Instant Pot Carnitas
Get crispy, flavorful pulled pork, perfectly seasoned and ready in under an hour with this Instant Pot Carnitas recipe.
While you traditionally make pulled pork for carnitas in a slow cooker, letting the pork shoulder simmer for hours to become fork-tender, using a pressure cooker allows you to have carnitas for dinner on a weeknight in an hour. I used the delicious, new AdapTable Meals pork roasts that are perfectly seasoned and proportioned for an instant pot or slow cooker.
The AdapTable Meals Carnitas Pork Roast is seasoned with onion, garlic, cumin, sugar, salt, lime juice and smoke flavor that adds incredible flavor to the pork. In fact, because it’s preseasoned, you don’t have to add a thing to the pork before cooking it. You also don’t need to worry about cutting the pork because it’s pre-cut into 4 1/2 lb. pieces for quicker cooking.
How awesome is that?
All you need is braising liquid and for this, I recommend a Mexican style lager and citrus flavors like fresh orange and fresh lime.
Typically when you buy a pork shoulder, you have to get several pounds of pork and cook it low and slow for hours to get the perfect pulled pork consistency. This Instant Pot carnitas recipe is super fast. Instead of having to plan 6 to 8 hours in advance to make carnitas in the slow cooker, this pressure cooker carnitas recipe can be ready to go from start to finish in just 1 hour, making this recipe possible on a weeknight or anytime you’re craving some carnitas for dinner.
How to Make Carnitas in an Instant Pot
To prepare the Instant Pot Carnitas, you’ll want to set your Instant Pot to the saute feature to quickly sear the meat. Searing the pork helps create brown bits (i.e. flavor) at the bottom of your instant pot that will get deglazed and incorporated when you add the liquid. While you can skip this step if you’re in a huge hurry for dinner, it really does take the flavor profile up a notch to get those brown bits!
Once the Instant Pot is hot, coat the bottom of the insert with a tablespoon of olive oil and add the pork pieces. Sear each side for 2-3 minutes just until the meat releases from the bottom of the pot. If you try to turn the meat and it sticks, it’s likely not seared so let it create that crust before you flip it.
While the meat is searing, wash an orange and lime and cut the lime in half and the orange into quarters.
When the meat is fully seared, pour 1 cup of beer into the Instant Pot and squeeze the juice from the lime and orange into the pot. I used Dos Equis, but you can also try the new Bud Light Lime or Bud Light Orange Beer as that would add an instant citrus flavor to the pork.
Add the lime and orange fruit to the pot and seal the pressure cooker. Set the meat/stew setting for 40 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, you can prep a topping for your carnitas.
Carnitas Topping Options
In my household, half of us like carnitas to be 100% savory and the other half like carnitas to have more complexity with the addition of spicy mango salsa. For the savory option, I recommend sauteed onions, fresh avocado, and fresh store-bought tomato salsa.
Since mangoes are on sale for just $.50 this week at Safeway, I chose to go with mango salsa with Fresno peppers, jalapeno’s, red onion, lime juice, olive oil, and cilantro. The mango salsa is so easy to prepare and adds a wonderful topping to the carnitas.
Other carnitas toppings include:
- crumbled cotija or feta cheese
- pickled red onions
- sliced red cabbage or slaw
- grilled or sauteed onions
Once the pork is cooked, you’ll want to let the pressure release naturally, which takes about 12 minutes. Use 2 forks to shred the pork directly in the instant pot.
Once the meat is shredded, you have 2 options, you can serve it directly from your instant pot to fill toasted corn tortillas and top with your favorite toppings, or if you like more crispy carnitas meat, broil the pork in a pan for 5 minutes in the oven until it crisps up.
I served both ways and my family preferred the crispy pork because it held up better in the tortilla without making the tortilla soggy. Either way is good, and since it’s a matter of 5 minutes for the crispy technique (and yes another pan to clean), you can try it both ways to see which your family prefers.
Ways to Serve Carnitas Pork
Carnitas are perfect served in toasted corn tortillas as carnitas tacos. But if you’re looking for a different spin on carnitas, especially for the leftovers, you can mix things up for the second round a bit by serving the meat in burritos, burrito bowls, quesadillas, enchiladas, tostadas, or on a salad.
I served the carnitas pork on toasted corn tortillas with shredded red cabbage for some crunch a spicy mango salsa and some limes for an extra hint of lime flavor. They were absolutely delicious and my 8-year-old asked for a 3rd taco, which says a lot!
AdapTable Meals carnitas pork roasts are a total game-changer for Instant Pot carnitas because it’s preseasoned and cut, totally ready to cook!
The AdapTable Meals Carnitas Pork Roast is available at Safeway stores in the pork section. The roasts retail for $6.99 and there is a coupon available on the AdapTable Meals website for $1.00 off any AdapTable Meals product as well as a digital Just for U coupon for $1.00 off 1 AdapTable Meals Pork Roast.
The pork roasts are available in a Carnitas seasoned roast as well as a Smokey Mesquite seasoned roast. The Smokey Mesquite Roast has onion, garlic, orange peel, and smoke flavors. Both varieties would work perfectly to make Instant Pot Carnitas.
Instant Pot Carnitas
- Pressure Cooker
- 1 1.75 lbs. AdapTable Meals Pork Roast
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lime washed and halved
- 1 orange washed and quartered
- 1 cup Mexican-style lager beer or any fruity beer
Spicy Mango Salsa
- 1 mango peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup red onion diced
- 1/2 Fresno Chile seeded and diced
- 1/2 jalapeno pepper
- 1/4 cup Cilantro chopped
- 1 lime, juiced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the Instant Pot Saute feature until hot. Heat olive oil then add the pork to sear each side for 2 to 3 minutes
- After the pork is seared, squeeze the juice of the lime and the juice of the orange into the pot and add the fruit to the pot
- add the cup of beer and close the pressure cooker. Set the meat/stew feature for 40 minutes.
- Let the pressure release naturally (about 12 - 15 minutes). Remove the orange and the lime from the instant pot.
- Using 2 forks, shred the pork in the instant pot
- For crispy carnitas, remove the pork from the instant pot and place it on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 5 minutes until the pork is crispy.
- Serve the carnitas with your favorite toppings like shredded red cabbage and spicy mango salsa.
Spicy Mango Salsa
- Mix the diced mango, red onion, Fresno chile, jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice, and olive oil until well combined.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
Be sure to check out the other great recipes we’ve shared using the new AdapTable Meals products below:
This is a sponsored post on behalf of AdapTable Meals, a Colorado-based company in Greely, CO. As always we appreciate and encourage your support of the brands that make this site possible.
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