Tender, flavorful Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas are a taco meat, burrito filling, or whatever you want them to be! Carnitas are my favorite because they are easy to make and so delicious! This next recipe in my continuing “Mini Series” for the 3 quart electric pressure cooker I’m sharing is my recipe for a 3 quart pressure cooker Pork Carnitas.
Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas
Carnitas means “little meats” in Spanish. The dish is usually braised with oil, or lard, and are often crispy (I prefer less crispy, but you can crisp them under the broiler). Use Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas for tacos, burritos, on a salad, or whatever you want! The Instant Pot® makes it really easy to make carnitas tender and full of flavor. They cook from start to finish in under an hour!
The best cut of meat to use to make Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas is a pork shoulder. It comes out very tender and has lots of flavor. One tip for making a smaller quantity for your 3 quart pressure cooker is to use Country Style Ribs, which are just pork shoulder cut in strips! You can often buy these in smaller quantities than a pork shoulder/butt roast.
I always have some in my freezer as I buy when the price is good. I just got a pork shoulder/butt roast for .97 a pound (usually $2.99-$3.99)! I cut it up and put recipe portions in the freezer in freezer bags.
If you want to crisp them up, just pop them under the broiler at the end!
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Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas are my favorite because they are easy to make, so flavorful, and fall apart tender!
- 2 Tbsps Olive Oil
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 2 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Mexican Oregano (or regular)
- 1 tsp Coriander Powder
- 1/8 tsp Cayenne Powder (use 1/4 tsp or more for spicier)
- 1 to 1 1/2 lbs Pork Shoulder / Pork Butt,* cut in 3" chunks (can also use Country Style Ribs)
- 1/2 small Onion, chopped
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1/2 Cinnamon Stick, about 2-3 inches long
- 4 cloves Garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/2 cup Orange Juice
To a mixing bowl, add the oil, salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, coriander powder, and cayenne pepper. Mix well.
Add the pork chunks to the spice mixture and toss to cover all of the meat with the mixture.
Press the Sauté button 2 or 3 times until "More" is highlighted. When display reads “Hot” add the meat. Cook until browned on all sides, but not done. Remove from pot and set aside.
Add onion, bay leaf, and cinnamon stick and cook until onions are tender, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pot to deglaze (get those brown bits off the bottom) You might need to add a splash of water to help the deglazing.
Add the garlic and cook for a few seconds, stirring constantly.
Add the orange juice and stir.
Add the meat back in to the pot and just nestle it down into the juice (it won't be covered).
Place the lid on the pot and set the Steam Release Knob to Sealing.
Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Cancel
Press the Pressure Cook button and set the time to 30 minutes using the + or - button.
When the cooking cycle has ended and the pot beeps 10 times, let it sit for 15 minutes. It will start naturally releasing the pressure. The counter on the display will begin counting up in minutes.
When the display reads L015, turn the steam release knob to Venting and release any remaining steam/pressure. There may not be any left, and that's okay. When the pin in the lid drops down it is safe to open the lid.
BEFORE you stir, take a spoon or a small measuring cup and skim off the extra fat that is on top and discard. It's a lot easier doing it this way than pouring it into a fat separator!
Stir the meat and transfer to a serving dish. If you like your carnitas in tacos, you might want to drain them a little. That sauce has a lot of flavor, so use it if you can!
You can broil the carnitas to get some crispy bits if you want to. Just put them on a baking sheet and pop them under a 450 degrees (F) broiler until they reach the desired crispness.
Garnish with sour cream, salsa, cilantro, cheese, avocado, and serve in tortillas, and enjoy!
*1 1/2 pounds makes about 4 servings of 2 tacos each, by my measurements. If you want less, only use 1 pound of meat, but keep the recipe as is.
Resources to make Instant Pot Mini – Pork Carnitas and more
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