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Instant Pot Beef Carnitas


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These Instant Pot Beef Carnitas are super easy to make and so flavorful. It’s a great Instant Pot Mexican Recipe to have in your cooking arsenal.

soft tacos on a white platter filled with beef, tomatoes, and parsley with title text reading Instant Pot Beef Carnitas

This recipe is super simple but it isn’t quick. To get the tender, juicy, fall-apart beef that makes out-of-this world tacos/burritos, you’ll need some patience.

Start to finish we’re talking two hours. Happily, your hands-on time is a very small portion though.

soft tacos on a white platter filled with beef, tomatoes, and parsley with an instant pot in the background

How to Make Instant Pot Beef Carnitas

You may need a lot of time for this dish, but you won’t need a lot of ingredients. The main ingredients are just a chuck roast and some onions and peppers. Everything else is a seasoning or contribution to the cooking liquid.

  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ large red onion, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 7-ounce can chipotle sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo all purpose seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup beef broth

I’m not a fancy cook so I only use ingredients that are readily available at my local grocery store. If you aren’t familiar with chipotle sauce and Adobo, I assure you that you don’t need to visit a specialty store to find them. They should be in the Mexican or International aisle of your grocery store.

For the chipotle sauce, make sure you get the sauce and not chipotle peppers in adobo sauce since that is something different. Also, don’t get the kind that is like Tabasco sauce because that is also different from the kind that comes in a can.

Step 1 – Sear the Roast

First, we need to brown the beef to lock in the juices. Set your Instant Pot to Sauté and wait until the display reads “Hot” before adding the olive oil.

After the pot is hot and you’ve added the oil, place the roast in the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes on both sides to sear.

beef cooking in an instant pot

Step 2 – Add Remaining Ingredients

Now, we just need to add the other ingredients! Toss in the sliced red onion and bell pepper.

beef, red onion, and bell pepper in an instant pot

And then add the Chipotle sauce and seasonings.

beef, onions, bell pepper and seasonings in an instant pot

Top with the beef broth.

Step 3 – Pressure Cook

Your work is done now and we’re going to let the Instant Pot take over. Secure the lid and make sure the valve is set to sealing.

Press the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button (depending on your model) and set to cook on high pressure for 80 minutes. I know. That’s a LONG time, but it’s essential if you want the beef to fall apart into delicious, tender forkfuls of meat.

When the cook time ends, allow for a natural release (don’t move the valve to “venting” until the pin drops indicating the pressure has completely released). Resist the urge to quick release the pressure.

Yes, the wait continues. I promise, the end result is worth it!

When the pressure is fully released, carefully remove the lid. This is what you should see:

beef, vegetables and liquid in an instant pot

You’ll need to remove the roast to shred it and thanks to that long wait, it’s going to fall apart as soon as you touch it. The good news is, it will practically shred itself. The bad news is, it will be hard to get out of the pot.

I use a large spatula to slide under the roast, with a wooden spoon in the other hand to balance it as I lift it out. If you have a helper, have them hold a large plate or casserole dish to slide under the roast as you lift it out.

Shred the beef, removing any large pieces of fat. Then, return the beef to the pot to mix with the juices.

a fork holding shredded beef above an instant pot filled with the beef

Spoon the meat and sauce into flour tortillas and top with your choice of:

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Cheese
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • A squeeze of lime juice from a slice of lime

soft tacos on a white platter filled with beef, tomatoes, and parsley

Instant Pot Beef Carnitas Recipe

close up of Instant Pot Beef Carnitas

Instant Pot Beef Carnitas

These Instant Pot Beef Carnitas are simple but full of amazing flavor. The tender, juicy beef is the perfect filling for tacos or burritos.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Pressure Build & Release 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6
Calories 468 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ large red onion sliced
  • 1 bell pepper sliced
  • 1 7-ounce can Chipotle sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Adobo seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup beef broth

Instructions
 

  • Set Instant Pot to saute mode and wait for display to read "Hot." Add olive oil and roast. Brown roast on both sides and then press "Cancel" to turn saute off.
  • Add remaining ingredients to the pot.
  • Secure lid and turn valve to sealing. Set to high pressure for 80 minutes. When the cook time has finished, allow for a natural pressure release.
  • Carefully remove meat from the pot to shred. Once meat has been shredded, combine with juices and seasonings in the pot.
  • Serve in flour tortillas with your favorite taco toppings.

Nutrition

Calories: 468kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 45gFat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 725mgPotassium: 848mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 650IUVitamin C: 26mgCalcium: 51mgIron: 5mg
Keyword instant pot beef carnitas
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Common Questions

Every time I publish a recipe, I get several of the same questions so here are the answers to some of the things you might be wondering about after you read this recipe.

Can I use a top round roast instead?

No. Though both top round and chuck are inexpensive roasts, they cook very differently and you won’t get the same result. The dish won’t be as flavorful and will also be harder to shred.

Can I freeze this to serve later?

Yes! Carnitas freeze remarkably well and reheat easily. See these tips for reheating food in your Instant Pot.

And if you’re a fan of freezer cooking, download this free mini-menu of five of my Instant Pot recipes converted to freezer meals you can batch prepare.

Can I make this in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! Saute on the stove before adding the roast to your slow cooker. Eliminate the beef broth and just throw everything in the Crock-Pot at once. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours.

My pressure cooker is a different brand. Will this recipe work in it?

It should. I only own the Instant Pot brand but several members of my Facebook group have different brands and are able to make all of my recipes in them. The buttons may be labeled differently, but the overall functions are very similar.

6 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef Carnitas”

    • You can make a homemade version with one can of tomato sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1/2 teaspoon paprika + 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne), 1/2 teaspoon cumin and a pinch each of oregano, garlic powder and salt. Just mix them all together and add in place of the sauce.

      Reply
  1. 4 stars
    This came out Really Good But next time have to tone it down a bit because the adobe sauce made it Really Spicy. I will Make again though.

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    Your Instant Pot Beef Carnitas look amazing, a great recipe for the Instant Pot! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday and come back to see us soon!
    Miz Helen

    Reply
  3. These would be a hit at this week’s Fiesta Friday party! Thanks for sharing – they look delicious!

    Reply

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