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Crispy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

Make a batch of crispy "Mexican pulled pork" in half the time if you have an instant pot, or if not use your slow cooker! Either way, your house will smell AH-MAZING! Bonus it's freezer friendly!
Servings 8
Calories 234kcal
Author Kelli Shallal MPH RD



  • Combine all ingredients for the rub (oregano, coconut sugar, basil, chipotle chile, smoked paprika, sea salt, and black pepper) in a jar or ziplock bag (really whatever you want). 
  • Rub the seasonings all over the pork shoulder.  Make sure to get every crevice!  

Instant Pot Directions:

  • Add avocado oil to the instant pot, turn on saute function and brown all sides of the pork shoulder.  1-2 minutes on each side should be plenty!
  • Shut off the instant pot and take the pork shoulder out.  Place 12 small slits all over the pork shoulder, then stuff garlic chunks down in each slit.  
  • Add water, followed by the pork and onion slices to the instant pot.  Squeeze the juice of 1-2 limes over the top.  (PS if your limes are big, stick with one, or it will be VERY limey.)  
  • Close IP lid, switching the valve to sealing.  Cook on high pressure for 60 -90 minutes.  After it's done cooking, use the quick release option.  (Mine took 60 minutes but depending on where you live it may take a bit longer.  You can check doneness by trying to shred it.  It should be EXTREMELY easy to shred.  If it's not ready just repeat the cooking process for another 30 minutes.)  For quick release: switch the valve to venting (be careful of the steam!)  Open the IP once all the steam has been released and the pressure valve has dropped.  
  • Shred the pork.  You can do this in the IP and then drain, or you can just pull the pork shoulder out of the IP and do it on your cooking board.   Keep the broth if you plan to freeze the meat!
  • You can crisp up the meat by sauteeing it in the instant pot.  If you do this, do just a few batches at a time with avocado oil.  You want to let it brown on one side before flipping and removing from the pan.  It could take 4-6 batches. Or you can crank the oven to broil and spread the pork accross a foil-lined sheet pan for 3-6 minutes.  

Freezing Instructions:

  • (For the full Freezer How To See This Post)
    The basic idea of how to freeze this recipe: Shred the meat but do not brown it.  Shredded meat tends to lose it's moisture when frozen or stored.  To my hubby this is UNACCEPTABLE.  If it was up to him we wouldn't brown the meat at all because he likes it' really juicy, but I NEED the crispiness.  So, freeze the meat and juice in separate containers.  You can freeze for up to 3 months.  Let defrost under refrigeration then follow the steps to saute or broil the meat for crispiness. Add back in broth as needed!    


Calories: 234kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 987mg | Potassium: 512mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 230IU | Vitamin C: 4.5mg | Calcium: 31mg | Iron: 2.1mg