Cooking a pork roast in the pressure cooker, using an exciting mix of citrus and Mexican spices makes for a mighty fine Mexican dinner. Minimal prep results in juicy, fall apart shredded pork for an easy pork taco dinner to feed that taco hungry crowd. Take a look at this pressure cooker carnitas recipe.
Our favorite foods around here are tacos, tacos and tacos. Not necessarily in that order.
And nothing elevates the taco experience like tender roasted and shredded fall-apart pork.
Pork that’s been seasoned with lime, orange juice and just enough red chile powder to make you feel all warm and cozy.
I made this pressure cooker Carnitas Tacos Recipe last week for our Super Bowl Party. This is truly perfect football party food. Actually it’s perfect party food – period. Especially a Cinco de Mayo.
And instead of the 3-4 hour roast in the oven, I opted to use my pressure cooker to cook that large pork shoulder roast. The whole process worked very well and I’ve been anxious to share the recipe with you.
Please note: “Real” Carnitas hail from the Mexican State of Michoacán. Large amounts of pork are cooked in large amounts of lard. A large copper pot is used to create the crispy texture that authentic carnitas are famous for.
These pressure cooker carnitas get a five-star rating. Here’s why:
- It gets a star just for the fact that it’s made with succulent pork shoulder roast.
- Another star for simply being a street-style taco.
- Using a pressure cooker to make these pork tacos, guarantees a cook time of less than one hour, compared to 3 – 4 hours in the oven.
- A another star for the flavor combination of citrus and New Mexico Red Chile Powder.
- What pushes this recipe over into the five-star category is it’s make-ahead qualities.
Grab your Insta-pot or what ever brand of pressure cooker you have and let’s take a look.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Mise en place. Always gather ingredients before starting any recipe. It will save you time and organize your mind.
- Pork: Choose a 3-5 pound pork shoulder (butt) roast. Preferably bone in.
- Beer: A Mexican beer works well here.
- Spices: Garlic, Chile Powder, Achiote Paste, Cumin, Mexican Oregano
- Pork: You can also use a boneless pork shoulder roast. Avoid a pork loin, or pork tenderloin. They are leaner cuts of meat and will tend to dry out. Pork shoulder roast has enough fat to keep the meat tender and juicy.
- Oregano: Mexican oregano is preferred for this recipe, it’s peppery, grassy, earthy flavor is a good compliment for Mexican Food. If you don’t have Mexican Oregano, substitute Marjoram. Known for its aroma and delicate flavor, its related to oregano and will bring a sweet undertone to any recipe.
Step by Step Instructions – It’s Easy
Be sure to see the recipe card below for complete ingredients and instructions.
- Step 1: Make the Carnitas sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together oregano, cumin, achiote paste, chile powder, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, and beer until combined.
- Step 2: Here’s what’s nice about this Pressure Cooker Carnitas recipe. Easy chopping. Cut the pork roast into large chunks to fit well in your pressure cooker. Discard any large chunks of fat. Larger chunks Which also makes it much more manageable to sear the meat,
Tip: If using a bone-in pork roast (preferred) cut around the bone, leaving a chuck of meat attached. Add that piece to the browning/cooking process and then to the Instant Pot. That bone will bring even more savory flavor to the end result. You’ll remove that bone once you start shredding the meat.
- Step 3: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, add oil. Salt and pepper the pork pieces and brown them on each side. You may need to do this in batches. Don’t crowd the meat.
- Step 4: Add the pork pieces to the pressure cooker insert. Pour the carnitas sauce over the pork. Cook 25 minutes on high.
Step 6: Once cool enough to handle, using two forks, or your hands, shred the meat. Discard the bone from the piece of meat that it was attached to. Spread the shredded pork on a sheet pan and then set it on a rack 5 inches below the broiling unit to create that famous carnitas crisp. Watch it close during the broiling process, it won’t take long.
Make Ahead Pork Carnitas
Pork Carnitas is also a great make-ahead recipe to feed a crowd. Here’s why.
- The pork roast can be cooked, shredded and stored until ready to re-heat and broil. (you will need to broil to get that crispy element for carnitas).
- You can prep, chop and store all the toppings in air tight containers in the refrigerator in advance.
All that’s left is to do is warm the corn tortillas and line up those toppings. Guests can build their own personal carnitas as you sit back and take in the compliments.
TIP: How to keep those corn and flour tortillas warm. I was recently introduced to these Imusa Tortilla Warmers. They work like magic. Just place the tortillas in the warmers and then use the microwave to heat them. They’ll stay warm for about an hour tucked inside. Check it out, they’re amazing.
Place seared chunks of pork into the crockpot and pour in the sauce. Cook on low for 4-5 hours or until tender enough to shred.
Place seared pork chunks into a Dutch Oven and pour the sauce over the pork. Roast at 350 degrees until meat is fall apart tender. This should take about 2 – 3 hours.
Storing and Freezing
- You can store any left over pork in an air tight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
- Store left over meat in a freezer safe air tight container for up to 3 months. Let the meat defrost in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the microwave or stovetop.
- Toppings For Carnitas: Sliced Radishes, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, crumbled cotija cheese, sliced or chopped avocados and Pickled Red Onions.
- Make a quick burrito: Place meat rolled in a flour tortilla and top with cheese and Enchilada Sauce.
- Make a salad or rice style burrito bowl. Combinations can include Mexican style rice, carnitas meat, chopped tomatoes, black beans, pico de gallo, topped with guacamole or sour cream. Sprinkle on some crushed corn chips for some crunch.
- Looking for even more pizzazz? Add a dollop of Jalapeno Aioli to the tacos.
- Serve with lime wedges. A squeeze of fresh lime always brightens any Mexican dish.
Pressure Cooker Carnitas Recipe
I hope you give this Pressure Cooker Carnitas recipe a try. Instant Pot pork tacos is an easy process that brings a fiesta of flavors, and a great way to feed a hungry crowd.
What to serve with Pressure Cooker Carnitas
Love tacos as much as we do? Here are some recipe you might want to take a look at:
If you’ve tried this or any other recipe on my website, please leave a star rating in the recipe card below. And write a review in the comment section. I always appreciate your feedback.
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Pressure Cooker Carnitas (Pork Tacos)
- Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
- 1 tablespoon Dried Oregano preferably Mexican Oregano
- 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 1 tablespoon Achiote paste
- 1 teaspoon New Mexico red chile powder or ancho
- 1 large Sweet Onion chopped
- 3 cloves Garlic chopped
- 2 Limes juiced
- 2 large Oranges juiced
- 1/2 cup Beer
- 4-5 pounds Pork Shoulder Butt Cut into large pieces
- 3 teaspoons Salt
- 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon Neutral Oil Canola or vegetable oil works well here.
- Soft Corn or Flour Tortillas Look for 5 – 5 1/2" tortillas to make Street Style Tacos.
- In a small bowl, whisk together oregano, cumin, achiote paste, chile powder, onion, garlic, lime juice, orange juice, and beer until combined.
- Cut the pork into large pieces, removing any large chunks of fat. Season pork chunks with salt and pepper.
- Heat a large fry pan over medium high heat. Add oil. When oil is shimmering, add half of the pieces of pork. Sear on both sides and remove to a plate. Repeat with the rest of the pork.
- Place brown pieces of pork into the instant pot. Pour sauce on top of the pork. Close lid and set to pressure on high. Cook for 25 minutes. Let naturally release for about 15 minutes. Release the remaining steam before removing lid.
- Remove pork to a large cutting board and when cool enough to handle, shred with two forks or your hands. Spread pork onto a large baking sheet. Spoon one third of the sauce from the Pressure Cooker on top of the pork, tossing to combine.
- Set broiler temperature to 550 and set the sheet pan full of pork 5 inches below the broiler unit. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes, just until the pork edges begin to crisp.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top with half of the remaining sauce from the pressure cooker. Toss again to combine. Broil for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove the baking sheet from the oven and toss more sauce. Don't use too much sauce. You don't want that pork to be swimming.
- To assemble the tacos, top warmed flour or corn tortillas with pork. Top with sliced red onion, diced avocado, jalapeno, cilantro, pickled onions, or diced sweet onions and cotija cheese. Serve with lime wedges.
Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos … It’s Whats for Dinner