Oftentimes carnitas can be pretty bland, but this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe offers you perfectly seasoned, tasteful carnitas that will make your taste buds dance.
And the best part about this delicious pork recipe is that you can make in your Instant Pot in only 20 minutes! It’s so quick and easy to make, you’ll find yourself making this recipe regularly in your dinner rotation.
Why This Recipe Works
These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas require only a handful of ingredients, most of which you’re likely to have on hand already. It couldn’t be easier to make, yet it’s so packed with flavor, it tastes like it had been marinating all day.
Due to the combination of fresh lemon and orange juice, these carnitas are bursting with fresh citrus flavor. It’s not overpowered with spices, which lets the traditional citrus flavor profile really shine through.
This Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe is so simple, and yet SO satisfying. And it goes well with nearly anything, so it’s great for meal prep too!
Olive oil – you can also use vegetable oil or any other neutral oil here.
Garlic power – you can also substitute 2 cloves of fresh minced garlic. If you use fresh garlic, add it to the pot after searing the pork, so the garlic doesn’t burn.
Lemon and orange juice – the combination of lemon and orange is what makes this recipe special. The lemon juice adds tartness and vibrant acidity while the orange juice adds a subtle sweetness.
How to make Instant Pot Carnitas
Gather your ingredients:
Season the pork with salt, pepper and garlic.
Press “saute.” Heat the oil and add the pork.
Saute the pork for a few minutes on each side.
Add the lemon and orange juices and set the Instant Pot to “Manual” at “High Pressure” for 15 minutes.
Once done, do a quick release.
Shred the pork.
Top with orange and lemon slices and serve in a salad, tacos, or as is.
- I highly recommend using fresh squeezed lemon and orange juice in this recipe if possible. It’s much more flavorful than store-bought juice, and since it’s the main flavor profile of this recipe, you want all the citrus flavor you can get. Since pasteurization of fruit juice can kill off some of the beneficial vitamins and nutrients naturally present in orange juice, fresh squeezed is healthier, too!
- Fresh squeezed citrus juice is always at its best right after juicing, so try not to do this step too far ahead or it will begin to lose its vibrancy.
How to Serve Carnitas
These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas are so flexible! Serve them in burritos, burrito bowls, tacos or corn tortillas.
If you’re serving up carnitas burritos or burrito bowls, try making them with nutrient-dense brown rice to switch it up.
More Authentic Mexican Recipes
If you loved this recipe, here are some others that I think you might enjoy:
FAQ About Pork Carnitas
What are carnitas?
Carnitas literally means “little meats” in Spanish. It’s a traditional Mexican dish that’s made by slowly simmering pork until it is fall-apart tender.
Why do you use pork shoulder for carnitas?
Pork shoulder is traditionally used for carnitas because it’s a very tender cut with a good amount of fat that creates that melt-in-your-mouth texture. Pork tenderloin and pork loin is usually much leaner, so while there’s not as much flavor, it’s a good option for those looking to use a leaner cut with a low fat percentage.
Instant Pot Pork recipes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 pound pork meat boneless and cubed
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 lemon juiced
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- Select saute and add olive oil.
- Season the pork with salt, black pepper and garlic powder.
- Saute pork for 3 minutes on both sides until brown.
- Add orange and lemon juice and stir well.
- Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- When cooking time is complete, wait for a natural pressure release.
- Once done, open the lid and shred the pork.
- Serve and enjoy 🙂