Dinner Ideas, Mexican


Mexican Street Tacos have FINALLY returned in our household ❤️ and today I’m bringing them to you, just in time for Cinco de Mayo 🇲🇽!

These tacos are AMAZING and super easy to make in the Instant Pot and you know me, I love Instant Pot recipes!  I mean would you look at that char and deliciousness 😋!

I began creating this dish after being inspired by the Mexican Street Tacos at Cinco de Mayo Bar & Grill in Dover, New Hampshire. I love Cinco de Mayo and have spoken about this restaurant before on this blog. The brothers and owners, Cresencio & Miguel, make you feel like you’re in Mexico and enjoying the time of your life. While Mexican Street Tacos are simple, they are delicious on SO MANY LEVELS and I’m happy to say, I’ve created some Carnitas that can compete with a Mexican restaurant!

Anyways, back to Carnitas! Carnitas are essentially Mexican Pulled Pork. I like to cook mine in the Instant Pot because it concentrates the citrus flavors I place in the pot. I then finish the pork under the boiler and boy are these Carnitas tender, juicy and crispy, with so much delicious flavor 😋 and love ❤️!

I hope you enjoy and cheers 🍻!

Some Notes

Type of Pork to Use – You want a cut that’s well marbled like a pork butt, picnic cut or shoulder. I might suggest a roast with a bone because that’s the flavor. However, a boneless cut will work well.

Preparing the Pork – You’ll want to cut into 2-inch chunks. If you have a bone in your cut, cut around the bone leaving some of the meat on the bone for cooking. I’d suggest trimming any excess fat from your pork cut and definitely remove any skin.

To Sear or Not – Many Carnitas recipes call for searing the pork. Yes, searing locks in the juices, but I think the Instant Pot helps keep the pork juicy. Two the final step for creating Carnitas is charing those morsels, so I don’t take the extra step of searing.

Char Grilling with the Aromatics – I like quartering my onion and roughly chopping the garlic. You could certainly remove those aromatics after cooking, but I like keeping them with my Carnitas because as you shred your pork, the garlic and onions get combined with all that deliciousness!

Finishing your Carnitas – You could pan fry or place under the boiler to develop the char. Add some of the Instant Pot juices to your pork to keep it juicy and a good amount of Adobo Seasoning or salt to create tasty Carnitas! If you prefer, you could go without this step, but I like to have some crisp to my Carnitas!

Serving Ideas – Carnitas can be used in a taco, burrito or on a salad. We’ve also been known to use Carnitas in Verde Chili (check out my Verde Chicken Soup for inspiration), Pork Enchiladas or as the protein in Chili.

Preparing your Tortillas – PLEASE warm your tortillas before serving because this allows them to become pliable. I’d suggest using a grill or the flame from your gas stovetop.

Garnish Ideas for Carnitas Tacos

    • Fresh Cilantro
    • White Onion or Red Onion
    • Lime Wedges
    • Salsa
    • Guacamole, check out my recipe in my Mexican Fiesta Birthday post

Cook Time – The cook time is a combination of the pressure building in the Instant Pot, i.e. 15 – 20 minutes; 45 minutes of cook time; the natural release of pressure from the Instant Pot, i.e. 15 -20 minutes, and finishing under the boiler.


Jackie Ferguson
Oven crispy carnitas make the most perfect tacos!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 people



  • 4-5 lb pork butt or shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks (remove the excess fat)
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 white onion, chopped into quarters
  • 1 orange, peeled and remove most of the pith
  • 12 oz light lager
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 lime, juice and zest
  • 2 TBS cumin
  • 1 tsp dried coriander
  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground pepper
  • Adobo Seasoning or salt for finishing the pork under the boiler.

Serving Ideas

  • grilled tortillas
  • fresh cilantro
  • 1 white onion or red onion, chopped
  • lime wedges
  • salsa
  • guacamole


  • Cut the pork into 2-inch chunks and prepare your garlic, onion and orange for the Instant Pot.
  • Now prepare the sauce for the carnitas – Combine the beer, orange juice, lime juice and zest, cumin, dried coriander, oregano, salt and pepper in a medium mixing bowl.
  • Whisk together.
  • Add your pork to the Instant Pot with the garlic, onion, orange, bay leaf and the sauce. Give the pot a quick stir and now you're ready to go!
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and set to Manual for 45 minutes. I'd suggest a natural release of at least 15-20 minutes.
  • Now patiences and let those aromas fill the kitchen. During this time you can prepare the items to finish your carnitas.
  • Once the pork is done, remove from the juices and place on a lined baking sheet. Break up the pork chunks and add some cooking juices.
  • Place under the boiler and allow the pork to get crispy. I'd flip the pork a few times to let all sides get nice and crispy and at this point, you're created carnitas!
  • Serve on tortillas with your favorite fixings, enjoy and cheers 🍻!
Keyword Carnitas, Carnitas Tacos, Instant Pot Carnitas, Mexican Pulled Pork

2 thoughts on “Carnitas

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