Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas | PALEO, Whole30

Confession:  I've been known to hoard away meat in the freezer when it's a cut I'm not *exactly* sure what to do with.  To be honest, it's why I switched our monthly ButcherBox delivery from the pre-selected options to the custom box:  to avoid anything random that would end up hiding in the way back of the freezer.

One big goal I have with my blog is to demystify every cut I've ever not known what to do with.  That way, no matter what I find for a good deal- I've got a go to recipe that I know I can count on (no more hiding).

"Pork butt" or pork shoulder is one of those things I was intimidated by for awhile, but now that I've got this easy Instant Pot method for turning it into some magical crispy carnitas?

Let's just say this roast got used up first thing it hit my doorstep!

I'm a big fan of the Instant Pot, but not for everything.  There are some things that are just easier done on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for that matter.

But waiting hours & hours for carnitas to finish, especially when they smell so dang delicious?  Not my thing.

The Instant Pot is perfect for this dish, because you can get the meat cooked down to a fall-apart juicy tenderness in under 1 hour.  Magic, I tell you!

I always take the extra step & fry up the carnitas on the stovetop, because those crispy bits are my favorite.  If you're a fan of juicy, tender pork but don't care about crispy- then you'll be done in just one step!

I can't wait for you guys to try this method, and master the pork shoulder!  It is so, seriously easy- I promise!


  • 2 lbs boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 Tbsp salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • water
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil
  • fresh lime, optional garnish

Tools Used:


  1. Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks, about 3".  Add the pork to the Instant Pot along with the salt.  Fill with water to cover the pork a little over halfway.  
  2. Make sure the valve on the lid is set to "Sealing", then set the Instant Pot to "Manual" or "Pressure Cook".  Cook for 35 minutes on high pressure, then allow it to release naturally (this takes around 20 minutes, so be patient!)
  3. Once the meat has finished, use two forks to easily shred it.  For crispy pork, heat the avocado oil in a large skillet (I like the cast iron for this).  Add the pork, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until crispy.  Finish with additional sea salt to taste & a squeeze of fresh lime.


  • We love carnitas for Paleo burrito bowls, in grain-free tacos, on salads, and in baked casserole dishes like my Tamale Pie.  I'd love to hear how you use yours!
  • If your pork shoulder is larger, simply increase the salt and make sure you still have enough liquid to cover the meat a little more than halfway in the Instant Pot.
  • SLOW COOKER OPTION:  Cook on low for 10 hours or high for 6 hours.

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Ashley K. said...

This might be a silly question and obvious when I go to make this but, do you have to drain and if the water or juices before you shred? Or are those mostly evaporated?

Jessie B said...

Hi Ashley!! Not silly at all. I take the meat out of the Instant Pot with tongs and leave the juice behind. I shred it on a cutting board. You can save some of the juices for storing leftovers in the fridge, to keep it from drying out!

Isis Cornejo said...

Would this be the same directions for a crock pot? I dont have an instant pot.

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Anonymous said...

I can't wait to try this recipe Jessie! (so glad I found you on the Whole30 recipe takeover page recently!) I see if the pork is larger all you have to do is increase water and salt... but do you have to add time to your insta pot? I have a 6 LB butt I am about to make this weekend. Do you think 35 minutes will still be enough? Thanks!!