Easy Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas – juicy chicken cooked and shredded in under 30 minutes! Add to burritos, nachos, tacos and bowls. Whole30 + Paleo + Gluten Free
Instant Pots – have you tried them yet?
Love them? Hate them? Completely indifferent?
I think for the most part I’m on board. Anything that can reduce the amount of pots and pans that I need to wash up in a day gets a gold star from me. I’m also forever in awe of the fact that I can put a frozen piece of chicken in the pot and come back in less than 20 minutes to it being fully cooked.
To be honest though I’m not fully sold on making everything in the instant pot. I just feel like there are some meats and stews that really benefit from the low and slow method where all the flavours get a chance to hang out and really know each other over more time. Or maybe I just need to try new recipes!
That being said – when it comes to chicken breasts I am always impressed with the speed and flavour you can get out of such little time – like with these Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas! They’re so juicy and tender and easy to shred. For these alone I’m convinced my instant pot is more than worth it!
How to Make: Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas
Like most instant pot dished making these Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas is a pretty simple and straightforward ordeal. All you need is about 10-15 minutes of prep: gathering ingredients, sautéing your veg, and throwing it altogether before securing the lid and walking away. From this point on it’s just a matter of letting it all cook until done.
Breaking it down a little more:
- Mix your spice blend in a small bowl: cumin, oregano, salt, pepper & chili powder.
- Sauté your onion and garlic in a little olive oil.
- Stir in the juices stock and spice blend followed by the chicken blend.
- Set to cook for 8 minutes and then walk away.
After your timer has gone off and you remove the lid your chicken will look like this picture below – just use a couple of forks or tongs to shred the chicken.
It’s important to note that at this point your chicken 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 the chicken as is. In salads and burrito bowls the extra juice really add a lot of extra flavour that you don’t want to miss out on.
However – if you’re looking for crispier chicken 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!
If you’re into meal prep it’s a great thing to make and have on hand to add to different types of dishes.
- These Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas are great in tacos and burritos.
- You can also add them to soups, quesadillas, nachos, and rice and and more.
- Make a fuller meal by serving with a side of Sautéed Adobo Black Beans and Mexican Red Rice.
more Recipes You Might Enjoy
If you like instant pot recipes then you may want to check out some of these below!
- Beef Instant Pot Carnitas
- Chicken & Wild Rice Soup
- Quinoa Chicken Enchilada Soup
- Salsa Chicken
- White Bean Chicken Chili
- 1 tablespoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup | 60 ml pineapple juice or orange juice
- 1/4 cup | 60 ml lime juice
- 1/4 cup chicken stock, aim for low sodium stock so you can control the salt
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- fresh cilantro for topping
- Mix the cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and chili powder together in a small bowl.
- Add the olive oil to the Instant Pot (affiliate link) and press the "Sauté" button. Once the oil is warm add the onion. Use a wooden spoon to stir and cook until the onion is fragrant and soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and stir for another minute.
- Stir in the pineapple juice, lime juice, chicken stock and spice blend. Mix to combine. Add the chicken breasts to the pot and stir to coat.
- 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 8 minutes.
- After the time is up the Instant Pot will automatically switch the keep warm. Let it keep warm for 10 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 chicken.
Optional Step for Crispier Carnitas
- Preheat your broiler to high heat.
- Use a slotted spoon to transfer the shredded chicken to a large, lightly greased baking sheet. Spread the chicken out to be 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 chicken. 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!