Instant Pot Carnitas (Paleo, Whole30, Keto)

September 11, 2018Rachel
Blog post
Instant Pot carnitas was one of the first meals I made living on my own. I remember having it in the Instant Pot while we were unpacking boxes in my first apartment. This was an easy, hands off meal to prepare while we were busy making 300 trips back and forth from our car to the apartment. Dinner was all ready by the time we were exhausted and ready to call it quits for the night. We ate sitting on the floor using a box and a banjo case as our dining table. It was great! Eating my first dinner in my first apartment felt like such a huge accomplishment. It didn’t even matter that I didn’t have any furniture yet! 
(Instant Pot carnitas tacos for two)
This is the most foolproof recipe I know! Set it and forget it. I’ve literally never been able to mess this up. 
For the best flavor, you would want to sear the pieces of pork shoulder first. But if you are in a pinch (or if you have a 2 month old demanding all of your attention) then you can also just throw all the meat and spices into the pressure cooker and let it cook down. Both ways will leave you with tender meat that just falls off the bone. Spices can be changed up or eyeballed to your liking. If you do end up actually forgetting about it in the instant pot, it will still turn out fine! I’ve left it to naturally release and sit in the cooker for an extra 20 minutes and it still came out fine. You could also skip the broiling part if you want. If you do have the time to broil it, it
 is well worth it! I love that you don’t even need to pull the meat apart much, just swirl it around with a wooden spoon and it will just fall apart. 
Give this Instant Pot carnitas recipe a try next time! I promise you can’t mess it up. 
Oh and the leftovers are fantastic! 

Instant Pot Carnitas

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6


  • 1 tablespoon cooking fat ghee, avocado oil, lard, etc
  • 2 - 2.5 lb bone-in pork shoulder cut into 4 chunks
  • 1/2 onion diced
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup bone broth chicken broth, or water


  1. Set instant pot to sauté. Once hot, add in cooking fat then sear the chunks of pork shoulder fat side down for 3-4 minutes until brown and removed from pot easily. Repeat each side of the pork.
  2. Add in the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Press “cancel” on the Instant Pot then press “manual.” Make sure it is on high pressure then press the “+” or “-“ buttons until the timer is at 45 minutes.
  4. Place the lid on top and twist until closed. Make sure the valve is sealed so that it can come to pressure.
  5. After the 45 minute timer is up, allow it to sit for about 15 minutes until the pressure has naturally released. You will know it is released when you can open the lid again.
  6. The pork should be very tender. Use metal tongs to remove the meat into a large bowl. Then use two forks to shred the meat.
  7. Transfer the meat to a baking sheet and broil in the oven for 5-10 minutes until the meat is slightly crispy.
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