These Keto Whole30 Carnitas are INCREDIBLY tender and flavorful! They can be made in an Instant Pot or slow cooker and come together easily. These pork carnitas are melt in your mouth delicious!

Instant pot Keto carnitas on a baking sheet.

Whenever I make this for my family, they go crazy for it! Leftover pork carnitas never last long in my house. These pork carnitas are great for anything from tacos, salads and burritos to healthy meal prep. They taste just like the Chipotle carnitas, but they’re way more healthy!

Why You’ll Love This Whole30 Carnitas Recipe

These crispy Keto and Whole30 carnitas are a blog favorite. Here is why you’ll love them:

  • This meat is extremely tender. Once pulled, it is melt in your mouth tasty!
  • These pork carnitas can be made in either a pressure cooker (I love my Ninja Foodi and Instant Pot) or a slow cooker.
  • This pork can be used for pork carnitas tacos.
  • They can be easily made into a carnitas bowl! Add some lettuce and your favorite toppings, such as salsa or guacamole!
  • Leftover meat can be used as healthy meal prep.
  • Check out these Keto Turkey Burgers for another great dinner!
  • This recipe is Whole30 approved, Keto, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Sugar Free!
Ingredients list

How to Make Carnitas in the Slow Cooker

Step 1

First, pat pork dry with paper towels.  Combine spices in a small bowl.  Rub this spice mix all over pork.

Pork butt with Mexican spices

Step 2

Add pork and remaining ingredients to slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high 4 to 5 hours.

Crock pot with Mexican pulled pork.

Step 3

When ready to serve, discard all but 1/2 cup of the liquid and shred pork using forks. Discard bone(s).

Pulled Mexican pork in slow cooker.

Step 4

Optional but highly recommended: for crispy carnitas, add shredded pork and about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker to a baking sheet.  Broil for 4 to 5 minutes.  Keep a close eye on the pork so it doesn’t burn.

Carnitas on a baking sheet

Step 5

Finally, serve Whole30 carnitas.

How to Make Carnitas in the Instant Pot

Step 1

Pat pork dry with paper towels.  Combine spices in a small bowl.  Rub this dry seasoning all over pork.

Spices in a white bowl.

Step 2

Add all ingredients to your pressure cooker.  Set to pressure cook for 45 minutes.  Allow pressure to release naturally.

Pressure cooker pork

Step 3

Once pressure is released, carefully shred pork with two forks.  Remove bone(s).

Step 4

Next, carefully remove all but 1/2 cup of the liquid. Turn to sauté mode and sauté pork for 7 to 8 minutes or until pork is crispy. Continue stirring to prevent burning. Discard excess liquid before serving these Whole30 carnitas.

Ninja foodi carnitas

Choosing the Right Cut of Meat

Which cut of meat is best for carnitas?

Pork butt or pork shoulder works best for these Whole30 Carnitas. Choosing a cut of meat that is too lean will yield dry meat. The higher fat content of pork shoulder will keep the meat tender. In addition, using a bone in pork shoulder adds to the juiciness.

What cut of meat is carnitas?

Carnitas are traditionally made with pork shoulder or pork butt. Carnitas means “little meats” so using an easily shreddable (heavily marbled) cut is best.

Bone in pork shoulder on a white plate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is carnitas the same as pulled pork?

Carnitas are the Mexican version of pulled pork. They are prepared in a similar way, but carnitas have a different spice mix. Pulled pork is typically made with BBQ sauce whereas Carnitas have a dry Mexican inspired spice rub. This is a great Keto Instant Pot Mexican recipe!

How do you eat pork carnitas?

These Whole30 Carnitas are versatile. Eat them over a salad, by themselves with a side salad, or in tacos for a non Whole30 idea. Furthermore, this meat is great with or without tacos. Carnitas are great by themselves.

Can I use a different size pork butt?

Sure! The slow cooker directions are the same. In the Instant Pot, add 5 more minutes per pound of meat over 4 pounds. For example, using a 6 pound pork butt (which is 2 pounds MORE than the 4 pound), add 10 minutes of cooking time. Then, add more time if needed.

Is Chipotle Carnitas Whole30?

Yes! Carnitas and chicken are the two proteins from Chipotle that are Whole30 approved.

Can I eat Carnitas on Keto?

Definitely! Carnitas are Keto friendly.

What goes with pork carnitas? What do you put on carnitas?

Pork carnitas go well in tacos, burritos and on salads. Put guacamole, onion, cilantro, salsa and your favorite veggies on top.

Whole30 Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot vs Slow Cooker Carnitas

Both methods are great for these carnitas! Instant Pot requires less than half the time. It is a great option for weeknights. The slow cooker is more hands off, but does take longer.

I have tried both many times and they both taste tender!

You May Also Like

If you make this recipe, I’d love to see it! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. I’d love for you to follow along!

Instant pot Keto carnitas on a baking sheet.

Get the Recipe: Whole30 Pork Carnitas

These Whole30 Pork Carnitas are tender, flavorful and so versatile! They can be easily made in either a slow cooker or Instant Pot. These Whole30 carnitas are great for a healthy lunch, dinner or meal prep!
5 from 10 votes

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds pork butt, or pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 chopped jalapeño, optional

Instructions 

  • This is the slow cooker pork carnitas version. For an Instant Pot, see above.
  • First, pat pork dry with paper towels. Combine spices in a small bowl. Rub spice mix all over pork.
  • Add pork and remaining ingredients to a slow cooker. Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Once pork is tender, discard all but 1/2 cup of the liquid. Shred pork with two forks. Discard bone(s).
  • Optional but highly recommended: preheat oven to broil. Add shredded pork and about 1/2 cup of the liquid to a baking sheet. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning.
  • Remove from oven and serve.

Notes

  • Recipe card instructions are for the slow cooker version.
  • Instant Pot or pressure cooker carnitas recipe is above recipe card.
  • Bone in pork butt or shoulder works best here.  Choosing a lean pork will lead to dry meat.
  • Broil shredded pork and 1/2 cup of the juice in the oven for a few minutes for crispy carnitas.
  • Watch broiling carnitas carefully to prevent burning.
Calories: 245kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 331mg, Potassium: 697mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 67IU, Vitamin C: 10mg, Calcium: 48mg, Iron: 3mg

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