Go Back
+ servings

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas (Low Carb)

The most delicious and tender pulled pork carnitas you’ve ever tasted!

Course Entree
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword Pork Carnitas, Pulled Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 33 minutes
Pressurizing/Releasing Time 30 minutes
Servings 16 servings
Calories 138 kcal
Author Holly Sander


  • 4 pound pork butt roast or pork shoulder roast cut into into 4-inch chunks, trimmed of excess fat (if you can only find bone-in then get one around 6 – 6.5 pounds.) This recipe works with more meat as well just don't fill the pot above 2/3rds line.
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons chipotle chili pepper or regular chili powder if you don’t want a kick
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, smashed and rough chopped (or use 1 tsp of garlic powder)
  • 1 large onion rough chopped
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 lime


  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 4-inch pieces and remove as much fat as you can while doing it.
  2. Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and rub spices all over the meat.
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to saute mode and let it get hot, add the olive oil and sear the meat for 2 minutes on the two main sides. Depending on how large your pork shoulder is, you may need to do this in two or three batches. Once all the meat is seared, transfer the meat to a plate or bowl.
  4. Add the onions and garlic to the pot and saute for 3 minutes. Add a splash of chicken broth so the brown bits from the meat that are on the bottom of the pot don’t burn.
  5. Add the rest of the stock and all the meat (and bone if you have one) then pressure cook the carnitas meat for 20 minutes on high. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes, then manually release any remaining pressure. (Note that the Instant Pot will take between 15-18 minutes to come to pressure depending on how much meat you’re cooking.)

  6. Next, gently remove the meat from the liquid and place it on a plate to shred. It is so tender it will fall apart effortlessly.
  7. Strain the fat, onions, and garlic out of the liquid, pour a bit over the pulled pork, and toss. (If you want a thicker sauce, after it's strained, put it back in the Instant Pot and saute it for 5-10 minutes. You can even add a cornstarch/water slurry to thicken it up even quicker.) If you don't use all the cooking liquid be sure to save the rest to use to reheat the meat or in case you want to use it for soup later.

  8. If desired, broil the meat for 2-3 minutes on a baking sheet until the edges are crispy.

  9. Finally, squeeze fresh lime juice onto the meat and serve!

Recipe Notes

  • To reheat the meat... use a skillet on the stove top and saute with some of the cooking liquid.  Or place the meat on a baking sheet and spoon some of the liquid over it, place it in a 400 degree oven for 6-8 minutes, then broil for 2 minutes to get it crispy.
  • You can freeze the cooked meat in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to two months.