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Healthy Instant Pot Carnitas

by Livestrong_Recipes  |  Dec 11, 2020

Healthy Instant Pot Carnitas
Photo Credit: ALLEKO/Getty Images
  1. PREP
  2. 15 m
  • COOK
  • 1h 20m
  • 1h 35m

Carnitas aren't typically associated with healthy, quick cooking. After all, this popular dish from western Mexico is made by braising pork shoulder in lard for hours. Here, we’ve swapped shoulder for tenderloin, which cuts a three ounce-portion from 168 to 93 calories.



  • 1 lb Pork, fresh, loin, top loin (chops), boneless, separable lean and fat, raw
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon, Ground
  • 1 tsp Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 medium Yellow Onions
  • 4 clove garlic
  • 1 peppers Jalapenos
  • 1 tsp Fresh Oregano
  • 1/2 tbsp Bay Leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups Orange Juice
  • 1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 1/4 cups Brown Rice
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1 fruit lime


1 Turn on Instant Pot’s “Sauté” setting.
2 Pat dry pork loin then cut into 2-inch chunks. Season all sides thoroughly with salt, pepper and cinnamon.
3 After 2 minutes, add coconut oil to Instant Pot’s stainless-steel cannister.
4 Sear each side of pork 2-4 minutes.
5 Add onion, garlic, jalapeño, oregano and bay leaves. Cook 2 minutes.
6 Add orange juice, cover and lock top of Instant Pot. Then turn release valve to “Sealed” position. Press “Meat/Stew” button and adjust cooking time to 55 minutes.
7 In a small saucepan, bring 1½ cup water, rice, and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Cover, reduce and simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Rest rice 5 minutes. (You can also use Instant Pot’s rice setting if you’d prefer to reduce cooking liquid on stove.) When time is up, turn valve to release pressure. When all air has escaped, add ½ cup milk. Select Sauté and simmer until reduced to one-third (about 8 minutes).
8 Remove cubes from Instant Pot leaving braising liquid behind. Shred loin with tongs or forks.
9 Place carnitas on a sheet tray under broiler 5 minutes, until edges crisp.
10 Reintroduce to reduced liquid, toss and serve with rice, cilantro and lime wedges.