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Busy Mom Recipe: Instant Pot® Pork Carnitas Bowls

Alright, Busy, Mom- are you tired of cooking?

I am! Do you like cooking in your Instant Pot? Cooking in your instant pot is a busy mom's tool! I use my IP 3-4 times a week. I want to share my favorite recipe- Pork Carnitas Bowls. I'm also sharing some hacks for the recipe that cuts down on ingredients and time!  

I'm cooking almost every night now, and I really don't have the time to cook big dinners. Kids are in homeschool, the husband is home, and the dog has anxiety with everyone's home (me too!). I'm stretched in so many directions during the day that my time is very limited. 

Now the recipe calls for homemade Cilantro-Lime Rice and the Pico de Gallo, but who has time for all that- awesome if you do, though! I buy my Cilantro-Lime Rice at the grocery store and it takes 20 minutes, so I start it at step 7. I also buy Pico de Gallo at the store because my family likes it better than the homemade one. Oh, one more cooking hack- I buy the PORK CARNITAS season packet instead of doing the dry rub! Just a couple alternatives!

I usually make this recipe on Tuesday or Thursday and use the leftovers for lunch the next day- it actually tastes better the next day. If there isn't much left over, I will hide it to have it when no one is looking. I know I'm sneaky, but CARNITAS BOWLS are my favorite, and plus, I made it! 

Instant Pot® Pork Carnitas Bowls

Prep time: 20 minutes
Sauté time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 30-40 minutes (+ time to come to pressure)
Natural release time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4-6

Dry Rub Ingredients: (or buy pork carnitas seasoning packet)

  • 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: (or buy at the store)

  • 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: (or buy fresh at the store) 

  • 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 it 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.
  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 the remaining tablespoon olive oil to the container, along with red onion and jalapeño. Sauté, occasionally stirring, 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-Lime Rice and Pico de Gallo by combining tach in medium bowls' ingredients. 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. Assemble the burrito bowls by dividing the shredded pork, Cilantro-Lime Rice, 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!
If you want to make this recipe, then PLEASE PIN this:

Here are the COOKING HACK ideas for Pork Carnitas Bowl 

Zatarain's Cilantro Lime Rice, 6.9 oz (Pack of 12)- Best deal, but you can check at your grocery store for one box! 


Don't forget the CHIPS!  We use the Tostitos Hint of Lime Flavored Tortilla Chips, 13 Ounce.

Now this recipe might look difficult, BUT if you use my hacks, I suggested it helps a lot.  Also, try to ask one of the kids to help. You never know you might have a chef in the house! 

Oh yeah, if you haven't seen my INSTANT POT CHEESEBURGER SOUP recipe, then please check that out too!

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