instant pot crispy carnitas

Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas

Does this have nothing to do with EdTech… probably? Although the popularity of the Instant Pot and the communities that have sprung up around it could be a model for modern learning and sharing. I was at Dave and Shelley Burgesses house the other day (if you don’t have them, I highly recommend their books Teach Like a Pirate and Lead Like a Pirate) and I saw they had an Instant Pot… in a box. Crispy carnitas needed to be made. The best way to learn something is to do it, so we all pitched in and threw stuff in this pot. Since posting the picture I had several requests for the recipe. I can only rewrite it so many times before I just want to say “it’s on my blog.” So here you go!
Crispy Carnitas Pirate family

P.S. Another benefit of hanging with the Pirates is coming away with a stash of new books to read (and a couple to give away. Click Here to fill out a Form to win a copy of one of these books.)
Pirate books


Instant Pot Carnitas (Crispy Mexican Pulled Pork)

I originally got this recipe from I found the post to be really long and hard to follow the exact recipe since the directions were not all in one place and repeated in some places.

How I Do It

It’s almost impossible to do this wrong. I followed the recipe (kinda) the first time, after that I just throw stuff in the pot.


3-5 pounds of pork. Shoulder, loin, chops… anything that you can make into chunks of meat.
1 orange or 2-3 lemons or some limes or whatever you got
Salt (I prefer sea salt grinder)
Pepper (I prefer a course ground)
Crushed garlic (about 4 cloves)
Chopped onion
Red pepper flakes (recipe calls for ground cumin)
1 tsp cinnamon powder or a cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
1 Tbsp light soy sauce
1 cup Chicken broth
Vegetable oil
Corn Tortillas
Limes for cutting up and squeezing onto tacos
Salsa for your tacos


Cut up some pork meat into cubes. The recipe says 2 inch cubes but I liked smaller ones better. Throw it in the pot.

Squeeze some citrus in there. I have a lemon tree so free lemons it was! I saw zero difference between the orange and the lemon.

I left out the salt from the pot. But you’re supposed to salt and pepper the meat. I put a lot of course ground pepper because I like it and omit the salt… for now.

I love garlic so while the recipe says 4 crushed (not minced) cloves I put more like 6-7. Throw that in the pot.

Chop up an onion or two. It will be be super cooked down. Throw in the pot.

Add a couple of bay leaves, sprinkle some cinnamon, pour a little soy sauce. Add some, or a lot (if you’re me) red pepper flakes. Or use the cumin the recipe calls for or put whatever else in there you like. It’s really hard to mess this recipe up.

Marinate 20 Minutes

Stir it up and wait 20 minutes to let the citrus and stuff marinate on the meat.

Add Chicken Broth

The first time I made the recipe I put in almost an entire can of chicken broth and then after that I thought, I’m too lazy to measure this I’ll just add the whole can. Came out fine.

High Pressure 30 Minutes

Press the pressure button on the Instant Pot. Make sure it is on High. There is no start button so you just wait a couple of seconds and the part switches to “On.” You then have to wait for it to get to pressure before it actually starts the 30 minute timer. Make sure your Instant Pot release valve is on pressure and not vent.

15 Minutes Release

When the 30 minutes is up, switch the release valve to vent and let it depressure for 15 minutes.

Baking Tray

Open the lid and transfer all the meat to a baking tray with an edge to hold in the liquid.

Vegetable Oil

I drizzle a little vegetable oil on each piece so it doesn’t dry out in the broiler and also to help it get crispy.


Instead of putting the salt in the pot I do my salt now. I use a sea salt grinder on course grind and salt all the meat.

High Broiler

Place under a broiler in the oven on high for 6-10 minutes. I find 6 is about right, watch it. You want it crispy but not burnt and dried out.

Flip Over

Flip the pieces over, drizzle again with vegetable oil, salt the other side.

Again with the High Broiler

6-10 minutes on the other side under the broiler.


Use a fork and pull it apart. This is super easy, the meat is really just falling apart. Awesome. Now put it in anything. Heat up some corn tortillas (or fry them) and make some tacos or whatever you want to do with this meat.

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