carnitas recipe

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Fresca

Last Updated on August 26, 2022

Use the Instant Pot to achieve tender shredded pork infused with garlic and citrus flavors in just over an hour.  A little time in the oven delivers unbeatable crispy texture to this low-carb meal.

instant pot carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wraps with Salsa Fresca

4.21 from 58 votes
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Protein: Pork
Cut: Pork Butt
Diet: Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Keto, Paleo, Whole30
Course: Main Course, Meal Prep
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 pkg ButcherBox Pork Butt, bone-in / bnls

Dry Rub

  • 2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp cumin
  • 1 Tbsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp avocado oil

Braising Liquid

  • 4 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 ea jalapeño pepper rough chop
  • 1 ea orange juiced
  • 2 ea limes juiced

Salsa Fresca

  • 3 ea tomatoes seeded, small dice
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 ea jalapeño pepper seeded, small dice - for some heat keep the seeds
  • 2 Tbsp red onion minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper

Lettuce Wraps

  • 1 head Bibb lettuce
  • 2 ea avocados sliced
  • salsa fresca


  • Mix dry rub together excluding avocado oil. Pat pork butt dry and cut into 2-3 smaller pieces. Massage rub into pork butt.
  • Set Instant Pot on sauté mode. Once it's hot add avocado oil and sear pork butt pieces for 4 minutes per side. To ensure a good sear, avoid over crowding the pot and sear in 2 batches.
  • Place seared pork on baking sheet and set aside. Add onions, jalapeño peppers and garlic to Instant Pot and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Deglaze pot with lime juice and orange juice. Scrape the cooked bits off the bottom of the pot.
  • Return pork and any juices in the pan to Instant Pot. Close and pressure cook on high for 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, make slasa fresca. Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate.
  • Preheat oven to 400℉.
  • Once pork has finished pressure cooking, vent Instant Pot. Be careful that steam is hot! Open lid only when all steam has been released.
  • Remove pork butt from Instant Pot with a strainer, reserve the liquid. Place pork on a baking sheet and shred with 2 forks. Place in oven for 10 minutes or until crispy. This step can be omitted if you don't want the carnitas crispy.
  • After removing from the oven (or after shredding if you choose not to skip the oven) toss pork with a ½ cup of reserved liquid. Freeze any extra liquid and use it the next time you braise a pork butt.
  • Serve carnitas on top of lettuce leaf with avocado and salsa fresca. For some added deliciousness add a dollop of sour cream or crumbled cotija cheese!
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Emilie Abijanac is a graduate of New England Culinary Institute with over 20 years of catering experience in Boston. Emilie was the Sous Chef for East Meets West Catering and has worked with Kate’s Table and La Fête. Emilie was also the culinary director of ButcherBox.