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Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant Pot Carnias

Traditional Mexican carnitas are not shredded. They are cubes of pork that are fried in the fat they render. Regardless of how you cut the meat, this Instant Pot recipe will set you on the right path to delicious, crispy carnitas. Carnitas can be used to make tamales, tacos, etc. I personally like them tossed in a creamy sauce and used for a burro filling.


Avocado Salsa

  • 2 cups pre-made green salsa
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 handsful cilantro/onions (for topping)


  • 1 (7 pound) pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 large brown or white onion , cut into wedges
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 small head garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or Mexican oregano)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin (comino)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon pepper
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 3/4 cup cola
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Avocado Salsa: Place salsa and avocados in food processor until it is a smooth consistency.
  2. Carnitas: Remove bone from pork and cut into 2-inch strips
  3. Save the water for the pot.
  4. Blend all other ingredients and marinate pork in mixture for 1 hour.
  5. Put all ingredients into Instant Pot liner for 90 minutes, then quick release.
  6. Remove from Instant Pot, discard bay leaves, shred pork and brown it on a hot griddle or in a pan.*
  7. Place on heated tortillas and top with cilantro/onion mixture and avocado salsa.

To crisp in the oven: Transfer the pork to a baking sheet lightly sprayed with cooking oil spray (or lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper). Pour 1 ladle full (about 1 cup) of the liquid from the Instant Pot over the pork to season. Broil for 5-10 minutes on high heat until the meat becomes golden browned and crispy on the edges.

To crisp on the stove: Heat about 1 tablespoon of oil in a non stick pan or cast iron skillet over high heat. When pan is hot, add drained pork in batches of two or three, and sear until just beginning to crisp.

Cook time: 1 hour 30 min