Instant Pot Carnitas Instant Pot Carnitas is amazingly juicy braised pork that has been shredded with delicious spices. Serve as filing for tacos, burritos, or as a taco salad!

instant pot carnitas

These Instant Pot Carnitas are easy to make when you use your Instant Pot Pressure Cooker!  Juicy pork with crispy edges stuffed in a low carb tortilla…does life get any better?  I don’t think so.

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Instant Pot Carnitas is amazingly juicy braised pork that has been shredded with delicious spices. Serve as filing for tacos, burritos, or as a taco salad!


I went on a whim the other day and made these instant pot carnitas.  We love juicy pork any day of the week, especially with lots of lime juice squeezed on top.  I’m not sure how carnitas are supposed to be made traditionally, but this is what I use to make them.  Pork shoulder (obviously), a grapefruit, garlic, onion, bay leaf, spices, and salt.

pork carnitas instant pot

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I love the instant pot because we just throw all of the ingredients into the pot, set the lid to sealing, set the cook time and we are good to go!

The Instant pot carnitas come out super juicy!

We then put them onto a sheet pan and break them up with some tongs.  They should just fall apart because they are so tender.

Now we just broil them until there are brown and crispy on top.

When these are pulled out of the instant pot they are so juicy, but to make them amazing, you have to crisp them up under the broiler for a few minutes.  Its a small step that cannot be skipped.  Then you must squeeze fresh lime juice all over them.

So have I mentioned that I love my Instant Pot?  It is currently my most used kitchen appliance, behind my microwave.  If you don’t own an Instant Pot yet, you can still make pork carnitas!  You can use a slow cooker to make them, or you can use a dutch oven to make them.  They will just take a bit longer.

crispy carnitas


My dilemma is always what to do with all of this leftover juicy pork.  You can only make tacos on Tuesday, right?!  Well, I have come up with some low carb ideas over the years that don’t include lettuce cups.  Go ahead and thank me now.

  • Instant Pot carnitas on top of cilantro lime cauliflower rice
  • You can get a little more fancy and have instant pot carnitas mixed with cheese and stuffed into zucchini boats
  • Carnitas, avocado, a runny egg, YUM!
  • Cloud bread, mashed avocado, carnitas, cotija cheese, cilantro and lime juice
  • Pork nachos with carnitas!
  • Just carnitas…boom.  These are so good, they need no accompaniments.


⭐ Did you make this Instant Pot Carnitas Recipe?  Tag me on Instagram so I can see! @lowcarbwithjennifer

crispy carnitas

Instant Pot Carnitas

Instant Pot Carnitas is amazingly juicy braised pork that has been shredded with delicious spices. Serve as filing for tacos, burritos, or as a taco salad!
5 from 10 votes
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 250


  • 1 4-5 lb pork shoulder , cut into large chunks
  • 1 grapefruit , zested and juiced
  • 1/2 an onion , sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tsp kosher salt
  • lime juice and chopped cilantro for serving


  • Add all of the ingredients, except lime juice and cilantro, to the liner of the instant pot.  Mix well.
  • Place the lid, make sure it is set to sealing.  Cook high pressure for 35 minutes.
  • After the timer goes off, let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes.  Do a quick release to let out the rest of the pressure.
  • After the pressure releases, remove the lid and use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the liquid and onto a baking sheet.  
  • Pre-heat your broiler.
  • Using 2 forks or tongs, shred the meat and remove any large chunks of fat. Place the meat under the broiler and let the meat get brown and crispy 5-8 minutes.  Watch closely so they do not burn.  
  • Serve with lime juice and chopped cilantro


My kids love these carnitas just the way they are or I put them in a low carb tortilla or some crispy corn tortilla boats.  They love those!  My son loves his with sour cream and olives.  
Sometimes I'll make them a little plain white rice and put the carnitas on top when they are not feeling like tacos.


Calories: 250kcal
Use code LOWCARBJ for 20% off at Lakanto (my favorite low carb sweetener)CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE!

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    • Shadi Hasanzadenemati
    • June 6, 2019

    I made your recipe for a gathering the other day and everyone kept asking for the recipe. It was totally a hit!

    • wilhelmina
    • June 6, 2019

    This is just absolute perfection! Finishing the off on the sheet pan adds just the right crispy touch! SO GOOD!

    • CHERYL
    • May 24, 2019

    By far my one and only favorite for pork carnitas! I use an orange instead of grapefruit, but planning to try that next. Thanks so much for this delicious recipe!

      • jenniferbanz
      • May 25, 2019

      That makes me so happy! Thank you so much for the review!

    • Jonnie
    • May 14, 2019

    Sliced Onions listed in the recipe but didn’t see in the video.

      • jenniferbanz
      • May 19, 2019

      I guess we forgot to add them in the video.

        • Jonnie
        • May 21, 2019

        Do you add them to the Instapot or on top of the taco as a garnish? BTW, made these (added onion to pot) and they were FANTASTIC!! So I guess I’ll just keep on keepin’ on 🙂

    • Sami
    • April 7, 2019

    Wouldn’t cooking this in the Instant Pot require adding like a cup of water or other liquid to pressurize? I’m very new to cooking in a pressure cooker.
    Also, do you know the carb count? I don’t remember seeing it posted.

      • jenniferbanz
      • April 9, 2019

      The grapefruit juice is a thin enough liquid to bring the pot to pressure

    • Ashley
    • February 19, 2019

    Great recipe! I’ve never thought to cut the pork before cooking to reduce cooking time, brilliant move! I also subbed orange juice for the grapefruit and it was perfect filling for arepas with guacamole.

    • Debbie
    • February 16, 2019

    I just made these and the flavor is perfect! The instant pot makes it so tender and I love the cinnamon and cumin mix. Thanks for this recipe and easy instructions. My meat was frozen, so I cooked it for 48 minutes and natural release and it was perfect.

      • jenniferbanz
      • February 17, 2019

      I am so glad you liked it, Debbie!

    • Kristina
    • January 19, 2019

    Do u place the pork on the trust in the pot? I was told meat should not sit on the bottom of the pot

      • jenniferbanz
      • January 20, 2019

      You can use the trivet

    • MJ
    • January 5, 2019

    This recipe is awesome. I’ve made it approximately 6 times thus far and even my friends that love traditional Mexican food say it is superb. One thing I did however was take the leftover juice and hit the sauté setting and allowed it to reduce. In addition to that I added some seasoning, lime juice and to thicken it up included some green bean starch (all I had on hand haha). After I broiled the carnitas I added this juice on top to give it a little more life and the rest is history.

    • Carmen
    • November 2, 2018

    How long should we broil?

      • jenniferbanz
      • November 3, 2018

      About 5 minutes but you really have to keep an eye on it so they don’t burn

    • Erin
    • October 14, 2018

    I made this today for nachos during football. It was also the first time I ever used my new Instantpot. This was a total crowd pleaser! The flavor was incredible.

    • Erin
    • September 3, 2018

    could you substitute orange juice for the grapefruit juice?

      • jenniferbanz
      • September 4, 2018


    • Courtney
    • July 29, 2018

    This was the first recipe I made with my instant pot and I was a little nervous but it was super easy to follow and so different and tasty! Thanks for the great recipe Jennifer, my husband loved and toddler loved it!

    • Karla
    • March 15, 2018

    What is the net carbs on this?

    • JenPoMas
    • January 5, 2018

    Made this tonight and I was a bit skeptical of the grapefruit addition. Did it anyway and it was amazing. I will be bookmarking this page and making this again. I’m so surprised how good this was. Thanks for sharing this.

    One thing, cutting up the roast was a major PITA. Do you think it’d be possible to quarter the roast and cook it a little longer? This is only my 3rd InstantPot meal so I’m still trying to learn.

      • jenniferbanz
      • January 5, 2018

      I’m so glad you liked it!

      You can definitely leave it whole but it will need to cook longer.

      • DD
      • March 8, 2019

      A partially frozen, almost thawed, piece of meat cuts up much easier than a chilled piece of meat.

    • Kristen
    • December 31, 2017

    Is manual set to high or low pressure?

      • jenniferbanz
      • December 31, 2017

      High pressure

    • Ann
    • November 18, 2017

    Hi Jennifer. To make this in a slow cooker, how long should I cook it for? Would I need to change anything else in the recipe to do this? Thanks.

      • jenniferbanz
      • November 18, 2017

      Hi Ann! I would do 8 hours on low. Everything else will be the same.

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