Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas

Everyone in my house loves Mexican food, I mean really who doesn’t enjoy Mexican food; tacos, enchiladas, nachos, fajitas, the list can go on and on. My kids love the rice and guacamole too.

So I decided to take my instant pot and try to do up some chicken carnitas, basically chicken tacos with all the works on them. The only thing I didn’t make with these was guacamole. I kind of threw this together last night and for it being an instant pot meal, it took me a bit longer to fix than I thought it would, but it was totally worth it.

Get out your Instant Pot because you are going to want to fix this ASAP! Theses are super easy to make that you will want to try all kinds of variations of them. This would make a great port recipe for pork carnitas. Play with it, make it your recipe and see how it works for you. I know that we will be having numerous variations of this a lot in my house. Once I find a recipe that works easy I am constantly changing it up try new meats with the seasonings or just whatever! 

For these chicken carnitas I used 2 very large chicken breasts. If they wouldn’t have been so large I probably would have use around 2lbs of chicken breasts. Anyway, I used 2 large chicken breasts and seasoned them with a taco seasoning that I whipped up quickly with some spices I had on hand (cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper). Rubbed it all over them with some salt and pepper and sautéed them in my instant pot for about 5 minutes per side, like I said they were thick!

They don’t need to be cooked all the way through, they will be pressured cooked at a later time! Just get each sided browned really good and cook partially through. Make sure you drizzle a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of your instant pot prior to sautéing the chicken.

While these were in the instant pot I went ahead and diced up 1/2 an onion and a few cloves of garlic.

Once I felt the chicken was cook partially through I removed it from the instant pot and placed it on a dish. I added the garlic and onion and let those sauté for a few minutes. Turn off your instant pot at this point. Assemble the rest of your ingredients(orange juice, cilantro, lime juice, chicken broth, bay leaf, canned adobe sauce, and any peppers that you may want to use) and throw those along with the chicken back into the instant pot. Seal your instant pot and set it to high pressure for about 10 minutes.

Release the steam manually or let it vent on its own, which ever is fine. Guess it depends on how quickly you want to eat these! Once you have released the steam, remove the chicken from the instant pot and place on a sheet pan. Begin shredding your chicken and enjoy the smell!

At this point you could go ahead and eat the chicken if you choose to. It’s ready to go, but I took it one more step and decided to place the shredded chicken under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp it up a bit. I made sure that it was all on a an even layer of a sheet pan, turned my broiler on high and moved the rack to the middle of the oven, just so I didn’t over do it on the broiler. Drizzle the chicken a bit with olive oil, placed the chicken under the broiler for about 5-8 minutes. When the 8 minutes is up give it a light toss to make sure it’s nicely coated and crisped up just a tad, and remove it. It is now ready to serve.

Serve this with guacamole, salsa, sour cream shredded cheese with a little more cilantro on top with corn tortillas and it’s a hit. Fabulous!!! Or you can eat just the chicken, I hate to say it but I did both! I was constantly picking chicken off the sheet pan and just popping it in my mouth, and then proceeded to have a few taco also!

Hope everyone enjoys!


  • 2 large chicken breasts or 2 lbs of chicken breasts
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2-4 tbsp adobe sauce from a can
  • cilantro, fresh with stems
  • olive oil



A clinical psychologist turned stay at home mom. I have 2 beautiful girls (13 and 11) that I home school. We spend our days running back and forth to town, baking, cooking, riding horses and having fun on the farm.

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