These crispy chicken carnitas will be a favorite filling for your next Taco Tuesday. Grab your Instant Pot and make this quick weeknight dinner in under 30 minutes!
If you know me, you know my love for carnitas is REAL! And this time, I thought I’d try making a chicken version. I opted for chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts because I prefer the extra flavor and juiciness they provide. If you wanna use chicken breasts though, go for it!
The inspiration for this dish actually came from something I ordered from The Yardhouse restaurant called “Vampire Tacos.” Basically, it was a tortilla filled with carnitas, bacon chorizo, guacamole, cumin crema, and I can’t remember if there was anything else. But what made it even more delicious was the crispy cheese layer on the outside of the tortilla!
So, of course I had to remake a low carb, keto version of it, right?!
Nothing says “olive you” more than tacos, amirite?! HAHA, couldn’t help myself!
Okay, the Instant Pot cooks the chicken carnitas super fast. Like set it to 8 minutes fast. But the real goodness comes after that when you crisp up the carnitas in a cast iron skillet with some healthy fat. I partnered with my friends at Lindsay Olives to use their new Buttery California Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
You guys… do not, I repeat, DO NOT skip this step! It takes an extra five minutes, that’s it, and it’s SO WORTH IT!
Crispy chicken carnitas + crispy cheese taco shell = LOVE!
The Shell: If you can’t do the crispy cheese taco shell due to a dairy allergy or sensitivity, no problem! Just use your favorite taco vessel. If you wanna stick to low carb/keto, try using a lettuce or cabbage leaf as the shell. Or just use your fav tortillas! I love making paleo tortillas from my friend Steph’s blog, Stupid Easy Paleo.
The Toppings: Have fun with this part! I typically have some mixed greens of various sorts in my fridge, but this time I tried some radish sprouts. My must have fillings are always guacamole, cilantro and lime. The guac adds some more healthy fats, the cilantro adds a nice freshness, and a squeeze of lime juices add a nice acidity to balance out the richness of the cheese and crispy chicken carnitas. I also added some cumin lime crema for a little something something. Just mix together some sour cream + lime juice + cumin and you have cumin lime crema! Try adding some sliced radishes for a nice crunch!
One last thing before you get to the actual recipe…
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, no problem. You can definitely use a slow cooker in its place, but obviously it won’t be a 30 minute meal. You can just throw everything in the slow cook and set to cook for 4-5 hours, then crisp up the chicken after!
Okay, one more thing: have you seen my DIY Taco Bar post? If not, you should definitely check it out for more taco goodness! And don’t forget about my free ebook”10 Gluten Free Recipes to Elevate Your Taco Tuesday” Scroll down to the bottom of this post and you can download it!