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A pile of pork carnitas on shredded lettuce, piled on a tortilla, on an aqua plate

Instant Pot Carnitas


Instant Pot Carnitas - crispy cubes of Mexican pork, sped up by pressure cooking


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 limes, cut into ½-inch slices
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil (or lard)


  • Tortillas
  • Shredded cabbage or shredded lettuce
  • Salsa
  • Diced Onion
  • Guacamole
  • Shredded or crumbled cheese
  • Beans


  1. Everything in the pot: Sprinkle the pork cubes with the salt, then put the pork into the Instant Pot (or pressure cooker pot). Pour 1 cup of water into the pot, stir, and then spread the lime slices over the top of the pork.
  2. Pressure cook for 15 minutes with a natural pressure release: Lock the lid on the pressure cooker. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes in an electric pressure cooker (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 12 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally, about 15 minutes.
  3. Fry the pork and serve: Unlock the Instant Pot lid and open it away from you - the steam is hot. Remove the lime slices and discard. Scoop the pork to a bowl with a slotted spoon. In a 12-inch fry pan over medium-high heat, heat the vegetable oil until shimmering. Spread the pork cubes in the frypan in a single layer and cook until the bottom is browned and crispy, about 4 minutes. Move the pork to a platter with a slotted spoon, leaving behind as much of the oil as possible. Serve the pork with the tortillas and accompaniments.


  • To double this recipe, double all the ingredients and fry in two batches. (Or use two frying pans.)  Don't overcrowd the pan, or the pork will steam, not brown. To halve the recipe, halve all the ingredients except for the water.
  • If you have a fat separator, you can fry the pork in its own rendered lard. After scooping the pork out of the pressure cooker pot, pour the pot liquid into the fat separator and wait for the fat to float to the top. Pour off the pork juices and transfer the fat layer to the frypan. (Add vegetable oil or store-bought lard if needed to get a ¼-inch deep layer of oil in the pan.)


  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Weeknight Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Instant Pot Carnitas, Pressure Cooker Carnitas