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Instant Pot Carnitas

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Are you a fan of Carnitas? if so you will love this super simple and easy Instant Pot Carnitas Rice Bowl. Carnitas known as “little meats” in Spanish are so good and this delicious pressure cooker pork and rice dish is no exception! Trust me, you’ll love it!

Carnitas meat is fantastic to use in so many dishes. You can use carnitas in tacos, burritos, quesadilla, and nachos. This recipe works well with both white rice and Instant Pot Spanish Rice. You may want to serve this with a fresh mango salad or a Pineapple Salsa!

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Unbelievably Easy: With the Instant Pot, this Carnitas recipe is a breeze to make, simplifying your cooking process.
  • Incredibly Flavorful: The combination of spices and slow pressure-cooking technique in the Instant Pot makes these carnitas irresistibly tasty.
  • Versatile: These Instant Pot Carnitas can be served in a variety of ways – in tacos, burritos, or bowls, offering you a range of meal options.
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Recipe Ingredients

  • Pork Shoulder Meat: Known for tenderness and rich flavor in slow-cooked carnitas.
  • Medium Onion, Diced: Adds savory depth and texture, enhancing the overall flavor profile.
  • Minced Garlic: Infuses a robust and aromatic garlic flavor, contributing to the savory richness.
  • Water: Serves as the cooking liquid, aiding in pork tenderization and creating a flavorful broth.
  • Lime Juice: Provides a zesty and citrusy element, adding brightness and balancing pork richness.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Contributes a tangy acidity, enhancing the overall complexity of the carnitas.
  • Tomato Paste: Adds depth and a touch of sweetness, enriching the flavor profile.
  • Cumin: Brings warm and earthy notes, complementing pork and other spices for a well-rounded taste.
  • Chili Powder: Adds a hint of smokiness and moderate heat, contributing to bold and flavorful carnitas.
  • Salt: Enhances natural flavors, ensuring a well-seasoned and balanced dish.
  • Cooking Oil: Used to sauté and brown pork, adding a rich and savory layer to the carnitas.
Ingredients For easy Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

How to Make a Carnitas Rice Bowl?

Step 1: Turn Instant Pot On

Turn your Instant Pot on to saute function. Set aside and allow to heat up while you make the marinade.

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Step 2: Create Marinade

In a small bowl add your water, lime juice apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder and salt. Mix well until fully incorporated.

Step 3: Saute Onions

Once the Instant Pot is hot, pour in the cooking oil. Add the onions and saute for around 3 minutes until cooked well.

Step 4: Add Pork To Pot

Place the Pork into the pot and pour the marinade over the meat. Top with minced garlic.

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Step 5: Pressure Cook

Close the Instant Pot lid by twisting the lid. Close the valve and set the Instant Pot to high pressure for 1 hour. It will take some time to build pressure before the one hour of cooking time begins.

Once done, allow the meat to naturally release for 15 minutes.

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Step 6: Manually Release Pressure

Once the 15 minutes has of natural release is complete, manually release the Instant Pot by using a hot pad or towel to twist the valve toward you and open.

Step 7: Shred Meat

Remove the meat from the Instant Pot to a cutting board. Shred with two forks. Enjoy the pork carnitas with rice, on a taco topped with cilantro and lime or just by itself.

Cooking Tips

  • Sauté for Extra Flavor: This will help to lock in the flavors and give the meat a nice color.
  • Natural Release is Key: Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure after cooking. This helps the meat to retain its juices, making it more tender and flavorful.
  • Add Freshness with Toppings: Don’t forget to add fresh toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, or a squeeze of lime. These additions bring a freshness that balances out the rich flavors of the carnitas.

Variations

  • Citrus Burst: Experiment with different citrus fruits like orange or grapefruit juice for a varied citrusy flavor.
  • Adobo Influence: Include a couple of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for a smoky and spicy kick.
  • Herb-Infused: Toss in fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or rosemary for added aromatic complexity.
  • Sweet and Spicy Maple Glaze: Mix in a touch of maple syrup and a pinch of red pepper flakes for a sweet and spicy glaze.
  • Garlic-Lover’s Delight: Double up on the minced garlic for an extra punch of garlic goodness.

Storage And Reheating Instructions

Refrigeration: If you have leftover carnita meat, store it in an airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap. Place it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: For longer storage, freeze carnitas. Portion it into freezer-safe containers or resealable bags, removing as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label containers with the date for reference. You can freeze carnita meat for 2-3 months.

Reheating Carnitas: Gently reheat refrigerated or thawed carnitas meat in a skillet or microwave. If using a microwave, add a splash of water or broth to maintain moisture.

What To Serve With This Recipe

  • Black Bean Salad: A refreshing black bean salad with corn, tomatoes, and cilantro adds a burst of freshness.
  • Refried Beans: Creamy refried beans make a hearty and classic Mexican side dish.
  • Salsa Verde: Tangy and spicy salsa verde adds a kick and zesty flavor to your bowl.
  • Cilantro Lime Rice: Light and fluffy rice infused with cilantro and lime complements the carnitas perfectly.
  • Pico de Gallo: Fresh pico de gallo with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice adds a burst of flavor.

FAQ’S

What Is The Best Cut Of Pork For Instant Pot Carnitas?

The best cuts are pork butt and boneless pork shoulder; both give flavorful, tender shredded pork.

Can I Use Pork Tenderloin Or Pork Loin For Instant Pot Carnitas?

Yes, you can use pork tenderloin or pork loin, but they may not be as flavorful as pork butt or shoulder.

How Do I Serve Instant Pot Carnitas?

You can serve carnitas in corn tortillas for tacos or in burrito bowls.

Can I Cook The Pork Carnitas Recipe In A Slow Cooker Instead Of An Instant Pot?

Yes, you can make a slow cooker version, but the Instant Pot speeds up the process.

What Liquids Should I Use In My Pressure Cooker For Carnitas?

Orange juice is a popular choice for adding flavor to pressure cooker carnitas.

What Can I Do With Leftover Cooked Pork From My Instant Pot Carnitas?

Leftover cooked pork can be used for carnitas tacos or added to burrito bowls.

How Do I Get My Instant Pot Carnitas To Have A Crispy Texture?

After pressure cooking, sauté the shredded pork in the Instant Pot to crisp it up.

Is There A Difference Between Pork Carnitas And Shredded Pork?

While both involve tender pork, carnitas are often crisped after shredding for added texture and flavor.

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Instant Pot Carnitas

Yield: 2-3
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Instant Pot Carnitas: Effortless perfection in every flavorful bite, ready to elevate your taco night.

Ingredients

  • 2.5 Lbs Pork Shoulder meat
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 3 TBSP minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

Instructions

  1. Turn your instant pot on to sauté function. set aside and allow to heat up while you make the marinade
  2. In a small bowl or measuring cup, add your water, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, and salt. mix well until fully incorporated.
  3. Once your instant pot is hot, pour in your cooking oil. add your onions, and sauté for about 3 minutes until cooked well. 
  4. Place your pork in the pot, and pour the marinade over the meat, and top with the minced garlic.
  5. Close the instant pot by twisting the lid on and closing the valve by pushing it away from you. set the instant pot to high pressure for 1 hour. it will take some time to build pressure.
  6. Once your timer is done, allow the instant pot to naturally release for another 15 minutes.
  7. Once the 15 minutes is done, manually release the instant pot by using a hot pad or towel to twist the valve toward you and open.
  8. Remove the meat from the instant pot to a cutting board. shred with two forks.enjoy your pork carnitas with rice, and a taco topped with cilantro and lime, or just by itself! enjoy!

Notes

  • Sauté for Extra Flavor: This will help to lock in the flavors and give the meat a nice color.
  • Natural Release is Key: Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure after cooking. This helps the meat to retain its juices, making it more tender and flavorful.
  • Add Freshness with Toppings: Don't forget to add fresh toppings like diced tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, or a squeeze of lime. These additions bring a freshness that balances out the rich flavors of the carnitas.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 3 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 1318Total Fat: 96gSaturated Fat: 32gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 55gCholesterol: 375mgSodium: 1923mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 100g

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