Last Updated on February 21, 2021 by laurenpacek
You have no idea how close you are to eating delicious carnitas...
These Pressure Cooker Carnitas are the easiest, most delicious carnitas you will ever make. Depending on how much time you have on your hands, I've included instructions for how to make them in either the electric pressure cooker (e.g., Instant Pot) OR slow cooker.
You've got options!
So, just how easy is it to make this recipe?
Basically, all you do is mix up a spice mix in a little bowl and set it aside for a sec. Cut your pork into chunks and toss 'em into the pressure cooker (or slow cooker). Rub the spice mix allll over the pork chunks with (clean!) hands. Squeeze some citrus juice over the top and walk away. It's that easy.
From there on out, you follow the pressure cooker- or slow-cooker specific cooking instructions.
But once the meat is done, you'll shred it up, put it on prepared baking sheets, and let it broil until some of the bits are crispy. Sprinkle with cilantro, and that's it!
How should I serve these carnitas?
Follow your heart, baby. You can't go wrong.
Eat them as the main course, stick them in a taco (corn tortillas, please), burrito it up... the list goes on and on.
BUT I will say that our favorite way to eat these carnitas is Chipotle burrito bowl-style. Toss some of this crispy yet tender pork in a bowl with some Cilantro Lime Rice and a variety of taco/bowl toppings (beans, cheese, guacamole, etc.), and you're in business.
What inspired this recipe?
Well, I first found and made the original recipe for these carnitas about 5 (!!) years ago. The OG version is for the slow cooker, which is great if you have all day, or have the presence of mind to throw everything together before you leave for work.
Though I've definitely made these bad boys in the slow cooker numerous times, I'm not always on top of my game in the morning when it comes to meal prep. After receiving an electric pressure cooker for Christmas, I decided to adapt the recipe. That way, I'm able to have carnitas in a fraction of the time and I don't have to have my act together early in the morning.
Using the pressure cooker to make carnitas has been a real game changer. Think about it: carnitas in less than an hour!!
The slow cooker preparation comes from Damn Delicious.
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 onions, quartered
- 1 tbs chili powder
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3-4 lbs boneless pork shoulder, trimmed of excess fat
- 2 oranges, juiced
- 2 limes, juiced
- fresh cilantro, chopped
Combine all of the spices in a small bowl. Set aside.
Cut the pork shoulder into 2- to 3-inch chunks.
Add the garlic cloves, quartered onions, and cubed pork to the electric pressure cooker insert. Sprinkle the spice mixture over everything. Using your hands, toss the garlic, onions, and pork around in the spices, rubbing the spices into the meat. Add the orange and lime juice to the pressure cooker.
Place the lid on and lock it. Cook for 25 minutes on high pressure. Depending on your preference, you can allow the pressure to release naturally or do a quick release.
Add the garlic cloves, quartered onions, and pork to the slow cooker. Sprinkle the spice mixture over everything. Using your hands, toss the garlic, onions, and pork around in the spices, rubbing the spices into the meat. Add the orange and lime juice to the slow cooker.
Put the lid on and cook on low for 8 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
Now that the pork shoulder is cooked through, you'll want to crisp things up a bit. Preheat the broiler to high. Remove the pork from to a baking sheet lined with foil, and shred the meat. Spoon some of the juices and onions that are left over onto the shredded meat. Broil for 2-3 minutes.
Remove the sheet pan from the oven and toss the meat around a bit with tongs. Pour some more of the juices over the meat and broil for 2-3 additional minutes.
Remove from the oven, top with chopped cilantro, and serve immediately.
Looking for other tasty taco-ish recipes?
You know I've got your back!
- Roasted Shrimp Tacos with Pineapple Salsa
- Three Ingredient Slow Cooker Taco Chicken
- Salmon BLT Tacos
- Turkey Taco Wonton Cups
What sort of equipment should I have on hand to make this recipe?
- An Instant Pot!
- Or a slow cooker, if that's more your stye
- These meat shredder "claws" are too funny and practical to pass up
- A citrus juicer (I love this one and use it all the time)
- I like to serve my carnitas up with some kitchen tongs
- Good quality baking sheets are a must
- Heavy duty aluminum foil comes in handy when broiling the carnitas; it will cut down on cleanup time and effort!
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