This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas is a game changer for your weekly dinner meal prep! It tastes as if it came from a restaurant, but you don’t have to break the budget by making it yourself at home.
What Are Pork Carnitas?
Carnitas is a Mexican pork dish that usually uses inexpensive cuts of pork which uses inexpensive cuts of pork, making it an ideal ingredient for weekly meal prep.
The pork is then braised or simmered for hours with seasonings until it is so tender that you can shred it with a fork.
Since we want to keep meal prep quick and easy, we are going to skip the long hours of cooking the pork and take advantage of our Instant Pot and pressure cook it so that it can be ready in just a little over an hour.
Here’s What You Need to Make Pork Carnitas
- Pork: We used a skinless, boneless pork shoulder
- Citrus Fruits: We added lime and orange to brighten up the dish with citrus flavors
- Aromatics: Onions and garlic cloves add a ton of flavor to your cooking
- Herbs: We used cilantro for a fresh herb flavor
- Tostada shells: After cooking the pork we are going to serve it on top of a tostada shell
How to Make Instant Pot Carnitas
- Place the pork in the bottom of the instant pot.
- Sprinkle in the seasonings and add the red onions, garlic cloves, and chopped cilantro.
- Squeeze in the juice of the lime and oranges and leave the peels in the pot.
- Add a little bit of water and seal the lid.
- Cook on medium setting for 45 minutes.
- After the pork cooks, carefully release the steam and remove the lid.
- Remove the pork from the pot and shred the meat with two forks.
- Serve on top of tostadas with additional toppings.
Reference the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Meal Prep Tips for Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
- Optional cook tip: In traditional carnitas recipes, the last step is to crisp up the shredded pork by sauteeing it in a pan. You can also place the shredded pork on a sheet pan and roast them in the oven until it is crispy before serving it.
- What to serve with pork carnitas: You can serve it in a soft tortilla with shredded cabbage and top it off with sour cream, cheese, or avocado slices.
- Large Batches: Increase the serving size of the recipe and make a large batch that you can freeze. Store it in a freezer-safe bag or container and freeze it for up to 3 months for the best quality.
- Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 to 4 days for the best quality.
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Tostadas with Pico de Gallo
- cutting board
- Instant Pot
Pork Carnitas and Tostadas
- 12 oz boneless pork shoulder
- 1 lime
- 2 oranges
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 cup red onions (sliced)
- 2 garlic cloves (peeled)
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)
Pico de Gallo
- 2 roma tomatoes (diced)
- 1/4 cup red onions (diced)
- 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
- 1 each lime (juiced)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 cups spring mix
- 4 tostada shells
- Place the pork shoulder in the bottom of the instant pot. Sprinkle in the seasonings and add the red onions, garlic cloves, and chopped cilantro. Squeeze in the orange juice and lime juice. Leave the peels in the pot and pour in the water.
- Cover the instant pot with the lid making sure it is in the sealed position. Cook on medium setting for 45 minutes (Note: if you do not have an instant pot, you can use a slow cooker on high for 4 to 6 hours)
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix together the ingredients for the pico de gallo.
- After the pork cooks, carefully release the steam. Separate the pork from the excess liquid. Use two forks to shred the pork into small pieces. Serve the pork carnitas on top of tostada shells with pico de gallo and a side salad.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make slow cooker carnitas?
Yes, you can cook it on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 6 to 7 hours.
What are other ways to use carnitas?
You can serve them in burritos, in quesadillas, or make sliders with them. They are also a delicious filling for scrambled eggs or omelettes.
What is the difference between carnitas and barbacoa?
Carnitas is made with pork while barbacoa is normally made with beef cheek.