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Instant Pot Carnitas (Whole30, Paleo, Keto) | Get Inspired Everyday!

Instant Pot Carnitas (Whole30, Paleo, Keto)

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5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Kari
  • Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 16 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


These Carnitas couldn’t be easier thanks to the Instant Pot, and they’re perfect for meal prepping too!



14 pound pork shoulder roast, see notes 

2 Tablespoons avocado oil

1 small yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup coconut aminos

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2 Teaspoons smoked paprika

2 Teaspoons sea salt

1 Teaspoon onion powder

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder

1 Teaspoon chili powder

2 bay leaves

Serve with:

Bowl style – over cauliflower rice or roasted sweet potatoes with salsa or mango salsa, guacamole, shredded romaine, and even sautéed peppers and onions if desired.

Taco style – your choice of shells with salsa of choice, guacamole, and a touch of sour cream if you do dairy.


Brown either the whole roast on both sides in the oil, or cut it into 2″ pieces and brown the pieces, (refer to the notes below). Set the meat aside, and using the sauté function on the Instant Pot brown the diced onion and garlic in the oil remaining in the pot. When the onion is browned, turn off the Instant Pot, and spoon the onion/garlic mixture from the pot into a blender.

Add the orange juice, coconut aminos, and lime juice to the blender as well. Blend until smooth, then add all the spices except the bay leaves, and blend just to combine.

Pour a little of the sauce into the Instant Pot to help loosen any browned bits from the bottom. Be sure to carefully scrape the bottom, browned bits can cause the Instant Pot to have a ‘burn’ signal. Add the meat back to the Instant Pot, place the bay leaves on the meat, then pour the remaining sauce over the top.

Secure the lid, set to ‘sealing’, and pressure cook for 2 hours for the whole roast, or for 45 minutes if you cut the roast into 2″ pieces.

When the cooking time is over, use the quick release function. Then when the Instant Pot is safe to open, remove the meat from the juices, and set it aside to cool. Using the sauté function, reduce the juices by half, about 10 minutes. When the meat is cool enough to handle, shred it, discarding the fat and gristle. 

Mix the shredded meat back into the juices. From here you can serve it as is, or cool and portion the carnitas to freeze for meal prep. Or for a true carnitas flavor, pan sear as much as you’ll need in batches in a cast iron skillet until browned, with lots of crispy pieces. I use either avocado oil or bacon drippings to do this, bacon drippings are best when you have them.

Serve the crispy carnitas with your choice of sides and toppings.


You can sear the whole roast on both sides, then proceed with the recipe, and the cooking time will be 2 hours. Or you can cut the roast into 2″ pieces, brown them, and proceed with the recipe with a cooking time of 45 minutes.

  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican