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. Have made this once before with miscue chicken breasts( bone in) -fabulous the day of and later, as I am a family of one, I froze some and guests raved.
    Today I am using rabbit that was still frozen partially so will see how it goes, but I am optimistic.






  2. The Instant Pot recipe gives the option of chicken thighs. Is this for bone in or boneless? If boneless/skinless should I cook them as though they were breasts? Thank you!

    1. I would add a couple minutes for the thighs! Even boneless. They don’t really overcook, just get more tender. 🙂

  3. I’ve made this so many times and love it. I’m wondering if I could make this with skinless bone-in thighs and then shred the meat off the bone?






    1. It shouldn’t, but you could halve it, then add more to taste at the end.

  4. Phenomenal. I have left a handful of reviews ever for online recipes. This is so good. I added more lime juice than what it called for but that was an accident. Still so good!






  5. Hello from Australia! My family loves this meal! My daughter with Crohn’s disease is on a strict diet but this recipe ticks all the boxes and she and I enjoy it with guacamole, salad and dairy free yogurt on rice as a “mexi-bowl”. My husband and son have it in soft tortillas. 🙂






  6. 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.






  7. 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!

  8. 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!






  9. 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.






  10. 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!






  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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!






  14. 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!






  15. 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.

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






  17. 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!






  18. 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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