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These instant pot carnitas will shake up your dinner menu! Crispy, tender pork meets sweet, spicy salsa and it’s a party in a bowl! Your fam can customize their bowls so everyone is happy!
There’s a ton of flexibility in this recipe! Below you’ll find different cuts of pork to use and if pork’s not your jam, I’ve included instructions for chicken.
Also, the pineapple salsa is perfect – it adds the right amount of sweetness without an overbearing pineapple taste. I do have substitutes for the salsa below as well.
how to make instant pot carnitas
For the pork carnitas, saute chunks of seasoned pork in your instant pot, add juice and pressure cook with a slow release in the instant pot. So easy! Once it’s done, stick it under the broiler to get it crispy.
While that’s cooking (or even ahead of time), make the salsa and rice. I’ve included rice suggestions below to keep things simple and easy.
Once the pork is finished, compile the bowls. I like to add lettuce, avocado and some other veggies in my bowl. Next top with rice or quinoa, pork and salsa! Finish w/ a spritz of lime and fresh cilantro and you’ve got yourself a good time!
are instant pot carnitas keto or paleo?
Yes, with some tweaks. For Paleo or Whole30, omit the corn in the salsa. Also, instead of a grain in the bowl (like rice or quinoa), use cauliflower rice or omit entirely.
For Keto, omit corn in the salsa and use tomatoes instead of pineapple. Also, use cauliflower rice versus a grain.
can I use a crockpot instead of instant pot for carnitas?
Absolutely. If you choose to go this route, use a boneless or bone-in pork roast. You don’t have to saute the pork first and you can leave it whole rather than cut in chunks. Cook on low for 9 or 10 hours or high for 6-8 hours with the juice. Follow the same broil instructions.
can I use chicken instead of pork?
Definitely. Instead of a 4-5 lb. boneless pork roast, use 2-2.5 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I wouldn’t advise using chicken breasts and they dry out too easily for this recipe.
Skip the saute step and simply add the chicken thighs and juice to the instant pot. Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (not 30 like pork) and then slow-release for 15 minutes. Follow the same broil instructions.
subs and notes for instant pot carnitas
Boneless pork roast
If you accidentally buy bone-in pork roast (like I’ve done), don’t fret. Cut as many 2 inch chunks as possible outside of the bone. Place those chunks and the bone with remaining meat into the crockpot. Follow the same steps (saute, pressure cook, broil). Note: increase cooking time to 50 minutes.
Feel free to use any type of rice (cauliflower, white, etc.), quinoa, or farro. I love using the XYZ 90-second microwave rices and quinoas by Uncle Ben’s or XYZ. Makes life SO easy and there are a ton of varieties these days.
The pineapple is a great compliment to the pork and adds more sweetness with a slight hint of pineapple flavor. If you’re trying to eat less sugar (pineapple is on the higher-end of sugar in fruit), you have a couple of options:
- Add less pineapple and more corn and other veggies.
- Omit pineapple entirely and substitute cherry or grape tomatoes for pineapple.
other Mexican-inspired recipes you’ll love:
- taco salad with lime ranch dressing
- avocado salad with charred veggies over grilled chicken
- buffalo chicken tacos with lime ranch (instant pot)
- shrimp tacos with spicy lime slaw
- steak fajita stuffed sweet potatoes
4 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories482
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 9.1g 37%
- Sugars 18.6g
- Protein 31.7g 64%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.