Let your Instant Pot do the work of during a pork roast into the most flavorful shredded pork carnitas. Serve as tacos, nachos, burritos, salads, or even eat as is. The juicy citrus flavor combines with crispy edges to make this a delicious dish that’s healthier than traditional carnitas (no lard used in this recipe!).
What are Carnitas?
Before we get to the recipe we figured we better answer the question we were asked so many times after posting this recipe, and honestly one that we asked before we made it too.
What are Carnitas? And why is it any different than regular cooked meat?
After a little research, I found that carnitas are a Mexican specialty of seasoned pulled pork, traditionally fried in lard, with a mixture of juicy and crispy browned parts. Carnitas are great in sandwiches, or as a filling for tamales.
This recipe for pork carnitas is definitely not fried in lard, but cooked to perfection in your pressure cooker with delicious spices and then broiled for that perfect crispy texture on the edges.
So although these may not be traditional carnitas, it’s definitely a healthier and tastier version without lard.
How to Serve Pork Carnitas
Our favorite way to serve pork carnitas is in the form of tacos. Spoon some meat onto your favorite quesadilla and top with traditional taco condiments. Here’s what we like to top ours with:
- Green peppers
- Red peppers
- Sliced tomato
- Cheddar cheese
- Lime juice
- Sour cream
This meat also works great in burritos, enchiladas, or even on top of your favorite salad. It makes great leftovers too!
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Looking for some more healthy Mexican dishes? Try these:
- Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
- Chili Lime Chicken Fajitas
- Copycat Cafe Rio Black Beans
- Restaurant-Style Blender Salsa
- Grilled Chicken Protein Bowls
- 2½ - 3 pounds pork shoulder (also known as 'pork butt')
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 oranges, halved
- 1 lime, halved
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- Cut the pork roast into 4" pieces and place inside the Instant Pot.
- In a small bowl, combine salt, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, oregano, onion powder, and ground black pepper. Sprinkle over the top of the pork and mix so that all the pork is covered with seasonings.
- Squeeze the juice from the oranges and lime over the seasoned pork, then place the rinds in the Instant Pot with the pork.
- Add chicken broth to Instant Pot, not pouring directly on the pork (because that will wash away the seasonings).
- Make sure your sealing ring is in place on the lid.
- Lock the lid on the Instant Pot and set the steam release knob to the "sealing" position.
- Press the "manual" button and set Instant Pot for high pressure for 40 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for Instant Pot to come to full pressure, then the display will show a countdown timer.
- Once the 40 minutes are up, allow the pressure to release naturally for 15 minutes (don't touch or do anything - let the timer start counting up until it reaches 15), then release any remaining pressure by moving the valve to "vent". Open the lid.
- Preheat the oven to "broil". Use a slotted spoon to remove the pork and place pork on a baking sheet. Use two forks to shred the pork (it should fall apart pretty easily).
- If desired, sprinkle pork with salt and pepper.
- Place baking sheet in oven until the tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-4 minutes - make sure that you are watching closely because it can burn very very quickly.
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Here my wife shares some of her favorite healthy Costco snacks!