Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas. They only take 30 minutes in the instant pot and are super easy to make. These chicken carnitas are loaded with Mexican spices, onions, garlic, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice. They come out spicy, tender and juicy!

Looking for more Mexican Recipes to make at home? Try my Slow Cooker Mexican Beef or my Shredded Crockpot Mexican Chicken!

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas | chefsavvy.com

I love making carnitas at home! They are full of flavor and a lot easier to make than you would think! So far I have tried making pork carnitas in the slow cooker and in the instant pot. I recently decided to give chicken thighs a try and I was so impressed! The chicken came out juicy and tender on the inside and nice and crispy on the outside. This is the perfect meal when you want tender, fall apart meat in only 30 minutes!

To give these instant pot carnitas so much flavor I add in lots of Mexican spices, orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, onions and garlic.

After the carnitas are cooked in the instant pot until tender I transfer them to the oven and broil until golden brown and crispy. This step is crucial and makes the best authentic carnitas! My favorite way to serve these instant pot chicken carnitas is in tacos with tons of fresh cilantro and diced onion on top!

How to make chicken carnitas in the instant pot

  • Brown the chicken: The chicken gets coated in seasonings then seared in the instant pot. It adds so much flavor! Start by combining the cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle over the chicken thighs and set aside. Heat oil in the Instant Pot on the SAUTE setting. Add in chicken and brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes a side. I like to cook the chicken in two batches to not overcrowd the pan. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  • Saute onions & garlic: Add the remaining oil to the Instant Pot. Add in the onions and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes to get some color on the onions.
  • Pressure Cook: Stir in orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, chipotle chili powder and bay leaves. Add the chicken back to the Instant Pot and cover with the lid. Select CANCEL on the Instant Pot then select POULTRY and set the timer to 12 minutes. Make sure to switch the nozzle to STEAM. When it has finished pressure cooking move the nozzle to vent and allow the steam to fully release before opening the lid.
  • Shred / Broil: Preheat oven to broil. Transfer the chicken to a large sheet tray and shred with two forks. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid on top and broil for 5 minutes or until desired crispiness. This is such an important step! I love broiling the chicken. It makes it super crisp and golden brown.
  • Serve: Serve immediately with fresh chopped cilantro! If desired you can serve the carnitas with more of the cooking liquid!
  • Store: The chicken carnitas can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • Reheat: The best way to reheat these chicken carnitas is to re broil them until crispy or heat them up in a skillet with a little bit of olive oil!

Step by step instructions on how to make chicken carnitas at home | chefsavvy.com

Ways to serve Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas

Optional Toppings

What to serve with Carnitas

Crispy Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas | chefsavvy.com

Can you make these chicken carnitas in the crockpot?

Yes, absolutely! If you have time to let the chicken slow cook start by coating the chicken in the spices then sear the chicken in a hot pan. Add it to the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients and cook until tender 3-4 hours on high or 4-6 hours on low. Broil as directed and serve!

Can you freeze Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas?

Yes! These chicken carnitas freeze really well. Just store in an airtight ziplock bag and reheat in a hot skillet or in the oven or broiler to crisp them up again. Store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze the carnitas uncooked and cook them from frozen in the slow cooker or instant pot!

Chicken Carnitas | chefsavvy.com

Here are more Easy Mexican Recipes to try!

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas. They take only 30 minutes in the instant pot and are super easy to make. These chicken carnitas are loaded with Mexican spices, onions, garlic, fresh squeezed orange and lime juice. They come out spicy, tender and juicy!

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless and skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, large dice
  • 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup orange juice (juice from 1 large orange)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (juice from 2 limes)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp ground chipotle chili pepper (use 1/2 tbsp if you don't want it to be as spicy)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • cilantro for serving, if desired

Instructions

Media:
  • Combine the cumin, oregano, chili powder, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl. Sprinkle over the chicken thighs and set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in the Instant Pot on the SAUTE setting. Add in chicken and brown on both sides, 1-2 minutes a side. I like to cook the chicken in two batches to not overcrowd the pan. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the Instant Pot. Add in the onions and garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes to get some color on the onions.
  • Stir in orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, chipotle chili powder and bay leaves. Add the chicken back to the Instant Pot and cover with the lid. Select CANCEL on the Instant Pot then select POULTRY and set the timer to 12 minutes. Make sure to switch the nozzle to STEAM.
  • When it has finished pressure cooking move the nozzle to vent and allow the steam to fully release before opening the lid.
  • Preheat oven to broil. Transfer the chicken to a large sheet tray and shred with two forks. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid on top and broil for 5 minutes or until desired crispiness.
  • Serve immediately and enjoy! If desired you can serve the carnitas with more of the cooking liquid!
Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas
Amount Per Serving
Calories 383 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 3g19%
Cholesterol 215mg72%
Sodium 596mg26%
Potassium 775mg22%
Carbohydrates 11g4%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 4g4%
Protein 45g90%
Vitamin A 939IU19%
Vitamin C 20mg24%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 4mg22%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Chicken Carnitas, Easy Mexican Recipes, Instant Pot

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