Healthy flavorful Chicken Carnitas can be made in an Instant Pot, slow-cooker,  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, in an Instant Pot Pressure cooker,  or in a slow cooker- whichever you prefer.  If going the stovetop or oven route, use a heavy-lidded dutch oven.  What I love about this recipe 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.

It’s the meal that keeps on giving! 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.

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

Chicken Carnitas Ingredients

How to make Chicken Carnitas

Chicken carnitas can be made in several ways! Use your instant pot, simmer it on the stovetop, bake it in the oven, or use a slow cooker. Scroll down to the recipe card for specific instructions on each way!

How to serve Chicken Carnitas

1.) Make Chicken Carnitas Bowls!

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

Serve with cilantro rice and  Mexican beans, top with fajita-style veggies, cilantro, avocado, and tomatoes and serve it with a sauce if you like. Our hot sauce, Poblano Pumpkin Seed Sauce, Chipotle Mayo  would all be tasty with this!

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2.) Make Chicken Carnitas Tacos!

If you like crispy carnitas, sear the chicken carnitas in a little olive oil in a skillet, or broil on a sheet pan, until crisp.

Add your favorite taco fillings!

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

3. Make Chicken Carnitas Breakfast bowls

Serve 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

More ways to serve Chicken Carnitas!

  • Use it in enchiladas with melty cheese!
  • Stuff it into burritos!
  • Use in quesadillas.
  • Make tostadas with shredded lettuce.

 

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

I know you’ll find a million ways to use this during the busy week.

On the homefront: 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 into those love-filled eyes and see a glimmer of the magic beyond.

Let us know how you like thison in the comments below!

xoxo

Sylvia

 

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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, Slow Cooker, Stovetop, Baked)

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 33 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine | Feasting at Home Blog
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 55 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 mins
  • Yield: 12 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

Units Scale
  • 1 onion- diced
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 6 garlic cloves- rough chopped
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon coriander
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder (optional- for heat)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or GF Braggs Liquid Amino Acids ( or one bouillon cube)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (or lime juice)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano (or a couple of bay leaves)
  • 1 can diced green chilies (optional)
  • 3 lbs chicken- boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs (left whole)

Instructions

  1. If baking, preheat oven to 400F (See notes for instant pot and slow cooker)
  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 it all in your instant pot or slow cooker (see notes)
  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. Crisp it up! If you like crispy carnitas, simmer until all the liquid is gone, (or drain well) then pan sear in oil to crisp, or place on a sheet pan, spray with spray oil, and broil in the oven.

Notes

Instant Pot Instructions:  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. Place chicken in the liquid.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. 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. 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.

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas: Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and give a stir. Set the slow cooker to low setting for 7-8 hours or high setting  for 4-5 hours.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

  1. We’re not huge lovers of pork in our home so I had a pork roast lingering in the freezer that I was avoiding. I subbed it for the chicken in this recipe and it was delicious! Definitely the best use for that dreaded pork roast. We made tacos the first night (I did crisp up the carnitas with a few jalapeños in a pan) and we all ate a little too much. But we had enough leftover for some carnitas pizzas a few nights later. I’m going to make this again with chicken just so I can do the breakfast idea above. It really is such a versatile ingredient. I’m having another baby soon and I plan to make a big batch to divide and put in the freezer for easy meals post baby.






  2. I haven’t tried the recipe yet, but there is a typo on the ingredients. It should be
    “garlic cloves” instead of “clives.” Sounds like a good one, though.

  3. loved it!!!!!
    It was to perfection. Absolutely delicious. I used my Le Creuset, put it in the oven and the chicken was juicy and tender.
    Thank you 🙂






  4. We made this in our new Morso Dutch oven yesterday. Very tasty and we will make it again. Looking forward to trying some of your other recipes.






  5. I made this tonight using the Instant Pot; it was delicious. The chicken had great flavor.
    I have tried a few of your other recipes as well and everything has been spot on, fresh and super tasty!






    1. Awwww, thanks Lexi! Appreciate you taking the time to rate the recipe, and share about using the Instant pot. Thanks for your kind words!

  6. This was SO good! We made tacos paired with a simple slaw of cabbage, carrots, jalapeno, red onion, lots of lime juice and a wonderful dollop of guac! I’ll definitely be making this in regular rotation. Your recipes are always so amazing. Thank you for having this site and sharing them with us.






    1. Hi Laurie! Im so glad you gave this a go…and enjoyed it! Thanks for being here and rating and commenting. So appreciated!

  7. Quick and tasty dinner, with plenty of leftovers. The chicken comes out very moist and tender, perfectly seasoned. I made it on the stove top and served it as fajitas. Avocados, bell peppers, cilantro, tomatoes, black beans, red onion and fire roasted salsa.






  8. My family loved this recipe. I cooked it on our gas range in a Dutch oven and the chicken was perfect – juicy and just fell apart. I did short the salt by a half teaspoon and added the optional chilies. Delicious!






  9. These chicken carnitas were AMAZING! My family could not stop eating them, so there will only be enough for lunches tomorrow. Huge hit!!
    I used boneless skinless thighs and made them in the IP in the morning, put the pot in the fridge and reheated in a DO on the stovetop.
    This recipe is a keeper.






  10. Made this tonight in an Instant Pot using pork shoulder cut in cubes. Doubled the green chilies. Served with cilantro lime rice, sliced spinach, tomatoes, black beans and grilled corn. Hubs went back for seconds! Such an adaptable recipe and so flavorful! Sylvia, your recipes are all fantastic!






  11. Fabulous flavor. This is a new family favorite. Can’t wait to try it in a Dutch oven over the fire next time we go camping.






      1. I see that somebody asked if they could make it in the Insta pot, but I’m curious if anyone knows what settings are best? I am a newbie at the Insta pot so I could use all the help I can get.

    1. I think it would work great, but haven’t personally tried it. If you do try, will you report back on any changes you made or if it worked or didn’t ? My guess, is you would have to cook down some of the liquid at the end, using the saute function. Or just scoop a little out. After shredding the chicken, it will swell a bit and soak up some of the cooking liquid, so don’t remove all. 🙂

  12. Delicious and easy – high protein, low fat. The chicken is a great base for salads. I think it would make a good sandwich with spicy chipotle mayo.






  13. This sounds amazing and is so simple and easily will ibecome a new favorite! Thanj you very much for sharing this recipe 🙂






  14. AMAZING! I’ve been wanting to try this recipe since I first discovered your blog and Instagram feed a few months ago but finally made it happen tonight! Had my inlaws over and everyone raved about it. It will be a never fail go-to from now on. Thank you!

    1. Yay Melissa! Glad you made it and everyone liked it. It’s popular at my house too! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Dear Sylvia,
    I arrived at this recipe looking for dinner ideas for my family this upcoming week. The chicken looks amazing and I’m thinking of trying it, but I wanted to thank you for the little vignette you shared at the end of the intro – it was a poignant, timely reminder and it brought me to tears (the good kind!). Taking a moment to breath a bit deeper and keep my eyes open for that golden light before I get cooking. Very grateful for your beautiful food and your beautiful reflections!

  16. I’ve made this twice so far and it was a BIG hit both times. Will definitely be one of my go-to’s from now on. Cheers!

  17. I made this tonight for dinner and I must say this is SOOOOO much better than the taco packet seasoned version I made before. I have been on a journey to cook real food without any prepackaged ingredients. My family loved this chicken so much that even my one year old begged for more. This is the second recipe I made from this site. I think I have found my new favorite place. The recipes are delish and the pictures are beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Made this Christmas Eve and used on nachos with Mexican rice, lettuce, Pico, queso, guacamole and sour cream. We all LOVED it and I’m making it tonight again!

  19. This is just delicious! Will become a regular for me :). I just cut down on the salt as I am on a low sodium diet.Good one to take for lunch at work.

    1. I’m trying this recipe for the first time. I’m using chicken thighs in a dutch oven. Should I trim the fat off of the thighs, or will this take too much away from the flavor?

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