Instant Pot® Crispy Chicken Carnitas


  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1yellow onion, quartered
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • ¼ cup chicken broth
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • 1chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, or more to taste
  • 1orange, zested and juiced
  • 1bay leaf
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, or more to taste
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch garlic powder
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Combine cumin, chili powder, oregano, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Sprinkle over chicken breasts on both sides.


  • Step 2

    Turn on a multi-functional pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot®) and select Saute function. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and sear chicken breasts, 1 to 2 minutes per side, working in batches so chicken sears rather than steams. Transfer chicken to a plate.

  • Step 3

    Add garlic and onion to the hot cooker; cook and stir until browned evenly on all sides, about 2 minutes. Return chicken to the pressure cooker along with lime juice, chicken broth, cilantro, chipotle pepper with 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, orange zest and juice, and bay leaf. Close and lock the lid. Set timer for 8 to 10 minutes, depending on size of chicken breasts.

  • Step 4

    Meanwhile, combine mayonnaise, milk, chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon adobo sauce, salt, and garlic powder to an electric blender. Blend chipotle sauce until smooth.

  • Step 5

    Release pressure from the cooker using the natural-release method according to manufacturer’s instructions, 10 to 40 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.

  • Step 6

    Set an oven rack about 6 inches from the heat source and preheat the oven’s broiler.

  • Step 7

    Transfer chicken breasts to a clean surface and reserve cooking liquid. Shred chicken meat using 2 forks. Place in a large bowl and drizzle 1/4 cup cooking liquid over chicken; toss to coat. Drizzle 1 tablespoon oil over the surface of a baking sheet. Add chicken to the sheet and drizzle remaining 1 tablespoon oil on top. Stir to coat evenly.

  • Step 8

    Broil chicken in the preheated oven for 5 minutes. Toss chicken with 1 to 2 tablespoons reserved cooking liquid and rotate the pan for even broiling. Continue broiling until crispy, 5 to 7 minutes more. Serve with chipotle sauce.

  • Cook's Notes:

    You can use chicken thighs instead of breasts, if you’d like.

    Leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can be kept in a zip-top bag in the freezer.

    Instead of releasing pressure naturally, you can also use the vent setting if available, allowing to vent completely before removing the lid.

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