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Flavorful Instant Pot Pork Cranitas Bowl
With juicy pork and fresh Pico de Gällö served over cilantro-lime rice, these Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Bowls give Chipotle a run for their money! Get creative and add your favorite toppings for an easy and unforgettable dinner.
Raise your hand is you love Tex-Mex! I’m a huge fan myself and Taco Tuesday is definitely a thing. But, sometimes I need a little switch up from tacos. As a Chipotle fan, this pork carnitas bowls are my new favorite.
I love this Instant Pot recipe because typically, pork carnitas would take quite a while to make. The pork shoulder needs to cook slowly to reach the tender, juicy, melt-in-your-mouth point. But, the Instant Pot changed all that!
These Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Bowls come together quickly, and this recipe included not only the pork but the cilantro-lime rice to serve it over and a fresh Pico de Gällö to top it with! Then you get to go crazy and add all of your favorite toppings. For me, I keep it true Tex-Mex and top these bowls with black beans, corn and some avocado. Yum!
Not to mention, these make great meal prep bowls too! Make a batch of Carnitas one night and enjoy these bowls for lunch all week long. Switch up the toppings and you’ll have something different for lunch each day!
📋 Ingredient Notes
Dry Rub – The dry rub is where the beginning of all the flavor in this dish begins.
It’s a combination of chili powder, cocoa powder, garlic powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, Mexican oregano, and salt and pepper.
The flavor is warm with a Mexican flair but not spicy (though you can easily adjust this).
🥘 Pork Carnitas
Pork shoulder roast - A pork shoulder roast is the base of these carnitas.
Onion & jalapeno – Add flavor and spice to the carnitas. You can omit the jalapeno if you choose or remove the seeds to reduce the heat.
Chicken broth – Try to use organic if possible.
Orange juice & lime juice – These help to tenderize the pork and elevate the other flavors.
Cilantro-Lime Rice – All you need is your preferred rice – white rice works best – chopped cilantro leaves and fresh lime juice for the citrus flare.
Pico de Gallo – You can use cherry or grape tomatoes or even just dice up a Roma or other tomato variety. Red onions provide better flavor than white onions and aren’t as tart, while the cilantro and lime juice provide that authentic Pico de Gällö flavor.
Toppings – This is the fun part! I use avocado, black beans, corn, additional lime wedges and cilantro.
How to Store Pork Carnitas
If you have any leftovers, you can store them in an airtight container. I recommend storing the pork, rice and Pico de Gällö separately.
If you pack these carnitas bowls for lunch, pack the pork separately so you can reheat it in the microwave.
You may also want to reheat the rice. Keep the Pico de Gällö and toppings separate and do not reheat them.
Can I Freeze Pork Carnitas?
Yes, you can actually freeze both the pork and the cilantro lime rice.
To freeze the pork, allow it to cool completely and then place it in an airtight container.
Place in the freezer for up to 2 months and allow to thaw in the fridge before reheating.
For the rice, you can freeze the entire batch or individual servings. Frozen rice will last for up to 3 months.
🧀 Carnitas Bowl Toppings & Add-Ins
While I’ve included a handful of my favorite toppings in this recipe, feel free to add any you want! A few ideas:
- Queso fresco
- Sour cream
- Shredded cheese
- Fajita vegetables
- Hot sauce
- Lettuce or other greens
- Green onions
The fun part of making a carnitas bowl is that the topping possibilities are endless! Feel free to mix and match your favorites!
Other Instant Pot Recipes
👩🏻🍳 Printable Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Bowls
Dry Rub Ingredients
- ½ T. chili powder
- ½ T. unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 t. garlic powder
- 1 t. ground cumin
- ½ t. smoked paprika
- ½ t. chipotle powder
- 1 t. dried Mexican oregano
- 1 t. sea salt
- ½ t. ground black pepper
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
Pork Carnitas Ingredients
- 3½ - 4½ lbs. pork shoulder roast, trimmed and cut into 6-8 chunks
- 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 medium jalapeno, diced
- ¾ c. chicken broth, preferably organic
- ¾ c. fresh orange juice
- 3 T. lime juice
Cilantro-Lime Rice Ingredients
- 1 c. uncooked rice, prepared according to package ingredients
- 3 T. fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
- 3 T. fresh lime juice, divided
- Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Pico de Gallo Ingredients
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, quartered
- ¼ c. red onion, diced
- 2 T. fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped
- 2 T. fresh lime juice
- Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
Remaining Bowl Ingredients
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 1 c. black beans, warmed
- 1 c. whole kernel corn, warmed
- 2 large limes, cut into wedges
- 3 T. fresh cilantro, for garnish
1. Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl and stir to combine. Rub mixture onto pork until each piece is thoroughly covered. Press well to adhere.
2. Push the “Sauté” button on Instant Pot® and set to “High.” Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and half the seasoned pork shoulder pieces to the container. Sear until pork is browned on all sides, approximately 2-3
minutes per side.
Note: DO NOT use lid while using the “Sauté” function on an Instant Pot.
3. Once browned, transfer seared pork to a plate and repeat this process with another tablespoon of olive oil and the remaining pork. Remove browned pork from the Instant Pot® and set aside.
4. Add remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion and jalapeño. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, approximately 3-4 minutes.
5. Add browned pork back to the pot and pour chicken broth, orange juice, and lime juice on top. Add lid and lock into place. Set the steam vent to “Sealing.” Press the “Manual” button and adjust to the “High” setting, if necessary. Adjust cook time to 30 minutes. (Select 40 minutes for 4+ pound roasts).
6. While the pork is cooking, prepare the Cilantro-LimeRice and Pico de Gallo by combining the ingredients for each in medium bowls. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to use.
7. When the Instant Pot® cook time is complete, allow the pressure to release naturally for 20 minutes before doing a quick release of any remaining steam.
8. Optional Steps for Crispier Carnitas:
Pre-heat the oven broiler to high and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with
aluminum foil. Transfer pork to the prepared baking sheet and gently shred with
two forks. Drizzle with ¼ cup juices from the Instant Pot® and toss to combine
before spreading into a thin, even layer. Season with additional salt and black
pepper, if desired.
Place pork under broiler for 4-5 minutes, then remove from oven and add a little more juice before turning the meat to brown the other side. Place back under broiler for another 4-5 minutes or until the pork is nice and crispy on the edges.
9. When finished broiling, remove baking sheet from oven and assemble the burrito bowls by dividing the shredded pork, Cilantro-LimeRice, Pico de Gallo, sliced avocado, black beans, and corn between 4 to 6 serving bowls. To serve, top with chopped cilantro and fresh lime wedges, if desired. Enjoy!
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 3911Total Fat: 274gSaturated Fat: 96gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 153gCholesterol: 1072mgSodium: 1444mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 8gSugar: 13gProtein: 285g