Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

03.06.2018

These Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are the best! Easily just as good as what you’d find in any Mexican restaurant but you get to enjoy them at a fraction of the price in the comfort of your own home! They’re brimming with those rich, authentic flavors we all love from the classic pork carnitas tacos and they’re much easier to make than you’d think.

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas

As a matter of fact the slow cooker or pressure cooker does most of the work. You just add everything to the slow cooker or Instant Pot then cook for 8 hours in the slow cooker, or 1 hour in the Instant Pot.

Then once the pork is nice and tender you shred it up and broil it on a baking sheet with some of the juices and a little oil. And you’ll end up with these delicious crispy little pieces of pork that you won’t be able to stop “taste testing.”

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Easy as that. Throw the carnitas into tortilla’s, add some cilantro and diced onions and tada. Such a satisfying dinner! All your friends/siblings/boss/grandma/dog will want this recipe!

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas

If you don’t have a slow cooker or pressure cooker I’ve also made these in the oven.

Cut pork into 4 portions place in a large pot and cover, then and roast with the broth, juices and spices until it easily shreds with a fork, about 3 1/2 – 4 hours. Then proceed with the broiling method as noted.

And why didn’t I brown the pork first in the recipe? Because you brown it at the end after shedding so why brown it twice?

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas

What are Carnitas anyway?

If you haven’t had Carnitas you are probably trying to figure out exactly what “Carnitas” means. It’s a spanish word meaning “little meats.”  It’s a Mexican dish and generally it’s made by braising or roasting pork then shredding it and simmering in lard or vegetable oil until crispy.

But here we switch that up and use the slow cooker/pressure cooker, and broil the pork it instead of sautéing it in oil to get that same crispy effect. Broiling it takes less time, creates less mess, and requires less oil.

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas

And I go for semi-crispy. I like the ends of the meat to be nice and crispy but I recommend that you don’t overdue it. You don’t want to dry the meat.

I’ve made these carnitas all three ways, slow cooker, instant pot, and oven roasted. Each of them works great so use what you have and what’s convenient for you.

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas

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Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

These Carnitas are just as good as what you'd find in any Mexican restaurant! They have the best flavor and that crispy texture will have you reaching for piece after piece. This is one of those recipes that everyone in the family can agree on, they're just too good!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 7

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
  • 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup fresh orange juice (about 2 - 3 oranges)
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried Mexican oregano
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ancho chili powder
  • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (2 Tbsp)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • Warmed corn tortillas, diced yellow onions, cilantro (for serving)

Instructions

Slow cooker method:

  1. Place pork in slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth, orange juice and lime juice. 

  2. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, coriander, chili powder and cayenne pepper, onions and garlic.

  3. Cover and cook on low heat 8 hours.

  4. Leave liquid in slow cooker, remove pork and shred with two forks.

  5. Spray a rimmed 18 by 13-inch baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.

  6. Place pork on baking sheet, pour over 1 cup reserved broth (try and strain out onions when ladling broth out), drizzle with oil and toss and spread into an even layer.

  7. Position oven rack near broiler and preheat broiler to high.

  8. Broil until pork is browned and crispy in places about 3 - 6 minutes.

  9. Serve warm in tortillas with desired toppings.

Instant Pot method:

  1. Cut pork into 4 chunks and place pork in Instant Pot, pour over chicken broth, orange juice and lime juice.

  2. Sprinkle in salt, pepper, cumin, oregano, coriander, chili powder and cayenne pepper, onions and garlic.

  3. Cover and seal lid (make sure valve is set to "sealing" position), press "manual" (or high pressure) and select 60 minutes.

  4. Once cooking is done, let pressure come down naturally for 10 minutes then use quick release method to release any remaining pressure.

  5. Once steaming has stopped remove pork from pressure cooker while leaving broth in pressure cooker. 

  6. Shred pork and proceed with broiling method starting at step 5 above.

  7. Instant Pot method will take approx. 80 minutes + 10 minutes prep.

  8. Recipe source: Cooking Classy, recipe updated from archives originally shared July 2013.

Instant Pot or Slow Cooker Carnitas - these Carnitas are just as good as you'd find in any Mexican restaurant! They have the best flavor and that crispy texture will have you reaching for piece after piece. This is one of those recipes that everyone in the family can agree on, they're just too good! #mexican #recipe #carnitas #slowcooker #instantpot #pork #tacos

37 comments

  • Shari Kelley: I can’t wait to try these! They look and sound so good. July 8, 2013 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Bree (Skinny Mommy): I love carnitas and these ones look delish! July 8, 2013 at 7:41am Reply

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious: Yes, please! I love how you could do so much with carnitas too – tacos, quesadillas, or even a breakfast option with a fried egg. YUM! July 7, 2013 at 11:18pm Reply

  • Kati: >> (you want about 1/2-inch of broth when it’s done cooking to toss the shredded beef into).

    Think you meant pork here ;) July 6, 2013 at 9:29pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: Haha yeah, I think I was thinking beef when I was writing it because my brother was telling me he liked these better than the shredded beef tacos I make :). Thanks so much for pointing that out :)! July 6, 2013 at 10:40pm Reply

  • Liz: Love this recipe. Thank you and have a great weekend! July 6, 2013 at 2:09pm Reply

  • Susan: If you have access to ‘canela’ – Mexican cinnamon, that is really nice in dishes like this that cook for a long time. I find it in those little cellophane packages of spices that grocery stores have in the Mexican section. There is a recipe I make with chicken, apples and cinnamon that I use it for, which is much nicer than when I use regular cinnamon sticks. I’ve never seen fresh Mexican oregano, even though I live right on the border. This recipe sounds like it’s well worth trying. July 6, 2013 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Elisa @ Insalata di Sillabe: Thanks for the inspiration! I was looking for something new to make for dinner tonight and I think I have to look no further now!

    xo, Elisa July 6, 2013 at 1:07am Reply

  • suja md: Wow!! though I don’t have pork, the dish is too tempting, I definitely should give it try by substituting it for goat. July 5, 2013 at 4:59pm Reply

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