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Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
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5 from 3 votes

Crispy Carnitas Street Tacos (Instant Pot)

Small-sized tortillas with carnitas cooked in the Instant Pot, and crisped up before serving. Choose your favorite toppings on the side and make it a fabulous meal! A real crowd-pleaser.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Snack
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: blakopaleats, carnitas, instantpot, pork, street, taco, tacos
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 113kcal
Author: BlakOpal



  • 3 lbs Pork shoulder roast boneless
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Tbsp Red Hawaiian sea salt
  • 2 Bay leaves fresh or dried
  • 1 sprig Oregano fresh
  • 1 Yellow onion
  • 1 Navel Orange large

Toppings (Choose Your Favorites)

  • Flour tortillas Street Taco size
  • Corn tortillas Street taco size
  • Lettuce finely shredded
  • Cheddar cheese or Taco mix, finely shredded
  • Tomato cut in small dice
  • Avocado cut in small dice
  • Mexican crema or sour cream
  • Cilantro
  • Limes cut in wedges


  • Note: You can make the carnitas in advance, and have the meat ready to serve for a future meal. You can reheat and crisp up the pork while you heat up the tortillas.

Cook The Carnitas In The Instant Pot

  • Gather the ingredients.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • On your cutting board, with a sharp knife, cut the pork roast into several large chunks. The chunks should be around the same size, but don't cut too small.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Jab a hole into a chunk and push a slice of garlic into the hole. Each chunk should have at least one piece of garlic in it. Larger chunks should have two.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Use one tablespoon of red Hawaiian sea salt. The Instant Pot intensifies salt, so you don't want to add too much. You can always adjust the salt level after the cook.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Sprinkle the salt on the pork chunks, covering all sides. Turn them over to make sure all sides are coated.
    Place the pork chunks in the inner liner of the Instant Pot, placing the larger chunks at the bottom.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Cut the onion into quarters, and put on top of the pork. Place the sprig of oregano on top, along with the Bay leaves.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Cut orange in half, and squeeze the juice over the meat. No additional liquid is needed, as the pork will add juices as it cooks.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Cook on high, manual pressure for 40 minutes. Let pressure release naturally after the time is up. I like to let the pin drop completely. (And often keep it on warm longer, this time it was on warm for 40 minutes.)
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Remove the meat to a bowl or colander, reserving the juices in the pot.
    Remove the onion, bay leaves, and oregano sprig. I also like to remove the garlic pieces from the meat, but if you like lots of garlic in your carnitas, you can keep it in.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Take each chunk of pork, and slice it roughly, against the grain. Put the chopped meat into a second bowl.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Using a strainer, pour the pan juices from the pot into a measuring cup with a spout. If you have a lot of fat on your drippings, you can pour it off. I like to keep the fat, because I think it helps in keeping the meat juicy when reheating.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Pour about a 1/2 cup of juices into the bowl of chopped meat.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Put the rest of the pan juices into an airtight container to use in other recipes. You will also want to add some to the meat when reheating.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco

Preparing The Toppings

  • Note: If you are planning on making tacos the same day you make the carnitas, you can work on preparing you're toppings wile the meat cooks. That will make serving much easier.
  • Prepare your toppings in advance of reheating the meat and heating up the tortillas.
    Cut your toppings into small pieces, making small dice out of avocado, red onions. If you are preparing them in advance, put them in small bowls, and cover them to keep them fresh.
    If you are serving this for a party, put the crema into a bowl so guests can spoon it out. Do the same with the shredded cheese.
    When you are ready to start crisping up the meat, have all of your topping set out and ready to go. Once the meat and tortillas are ready, it's a mad house! (just kidding) You want to be able to just start assembling your taco.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco

Crisping the Carnitas and Heating Tortillas

  • In a hot cast iron skillet, spoon the amount of meat you will be serving for the meal. Let it start crisping a bit, then pour in a splash more of the pan juices you reserved. Let the meat get browned on one side, then flip it over.
    Note: Don't use more than you need, since reheating again will dry it out. You can always crisp up more meat during serving if you need it.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • You are looking for crispy edges. Don't overcook or the meat will dry out.
    Transfer to a bowl for serving.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • As soon as the meat is out, place tortillas in the pan one by one. Let it heat up on one side and then flip it over. This is a quick process. The tortilla will get a bit of browning as it heats. Don't leave them too long.
    Note: Trilo does this with his bare hands, but you can use silicone tongs if you prefer.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • Remove the heated tortillas to a tortilla warmer, or put them out on a plate for people to grab as they come out (the way we usually do it!)
  • By the way, my new favorite tool for this meal is the Taco Holders. You can assemble three tacos at a time, keeping them upright and open. Perfect! You may want to have a bunch of these if you are serving a crowd.
    Crispy Carnitas Street Taco
  • That's it. When you are done getting tortillas out, you can step back and enjoy one (or many!) yourself. Enjoy!


Calories: 113kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 634mg | Potassium: 271mg | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 30IU | Vitamin C: 8.3mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.9mg