These easy five-ingredient Instant Pot carnitas are tender and juicy, with a great citrusy flavor. They are wonderful over rice, in tacos, in lettuce wraps, with an egg on top, or just plain!
These slow-cooker carnitas lettuce wraps are one of my favorite dinners, and ever since getting an Instant Pot, I’ve been working on converting the carnitas recipe so it can be made more quickly. It’s not necessarily weeknight quick because it takes about an hour and a half to make, but that’s a lot less than the 8-10 hour slow-cooking time. This is perfect for whipping up on a weekend afternoon to have a stockpile of delicious meat for the days ahead.
To make this recipe extra easy, I’ve streamlined the ingredients list. You only need five things (not counting salt, pepper, and water). Also, this recipe is made start to finish in the Instant Pot, without any broiling at the end or any other dirty pans.
Carnitas are traditionally made on the stovetop like this, where they cook low and slow, often with spices and citrus juices. Eventually, all of the juices cook off, and the carnitas begin to caramelize and crisp up a little in the dry pan.
When I make carnitas in my crockpot, I have to discard most of the juices and broil the carnitas after slow cooking to crisp them up and get that characteristic carnitas texture. With the Instant Pot’s sauté feature, though, I can cook off all of the liquid pretty quickly without using more than one pot. That means Instant Pot carnitas are just as easy as the original stovetop version, but much quicker.