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Feed Your Family with Instant Pot Carnitas

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Right now, finding easy ways to cook and feed yourself and your family is more important than ever. With everything going on, no one needs the added stress of trying to get dinner on the table every night. But it’s also never been more important to make sure we’re eating right and taking care of our health.

The instant pot is a saving grace in that department. Part slow cooker, part pressure cooker, it offers a set-it-and-forget-it option that can free you up and give you a break from standing in front of the stove.

My family loves Mexican food. We make it at least once a week for dinner, but I could eat it every day. When I found this Instant Pot carnitas recipe from Nom Nom Paleo, I thought it would be such a treat from my normal ground beef tacos, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.

Instant Pot Carnitas (for Healthy and Busy People)

I’ve never made carnitas before and they are surprisingly simple. The spices and orange bring out these amazingly rich flavors in the pork, and once the meat is shredded it just melts in your mouth.

Instant Pot Carnitas (for Healthy and Busy People)

And what’s so amazing about the Instant Pot is how fast it really is. These carnitas cooked in under an hour and they are juicy and delicious. If you were to cook this recipe in a slow cooker, it can take up to six hours (which takes so much planning ahead).

Instant Pot Carnitas (for Healthy and Busy People)

This Instant Pot carnitas recipe makes lots of leftovers, which is a huge plus. I like to use mine on top of salads and baked on top of my cauliflower pizza crust. Plus, you can freeze the cooked pork for up to three months so now you have dinner already made for a few nights, and all you have to do is defrost the pork, shred it, and warm it up in a skillet.

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Instant Pot Carnitas

The spices and orange bring out these amazingly rich flavors in the pork, and once the meat is shredded it just melts in your mouth.

Category Dinner, Instant Pot, Lunch, Paleo
Compliance Level Kickstart, Lifestyle, Performance
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Author Shannon Gilson


  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 medium orange
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 large yellow onion peeled and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 small white onion finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp cilantro minced
  • 1 head butter lettuce leaves removed and washed
  • 2 Hass avocados peeled and sliced
  • 1-2 radishes thinly sliced
  • 2 jalapeno peppers sliced or diced
  • 3 limes quartered


  1. Cut your boneless pork shoulder roast into two-inch cubes.
  2. Put the pork in the Instant Pot and sprinkle on the salt, cumin, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Toss well to coat.
  3. Use a vegetable peeler to peel wide strips of zest off the orange. Stay close to the surface so you don’t peel into the white pith. Add the orange zest strips to the Instant Pot, along with the garlic, quartered yellow onion, and bay leaf.
  4. Cut the bald orange in half and juice it. Pour the juice into the Instant Pot and thoroughly stir the ingredients.

  5. Lock the Instant Pot lid. Double check that the lid valve is pointed at the “Sealing” position.

  6. Press the “Pressure Cook” button and cook on high pressure for 35 minutes.
  7. After cooking, let the pressure release naturally for about 20 minutes. Manually release any pressure after 20 minutes by turning the release on the valve.

  8. While the pork is cooking, dice the white onion and cilantro, slice the avocados, radishes, and jalapenos, and cut up some lime wedges. These will be your taco toppings.
  9. Open the lid and discard the garlic, onion, and bay leaf. Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
  10. Remove the pork to a cutting board and shred with two forks or your fingers.
  11. Assemble your tacos with the butter lettuce leaves and toppings or create a tasty carnitas salad.

Recipe Notes

The shredded pork will keep in the refrigerator up to four days, or you can freeze the pieces of pork with all the liquid and fat in the freezer for up to three months.

Shannon Gilson on Instagram
Shannon Gilson
Shannon is an artist living in Grantham, New Hampshire, with her husband, four pups, and two cats. She graduated with a BFA from Suffolk University and is happily putting her fine art degree to good use.

She enjoys traveling around the world with her husband, exploring as many places and local food dishes as possible. Shannon feels that eating a country’s specialty food not only connects you to the culture, it also ensures you’re eating fresher and more local, too.

You can follow Shannon’s travels and art on Instagram.