Healthy flavorful Chicken Carnitas can be made in an Instant Pot,  on the stovetop, or baked in a dutch oven. With only 15 minutes of hands-on time, this is perfect for Sunday meal prep- to use in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, breakfast skillets, enchiladas or nachos during the busy work week! So easy and delicious! 

Chicken Carnitas- Make on the stovetop, in the oven, or in an Instant Pot with only 15 minutes of hands on time. Make ahead on Sunday then turn this into tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls or nachos during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com #instantpot #chickencarnitas #carnitas #instantpotcarnitas

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.

~ W.B. Yeats~

This recipe for Chicken Carnitas can be made on the stovetop, in the oven or in an Instant Pot Pressure cooker,  whichever you prefer.  If going the stovetop or oven route, use a heavy-lidded dutch oven.  What I love about this is, it only takes about 15 minutes of hands-on time. Make a flavorful batch on Sunday and use it for several delicious meals during the workweek.

Think tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, enchiladas, healthy burrito bowls, or even breakfast hash. It has so many uses and it’s soooooo good, but it’s made with basic everyday ingredients- you won’t tire of it,  I promise! You could also freeze half and save for another week, if cooking for one.

Chicken Carnitas- Make on the stovetop, in the oven, or in an Instant Pot with only 15 minutes of hands on time. Make ahead on Sunday then turn this into tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls or nachos during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com #instantpot #chickencarnitas #carnitas #instantpotcarnitas

This dark morning is covered in a blanket of white. The sun hasn’t risen, yet snow-covered roofs glow in the darkness. Dreams seem to hover like the mist, joining and entwining, before flying back home to sleeping souls. We are more connected than we believe, and sometimes we remember this for a fleeting moment before our thoughts awaken and tell us what’s what, and how things really are.  And like the mist, it dissolves… and the world becomes a solid “safe”place again.

The little boy across the street runs circles in the snow, throwing his hands up in the air, laughing, mouth open, inhaling snowflakes. Mind you, it’s still dark. He’s still so young, still tethered to that golden place where we all come from and end up going. That place of aliveness. There are those, most often on their way out of this world, so effervescent and full of light, who recognize it through their unveiled mind.  Look deeply then into those love-filled eyes and see a glimmer of the magic beyond.

Chicken Carnitas- Make on the stovetop or in the oven, 15 minutes of hands on time. Make ahead on Sunday then turn this into tacos, quesadillas, Burrito Bowls or nachos during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com

The first day, I made some cilantro rice and assembled healthy chicken carnitas bowls with beans, peppers, onions, avocado and fresh greens. So tasty!

chicken-carnitas-102

The following day,  I warmed it up for quick and easy chicken carnitas fajitas.

chicken-carnitas-103

If you like crispy carnitas, sear it in a little olive oil in a skillet, or broil on a sheet pan. Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas can also be made on the stovetop, or baked in the oven. With only 15 minutes of hands on time, this is perfect for Sunday meal prep- to use in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, breakfast skillets, enchiladas or nachos during the busy workweek! So easy and delicious!  | www.feastingathome.com #instantpot #instantpotchickencarnitas #chickencarnitas #carnitas #instantpotcarnitas

And finally, on the last day we served it up for breakfast with roasted sweet potatoes and eggs for a quick and hearty chicken carnitas breakfast skillet. Delish!

Chicken Carnitas- Make on the stovetop or in the oven, 15 minutes of hands on time. Make ahead on Sunday then turn this into tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls or nachos during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com

Dutch Oven Chicken Carnitas- Make on the stovetop or in the oven, 15 minutes of hands on time. Make ahead on Sunday then turn this into tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls or nachos during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com

Quesadillas were next on my list, but by then the chicken carnitas were all gone.

Instant Pot Chicken Carnitas can also be made on the stovetop, or baked in the oven. With only 15 minutes of hands on time, this is perfect for Sunday meal prep- to use in tacos, burrito bowls, salads, breakfast skillets, enchiladas or nachos during the busy workweek! So easy and delicious!  | www.feastingathome.com #instantpot #instantpotchickencarnitas #chickencarnitas #carnitas #instantpotcarnitas

This recipe serves 4 people for 3 different meals. So 12!

An easy way to get through a busy workweek.

Give it a whirl!

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Dutch Oven Chicken Carnitas- make on Sunday, then serve 3 ways during the workweek! | www.feastingathome.com

Chicken Carnitas Recipe (Instant Pot, Stove Top, Dutch Oven)

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main, chicken, low carb, meal prep
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: mexican

Description

Healthy Chicken Carnitas- cook these in an Instant Pot, on the stove top, or bake in a Dutch Oven with only 15 minutes of hands on time! Great for meal prepping -make ahead on Sunday then turn these into tacos, quesadillas, breakfast skillets, burrito bowls or nachos during the workweek!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. If baking, preheat oven to 400F (See notes for instant pot)
  2. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, saute 2 minutes, stirring. Add garlic, turn heat to medium, saute 4-5 minutes until fragrant and golden and onions are tender. Add spices and salt, toasting for 1-2 minutes
  3. Add water, soy and vinegar. Add oregano and optional green chilies. Stir.
  4. Place chicken in the liquid. At this point, you could place all in your instant pot (see notes below).
  5. Bring to a simmer. Cover and either simmer on the stove on med-low for 45 minutes or place in the hot oven.
  6.  If cooking breasts, check at 35-40 minutes, they may be done depending on thickness and size. Thighs will need the whole 45 minutes, perhaps a little more, again, depending on size.
  7. You’ll know if the meat is done when it’s 165-170F, or when it is tender and shreds easily with two forks. Shred the meat, then simmer gently on the stove until some of the liquid has evaporated, about 5 -10 more minutes.
  8. If you like very crispy carnitas, simmer until all the liquid is gone, and/ or drain well, then pan sear in oil to crisp, or place on a sheet pan and broil in the oven.

Notes

Instant Pot Instructions: 

  1. Set Instant Pot to Saute function, and add the oil. Add onion, saute 3 minutes, stirring. Add garlic, saute 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add spices and salt, toasting for 1 minute. Add water, soy sauce and vinegar scraping up any browned bits ( to prevent burn error). Add oregano and optional green chilies.
  2. Place chicken in the liquid.
  3. Pressure Cook on High for 10 -12 minutes breasts- (shorter for small, longer for thick breasts)  (or 14 minutes for chicken thighs) letting the pressure release naturally.
  4. Turn the Instant Pot back on to the “Saute function” to allow some of liquid to reduce, while shredding the chicken with two forks.  Reducing the liquid (instead of draining it) really concentrates the flavor back into the meat and keeps it moist – so try to go this route if you have time.
  5. If using chicken breasts, allow the chicken a little time to “reabsorb” some of the juices letting it sit at “warm” for 15-30 minutes. Thighs do work best in the Instant pot- and tend to dry out less easily.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 4 ounces
  • Calories: 163
  • Sugar: 1.1 g
  • Sodium: 530 mg
  • Fat: 4.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.4 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 26.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 82.7 mg

Keywords: chicken carnitas, best chicken carnitas, chicken carnitas instant pot, chicken carnitas recipe, mexican chicken, chicken carnitas instant pot, instant pot chicken carnitas,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. So delicious! Have been making these for a few years now- always a hit with family and friends. We serve it with guac, mango salsa, cheese and sour cream.

  2. DELICIOUS!!!! My teen even loved it and she’s very finicky. Better tasting and healthier than all the Mexican food chains. Made a big batch for the week. We had it in tacos, nachos and tostadas .

    1. Are you cooking it in the Instant Pot or stove or oven? I would take it off for sure in the instant pot. I would probably take it off in any case actually. But up to you!

  3. Being from New Mexico, I don’t trust many of these types of recipes, but this one is so flavorful and really hits the spot! My kids call this “bomb chicken!” Another win!

  4. I made Chicken Carnitas for my maiden voyage with my Instant Pot this evening. It was delicious. I learned, given how quickly sautéing happens in the IP, that ALL ingredients need to be measured ahead and ready to go. Good to know. I, also, made the Cilantro, Lime Rice which cooked during the IP natural venting process. Getting over my fear of the Instant Pot, which I bought back in the early Spring, has opened a whole new set of cooking adventures. Thank you for such a yummy initiation.

  5. We LOVE this recipe and make it on average once a week. As mentioned in the post it’s good in so many settings – burrito with toppings, tacos, rice bowl, and it’s not even bad cold either. It’s definitely one of the most frequent recipes in our rotation – never fails us!

  6. We LOVE this recipe and make it on average once a week. As mentioned in the post it’s good in so many settings – burrito with toppings, tacos, rice bowl, and it’s not even bad cold either. It’s definitely one of the most frequent recipes in our rotation – never fails us!

  7. What do you serve with this recipe? I mean the pictures show as a taco but it doesn’t say anything of what to do once cooked? Help

    1. Hi Angel, Yes you can use this to make tacos, adding salsa, or Mexican slaw, or use it in Chicken enchiladas or burritos. You can also use it in Mexican syle bowls with rice and beans.

  8. I never comment on recipes, but this one was pretty astounding for how simple it was. I added a little bit of cocoa powder since I accidentally dumped in too much dried chili powder. Balanced it out and tasted incredible!

  9. This is SO amazing! MAKE IT! I didn’t alter the recipe at all, and we made a big batch that we were more than happy to warm up and serve in different ways! It’s not too spicy but far from bland. Tender and DELICIOUS!

  10. Hi! I was wondering, how did you cook the sweet potato and the peppers? I want to make to breakfast skillet, but I don’t know how!

    1. Hi Talia! I roasted them first. Dice, toss with olive oil salt and pepper, roast until tender at 400F.

  11. Another perfect recipe! Made this exactly as written and it turned out phenomenal! We kept eating the shredded chicken out of the pot 😂

  12. Phenomenal. We have made this 4x already in my family in the last month. We omit the green chilis because we are in Switzerland and you cant find those here. The flavor is excellent and great for a Keto Family like us!

  13. If I wanted to make this ahead of time for serving the next day, would I remove the chicken thighs from the cooking liquid and let them cool separately and the next day, reheat the water and then add the chicken and let it cook down – or let it cook down on the same day and do a low broiler or reheat the day of serving? I’m having a party and also doing pork carnitas which I cook down in the liquid as well and they get that great crispness but stay moist. Your blog is inspirational in so many ways – I loved your description of the snow and the boy and your reminder of looking at life. . . very timely for me today. Thank you.

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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