Home » instant pot » (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker!) Carnitas 🌮💨 keto & paleo

(Instant Pot or Slow Cooker!) Carnitas 🌮💨 keto & paleo

These instant pot paleo and keto carnitas are the speedy (and easy!) version of this stellar Mexican dish. Ridiculously tasty and tender for the ultimate tacos!

Keto carnitas tacos with low carb tortillas
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

i.e. Speedy!

You might not know this, but traditional Mexican carnitas are pork slow-fried in lard. But let’s face it, this is not the easiest process for the average home cook! So I’ll leave those for the taquerias, and use our instant pot to make us some (ultra speedy!) and ridiculously tender and tasty carnitas.

And if you haven’t got an instant pot yet (I got mine for Christmas and have fallen head over heels in love!), you can also use your slow cooker. Just omit the water and cook on low for 6 hours.

But whatever you do, I cannot recommend whipping up a batch of our (15 min!) keto tortillas enough. A true match made in heaven!

Shredding keto carnitas with two forks
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

My Top Tips

I cannot recommend enough that you take the time to sear the meat, rather than just adding everything together to your instant pot (or slow cooker).

These extra 5-10 minutes of prep will give you 100000x more flavor, so repeat after me: sear your meats!

Another great tip I learned from a mom’s friend is to squeeze an orange and add the actual orange in to the mix. It’s a bit more subtle than orange zest, but gives you just the right amount of tang!

Instant pot paleo & keto carnitas with limes
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

Serving Suggestions

Suggestion numero uno, our grain free keto tortillas. And if whole30 (or keeping it light on keto), go for a romaine lettuce taco. The freshness of the lettuce goes beautifully with the carnitas, and it’s definitely our top choice once temperatures begin to rise!

Additionally, (traditional Mexican) carnitas are garnished with a myriad of toppings. Anything from salsa verde (or roja), to minced onions, pickled jalapeños, chile habanero, fresh cilantro… i.e. you’ve got options.

Just whatever you do, don’t forget the limes!

Paleo, Whole30 & Keto Instant Pot Carnitas  🌮💨 #instantpotcarnitas #ketocarnitas
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas
Squeezing a lime unto keto carnitas tacos
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

Instant pot paleo & keto carnitas with limes

(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas

Course: Main, Meat
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: instant pot carnitas, keto carnitas, paleo carnitas, slow cooker carnitas
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 272 kcal

These instant pot keto carnitas are the speedy (and easy!) version of this stellar Mexican dish. Ridiculously tasty and tender for the ultimate tacos!



  • 1 kg pork shoulder cut into large cubes
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 240 ml water
  • 1 orange halved
  • 2 limes juice of
  • 1 jalapeño seeded and diced
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Serving suggestions


  1. Pat meat dry and cut into large cubes. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.  

  2. Set instant pot to Sauté and heat up olive oil, add meat (working in batches as needed) and sear meat for 3 to 5 minutes on each side until browned. Press Cancel to turn off the heat. 

  3. Add in all the remaining ingredients, squeezing the orange into the mix before adding it in (yes, you want the whole orange in the mix!). Toss to combine. 

  4. Lock lid in place, close pressure valve and press Meat. Adjust cooking time for 30 minutes and cook. Allow pressure to release naturally (roughly 20 minutes). Remove lid and shred meat with two forks (in the instant pot itself or a tray). 

For crispy carnitas

  1. Turn on oven broiler while carnitas are cooking. Once meat is shredded, transfer to a baking tray, along with some juice, and broil for 3-6 minutes until the edges begin to brown and crisp up. 

  2. Serve right away with desired toppings (limes are non-negotiable!). 

Recipe Notes

And if you haven't got an instant pot yet (I got mine for Christmas and have fallen head over heels in love!), you can also use your slow cooker. Just omit the water and cook on low for 6 hours.

Please keep in mind that nutrition facts for this recipe can vary widely. But, think anywhere from 1-3g net carbs per serving is a good rule of thumb. 

Nutrition Facts
(Instant Pot!) Paleo & Keto Carnitas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 272 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 4g20%
Cholesterol 102mg34%
Sodium 1282mg53%
Potassium 590mg17%
Carbohydrates 2g1%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 30g60%
Vitamin A 320IU6%
Vitamin C 18.6mg23%
Calcium 34mg3%
Iron 2.1mg12%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Share the yummy-ness! 📷💨

If you made this recipe (or got a question!), be sure to simply comment below!

And do share your photo with your favorite Facebook group or tag @gnomgnom.yum on Instagram (I love seeing them all!!)


  1. Ana says:

    I have a quick question 🙂 Will this l only make 4 tacos? I might make them for a house warming party and I want to calculate how much pork I should buy.



  2. Marian says:

    You are the queen of keto! Another delicious winner. Seriously, I try many keto recipes and yours are the best by a mile.

  3. Denise says:

    Amazing and delicious. Wasn’t sure that 30 min on normal pressure (the meat button) would be enough, but it was perfect. Limes ARE imperative!

  4. Laura Fuentes says:

    I cringe whenever I see a carnitas recipe adding citrus to it. My father is from the state of Michoacán in Mexico, the birthplace and home to some of the best carnitas in the world. And he never uses any of those ingredients , just plain old salt and some carmelized sugar boiling lard in a copper cauldron . That is what makes it Carnitas, otherwise it is seasoned pork.

    • Paola van der Hulst says:

      Hola Laura! Funny you mention it, because my moms family is from Michoacán as well (Morelia is we’re being precise!). It looks like you didn’t read the post, because there I explain that these aren’t your traditional ‘fried in lard’ carnitas…! So no need to be upset about me ruining our heritage lol, I’m just providing an easy at home option with tons of flavor xo!

      • Wanda says:

        Thank you for ALL your wonderful recipes! I absolutely love that you’ve found a way to make lucious carnitas without lard. I grew up in ElPaso/ Juarez and I’ve had some awesome carnitas in my time. I love how you make your version of such a classic recipe so darn good! Thanks, thanks, and thanks again!!! 🌷

  5. Adriana Gutierrez says:

    OMG, I browned the meat in a skillet and actually draggged out my beast of a pressure cooker. The taste after browning and seasoning is divine! Can’t wait for it to come out of the pot!

  6. Rick says:

    I don’t know – I feel like the orange pith from the whole orange made the carnitas bitter. I tried to remove the orange but it just disintegrated. Next time I’ll try using just the juice and zest.

    • Kristin says:

      If I want to double this recipe, should I double all ingredients? Made this last week and my family loved it so I want to make it again and have enough for left overs.

  7. Kristen Lewkowitz says:

    Absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing!! This is only the 2nd time using my instant pot and this dish will definitely be made again. And again. From youngest to oldest everyone at my table loved it, not an easy feat! Thank you!!!

    • Paola says:

      Oh man I’m not sure why, could’ve been that the software picked up high sodium from the garlic powder or spices (some have added salt frequently).

  8. Tonka Watson says:

    I don’t have an instant pot, but I do have a traditional pressure cooker. I presume I can replicate this recipe in that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.