These richly spiced Instant Pot Carnitas are full of flavor and ready in a fraction of the time. Orange zest, cumin, and guajillo chiles make these pork carnitas exceptionally delicious. Finishing them in the Air Fryer (or under the broiler) gives incredibly crisp edges. You are going to love this recipe!
What if I told you I could make your favorite Instant Pot Pork Carnitas even easier?! This orange zest and guajillo spiced carnitas meat doesn’t only have the tenderness you love, but also the crispy edges that you could only get by transferring the meat to the broiler or stove top—until now.
introducing the instant pot duo crisp + air fryer
When it comes to kitchen appliances, I like to keep things to a minimum. I have a tiny kitchen so if it doesn’t make my life significantly better, I don’t buy it. That being said, I’m going to go out on a limb here and declare the Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer to be the most useful addition to my kitchen in a long time.
It really is the best of all possible worlds. Its eleven functions do just about every kitchen task. This one device can saute, pressure cook, fry, roast, I’m not going to name them all, but you get the picture. It would be absolutely perfect for anyone with very little kitchen skills or space—I’m thinking dorm room or studio apartment kind of situation. Let me demonstrate with our carnitas recipe.
the problem with pork carnitas instant pot recipes
A traditional Instant Pot does make deliciously tender pork carnitas in a fraction of the time, I give you that. However, if you are used to an authentic carnitas recipe you know the best part is the combination of juicy tender insides and crispy, crackling edges.
You used to have to take the meat out of the Instant Pot and place it under the broiler. With the new Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer you can get the crispy edges you crave right in the same pot!
what you’ll need to make it
Obviously the Instant Pot is key. Other than that you’ll need:
- Fresh pork lard, for that authentic carnitas flavor. Most Latin markets sell rendered lard at the butcher counter. I don’t recommend the shelf-stable white blocks of lard which have lots of preservatives and can be very waxy. If you can’t get fresh lard substitute vegetable oil instead.
- Pork Shoulder (scroll down for more info on what cut of pork is best).
- Orange zest
- Guajillo chili powder or your favorite chili powder
- Salt and pepper
- Ground cumin
- Dried epazote
but how do you make a pork carnitas recipe in one pot?
The secret to the new Instant Pot Duo Crisp +Air Fryer is its two different lids. You start with the traditional pressure cooker lid then switch to the air fryer lid for the final crisp. Here’s how it works:
Combine your spice mix and season with pork on all sides. It will seem like a lot but use all the spice mix.
Sauté the onions with the lard on the sauté setting to bring out their sweetness.
Then add the pork. You won’t need to add any extra liquid as the pork will release fat as it cooks.
Place the Instant Pot pressure cooker lid on and set the pressure cooker setting to high. It will take about 15 minutes for the machine to come to pressure then cook on high pressure for 1 hour and 15 minutes (scroll down for which cut of pork to use and how to cook the pork even faster).
Natural release pressure for at least 10 minutes then you can quick release the remaining pressure. Carefully remove the pressure cooker lid and transfer pork to a large plate or baking sheet with a slotted spoon or kitchen tongs. Pour the cooking liquid into a heatproof container and save for later. Remove the bone (if using) and shred the meat.
Return the shredded pork to the stainless steel Instant Pot insert, cover with the Air Fryer lid and set to Air Fry at 400°F for 12 minutes. Fry until the edges are nice and crisp. #DinnerDone
what kind of pork to use for carnitas
The cut of meat I like to use is a bone-in pork shoulder with the skin-on, for maximum flavor, but cooking a whole bone-in shoulder takes longer.
The cooking times are different for boneless pork butt. If you are in a super rush, use boneless pork shoulder or boston butt, and cut into pieces. 2 inch-thick pieces of pork take 15 minutes per pound.
If you are starting out with frozen pork, that’s okay too, just add 20 minutes to the cook time.
did I mention this instant pot pork carnitas recipe is healthier too?
The reason we love our Instant Pot is in the name—Instant! It saves us buckets of time and helps get dinner on the table quicker but crisping the carnitas meat in the Air Fryer uses a fraction of the fat as well.
how to serve the carnitas
All you really need to devour these Instant Pot Carnitas are some warm corn tortillas, a minced red onion for sprinkling on top of your carnitas tacos and some pickled jalapeños and carrots alongside.
how to make it with a standard instant pot
If you don’t have a traditional Instant Pot without the Air Fryer functions you can still make deliciously crisp pork carnitas. You will have to turn on your broiler though. Here’s how:
- Follow the instructions for cooking the pork in the Instant Pot using the sauté and pressure cooker settings.
- Heat the broiler to high.
- Shred the pork and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet.
- Crisp the pork under the broiler for 2-3 minutes or until the edges of the pork are crisp. Watch carefully and stir often to get all of the pork cooked.
- Toss with a 1/2 cup or so of the reserved cooking liquid then tuck into warm corn tortillas and dig in!
I love this recipe for two reasons: it’s simple and it has an incredible spice mix with orange zest and cumin that I just adore. There are other spice blends you could go with for a different flavor. Here are a few suggestions:
- SPICY BLEND: Instead of using guajillo chili powder used chipotle chili powder or arbol chili powder instead for a spicy kick.
- SMOKEY BLEND: Add 2-3 chopped chipotle peppers in adobo to the onions after they are done cooking. Stir the chipotles in then add the pork.
- SWEET BLEND: Add 1/4 cup brown sugar to the spice mix for a sweet finish.
more easy instant pot recipes to try!
- Instant Pot Pork Chili Verde with Cheese
- Instant Pot Beef and Chipotle Chili
- Instant Pot Pork Tinga Recipe
- Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas Tacos with Peach Salsa
- Instant Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup
the ultimate kitchen gift this holiday
If you are looking for that perfect something for the harried cook in your life, this is it (available on Amazon and Instantpot.com!). And if you’d like to be gifted one yourself, you know what to do. Already own an Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer? Even better! Try out this pork carnitas recipe, snap a photo and share it with me by tagging #holajalapeno and @holajalapeno on Instagram or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !Print
Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe
The easiest way to get the crispy-edged pork carnitas recipe we all crave is in the new Instant Pot Duo Crisp + Air Fryer. It cooks and crisps all in one! See post for how to cook it without an Air Fryer.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
- Yield: 4–6 servings 1x
- Category: Main
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Mexican
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
4 pounds bone-in pork shoulder
1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
Warm corn tortillas
Season the pork. Combine salt, orange zest, cumin, ground chile, epazote, and black pepper in a small bowl. Season all sides of the pork shoulder with the salt mixture.
Sauté the onions. Add lard to the Instant Pot and select saute. Cook on Hi and set timer for 5 minutes. Once lard is melted add onions and saute, stirring occasionally.
Pressure cook the pork. Add pork and close with the Instant Pot Pressure Cooker lid. Set the Pressure Cook setting on Hi for 1 hour 15 minutes. It will take a minute for the Instant Pot to set the pressure, then it will begin to cook and the timer will start.
Release pressure. Let pressure release on its own slowly (or manually release the pressure if you’re in a hurry). Set a strainer over a heat-proof bowl and strain out meat and onions saving the cooking liquid. Once pork is cool enough to handle, shred and return to the Instant Pot.
Air-fry the carnitas. Place Air Fryer lid on top and set to Air Fry at 400°F for 12 minutes. The Instant Pot will ring halfway through and notify you to turn the carnitas. Remove the lid and set it on the provided base—careful the bottom of the lid is hot. Toss them around with a pair of tongs to get more edges nice and crisp. If after 12 minutes they are not crisp enough set the time for 3 more minutes or until done to your liking.
Stir in reserved cooking liquid. Add a 1/2 cup or so of the cooking liquid back into the carnitas to make them nice and juicy.
Serve with warm tortillas. Serve immediately with warm tortillas, chopped onions, cilantro, or your favorite garnishes. Save any remaining cooking liquid for later to reheat the carnitas or add to soup.
Keywords: instant pot carnitas
This Pork Carnitas Recipe post was created in partnership with Instant Pot. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make ¡Hola! Jalapeño possible.