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Instant Pot Beef Carnitas with Sweet Onion Salsa

by Heather

If you’re craving carnitas, but don’t have a pork shoulder on hand, try making instant pot beef carnitas with a chuck roast! Made with 7 simple ingredients, and done in a fraction of the time as your slow cooker would take, this flavorful beef is ready-to-fill tacos, taco salads, or burrito bowls. Pair your beef tacos with my easy 4-ingredient sweet onion salsa for the best flavors!

Thank you to Pure Flavor for sponsoring this post and providing the delicious Juno® Bites Red Grape Tomatoes for this recipe!

instant pot beef carnitas

Instant Pot Beef Carnitas with Sweet Onion Salsa

One of my favorite meals to cook is my crockpot pork carnitas. I love how the house smells as the seasoned pork butt cooks all day long.

As I found myself with lots of roasts (we purchased part of a cow a while back), I needed different ways to use a beef roast.

This instant pot carnitas recipe became an instant winner! I flavored the beef the same way as I did my pork recipe, and it turned out incredible.

My pressure cooker drastically reduced the cooking time, which is always a plus when you don’t plan ahead!

tender Mexican shredded beef tacos

What to serve with beef carnitas

With such a great flavor, this tender Mexican shredded beef is the best filling for your favorite tortillas, to top taco salads with, roll into a burrito, or make a Mexican-style bowl paired with cilantro lime brown rice, black beans, and all the toppings.

My sweet onion salsa is a must to pair with this! It’s mild, which makes it super kid-friendly, and has a sweetness you don’t find in most salsas since we’re utilizing sweet onion and sweet tomatoes.

Pure Flavor Juno® Bites Red Grape Tomatoes are juicy and so sweet and give the perfect pop of tomato to this salsa.

Since they’re already bite-sized, there is no chopping required before adding them to the food processor with the onion to blend into the best salsa.

Your healthy, flavorful tomato and onion salsa is ready in just a couple of minutes to enjoy with your easy carnitas recipe and all your favorite toppings!

What you need for beef pressure cooker carnitas

What you need for beef pressure cooker carnitas

Scroll down to view the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients, nutrition facts, and step-by-step instructions.

Instant Pot Beef Carnitas with Sweet Onion Salsa

How to make these delicious tacos

Step 1: Cut the beef roast into 3-4 equal pieces and sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Step 2: Turn the instant pot to the SAUTE function. When hot, add the oil and sear the beef for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and sear on the other.

How to make these delicious beef carnitas tacos

Step 3: Add in the diced onion and saute for 2 minutes. Cancel the SAUTE function.

Step 4: Combine the chili powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix to combine. Pour the spice mixture over the beef, and add ½ cup water (or beef stock).

Step 5: Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 45 minutes, and then allow a natural release of the pressure for 10 minutes. After that, a quick release to allow any remaining pressure to go.

Step 6: Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and place it on a cutting board to shred with forks, or slice thinly with a knife.

How to make these delicious beef carnitas tacos

Step 7: While the beef cooks, you can make the sweet onion salsa! Add the roughly chopped onion, cilantro, garlic, sea salt, and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces, then add the tomatoes and pulse or blend to get a smooth salsa.

Step 8: Serve your flavorful beef carnitas in tortillas with sweet onion salsa, a squeeze of lime juice, and all your favorite taco toppings!

NOTE – This optional step will leave you with extra crispy carnitas. Heat the broiler in your oven. When the beef is shredded into pieces, place on a large rimmed baking sheet and crisp under the broiler for 4-6 minutes, until crisped to your liking.

How to turn this into a slow cooker carnitas recipe

By taking a chapter from my crockpot pork carnitas, you can easily turn this into a slow cooker recipe.

You’ll want to sear the beef as the recipe states, and then add all the remaining ingredients into the crockpot. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, shred the beef, and enjoy carnitas tacos!

pressure cooker beef carnitas recipe

How to store

Leftover beef carnitas should be cooled to room temperature before adding to an airtight container. They will keep well in the fridge for up to 1 week.

To reheat, you can do that over medium heat in a hot skillet, or by placing the carnitas on a large baking sheet and warming them until you have crispy carnitas in the oven.

beef carnitas recipe

Substitutions, optional variations & dietary adjustments

Below you’ll find a list of substitutions that will work well in this beef carnitas recipe. 

If you try something different out, please leave a comment below letting us all know how it turned out!

Chuck roast – You can use different pieces of meat in this recipe, don’t feel limited to just using a chuck roast. Stew beef, pot roast, chuck roll, or tri tip roast are all good alternatives. This recipe was based on my pork dish using a pork roast, so that’s a great substitute as well!

Avocado oil – Olive oil or coconut oil are good options to use in place of avocado oil.

Onion – Yellow onion, white onion, or red onion will all work in this recipe. If you have leeks, green onions, or shallots, those will work too!

Chili powder – You can mix it up and use chipotle powder, or get extra spicy and swap it for cayenne pepper.

Cinnamon – The cinnamon adds depth and warmth to this recipe. You can swap cinnamon for clove, or omit if you don’t have either.

beef carnitas instant pot recipe

More delicious instant pot recipes you’ll love

instant pot beef carnitas
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5 from 1 vote

Instant Pot Beef Carnitas with Sweet Onion Salsa

If you’re craving carnitas, but don’t have a pork shoulder on hand, try making instant pot beef carnitas with a chuck roast! Made with 7 simple ingredients, and done in a fraction of the time as your slow cooker would take, this flavorful beef is ready-to-fill tacos, taco salads, or burrito bowls. Pair your beef tacos with my easy 4-ingredient sweet onion salsa for the best flavors!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef, beef roast, instant pot, onion, pressure cooker, salsa, tacos
Servings: 6
Calories: 312kcal
Author: Heather

Ingredients

Salsa Ingredients

Instructions

  • Cut the beef roast into 3-4 equal pieces and sprinkle with a little sea salt.
  • Turn the instant pot to the SAUTE function. When hot, add the oil and sear the beef for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip and sear on the other.
  • Add in the diced onion and saute for 2 minutes. Cancel the SAUTE function.
  • Combine the chili powder, cinnamon, sea salt, and pepper in a small bowl and mix to combine. Pour the spice mixture over the beef, and add ½ cup water (or beef stock).
  • Cook on MANUAL high pressure for 45 minutes, and then allow a natural release of the pressure for 10 minutes. After that, a quick release to allow any remaining pressure to go.
  • Remove the beef with a slotted spoon and place it on a cutting board to shred with forks, or slice thinly with a knife.
  • While the beef cooks, you can make the sweet onion salsa! Add the roughly chopped onion, cilantro, garlic, sea salt, and pepper into a food processor. Pulse until everything is chopped into small pieces, then add the tomatoes and pulse or blend to get a smooth salsa.
  • Serve your flavorful beef carnitas in tortillas with sweet onion salsa, a squeeze of lime juice, and all your favorite taco toppings!
Did you make this recipe?Be sure to tag me @fitmamarealfood or tag #fitmamarealfood!

Nutrition

Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 718mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1127IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 42mg | Iron: 4mg
Instant Pot Beef Carnitas

If you try this beef carnitas instant pot recipe, I’d love it if you left a star rating and comment below letting me know how it turned out!

XO

Heather

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