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!
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
- 2–3 Jalapeno peppers (with seeds and veins removed), chopped
- Vegetable oil (or olive oil) for pan frying the carnitas
INSTANT POT PORK CARNITAS
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- Heat oil in a large well-seasoned skillet over high heat.
- Work in batches so the pan is not crowded. Add carnitas to the pan. Drizzle some of the reserved liquid over the meat.
- 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.
- 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.
- Prep Time: 15 Minutes
- Cook Time: 80 Minutes
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Pressure Cooker
- Cuisine: Mexican
Keywords: Pork Carnitas, Instant Pot Carnitas, Carnitas Tacos, Pulled Pork