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This Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe makes tender, juicy Mexican pulled pork from a pork shoulder in the pressure cooker. Perfect for tacos or burritos!

crispy shredded pork carnitas in white bowl

Make the BEST ever carnitas right in your own home with this super easy Instant Pot recipe for Mexican style pulled pork. Just add a seasoned pork butt/shoulder to your Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker, and in less than 2 hours, you’ll have the most flavorful tender, juicy pulled pork ever.

Pull the meat apart and crisp it up under the broiler. Seriously friends, you can enjoy the BEST pork tacos without leaving the house.

Usually, I make regular pulled pork in my Instant Pot and make quick leftover pork carnitas the next day. But last week, I had the biggest craving for Mexican food, so I had the Hubs stop by our favorite local butcher shop just so I could make a huge batch of carnitas that night!

People will argue day and night about what makes an authentic carnitas recipe, so I’m not going there. I will say that pressure cooking the pork with citrus juices helps break down a tough cut of beef and makes it fork tender in no time — faster than in a Dutch oven or slow cooker!

What’s the Best Meat for Carnitas?

Carnitas means “little meats” in Spanish. So personally, I think the best cut for little, or shredded pork is pork shoulder or pork butt. You can do a bone-in pork shoulder, which is what we usually do, or boneless.

How to Make Easy Pork Carnitas in the Pressure Cooker

When I make my usual pulled pork, I season it liberally all over, and Mexican pulled pork is no different. I just add a little chili powder or ancho chili powder and ground cumin to the usual spice mixture.

If you don’t have these spices, you can use a packet of your favorite taco seasoning. That works just as well.

You also want to cut the pork into smaller pieces. I like to do 3 big chunks.

pork shoulder with dry rub

I’d rather not take that much time cutting meat, so I leave them in larger pieces, throw it all into the pot, and let the pressure cooker do the work! Next, add a chopped onion and garlic cloves — I like to stick them into the meat!

pork shoulder in instant pot with onions and garlic

Squirt the juice from a lime and an orange over the meat — The citrus helps break down the fat and connective tissues and adds a subtle fresh flavor. Finally, pour in a bottle of your favorite beer.

This definitely isn’t authentic, but if you use one with fruit or citrus notes, it adds even more flavor. I use Blue Moon for Instant Pot ribs, and I use a local Four Peaks peach lager or the Blue Moon for carnitas.

How Long to Pressure Cook Pork Shoulder

Pressure cook the pork for 90 minutes in the Instant Pot, and it’ll be perfectly fork tender. I’ve tried cooking for less time, but it wasn’t easily shreddable. 90 minutes is golden, friends!

cooked pork carnitas in pressure cooker with onions and juice

Make Crispy Shredded Pork

Arrange the pulled pork on a large baking sheet, and pour some of the cooking liquid over the meat. Then, broil the carnitas for about 5 to 10 minutes or until as crispy as you like it.

crispy pork carnitas on baking sheet

Now, you’re ready to make your pork tacos or just eat the meat off the tray — We’ve done this before! So dang good!

shredded mexican pork in a white bowl

What to Serve with Carnitas

  • Tortillas
  • Tomatoes or pico de gallo
  • Avocado slices or guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Jalapeño slices
  • Shredded cheese or cotija cheese
  • Chopped cilantro

Really, you can add whatever you want. The leftovers are perfect for pulled pork nachos!

instant pot pork carnitas taco with tomatoes and jalapeno peppers
close up of pork carnitas in a white bowl

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe

5 from 12 votes

Easy Instant Pot Carnitas

By: Dee
This Easy Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe makes tender, juicy Mexican pulled pork from a pork shoulder in the pressure cooker. Crisp the shredded pork in the oven and it's Perfect for tacos or burritos!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
pressure time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 15


  • 6 pound pork shoulder roast (pork butt) cut into 3 large pieces
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 lime juice of
  • 1 orange juice of
  • 1 bottle beer use Mexican beer or beer with citrus or fruit notes for best flavor
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  • Cut the pork into 3 large chunks
  • Mix the sea salt, garlic powder, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika and chili powder together, and rub into pork
  • Place the seasoned pork into pressure cooker, and add the onion and garlic cloves. Squeeze the orange and lime juice over the pork, and pour the beer into the pot
  • Place the lid on the pressure cooker, turn vent to Sealing position, and hit PRESSURE COOK for 90 minutes (display reads 130)
  • When pot beeps, allow 15 minute release, then turn vent knob to release remaining pressure
  • When pin drops, remove lid, and shred pork
  • Place pork on rimmed baking sheet, add some of the cooking liquid, and broil for about 10 minutes or until top is crispy. Add more of the juice over pork before serving


Recipe was made in 8 quart Instant Pot pressure cooker but can be made in a 6 quart if everything fits. 
You can sub any thin liquid for the beer.


Calories: 180kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Sodium: 312mg, Potassium: 47mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 95IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 10mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main
Cuisine: Mexican
Like this? Leave a comment below!

Recipe and post updated April 2020

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Recipe Rating


  1. Suzy says:

    This was so tasty and flavorful! Love using the instant pot to make it!

  2. Sandra says:

    I loved it!! So juicy and delicious!!5 stars

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks so much, Sandra! We just love this!