Pork Carnitas in the Pressure Cooker

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Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Pork Carnitas

Cubed pork cooked in orange juice, with onion, garlic, jalapenos, and spices until its fork tender and mildly spicy with a fresh citrus flavor, and ready to eat in about an hour. 


One of our favorite weeknight meals is tacos. While I like beef and chicken tacos, pork tacos are my favorite, and these pork carnitas tacos are now my new favorite pork taco filling.

Making Pork Carnitas in an Instant Pot

An Instant Pot is one of the most popular brands of electric pressure cookers. They are easy to use and your Instant Pot can help you create these delicious Pork Carnitas!

I adapted this recipe from a slow cooker recipe. Kalyn, Slow Cooker From Scratch, featured Deb’s Slow Cooker Pork Burrito Bowls which was adapted from a Food Network recipe. In the slow cooker the carnitas cook for six hours, but after only 30 minutes in the pressure cooker, the pork is tender, moist and delicious.

I doubled the original recipe, and cubed the pork in bite size chunks before cooking it in the pressure cooker. Once the pork is tender, it’s quickly browned in a saute pan to give it a little bit of carmelization and color. I loved this little extra step at the end and will have to try it with other recipes.

Pork Carnitas Tacos in the Pressure Cooker | PressureCookingToday.com

This recipe makes more than you’ll probably need for just one meal, but I love it when I can cook once and get two meals out of it. Definitely give this one a try.

Pressure Cooker (Instant Pot) Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas in the Pressure Cooker

Yield: 8 - 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes


  • 4 pounds boneless picnic pork shoulder, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice, about 2 large oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


Salt and pepper pork liberally. Mix the oregano and the cumin with olive oil and rub all over pork.

Add orange juice and water to the cooking pot. Place the pork in the pressure cooking pot and top with the onions, garlic, and jalapenos.

Select High Pressure and set the timer for 30 minutes. When beep sounds, turn off pressure cooker and let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, release any remaining pressure. When valve drops carefully remove lid.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a strainer.

In a large sauté pan, heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil over high heat. Working in batches, fry the pork over high heat, turning once, until crispy, 3 minutes.

Remove to a serving bowl and ladle a little bit of the strained cooking liquid over the browned meat.

Update: I’m adding some pictures to show the final browning step.


There will be large chunks of onion and small jalapeno pieces when you remove the meat from the cooking pot to the strainer.


Make sure you’re using high heat and that your oil is hot before you add the meat to the saute pan so your onions don’t burn.

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originally published July 17, 2013 — last updated September 27, 2020
Categories: Pork