September 6, 2019

Instant Pot Carnitas: The Easiest Pork Tacos

instant pot carnitas

Now that we are in full on Fall mode, it's time to break out the Instant Pot once again. It had been put away for most of the summer, but I expect it to be in rotation once again. I really love my Instant Pot and I'm so happy I purchased it back when it went on sale for Amazon Prime Day. These Instant Pot carnitas couldn't be tastier or easier to make. If you plan it out, it could even be a weeknight dinner as it comes together in about an hour. Or, make it ahead of time and keep it in the freezer or fridge for a quick and delicious weeknight meal.

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Tacos For Life?

I think if there was only one thing I could eat for the rest of my life it would be tacos (or maybe pizza?). I truly can't decide, but tacos are for sure up there on the list. On my recent trip to Sayulita, Mexico in February this year, I ate SO MANY tacos. And they were the yummiest tacos I've ever had. So much better than many of those overpriced ones you find at trendy hipster restaurants in Toronto. I am not even going to compare my tacos to theirs because that would not only be incorrect but also rude. But, I will say these Instant Pot carnitas are delicious in their own right.

If you want to check out other taco recipes, be sure to check out my paleo fish tacos and my vegan pulled jackfruit tacos!

pork in instant pot

Cooking with the Instant Pot

Usually, I would do the pulled pork in a slow cooker. But since moving to a smaller condo and needing to downsize, I got rid of my slow cooker and kept the Instant Pot. The Instant Pot does have a slow cooker mode, but personally I found mixed results when I used it in the past. So, I used the high pressure cooking method and I was a little worried it would be dried out. But, nope, the pork came out so juicy and tender. Because I wanted to make these into carnitas, I crisped them up in my oven.

shredded pork tacos in bowl

Deep Personal Transformation

Have you ever gone through a period of deep transformation? I feel like I'm currently going through that right now. It's been almost a year of it to be honest but still I find myself doing things that are so out of character for me. Or at least the version of myself that I thought I was. It has been really interesting to let go of that version of myself that I thought I had to be. To embrace parts of me that remained hidden for so long and learn that it is more than ok to do things differently. I think that is so important if you want to live as your authentic self. We all change and evolve and it can be easy to be hard on yourself when you find you aren't living up to the way you thought you were supposed to.

instant pot carnitas

The Hardest Times Provide the Greatest Lessons

For me, the times that were the absolute hardest provided the biggest lessons. When my mom passed away, I learned a lot about myself and those around me. I learned about relationships. And how they are formed and maintained throughout the hard times is key. Now, again, in the aftermath of a breakup that felt like it was going to break me, I learned a whole new set of lessons. You can read all about how I learned to put self-care first after that breakup here. Although these times have been the hardest, it was part of my journey to go through. And it shaped everything after and continues to do so. You could read more about my breakup and how infidelity affected me over here.

Have you ever gone through a hard time and learned a lot about yourself in the process? Did it sometimes feel as if you were watching yourself transform right before your very own eyes?

instant pot carnitas broiled on sheet pan

How to Cook the Carnitas

Back to the recipe! When making these Instant Pot carnitas, you can do things one of two ways. If you choose to cook it whole, you will need to increase the cook time to an hour. If you are choosing to cut it into cubes as I did, you can save yourself that half hour. Although, searing them in batches does take a little longer, so really the choice is yours. I haven't done these Instant Pot carnitas without searing it first, so I am not sure if it would still come out as good if you skip it.

How to Serve The Instant Pot carnitas

I enjoyed these tacos with minimal toppings as the flavour of the pork is really great on its own. Some mashed or sliced avocado on top wouldn't hurt one bit though. I didn't find them spicy at all, as I de-seeded the jalapeño first. But, if you want it spicy, add some cayenne, chili flakes, or even hot sauce on top after. I really enjoyed these Instant Pot carnitas with some pineapple on top, bonus points if you grill them!  

instant pot carnitas

How to Store Your Instant Pot carnitas

Depending on the size of your pork shoulder and how many you are serving, you may end up with quite a bit of leftovers. I know I did! The best way to store these tacos is in a sealed container in the freezer. Since, I wouldn't suggest crisping them up and then freezing them, it's best to store it without crisping. If you do want to crisp them up after defrosting them, I suggest also storing some leftover juice from the Instant Pot in a separate container. Since you don't want it to dry out, it's important to add some of that juice to the pork before placing it in the oven.

If you make this recipe, please let me know by tagging me on Instagram or leave a comment below.

Instant Pot Carnitas: The Easiest Pork Tacos

Delicious and easy pork carnitas made in the Instant Pot.




  • 3.5 lb Pork Shoulder boneless, cubed (optional)
  • 1.5 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tsp Oregano
  • 2 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Jalapeño de-seeded, chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup Orange Juice freshly squeezed
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice

  1. Cut the pork shoulder into cubes and press the sauté mode on the Instant Pot. In batches, sear the pork on all sides until lightly browned. Once all of the pieces are done, turn off the sear function and add the pork back into the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the seasonings (salt, oregano, cumin and smoked paprika). Toss to combine and then add the diced jalapeño, garlic, orange juice and lime juice. Toss again and ensure everything is nicely coated. Place the lid on and turn the vent to "sealing." Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally. You can skim some of the fat from the top if you wish, but there is a lot of flavour there, so I didn't.
  3. If making these into carnitas, turn the broil function on for your oven. Working in batches, add the pork to a pan and toss with 2 tbsp of the juice from the Instant Pot. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove, toss with more juice (about 2 tbsp) and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove and serve with tacos and whichever toppings you wish.


If you will be broiling the carnitas at the end (which I highly recommend), there is no need to sear the pork beforehand.

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