Chicken carnitas made in the pressure cooker, so they’re quick and easy! We crisp them up in the broiler, and they are perfect to meal prep and enjoy for the week!
Isn’t it about time that Taco-Friday was a thing?
Let me introduce you to my first food binge of 2017 – crispy chicken carnitas from your pressure cooker. Bear with me while I’m having this moment of carnitas insanity and if it’s not too much to ask, have this moment with me, won’t you? It all starts with crispy shredded chicken that we’ve pressure cooked, then shredded and broiled for a hot second, so the chicken gets nice and crispy on the outside but stays tender and juicy on the inside. We then tuck it into warm, white corn tortillas and move on to the topping possibilities. There’s just something about simple toppings that do it with these. Diced onions and chopped cilantro are really all this needs. And chipotle sauce. Because sauce makes the world a better place!
And while we’re on the topic of tacos, may I just add that friends don’t count tacos. As in, if you were to come over for dinner tonight, in no way would I judge the number of warm tortillas you stuffed full of these homemade chicken carnitas and then proceeded to consume in one sitting. No ma’am. Friends don’t count tacos. Friends make sure there are plenty of tortillas around for your stuffing pleasure. Ermmm.. This just got awkward.
It’s a little outrageous how simple these are to make, and the possibilities are endless. Having a big batch of these chicken carnitas in the fridge or freezer is perfect for quick meals throughout the week.
I’m so over the moon about these right now.
Crispy chicken carnitas (1 min):
Let me get this out in the open right of the bat: these chicken carnitas are super simple. So simple that I’m a little embarrassed to call this a recipe. But that’s the thing about making meals in a pressure cooker, you blink, and your food is ready. Love, love love, my instant pot.
One thing I’ve come to know about myself after three years of food blogging – my favorite recipes are the ones that are a cinch to whip up and are FLEXIBLE for multiple meal situations throughout the week. So Friday night I can enjoy chicken carnitas as intended, wrapped in warm tortillas and topped with everything. The chicken goes into my favorite burrito bowls on Saturday for a zippy lunch. And woulda look at that! Sunday night’s quick enchiladas brought to you by these chicken carnitas – lightening fast.
Two pounds of this stuff disappeared so quickly in our house, I’m a little ashamed to mention it to all of you internet friends. The winner though was the chicken carnitas served with just a few toppings in tortillas. I served them up a couple of different ways, and if you asked me to pick, all I could tell you is that I LOVED them. A WHOLE LOT. Also, I want more. But you can put just about EVERYTHANG on these are it’ll be that much more awesome. My personal favorite –> diced onions, chopped cilantro, sautéed cabbage, and my favorite part – homemade chipotle mayo because what in the WORLD is a taco without sauce? ? And equally necessary, lots of lime wedges to squeeze right on top of all that taco goodness.
Let’s get this started! The first thing we’re going to do is gather the liquids. You need equal parts of OJ, lime juice, and chicken broth. We’ll mix the seasonings in a bowl – that’s salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and oregano. Sprinkle all of this all over the chicken breasts. Then we’ll take things directly to the instant pot. I like to sear the chicken breasts in a quick swish of olive oil to get all those spices crusted onto the chicken. This is really quick just 1 minute on each side; we don’t want to cook the chicken. Place the chicken on a plate and just brown the onion wedges and garlic about 2 minutes flipping to get all the sides nice and browned.
Add the chicken back into the pressure cooker along with chipotle peppers and some of that adobo sauce, a bay leaf, and a handful of cilantro and that orange juice slash lime juice slash chicken broth mixture.
Let the pressure build up and cook for 8-10 minutes. I had a ton of tiny chicken breasts, so all I needed was 8 minutes. For larger chicken breasts, pressure them for 9-10 minutes.
Shred the chicken once it’s cool enough to handle and don’t even THINK about tossing out that liquid from the pressure cooker. We’re going to add ¼ cup of it back into the chicken before broiling!
I also add about two tablespoons of olive oil to the chicken so that the broiler makes the outside of the chicken carnitas extra crispy. It’ll go into the oven for a total of 10 minutes, make sure to stop halfway and give it a toss. Rotate your pan too and add a couple more tablespoons of the cooking liquid to keep things flavorful and juicy.
See what I mean? All of this will take you in the ballpark of 35-40 minutes, but this also makes 2 pounds! So unless you’re feeding eight people in a sitting, it’ll last you a while. Seeing as how it’s super slow on calories, it’s also perfect to #mealprep for the week. You can also pop half that shredded chicken into a zip top bag once it’s cooled and voila! Cooked chicken that’s great to use in chicken tortilla soup, enchiladas, or anything else you please.
After devouring these tacos left and right, we also figure it would work in a salad form or burrito bowls. I, however, would almost always choose the original version stuffed in warm tortillas. I almost forgot to tell you about that chipotle sauce. It has me going crazy with its simplicity and delicious flavors. All you need is a little mayo, a little milk, adobo sauce, and a pinch of garlic powder.
And really, why am I still talking? I need you grab this recipe, get out (fire up?) your instant pot and get ready for chicken carnitas! And remember, the carnita-bilites are endless. [mic drop]
Meh, go with it!
Pressure Cooker Crispy Chicken Carnitas
Chicken carnitas made in the pressure cooker so they’re quick and easy! We crisp them up in the broiler and they are perfect to meal prep and enjoy for the week!
For the Chicken:
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon EACH chili powder AND dried oregano
- salt and pepper
- zest and juice of 1 orange (about ¼ cup)
- ¼ cup lime juice
- ¼ cup chicken broth
- 5 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
- 1 yellow onion, quartered
- 1-2 chipotle pepper + 1-2 tablespoons adobo sauce
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ bunch of cilantro (stems included)
- 2 tablespoons oil + more
For the Chipotle Sauce:
- ½ cup mayo
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1-2 chipotle peppers + 1 tablespoons adobo sauce
- pinch of salt and garlic powder
- tortillas, diced onions, chopped cilantro, sautéed cabbage, lime wedges, and anything else you like!
For the chicken:
- Combine the cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle the seasons over the chicken breasts on both sides.
- Heat the instant pot on the sauté setting. Add a quick swish of oil and sear the chicken breasts on both sides for a minute on each side. Do this in batches so the chicken sears rather than steaming. Remove the chicken to a plate. Add the onions and pressed garlic, let cook 2 minutes flipping as needed to brown all sides evenly.
- Add the chicken back into the pressure cooker along with the orange zest, orange juice, lime juice, chicken broth, whole chipotle pepper(s), adobo sauce, bay leaf, and cilantro. Cover the instant pot and let pressure cook on the ‘chicken’ setting for 8-10 minutes depending on the size of the chicken breast. Prepare the chipotle sauce while you wait for the chicken to cook. Allow the pressure to release naturally or turn to the ‘vent’ setting. Allow it to vent completely before removing the lid.
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to the ‘broiler’ setting. Remove the chicken breast to a clean surface and shred the chicken using 2 forks. Place in a large bowl and drizzle ¼ cup of cooking liquid over the shredded chicken and toss to coat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the oil over the surface of a baking sheet. Add the chicken and drizzle the second tablespoon of oil on top. Stir to coat evenly.
- Broil the chicken for 10-12 minutes stopping half way to toss the chicken and drizzle another 1-2 tablespoons of cooking liquid. Rotate the pan for even broiling.
For the Chipotle Sauce:
- While the chicken is pressure cooking, add the sauce ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
- Leftover chipotle peppers/adobo sauce can be kept in a zip-top bag in the freezer!
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nutritional facts for 1/8th of the recipe and is only for the meat.