cast-iron skillet. This is the best Instant Pot recipe for Mexican pulled pork and carnitas tacos!


Scale

Ingredients

INGREDIENTS FOR PORK CARNITAS

  • 3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 tablespoon chili powder
  • 4 pounds pork butt (or shoulder), boneless
  • 2 cups Coca-Cola
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (juice of 2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (juice of 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice – optional
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 23 Jalapeno peppers (with seeds and veins removed), chopped
  • Vegetable oil (or olive oil) for pan frying the carnitas

Instructions

INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS

  1. Rinse the pork well. Dry it with paper towels. Create the spice rub: Add olive oil, salt, pepper, and dried spices to a small bowl. Mix well. Spoon spice rub over the pork. With clean hands, rub it all over the meat.
  2. Add the piece of pork (fat cap up) to inner steel pot of electric pressure cooker. Sprinkle chopped onion, jalapenos, and minced garlic on top. Pour Coca-Cola and citrus juices over the meat.
  3. Lock pressure cooker lid in place. Cook for 80 minutes on high. Let pressure release naturally. For Mealthy Multi-Pot users: PRESSURE COOK + HIGH PRESSURE + NATURAL RELEASE. Cook for 80 minutes.
  4. After allowing pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, press CANCEL. Press and hold PRESSURE RELEASE for 3 seconds to quick-release remaining pressure. Carefully lift meat from pressure cooker and transfer to a plate. Reserve the liquid. With two forks, shred the pulled pork. Remove and discard chunks of fat.

HOW TO MAKE CRISPY PORK CARNITAS

  1. Heat oil in a large well-seasoned skillet over high heat.
  2. Work in batches so the pan is not crowded. Add carnitas to the pan. Drizzle some of the reserved liquid over the meat.
  3. Once carnitas have become golden and crisp on one side, flip them over with a spatula. Allow the second side to sear just briefly! All of the liquid should evaporate during this process, leaving you with perfectly crisp and tender carnitas. Repeat with remaining batches of pulled pork. To keep carnitas from drying out, drizzle a bit of reserved liquid over the meat to keep it  tender and juicy.

Notes

RECIPE FAQ

  • WILL JALAPENOS MAKE THIS RECIPE SPICY? No. The primary heat of a chile is in the seeds and veins. Once removed, a chile pepper’s heat is mellowed out. After flavoring the meat while cooking, most of the jalapeno will stay behind in the liquid.
  • HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE LOWER IN FAT? Remove chunks of fat from the pulled pork. Refrigerate juices in a heat-safe bowl. Once fat rises to the top and solidifies, skim it off and discard it.
  • HOW MUCH FAT IS IN THE COOKED PORK? When separating out and discarding loose fat from the shredded meat, you may lose up to 1/3 of the total volume. It’s important to take this into account when planning how much meat to prepare for dinner.
  • HOW TO SERVE CARNITAS? Serve it with beans, rice, salsa and tortillas. Serve carnitas tacos with chopped onion, cilantro, and slices of lime. Make carnitas burritos, chimichangas, tostadas or enchiladas.
  • HOW TO STORE LEFTOVER CARNITAS? In the refrigerator, store the shredded meat and juices in separate air-tight containers. Pork carnitas will stay fresh for up to four days.
  • CAN PULLED PORK BE FROZEN? Yes! It’s the perfect make-ahead recipe and freezer meal! After the meat has cooled, place it in a freezer bag with excess air pressed out. Store juices in separate freezer bags. Pulled pork can be frozen for up to three months. Thaw carnitas overnight in the refrigerator.

MORE COOKING METHODS FOR PORK CARNITAS

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER CARNITAS: Crock Pot carnitas are easy to make! Follow the above recipe. But instead of using an Instant Pot, use a large slow cooker. Cook meat on low 8-10 hours OR on high 5-6 hours, until the pork is tender and shreds easily with a fork.

OVEN METHOD FOR CRISPY PORK CARNITAS:

  • Preheat oven to 275 °F. Remove fat from pork. Roughly chop fat. Cut meat into 2-inch cubes. Rub all pieces with spice mix. Place pieces in a 9X13 baking dish. Pour Coca-Cola and citrus juices over meat. Sprinkle onion, jalapenos and garlic over the top. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Bake 3-1/2 hours or until pork is fork-tender. Transfer meat to a plate and shred it. Reserve liquid. Preheat broiler. Arrange shredded meat on a baking tray. Drizzle it with some of the reserved juices. Broil 3 minutes. Drizzle more juices on top. Broil another 3-5 minutes, or until crispy.
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Pork Carnitas, Instant Pot Carnitas, Carnitas Tacos, Pulled Pork

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

CRISPY PORK CARNITAS > JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Have you been craving authentic Mexican food? Would you like to make a batch of this delicious pulled pork? In the comments below, share your favorite ways to enjoy carnitas!

20 thoughts on “Crispy Pork Carnitas”

  1. I was just thinking what type of pork recipe to cook. This has got to taste really really good. Super keen of giving this one a try over the weekend maybe.

    Reply
  2. First time adding coca cola to cook carnitas and didn’t disappoint. Made this today. It is so good. If you love Mexican dishes, you need to try this. :)

    Reply
  3. I have everything on hand that I need to make these carnitas! I can’t wait to have them for dinner this week!

    Reply
  4. This recipe came right on time! Taco Tuesday just got real tasty!! I always need delicious, easy meals in my busy schedule – thank you for this great post!

    Reply
  5. Oh man that looks so delicious ! And it took me back to when my mom made it for my brothers and I . Got to make it for my family one day.

    Reply
  6. Oh my goodness these are the best carnitas ever!! I love pork everything and I love that you finally shared your recipe and secrets for how you make them. Thank you!

    Reply

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