Weeknight style Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas with Chipotle Peach Salsa…and some creamy street corn slaw too. Quick-cooking shredded pork (or chicken) braised in beer and stuffed into warmed tortillas to make the best carnitas tacos. All made in the instant pot (along with directions for the slow cooker and stove-top). Serve these tacos with spicy, sweet chipotle peach salsa verde and creamy street corn slaw. This fun Mexican fiesta-style dinner comes together easily and is so very delicious. Bonus, the shredded meat is great as a leftover. Pile it high onto your favorite tortilla chips for some delicious nachos or roll them into tortillas and make some saucy enchiladas.
I know that Taco Tuesday is “the thing”, but I love tacos any night week. So how about we do Taco Thursday? Sounds good, and kind of fun, right?
Yes, yes, it does.
It’s about this time every year that I slowly start to get back into using my instant pot and slow cooker. Something about the upcoming fall season and the start of a new school year makes me want to break out the instant pot and get a slow-cooked dinner on the table in record time. Last year I made these instant pot BBQ beer pulled chicken tacos and this year, I decided on tacos as well. But this time, something a little more traditional…carnitas!
And made in the instant pot with the addition of a few summery ingredients. Because even though we’ve entered into late August, I’m holding onto summer in every way possible and trying to incorporate all the summer produce I can get my hands on.
Not only are these tacos easy to make, but they’re also a great way to use up summer peaches (in the salsa), corn (in the slaw), and garden-fresh cilantro. They’re also perfect for busy weeknights. And even better for upcoming Monday night football…assuming that happens this year. Let’s hope!
Either way, these tacos are very delicious. Soooo DELICIOUS.
For any of you who are not familiar with carnitas, they’re a classic slow-cooked Mexican pork that’s typically shredded and used for tacos, tamales, and burritos. Carnitas, which means “little meats”, are traditionally slow-braised on the stove-top…and usually in oil or lard, until the meat is tender. The meat is then shredded and topped with an assortment of toppings, but always cilantro, onion, and salsa.
After looking at a handful of recipes online, I’m realizing that everyone seems to have their own way of making carnitas. Some recipes are super simple, while others have more ingredients. I decided to keep mine on the simpler side but, of course, to still incorporate plenty of flavor.
And well, instead of slow braising in lard, I’m cooking these carnitas quickly in the instant pot with a bottle of Mexican beer.
First, pick your cooking method. I used the instant pot, but honestly cooking in the slow cooker, or braising on the stove, are equally easy and delicious. It all comes down to how much time you have, and what your preferred method of cooking is. So take your pick.
Onto the carnitas. I like to make these carnitas with chicken or cubed pork shoulder. The pork is traditional, but when I don’t have any pork on hand, I just reach for the chicken. It’s equally delicious since all the main flavor comes from the mixture of beer, garlic, and seasonings.
Speaking of which, you’ll want to rub the meat with this mixture of garlic, spices, plus Mexican beer. Then set the instant pot to do its thing. The carnitas only take about eight minutes to cook, so watch closely eight minutes goes FAST.
This next step is key. Remove the meat from the sauce, then lightly shred it and place it under the broiler. Cooking the carnitas under the broiler allows the meat to have a chance to caramelize and become crispy on the edges.
It’s an extra step, but it’s a step that is worth it.
While the carnitas are cooking…
Make that chipotle peach salsa. It’s so simple, but one of my favorite sauces. I just blend up some store-bought salsa verde with canned chipotle chiles (peppers) in adobo. Then add some sweet juicy peaches. The peaches add sweetness to balance out those smoky, spicy chipotle peppers. Plus a pinch of salt.
EASY, but yet so much flavor. It’s important to find a good salsa verde and to use chipotle chiles in adobo. This is your key flavoring.
If you don’t want to add any peaches, just add one or two tablespoons of honey to help balance out the spice.
Put it all together…and add lots of toppings.
The rest of the toppings are all up to you. I like to serve these with the chipotle salsa, some creamy lime crema, summery corn slaw, avocado, cilantro, limes, pickled onion, and crumbled salty feta cheese.
So basically all the toppings. You can never have too many.
These are not hardcore classic carnitas, but they’re so darn good. Everyone can have fun building their own tacos…and they’ll have fun eating them too. Gotta liven up those weeknights and keep things fun!
Add your favorite Mexican beer or margarita to the mix and you’ve got the perfect Thursday night meal. But really these carnitas work any night, so just pick your night and enjoy!
Looking for other easy tacos recipes? Here are a few ideas:
Lastly, if you make these instant pot crispy carnitas with chipotle peach salsa be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas with Chipotle Peach Salsa
Calories Per Serving: 368 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 2 pounds boneless chicken thighs or cubed pork shoulder
- 5 cloves garlic, chopped or grated
- 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 pinch kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes to taste
- 1 can (12 ounce) Mexican beer, such as Negra Modelo
- 1 tablespoon honey
- juice of 1 lime
- warmed corn or flour tortillas, for serving
- creamy corn slaw, for serving, recipe in notes (optional)
- crema, avocado, feta cheese, pickled onion, and cilantro, for serving
- 1. In the bowl of your instant pot, combine the chicken/pork, garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Rub the seasonings into the meat. Add the beer. Cover and cook on high pressure/manual for 8-10 minutes. Once done cooking, use the natural or quick release function to release the steam.2. Preheat the broiler to high. Remove the meat from the sauce to a baking sheet. Lightly shred. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid and the lime juice. Drizzle on the honey. Transfer to the broiler. Broil for 2-5 minutes, until the meat caramelizes. Watch closely! Toss with additional cooking liquid, if desired.3. To make the salsa, combine all ingredients in a blender. Blender until combined. Season with salt. 4. Stuff the carnitas into the warmed tortillas. Spoon the salsa over the carnitas. Top as desired with slaw, cilantro, avocado, cheese, onions, and crema. Enjoy!
- 1. In the bowl of your slow cooker, combine the chicken/pork, garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Rub the seasonings into the meat. Add the beer. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.2. Preheat the broiler to high. Remove the meat from the sauce to a baking sheet. Lightly shred. Add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, then drizzle on the honey. Transfer to the broiler. Broil for 2-5 minutes, until the meat caramelizes. Watch closely! Toss with additional cooking liquid, if desired.3. Follow as directed above for steps 3-4.
- 1. Combine the chicken/pork, garlic, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and a pinch each of salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes in a bowl. Rub the seasonings into the meat. 2. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and sear the on both sides, about 3-4 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the beer. Cover and simmer the chicken for 1-2 hours. If the sauce gets too thick, add additional beer to thin the sauce out. Once the meat is done cooking, shred with two forks. 2. Follow as directed above for steps 3-4.
Creamy Corn Slaw: In a bowl, combine 3 cups cabbage with 1/3 cup sour cream or plain greek yogurt and the juice of 2 limes. Toss to combine. Add 2 cups grilled corn, 1/3 cup chopped cilantro, and 2 tablespoons chives. Season with salt.