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Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas. Photo © Antonis Achilleos
© Antonis Achilleos

Pressure Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • SERVINGS: 5 to 6

"Pressure cooking is great for braises," says Modernist Cuisine co-author Maxime Bilet. "You can make pork shoulder tender in 35 minutes." Thanks to the rapid cooking time, this dish is a realistic weeknight meal.

  1. 2 1/4 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  2. 1 teaspoon achiote paste (see Note)
  3. 1 teaspoon pure ancho chile powder
  4. 1 teaspoon pure chipotle chile powder
  5. Salt
  6. Vegetable oil for frying
  7. Warm corn tortillas, cilantro and lime wedges, for serving
  1. Pour 1/4 inch of water into a pressure cooker and add the pork. Cover and cook at 15 PSI (see Note) for 25 minutes, regulating the heat to prevent excessive steam from escaping through the valve. Turn off the heat and wait for the pressure cooker to depressurize so that the lid can be removed without force, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a strainer. Stir the achiote paste and both chile powders into the pan juices and season with salt.
  2. In a medium skillet, heat 1/2 inch of oil until shimmering. Working in batches, fry the pork over high heat, turning once, until crispy, 3 minutes. Season with salt. Add the meat to the sauce and stir to coat. Serve the carnitas with tortillas, cilantro and lime wedges.

Achiote paste is available at specialty food shops and online at

Fifteen pounds per square inch (PSI) is the most common setting for pressure cookers. Products vary, however, so be sure to consult the owner's manual.

Suggested Pairing

Beer Citrusy white ale: Allagash White.



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