Instant Pot Carnitas (Paleo, Whole30)


Instant Pot Carnitas make weeknight cooking a breeze!! Set it, forget it, then enjoy the most flavorful and juiciest Carnitas! Pull apart pork in a orange infused, perfectly spiced sauce. You’ll love this for Taco Tuesday, or any day. Paleo and Whole30 friendly! 

For all of my Chipotle loving friends, this post is for you 😉 Our family has been diligently following Taco Tuesday for the entire 2020 year. I am going to add that to the column of “why 2020 was a good year”, because at this time, people are starting to have their doubts.

Ask my kids what day of the week they look forward to most: Tuesdays. Because our calendar was starting to look very empty hanging on the wall the month of April, I started writing out what I was making for dinner every night (highly recommended BTW, this prevents those repeated “What’s for dinner?” questions). For every Tuesday, my daughter drew a cute taco graphic to remind us of something to look forward to.

Having that visual reminder, I was seeking to be more creative with those taco Tuesdays. And then one day, my daughter says, “We should have homemade Chipotle Burrito Bowls for Taco Tuesday”. So easy, and DONE. That’s when I also realized, I have no recipe for Carnitas on the blog. Time to fix that!!

How to make Instant Pot Carnitas:

Here is the list of ingredients I used to make Instant Pot Carnitas:

  • Pork Shoulder
  • Oranges
  • Limes
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • sea salt
  • onion
  • garlic

I also used several of my favorite go-to toppings for garnish: cilantro, avocados, tomatoes, and pickled jalapeños.

We start by cutting the pork into 4 pieces, and searing inside the IP on the saute function. Once each side is browned, hit cancel.  Remove the pork and deglaze the pan with the juice of the oranges and limes. Mix together the spices in a bowl, add those to the lime and orange mixture. Now place the pork back into the Instant Pot, top with garlic and onion. Secure the lid, and cook on manual at high pressure for 25 minutes.

Use a quick release. Once cooking is complete, remove the pork from the pot and shred with a fork. I set my broiler to high, and also placed the shredded pork under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Just to get the pork a little extra crispy!

That extra step adds even more flavor. You can serve with some extra juice spooned on top of the meat, also optional, but so delicious!


I absolutely love these served over my Spanish Cauliflower Rice. You can use tortillas for more of a taco night, or serve over greens with salad.

The addition of salsa, avocado, and cilantro are kind of a must!!

Slow Cooker option:

Can you make these in the slow cooker? Absolutely! Follow the same steps of searing the meat, then place inside the slow cooker with the onion and garlic on top. In a bowl, mix together the orange and lime juice with the spices. Set on low for 8 hours. It could be done in 6 hours, but 8 hours is best!


Instant Pot Carnitas

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes


  • 3-4 lbs Pork shoulder fat trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 tbsp avocado oil or olive oil
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt + extra for taste
  • 2-3 large oranges juice of
  • 2 limes juice of
  • 1 yellow onion quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • cilantro for garnish


  • Select the saute function on the Instant Pot. Once hot, coat with oil. Place the 4 pieces of pork in the IP, and saute on all sides until lightly browned (less than 8 minutes total). Remove the pork, set aside. Select cancel.
  • De-glaze the pan with the juice from the oranges and limes. In a small bowl, combine the spices. Combine with the orange/lime juice inside the IP. Place the pork inside, then top with onion and garlic. Secure the lid. Set your oven to broil (optional)
  • Cook on high pressure (manual) for 25 minutes. Use a quick release. Remove the pork and shred with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and add to oven. Broil for 4-5 minutes (optional, but such a great step to finish off).
  • Serve hot and spoon additional sauce from the IP on top of the pork. You can wrap in tortillas, serve in a bowl of greens, serve over rice, or serve over cauliflower rice. Garnish with cilantro and any other additional toppings you enjoy.

The post Instant Pot Carnitas (Paleo, Whole30) appeared first on Wholesomelicious.

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