Mood: Swift! Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

After lusting over an Instant Pot for more than I year…I finally cracked and joined the club.  I waited for the Amazon black friday sale as I just had a hunch I could get one for a smokin’ deal and what do ya know?  I was right.

I will admit, the thought of a pressure cooker initially scared the bejeezus out of me because all I could think of was the whole thing exploding in my kitchen and me suffering from PTIPD- Post Traumatic Instant Pot Disorder.  I finally got over my fears by watching a million and one you tube videos, tutorials and eventually my longing for convenience seemed to make all those other things seem silly.

One of the first things I experimented was some pork carnitas and WOW, this Instant Pot is a serious game changer for anyone who fails at life Monday thru Friday.  This cut the cooking time down by a massive amount!  I also loved that i put stuff in a pot, pushed a button and in 35 minutes I had amazingly delicious pork that tasted like it had been cooking all day.  I used this pork for tacos and for burrito bowls.  I made quite a bit and made a nice little freezer stash so I can make week night meals even more simpler.  (You all know I love a good twofer)

Okay so here is what you do…

First you want to zest a bit of your grapefruit and lime rind and set aside.

Now take both your lime and grapefruit and squeeze the juice directly in to your Instant Pot liner.

In a separate bowl (not your instant pot liner), place all of your pork chunks, zest of lime and grapefruit, garlic and spices (oregano, chilli powder, salt, cumin and cinnamon) and mix it all together so the meat is completely coated.

Now you want to add the pork mixture and your sliced onions to the instant pot.  *If you feel like you don’t have enough liquid in the instant pot (depends on your grapefruit and lime), put a little splash of Orange Juice or more lime juice in there and you will be good to go).

Now, place the lid on your Instant Pot, set the valve to seal and press the manual setting/pressure cook function and adjust the time for 35 minutes.  It will take a bit of time to come up to pressure and then once it has, the machine will beep and the time to pressure cook will begin.

Once the timer goes off, you can either let the pressure release naturally (which will take a bit of time) or you can use the quick release if you don’t got time for that.  After the pressure releases, the little metal valve will go down and its now safe for you to open the lid.

Scoop the pork out of the liquid in to a big bowl and you can now start to shred it with two forks.  *Remove any excess fat that you see and discard.

Now for the best part.  Crisp up that pork so you can get the true vibe of crispy carnitas.  I usually just take what I need for dinner and crisp it up in a skillet and then I freeze the rest in small freezer bags so I have several meals ready to go.  If i’m having a big group of people over and using up all of the carnitas at once, I typically put all of the shredded pork on to a sheet pan and then place under the broiler in the oven for a few minutes and then finish with a squeeze of lime juice.

So there you have it!  I hope you enjoy this super simple, no fuss carnitas recipe.  I often use this recipe for several different dishes:

  1. Tacos:  Get yourself some tortillas, cilantro, red cabbage, sliced onions and your favourite hot sauce and BOOM, you got yourself an award winning taco night!
  2. Burrito Bowls:  Pretty much a deconstructed taco in a bowl.  I love adding fixings like: red cabbage, sautéed onions and peppers, lettuce, cilantro, salsa, corn, black beans and rice.  *I also like to modify this meal in to a paleo or whole 30 friendly meal buy omitting the non compliant fixings and I still have an awesome tasty meal for myself.
  3. Nachos:  Friday night hangs or having friends over means an excuse for nachos.  Get fancy and add this pork on top.  SNAP.  IT’s pretty tasty.

Pork Carnitas Recipe


  • 5-6 lbs of pork shoulder or pork loin cut in to 2 inch chunks (remove excess fat)
  • 1 grapefruit zested and juiced
  • 1 lime tested and juiced
  • 1/2 an onion sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ancho chilli powder or smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • additional lime juice or cilantro for serving


  1. zest grapefruit and lime and set aside.  Squeeze both citrus fruits in to the instant pot inner liner
  2. In a separate big bowl, add your pork chunks, zest from the fruit, garlic and spices and mix everything together to ensure all of the meat is completely coated.
  3. Add pork and sliced onions to the instant pot.
  4. Place lid on IP and set the valve to sealing.  Use the manual/pressure cooking function and adjust time to 35 minutes.
  5. Once pressure cooking is complete, you can either let the pressure release naturally or use the quick release (your call, depending on how much time you have)
  6. Once pressure releases, remove lid, spoon out pork in to a big bowl and start to shred the pork with two forks.
  7. Crisp up in a dry skillet or on a sheet pan under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until you get some crispy edges.
  8. Optional:  Squeeze lime juice over top of the crispy pork and garnish with chopped cilantro (your call!  I like it this way but I have a couple of cilantro haters up in this house so I don’t always get the chance).

I hope you enjoy this little gem of a recipe! I am gearing up for a whole 30 and I plan on using this pork recipe in multiple dishes that are compliant for the plan.

2 thoughts on “Mood: Swift! Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

    • An instant pot has multiple functions on it, including both a pressure cooker and slow cooker. I love the pressure cooking because it cuts down the time significantly! I made a beautiful stew and it only took 25-30 minutes! That would have taken hours on the stove.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s