A tostada is basically an open-faced taco, and carnitas tostadas are my absolute favorite. Usually it takes hours of simmering, but with this Instant Pot version you can have fresh and crispy carnitas in half the time. Let me be clear, carnitas aren’t carnitas if you don’t crisp them up in the pan before serving. Otherwise, it’s just braised pork and I feel very strongly about this. Carnitas are made with pork shoulder which is a pretty fatty cut, so crisping up a little of that fat really makes such a difference.
If you’re gearing up for a Cinco de Mayo party and need an easy meal, these are the perfect appetizer or main dish! It’s delicious finger food, and it can easily feed a crowd. It can even be a build-your-own situation for easy serving and I’m all about making hosting a party easier! I’m a huge topping person, and so these tostadas are topped with all the avocado, radishes, jalapeno, cilantro, cotija, and a delicious cilantro crema situation.
tips for making instant pot carnitas
The best part about instant pot carnitas tostadas is that they can be made ahead of time! You can make them a couple of days in advance, and then refrigerate before shredding and crisping them up.
The crisping of the carnitas is necessary! I usually heat my cast iron up and then throw the shredded carnitas in a single layer and crisp them up for about 3-5 minutes and then flip. This is essential for their flavor!
I love to use beer in this recipe, but you can substitute water or broth. The beer just adds flavor, but all the alcohol cooks out.
You can totally buy premade tostada shells, or you can make your own easily. Either way!
other posts you may like:
- 4 lbs. boneless pork shoulder in one large piece
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon neutral oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 16 oz Mexican beer, like modelo or tecate
- 8 oz Mexican crema
- 1 lime, zested and juiced
- 1/3 cup cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 tablespoon minced jalapeño
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 16 tostada shells
- 1 large avocado, sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch of radishes, cut into matchsticks
- cilantro leaves
- sliced limes
- To make the carnitas: In a small bowl, mix together the spices, oil, and lime juice until a thick paste forms. Spread the spice paste all over the pork and then season all over with the kosher salt. Set your instant pot to the saute function, and once the pot is hot, sear the pork to golden brown on all sides. Add the beer (or water/stock) and lock the lid in place.
Change the function to manual or pressure cook and set the timer for 1 hour and 15 minutes on high. Allow for a natural pressure release and then let the pork cool in the juices. If you are serving right away, shred the pork into large pieces and either crisp up in the pan, adding salt as necessary. If you are cooking ahead, refrigerate the pork and juices in an airtight container and shred and crisp up before serving.
- To make the crema: place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process/blend until smooth. The crema can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
- To assemble: place avocado slices on the tostada shells, top with crispy carnitas, and layer on toppings as desired.