Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas. A fast and delicious beef carnitas recipe that my family really loves as an easy weeknight meal. I can get these beef carnitas on the table in a hurry using this super duper time saver: my Instant Pot.

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas Recipe

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Howdy! Chef Alli Here. Let’s Get You Cookin’….Shall We?? 🙂

Because we live a crazy busy life like the rest of America, I am so thankful for my electric pressure cooker. I especially love my Instant Pot for cooking big ole hunks of MEAT…. such as beef roasts, pork butts, and whole chickens….gosh, even ham and turkey breasts. Such a huge time saver!

And, I really appreciate how I can use my Instant Pot in the summer and it doesn’t heat up my kitchen, like using the oven does.

To see all of my favorite Instant Pot recipes, click here.

3 good reasons to love this recipe –

  1. You can have the most beautifully tender beef in just minutes.
  2. Solid recipes like this one will make you fall in love with your Instant Pot.
  3. Mexican food! Mexican food! Mexican food! We can never get enough.

What ingredients do you need to make this carnitas recipe?

  • Chuck roast (may substitute any beef roast you have on hand…)
  • Olive oil
  • Spices: kosher salt, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, oregano leaves
  • Chipotle sauce or minced chipotles in adobo
  • Onion
  • Cinnamon stick
  • Zest and juice of an orange
  • Lime juice

How to make Big Bold Beef Carnitas in 5 easy steps –

  1. Use the saute setting on your Instant Pot to brown the beef in some hot oil along with the spices, working in batches.
  2. After all the beef is browned, place it all into the Instant Pot, along with the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, orange zest and the juice.
  3. Lock the Instant Pot lid into place, bringing it to full pressure. Cook the beef for 45-50 minutes; when the timer sounds, perform a full natural release to let all the pressure in the Instant Pot come down on it’s own.
  4. Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the beef. If desired, place the shredded beef into a hot skillet to crisp it up on all sides.
  5. Serve the shredded beef in warm flour tortillas, garnished with your favorite Mexican toppings – cheese, salsa, sour cream, cilantro, etc.

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Easy Recipe Tips for Making Big Bold Beef Carnitas

1. When you get ready to brown the hunks of chuck roast, make sure it isn’t ice-cold from fridge. Letting your meat set out for 30-45 minutes before you brown it helps remove the chill and also lets all the juices and fats that coagulate at the center of the meat spread through the protein fibers to give you more even cooking and browning.

2.  As you see in Step #3 of this recipe (below), it calls for a hot cast iron skillet.  This step crisps up the cooked meat and makes it so delicious!

3.  If I have time, I love to make this Veggie Coleslaw for topping my Big Bold Beef Carnitas.  The creamy dressing, crunchy veggies and savory meat combination is yummy.  I hope you’ll give it a try.

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Common Questions Asked About This Recipe –

If I don’t have a chuck roast on hand, can I use another roast for this beef dish?

Sure thing. Any beef roast will actually work for this recipe, I just prefer a good chuck roast because it’s got superior marbling and flavor. As long as the roast is cooked until it’s very fork-tender, any cut will be fine.

It seems odd that this recipe calls for a cinnamon stick, orange zest, and lime juice…

Maybe so! However, don’t knock it until you give it a try. It is FREAKIN’ DELICIOUS!! These ingredients really compliment the savory flavors of the beef.

Why does the recipe instruct to add the spices to the oil instead of seasoning the meat with it?

Great question! Adding the spices to the oil is two-fold. First of all, the hot oil causes the spices to release their essence making them a lot more flavorful. Secondly, it’s faster and easier to add the spices to the oil than it is to sprinkle them over the beef. As you sauté the beef, all the spices in the oil adhere themselves to the exterior of the meat.

Could I use pork for this recipe instead of the beef roast? If so, which cut of pork would work best?

A pork roast would be delicious in this recipe. For shredded pork that works well for making carnitas, I prefer to use a good pork butt (aka pork shoulder). You could also use a pork loin roast, as long as it’s cooked to very fork-tender doneness.

More Instant Pot Recipes to Enjoy –

Printable Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas Recipe –

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Instant Pot Big Bold Beef Carnitas

Big Bold Beef Carnitas – a dish that my family really loves as a weeknight meal.  Because we live on a farm, it's hard to know exactly when we will get to eat supper sometimes, so I love using my Instant Pot for quick meals.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Approx. Time Needed for Instant Pot to Pressurize:: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 367kcal
Author: Chef Alli


  • 3 lb. chuck roast, cut into 6 chunks, trimmed if needed
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 tsp. oregano flakes
  • 1 tsp. chipotle sauce or minced chipotles in adobo
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup lime juice (can use the lime zest too, if you’d like)


  • Using the sauté setting on the Instant Pot, add oil, salt, cumin, paprika, chili powder, oregano, and chipotle sauce; when this mixture is nicely hot, add the beef chunks. Brown the beef in batches, removing it to a plate as you work; reserve.
  • Once all the beef is browned, return it to the Instat pot; add the onion, garlic, cinnamon stick, orange zest, and juices. Lock the Instant Pot lid securly into place. Using the high pressure setting, set the timer for 45-50 minutes bringing the Instant Pot to full pressure. When the timer sounds, use a full natural release to allow the beef to rest and fully relax.
  • Remove Instant Pot lid; transfer the beef to a large cutting board, shredding the beef apart. Add shredded beef to a preheated, oiled cast iron skillet set over high heat. Sear the beef over high heat just until it gets a good “crisp” on the outside, watching carefully so the beef doesn’t burn, adding cooking liquid from the Instant Pot, a little at a time, as needed.
  • Serve the shredded beef inside warm corn or flour tortillas, topped with salsa fresca, sour cream, cilantro, and shredded cheese, as desired.  
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef, instant pot


Calories: 367kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 1032mg | Potassium: 695mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 462IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 76mg | Iron: 5mg

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Let’s Get You Cookin’,
Chef Alli

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Chef Alli

Chef Alli is a home-grown Kansas girl on a mission to strengthen families through enabling kitchen confidence, educating the family cook, and encouraging better food relationships. She believes with her whole heart that time spent with our loved ones and our overall quality of life is greatly enhanced by nutritious food made at home with simple, wholesome ingredients. She loves being able to connect and share this passion with others through her website, her social media presence, and her coveted speaking engagements.

Blog Comments

[…] it’s a delicious accompaniment to spicy beef or pork dishes, such as Chipotle Sloppy Joes, Beef Carnitas, or as above, on Bacon-Wrapped HotDogs. […]

Thanks for sharing the recipe…sounds delicious! I have put cilantro in tossed salads and cole slaws for eons… they taste flat without it. One can’t live in the southwest for long without eating something with cilantro…it is one of those foods you either love or hate, no in between…thankfully I fell in love with it.
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[…] Big Bold Beef Carnitas […]

5 stars
Absolutely amazing! Loved by my entire family. Served with avacado slices and cilantro. SO GOOD. Thank you. This is a keeper!

5 stars
These are so flavorful! Last Time I used the beef for the filling of homemade tamales…they were a hit!

Hi Malinda –
I’m so glad you enjoyed the Big Bold Beef Carnitas. I’ve been meaning to show my son’s girlfriend how to make tamales so I’ll use this filling as per your advice. Great idea – thank you!!!
Chef Alli

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