Juicy, tender beef Instant Pot Carnitas – browned and cooked until easy to shred in the pressure cooker. This easy to prep dish cooks in about an hour with very little hands on prep time needed. Once done, shred and add to burritos, bowls, tacos, salads, nachos and more!
These beef instant pot carnitas are so much better than they have any right to be. The prep is dead easy. Just sear your meat, mix everything together and set your pot and you’re practically done.
What would normally take 8 hours is done in just over 1 and there’s 0 compromise on flavour. Easy!
We’re talking big flavours and minimal effort without even needing to stand over a hot stove the whole time to get it done.
If you factor in the searing of the beef and the time it takes for the instant pot to depressurise in the end then this takes a little over an hour to make altogether with about 10-15 minutes of hands on prep time. To sum it up:
- Brown the beef
- Mix all of your ingredients
- Cover & cook
- Shred & enjoy
Let’s get to it!
How to Make Beef Instant Pot Carnitas
Breaking it down in a little more detail:
- Start out by searing the beef. Add a little oil to your instant pot and add the meat when hot, browning both sides. You may want to sear the beef in batches as the instant pot may get overcrowded if you add it all at once.
- Once browned, remove the beef temporarily from the pot and add the remaining ingredients & mix. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the browned bits at the bottom of the pan and mix all of your spices and liquids together.
- Return the beef back to the pot & cook. Do your best to push the meat down so it’s mostly covered in the liquid. Cover the pot back up, make sure to set the steam valve to ‘sealing’ and set. Set for 50 minutes on high pressure and that’s it.
- Allow the pot to depressurise & shred. Once the time goes off leave the pot alone for another 10 minutes to give it time to naturally depressurise. Switch the venting valve to ‘release’ to let out any remaining steam and open. Use a pair of tongs or a couple of forks to shred the beef and mix it back into the sauce. The meat should be falling apart without much effort at all.
And that’s it! Tender, melt-in-your-mouth beef in practically no time.
It’s important to note that at this point your beef will be looking very juicy from all the liquid needed to cook in the instant pot. You can, if you like, stop right here and enjoy this recipe as is.
However – if you’re looking for crispier carnitas then just finish these off by broiling them in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up the edges. When you’re all done just spoon a little bit of the leftover liquid at the bottom of the instant pot over the top and enjoy!
- Instead of gluten free soy sauce/tamari use coconut aminos for a soy free, paleo friendly alternative. Just make sure to taste and season at the end adding more salt if needed.
- If you don’t have any white wine vinegar on hand you can sub it out with equal parts white wine, white vinegar, cider vinegar, or even just use more lime juice.
If you’re looking to keep these low carb/keto friendly you can add this all kinds of salads and burrito bowls. Make some cilantro lime cauliflower rice along with some homemade guacamole and your favourite salsa (shout out to my roasted chipotle salsa!)and you’re in for a good night.
If you like this recipe you might also enjoy my instant pot chicken carnitas as well!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (30 ml)
- 2 pounds beef stew meat (like chuck roast, casserole steak etc) (about 900 g)
- 4 large cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup water (250 ml)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon each oregano, cumin, paprika, and chili powder
- 2 tablespoons gluten free soy sauce or coconut aminos* (30 ml)
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (15 ml)
- 2 tablespoons lime juice (about 1 large lime) (30 ml)
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot and press the "Sauté" button. Once the oil is warm, add the beef to the pot and brown each side cooking 3-4 minutes.
- Once all sides of the beef, remove from the pot and set aside on a plate for a moment.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the pot (garlic, water, salt, pepper, spices, soy sauce, vinegar and lime juice) and stir together until combined.
- Add the beef back to the instant pot. Arrange the beef so that it's in an even layer. Try to make sure the the beef is almost entirely covered in the liquid. Press the "Keep Warm/Cancel" button to stop the sauté function. Secure the lid and make sure the steam valve is set to closed. Press 'Manual' or 'Pressure Cook' and set the timer to 50 minutes.
- After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Let it keep warm for 10-15 minutes before releasing the steam valve.
- Once the steam has been fully released remove the lid of the instant pot. Use a couple of forks to shred the beef.
OPTIONAL STEP FOR CRISPIER CARNITAS
- Preheat your broiler to high heat.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shredded beef to a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Spread out in an even layer.
- Broil high up in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, spoon some of the leftover juices in the instant pot over the top of the beef. Toss to coat and then place back in the oven to broil an additional 5 minutes.
- Squeeze a little more lime juice over the top and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro. Serve in tacos, burrito bowls, over nachos, quesadillas, etc and enjoy!
- Use coconut aminos in place of soy sauce/tamari for a soy free/paleo friendly alternative. When using coconut aminos you will need to add more salt at the end as soy/tamari is naturally more salty.
- If you're in the UK look for beef that's labeled as casserole steak or braising steak. If you're in the US look for beef labeled as chuck roast.
- This was made in a 6qt instant pot. You shouldn't need to change anything if using an 8qt pot - The main difference between the two here is that the 8 takes longer to come up to pressure/temperature but the actual cooking time stays the same.
- Keep refrigerated up to three days or freeze up to three months.