For quick and simple crispy carnitas, let your Instant Pot do the heavy lifting and finish off in the broiler.
Did you know you can make a very close approximation to traditional crispy carnitas using an Instant Pot? If not, try this very easy recipe adapted from my friend Erin’s BEST Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe at her blog platingsandpairings.com. The only change I made from her recipe was to not use citrus in the liquids but rather only water. While I normally make carnitas on the stovetop in a shallow wide pan with just water, salt and pork, this recipe requires far less hands-on time and comes out just as delicious.
Which cut of pork do I use to make Instant Pot carnitas?
For carnitas you’ll want Macisa de Cerdo if you’re shopping at a Mexican market (literally, “solid of pork”); otherwise, pork shoulder or butt will do. Don’t use a normal roast of pork cut, it doesn’t have enough fat which makes impossible the whole point of carnitas which is to cook the meat fully submerged in its own fat.
What seasonings do I need for carnitas?
Normally for carnitas only salt is used, but in this recipe you’ll need brown sugar, garlic salt, cumin, dried basil, coriander dried oregano, chili pepper and paprika.
How long does it take to make Instant Pot carnitas?
Normally you’d want to cook the pork with water and salt in a shallow wide pan at a simmer for about 1.5 hours until the water evaporates, then for another 1 hour and 20 minutes or so a little lower than a simmer in the pork’s fat. In this recipe you’ll cook the pork at high pressure for 40 minutes and then crisp up in your broiler. Taking into account coming up to pressure and releasing pressure, you’re looking at 1 hour and 15 minutes or so.
What to do with Instant Pot carnitas?
You have endless options including tacos such as Erin made, quesadillas, bowls, burritos and salads. For tacos, like to soften my tortillas (nopales tortillas used here) in the leftover cooking liquid/fat and then fry up for a few seconds. Enjoy! The recipe below is my adaptation which only very slightly differs from Erin’s which you can find from start to finish here.
Quick and easy recipe for crispy Instant Pot Carnitas. Start in the Instant Pot and finish in the broiler.
- 4-6 lbs. pork shoulder or butt cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 cup water
Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and paprika.
Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork pieces and place in Instant Pot.
Add 1 cup water.
Make sure sealing ring is in place on the lid. Lock the lid onto Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the “sealing” position.
Press the “manual” button and set Instant Pot for high pressure for 40 minutes. It will take approximately 10 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, after which you’ll see the countdown timer (40 mins).
After 40 minutes at full pressure, allow pot to release naturally for 15 minutes, then release any remaining pressure. Open the lid.
Preheat oven broiler. Shred the pork using a couple of forks and use tongs or a slotted spoon to place pork on a baking sheet.
Taste the pork and adjust for seasoning, adding salt if necessary.
Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and crisping, about 3-5 minutes.
- Use carnitas to your liking and enjoy!
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