Carnitas are a staple in our house because they are so versatile. Added bonuses this recipe is 10 ingredients and jam packed with flavor in under 1 hour. Coated in salt and lime right before browning at the end is what makes these the best carnitas you’ll ever eat.
I’ve made many versions of carnitas, but these are my new favorite.
They are bursting with that citrus flavor and pair well with spice-forward side dishes (like Mexican rice or chili coated vegetables). I hate to have the same flavors repeated over and over again, so these carnitas add bright, zesty notes to my Mexican dishes.
I have included both the Instant Pot and oven methods (in the notes) and the main difference is the amount of time required. Using the instant pot will have these done in just barely over an hour versus the oven that will take almost three hours.
The key to these carnitas is the lime juice, salt and broil step at the end. Don’t skip it! I know the meat is tasty straight out of the Instant Pot, but this step is key. I like mine super salty, zesty from the line and extra crispy with lots of burnt black bits. Be sure to taste the meat as you season it with the salt and lime juice (it’s already cooked!) to ensure you are getting your perfect flavor.
I hope you all LOVE this dish! It’s:
Dump and Go
& Incredibly Tasty
I use these carnitas for taco salad, tacos, burritos, nachos, tatchos, or just to eat plain with some avocado and salsa.
If you’re into instant pot meals, check out my Instant Pot Chicken Cacciatore.
If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo #theeternalhostess on Instagram. Cheers, friends!
- 5 pounds pork shoulder (or pork butt)
- 1 large yellow onion (sliced)
- 4 large oranges (cut off peel)
- 2 tablespoons dried oregano
- 1 large bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 2 cloves garlic (sliced)
- 3 large limes (juiced)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Set instant pot to manual mode for 40 minutes. Allow to naturally release pressure for 15 minutes, then release the rest of the way.
- Remove all meat to a baking sheet. (I also like to mix in the remaining orange pulp, but up to you). Shred using two forks, discard any large chunks of fat and the bay leaf.
- Sprinkle the carnitas with the salt and lime juice. Toss to coat evenly.
- Place the carnitas in the oven set on broil. Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove when the tops of the meat start to brown and mix. Place back in the oven for 3-4 minutes. Repeat the broiling and mixing until the meat is to your desired level of browned.