these quick and easy crispy carnitas will be a regular for your next taco night!

Instant Pot Crispy Chicken Carnitas

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x



  • 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 46 tbsp Buttery California Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Lindsay Olive brand)


  • guacamole
  • cumin lime crema (or sour cream)
  • cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • shredded lettuce/cabbage


  • Crispy Cheese Taco Shells (see notes)


1. Mix together the cumin, oregano, chili powder, and cinnamon in a small bowl.
2. Liberally season both sides of chicken thighs with sea salt and black pepper, then the seasonings in the bowl.
3. In your Instant Pot, pour the lime and orange juice in, then place seasoned chicken thighs down. Next sprinkle minced garlic on top of chicken, followed by the bay leaf.
4. Make sure to turn the nob on the instant pot to Seal. Press Manual and adjust time to 8 minutes.
5. Meanwhile, you can make your Crispy Cheese Taco Shells if using them as your vessel. (see notes)
6. When time is done cooking, carefully release the vent button on the Instant Pot to let the pressure out.
7. Remove chicken thighs to a cutting board and chop into bite-size pieces.
8. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat with a few tablespoons of the olive oil.
9. In a few batches (so you don’t crowd the skillet and steam the chicken), add the chicken thighs and cook until browned and crispy. This should only take a few minutes per batch.
10. Assemble your tacos and ENJOY!


Crispy Cheese Taco Shells:
(makes 4 shells)

~2 cups shredded cheese (I made them with parmesan, cheddar, and provolone. Experiment with your favorite hard cheese!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Make 4 equal mounds with the shredded cheese. Flatten out mounds and keep them in a circle shape making sure they aren’t touching each other.

Bake for approx 6-7 minutes. Meanwhile, setup your taco forming racks. Just place 2 glasses on counter, then balance a wooden spoon on top. This should hold 2 taco shells, so you can setup another station right next to it so you can do this all at once.

Remove from oven and let cool 1-2 minutes. Then with a spatula, carefully lift each of the melted cheesy circles and drap them over the wooden spoons. Let dry about 5 minutes.