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

(Instant Pot or Slow Cooker!) Keto Carnitas 🌮💨 dairy free & 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

These instant pot keto carnitas are the speedy (and easy!) version of this stellar Mexican dish. Ridiculously tasty and tender for the ultimate tacos!
5 from 10 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course Main, Meat
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4
Calories 272 kcal


Serving suggestions


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

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


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. 


Calories: 272kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 102mg | Sodium: 1282mg | Potassium: 590mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 320IU | Vitamin C: 18.6mg | Calcium: 34mg | Iron: 2.1mg
Keyword instant pot carnitas, keto carnitas, paleo carnitas, slow cooker carnitas
Whip up this recipe?Comment below or drop me a line @gnomgnom._ and tag #gnomgnomyum!


  1. Adriana says:

    5 stars
    These are oh so good! I have labeled it one of my “This is It” recipes. In other words, no need to keep searching for the best.

    Note – since I don’t always have fresh jalapeños in my produce bin and I have uses pickled jalapeños in this recipemwith delicious results!

  2. Brenda Middleton says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! I make it frequently. And love the fluid that is left over. So much so that I take some of the shredded pork and make it into a soup. Thanks for your recipes – all that I have tried are yummy!

  3. Kate says:

    5 stars
    I haven’t tried this yet, based on every other recipe of yours that I’ve tried, I already know it’s gonna be killer good! 🙂 Thanks so much for all you do…and share! It may sound silly, but being locked up in this tiny apartment with my little spaz poodle, no family/friends around…I SO look forward to your emails – they almost feel like a real hug and a whole lot of smiles!

    I’ve recently become obsessed with re-heating leftover meat like this…my favorite way is toss it in a small skillet with a bit of butter, and heat ’em/crispy ’em up…to die for! 🙂

  4. Linda Forrester says:

    How many ounces would you say a “serving” size would be….I must watch the amount of potassium and sodium I have ale in…and the info on the Nutritional Facts DOES NOT show exactly how much a serving size is…..
    Thank you!!
    Love your recipes by the way…I’ve made this one (before the restrictions) and it’s hands down the BEST IVE EVER HAD!! However, I did omit the orange…didn’t think it sounded good.

  5. Heather says:

    Really amazing!!! Only changes I made were to omit cumin and jalapeno as I didn’t have. I replaced with half a can of Chipotle’s in adobo. Made the 15 minute tortillas to go with them which are also fantastic. This site absolutely has some of the best keto recipes available and believe me I’ve tried tons.

  6. Gayle says:

    An InstantPot is also a slow cooker. (the best one I’ve ever used) that has a Saute feature. You can sear the meat , then switch to slow cooker.
    This is also good cooked in a Dutch oven. Brown on stove top then bake low and slow

  7. Sarah Mari says:

    This recipe turned out great! I was curious to how much the serving size for the nutritional information is though, as it’s needed for tracking, thanks (:

  8. Amy says:

    I want to make this, but I am very confused because this says it serves 4 but says to use 1 kg pork shoulder which is about 18 lbs? What am I missing here? Is this a 1 lb pork shoulder?

  9. Paul Spohr says:

    Just a couple of questions…if anybody knows.
    1. In the ingredients list, it lists salt, pepper, and limes. Is the salt and pepper what is used for the initial step, before searing the meat, or is it additionally added when assembling for pressure cooking?
    2. Do the limes go in during pressure cooking, and/or putting on during the taco phase???
    3. Oh, and I’m assuming peal, seeds, and all go in with the orange.
    Thanks much

  10. 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.



  11. Marian says:

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

  12. Denise says:

    5 stars
    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!

  13. 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!!! 🌷

    • Karen says:

      Yes, I made it with a pork loin roast and it was delicious! I just added a dollop of lard…I happen to have lard from my pig, I didn’t go out and buy lard. Probably just add some bacon grease if you don’t have lard (for flavor)

  14. Adriana Gutierrez says:

    5 stars
    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!

  15. 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.

  16. Kristen Lewkowitz says:

    5 stars
    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!!!

  17. 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?

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