What are carnitas
One of our most FAQs – what are Carnitas? And why is it any different than regular cooked meat?
After a little research, I found that carnitas are a Mexican specialty of seasoned pulled pork, traditionally fried in lard, with a mixture of juicy and crispy browned parts. Carnitas are great in sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tacos, or served as the meat in a bowl.
This recipe for pork carnitas is definitely not fried in lard, but quickly cooked to perfection in the Instant Pot with delicious spices. So although these may not be traditional carnitas, it’s definitely a healthier and tastier version.
How to make Instant Pot Carnitas
Cut pork into 2″ cubes and place in a large bowl.
In a small bowl, combine salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and paprika. Toss pork with olive oil, then sprinkle spice mixture overtop and toss again.
Place pork in the instant pot, then add orange juice, onion, and garlic.
Place lid on slow cooker and move vent to SEALING.
Cook on MANUAL on HIGH PRESSURE for about 60 minutes until the pork is cooked all the way through.
QUICK RELEASE pressure, then remove pork from the Instant Pot with a slotted spoon and shred.
We served our carnitas as tacos with pico de gallo and cotija cheese.
What instant pot should I buy?
All Pressure Cookers are just slightly different. All of us own this Instant Pot brand 6-quart pressure cooker and we haven’t had any problems with it. We’d highly recommend it!
How to make the carnitas crispier
To make these taste more like traditional carnitas, we would recommend broiling them for a crispier texture.
Cover a large baking sheet (15x10x1″) with foil and spread the shredded meat on top of it. Pour some of the liquid from the Instant Pot over the meat (I used about 1 1/2 cups – use as much or as little as you like).
Broil meat for about 5 minutes, until it starts to caramelize around the edges (you may need to flip once during this time).
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Can I make this in the slow cooker?
YES! You can make these carnitas in the slow cooker. In fact, it’s one of the most popular slow cooker recipes on our site.
See how to make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas HERE.
What to serve with pork carnitas
- Skillet Refried Beans
- Spanish Cauliflower Rice
- Mexican Street Corn Salad
- Spanish Brown Rice
- Chili’s Copycat Blender Salsa
Recipe slightly adapted from All Recipes
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Need a step-by-step breakdown? Check out this similar recipe below: