These Keto 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 and great for meal prep and leftovers!

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 Recipe

These crispy Whole30 and Keto 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! Definitely eat these Keto Chocolate Chip Cookies for dessert.
  • This recipe is Whole30 approved, Keto, Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Sugar Free!
  • These Instant Pot Carnitas are a quick and easy dinner.
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 ½ 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 ½ 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.

Keto Carnitas on a baking sheet

Step 5

Finally, serve Keto 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 bones.

Step 4

Next, carefully remove all but ½ 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 Keto 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. For pork tenderloin, check out this Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin!

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.

Keto Pork Carnitas on pan

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!

Expert Tips & Tricks

Use pork butt or pork shoulder. Leaner cuts of meat will yield a dry result.

Both the Instant Pot and slow cooker lead to great results.

Do not skimp on the seasonings and spices.

Broil meat at the end for a crispier result.

For best results, serve hot and fresh.

Leftovers are just as delicious!

How to Serve & Store

Serve Keto carnitas hot and fresh! They are delicious served with guacamole, Keto salsa, pork rinds or Keto chips.

This Mexican pulled pork meat is great in tacos, burritos and enchiladas. Or, add it to a Cheese Quesadilla!

Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days.

This meat freezes and reheats well.

You May Also Like

If you make this Keto carnitas recipe, I’d love to see it! You can find me on InstagramFacebook, and Pinterest. I’d love for you to follow along! For more ideas, check out these Dinner Recipes.

Instant pot Keto carnitas on a baking sheet.

Get the Recipe: Keto Pork Carnitas

These Keto 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 17 votes


  • 3 pounds pork butt, or pork shoulder
  • 2 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 chopped jalapeño, optional


  • 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 ½ 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 ½ cup of the liquid to a baking sheet. Broil for 4 to 5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning.
  • Remove from oven and serve.


  • 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 ½ 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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