Making Perfect Pork Tacos with an Instant Pot

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Welcome to the ultimate guide on how to make perfect pork tacos with an Instant Pot! Whether you're a seasoned chef or a beginner in the kitchen, this guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of creating delicious and succulent pork tacos.

Using an Instant Pot offers several benefits, including fast cooking times and tenderizing the meat. In this guide, I'll cover everything from selecting the right cut of pork to assembling the perfect taco. But keep in mind that I will use pork loin in this recipe.

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Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and impress your friends and family with these mouthwatering tacos al pastor!

top view of three pork tacos served

Making pork tacos with an Instant Pot

Making pork tacos with an Instant Pot is a convenient and efficient way to create flavorful and tender meat. The Instant Pot's pressure cooking feature helps to break down the pork, resulting in succulent and juicy tacos. The process begins with selecting the perfect cut of pork and marinating it with delicious seasonings.

The Instant Pot is then used to cook the pork perfectly, saving time and effort. Once the pork is cooked, it can be shredded with various toppings and garnishes to create the ultimate pork taco experience.

Benefits of using an Instant Pot for cooking

An Instant Pot is a versatile kitchen appliance that offers numerous benefits for cooking pork tacos. First, it reduces cooking time significantly, making it perfect for busy individuals. Second, the pressure cooking function in an Instant Pot helps to tenderize the pork, resulting in juicy and flavorful meat. It also retains the nutrients and flavors of the ingredients.

Also, the Instant Pot has various settings and functions that allow for precise cooking, ensuring consistent results every time. Overall, using an Instant Pot makes the process of cooking pork tacos easier and more efficient.

Selecting the Perfect Cut of Pork

When making pork tacos in an Instant Pot, selecting the right cut of pork is crucial for achieving tender and flavorful meat. For tacos al pastor, a popular choice is pork shoulder or pork butt. These cuts have a good amount of fat, which adds richness and moisture to the meat.

Other options include pork loin or tenderloin (which we use in this recipe) for a leaner option. Whichever cut you choose, make sure it is well-marbled and suitable for slow cooking to ensure juicy and succulent pork tacos.

Choosing the right cut of pork for tacos

When it comes to making perfect pork tacos, selecting the right cut of pork is essential. For tacos al pastor, a popular choice is pork shoulder or pork butt. These cuts have a good amount of fat, which adds richness and moisture to the meat when cooked in an Instant Pot.

If you prefer a leaner option, pork loin or tenderloin can also be used. Remember to choose cuts that are well-marbled and suitable for slow cooking to ensure juicy and succulent pork tacos.

Tips for marinating and seasoning the pork

Marinating is key to infusing your pork with delicious flavors. Create a marinade using citrus juices, vinegar, spices, herbs, and aromatics. Place the pork in a zip-top bag or a shallow dish, and pour the marinade over it. Ensure the pork is completely coated and let it marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight if possible.

For seasoning, blend cumin, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder. Rub the seasoning all over the marinated pork, ensuring every inch is covered. This will enhance the taste and add a delightful kick to your pork tacos.

Remember to adjust the seasoning according to your taste preferences and the flavor profiles you desire for your tacos.

Top view of three pork tacos served

Preparing the Instant Pot for Cooking

To ensure your Instant Pot is ready for cooking the perfect pork tacos, it's essential to understand its settings and functions. Familiarize yourself with the various cooking modes, including pressure cooking, sautéing, and slow cooking. Ensure the inner pot is clean and properly inserted into the Instant Pot.

Before cooking, add the necessary liquid, such as water or broth, following the recipe guidelines. Set the desired cooking time and temperature and securely close the lid. Your Instant Pot is now prepped and ready to create delicious pork tacos.

Properly setting up the Instant Pot for cooking pork

To properly set up your Instant Pot for cooking pork, ensure the inner pot is clean and dry. Place the trivet or a steamer basket inside the pot, and add the desired amount of liquid, such as broth or water, to create steam.

Place your seasoned pork in the Instant Pot, making sure not to exceed the maximum fill line. Finally, secure the lid by aligning the arrows and twisting it clockwise until it locks into place. Now you're ready to start cooking your delicious pork tacos.

Cooking the Pork in an Instant Pot

To cook the pork in an Instant Pot, follow these simple instructions. First, place the seasoned pork in the Instant Pot on top of the trivet or steamer basket. Add the recommended amount of liquid, such as broth or water, to create steam.

Next, secure the lid and set the cooking time according to the type of pork cut. Once the cooking time is complete, allow natural pressure release or use the quick-release method. The pork will be tender and flavorful, ready to be shredded, and used for your delectable pork tacos.

Instructions for cooking pork in an Instant Pot

Here's what you need to do:

Spice Rub and Searing the Pork:
First, we're starting with a beautiful pork tenderloin. Mix together your seasonings – this includes chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, salt, and pepper.

Rub this spice blend all over the pork, giving it a good coat. Now, set your Instant Pot to the sauté setting. Once it's hot, pour in a bit of olive oil and gently place your pork in the pot. You'll want to sear the pork on all sides, just until it gets a nice golden crust.

Cooking with Liquid:
After the pork is nicely seared, it's time to add your liquids. Pour in some orange juice, lemon juice, and a touch of beer for depth of flavor. These will help tenderize the pork and infuse it with zesty notes.

Pressure Cooking:
Next, close the lid of the Instant Pot and ensure the valve is set to the sealing position. Set the Instant Pot on high pressure for 30 minutes. This is where the magic happens, and your pork will become perfectly tender.

Oven Preparation:
While the pork is cooking, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You're going to use the oven to add a finishing crispy touch to the pork later on.

Releasing Pressure:
After the 30 minutes of cooking time is up, you'll manually release the pressure from the Instant Pot. Carefully open the valve and lid – steam will escape so be cautious.

Shredding the Pork:
Remove the pork tenderloin and start shredding it with a fork. It should be tender enough that it falls apart easily.

Broiling for Crunch:
Take half of the cooking liquid and discard it. Place the shredded pork in a baking pan and pop it under the broiler in your oven for about 8 minutes. You're looking for those wonderful crunchy and lightly charred bits that add texture and flavor.

Serving Your Tacos:
Lastly, serve your succulent pork on warm corn tortillas. You can top it off with some fresh slices of avocado and a squeeze of lime juice for that citrus kick.

And there you have it! Follow these steps, and you're on your way to making scrumptious pork tacos right at home. Enjoy!

When cooking pork in an Instant Pot, it's important to adjust the cooking time based on the cut of pork you're using. Here are some recommended cooking times:

  1. Pork Shoulder: Cook for 20-25 minutes per pound.
  2. Pork Loin: Cook for 15-20 minutes per pound.
  3. Pork Tenderloin: Cook for 5-10 minutes per pound.
  4. Pork Ribs: Cook for 25-30 minutes.
  5. Pork Chops: Cook for 8-10 minutes.

Remember also to consider the desired tenderness and doneness of the pork when determining the cooking time. Adjustments may be needed based on personal preference. Enjoy your perfectly cooked pork for your delicious tacos al pastor!

Close up of pork taco plated.

Assembling the Perfect Pork Tacos

The assembly of pork tacos is a joyful endeavor that turns simple ingredients into a burst of flavor. Begin by laying warm corn tortillas as the base; they are the canvases awaiting their vibrant toppings. Gently spoon the savory, seasoned pork onto each tortilla, ensuring each one has a generous helping.

Next, adorn your pork with slices of creamy avocado that add a buttery texture and a rich taste. To finish, a squeeze of fresh lime juice is essential, as it cuts through the richness and adds a zesty brightness to the dish. Serve immediately and watch as every bite becomes a delightful symphony of tastes and textures.

Suggested toppings and garnishes for pork tacos

Sure! To elevate the delightful experience of savoring pork tacos, one might consider embellishing them with an array of suggested toppings and garnishes. Avocado is a creamy favorite that introduces a lush texture to the ensemble. A squeeze of lime wedge juice can add a tangy zest, balancing the richness of the pork.

Adventurous taco enthusiasts may top their creations with a variety of extras like chopped onions, fresh cilantro, diced tomatoes, or sour cream to introduce freshness, acidity, or creaminess to each bite. For those who enjoy heat, a spoonful of salsa or a sprinkle of jalapeños can provide a spicy kick. 

Shredded cheese and thinly-sliced radishes can also join the fiesta on top of the tortillas to offer both a melt-in-your-mouth pleasure and a crisp bite. Each pork taco can be a unique and personalized feast with this medley of toppings!

Tips for creating flavorful and visually appealing tacos

To make your pork tacos not only taste delicious but also look visually appealing, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Use a variety of colorful toppings: Add vibrant ingredients like diced tomatoes, sliced red onions, and shredded lettuce to make your tacos visually appealing.
  2. Balance the flavors: Include a combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy elements in your toppings. For example, add a sweet and tangy pineapple salsa or a spicy chipotle mayo to complement the savory pork.
  3. Pay attention to texture: Incorporate crispy elements like radishes or crushed tortilla chips for added crunch and creamy elements like guacamole or sour cream for a smooth and velvety texture.
  4. Arrange toppings strategically:  Place the toppings in a visually pleasing manner. For example, layer the ingredients in a way that creates an attractive rainbow effect or arrange them in a spiral pattern.
  5. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle some freshly chopped cilantro or parsley on top of your tacos to add a pop of fresh green color and enhance the flavor.

Remember, the presentation of your tacos can greatly impact the overall dining experience, so have fun being creative with your toppings and garnishes!

Tacos al pastor, pork tacos plated.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Pork Tacos

Creating the perfect Instant Pot pork tacos, commonly referred to as Tacos al Pastor, is both an art and a convenience. Here are some pro tips to ensure your taco night is a delectable success:

  • Meat Preparation: Always start with a good quality cut of pork. The shoulder or butt is ideal for that tender, fall-apart texture. Remember to trim any excess fat and cut the meat into uniform chunks; this promotes even cooking.
  • Spice Blend: The magic is in the marinade. Blend together classic al pastor spices such as chili powder, cumin, oregano, and a touch of clove for authenticity. Don’t forget the pineapple juice – it adds sweetness and helps tenderize the meat.
  • Searing: Use the sauté function on your Instant Pot to brown the pork chunks. This extra step will layer in a smoky flavor and seal in juices.
  • Deglazing: After searing, pour in a bit of stock or the marinade to deglaze the pot. Scraping up those tasty browned bits is essential for flavor and prevents the dreaded ‘Burn’ message.
  • Pressure Cooking Mastery: Don’t overcrowd the pot. Give your seasonings room to mingle and do their work. Generally, a high-pressure cook of about 90 minutes should yield perfectly tender pork for tacos.
  • Natural Release: Be patient and allow for a natural pressure release. The additional resting time in the pot continues to tenderize the meat.
  • Crisping Finish: For a bit of texture, consider broiling the shredded pork in the oven for a few minutes to get crispy edges.

Final Touches: Warm your tortillas and prep your garnishes – diced onion, fresh cilantro, and a wedge of lime are classic choices. The fresh toppings will provide a crisp contrast to the rich and savory pork filling. Enjoy!

By following these steps and staying true to the process, your Instant Pot pork tacos will be a crowd-pleaser every time. Don't forget to subscribe for more tips and be the first to nab that next delicious recipe!

Additional tips to enhance the taste and texture of pork tacos

Consider these additional tips to take your pork tacos to the next level. First, try experimenting with different seasonings and marinades to add depth of flavor. Refine fresh lime juice over the shredded pork for a tangy kick before serving.

To achieve a crispy exterior, sear the shredded pork in a pan for a few minutes. Lastly, don't skimp on the toppings and garnishes – fresh cilantro, diced onions, and a drizzle of creamy avocado sauce can elevate the taste and presentation of your tacos.

Suggestions for serving and pairing pork tacos with sides

When it comes to serving and pairing your delicious pork tacos, there are endless possibilities for sides that complement the flavors perfectly. For a classic combination, consider serving your tacos with traditional Mexican rice and refried beans.

A fresh and vibrant side of grilled corn on the cob or a fresh avocado salad can add a delightful crunch. Don't forget to offer some spicy salsa or homemade guacamole for dipping. Your pork tacos will be a complete and satisfying meal with these sides.


Making perfect pork tacos with an Instant Pot is a convenient and delicious way to enjoy this classic dish. By selecting the right cut of pork, marinating it with flavorful seasonings, and using the proper settings on the Instant Pot, you can achieve tender and flavorful meat every time.

Remember to assemble your tacos with various toppings and garnishes to enhance the taste and visual appeal. With these tips and tricks, you'll create restaurant-quality pork tacos quickly. So go ahead and give this recipe a try—you won't be disappointed!

Summary of the guide to making perfect pork tacos with an Instant Pot

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about making perfect pork tacos with an Instant Pot. From selecting the right cut of pork and marinating it with flavorful seasonings to setting up and cooking in the Instant Pot, we have provided step-by-step instructions and tips for achieving tender and delicious pork.

We have also shared suggestions for assembling the perfect tacos with toppings and garnishes. With this guide, you'll be able to create restaurant-quality pork tacos right at home. So go ahead and give this recipe a try!

Encouragement for readers to try out the recipe themselves

Readers, now that you have all the necessary information and step-by-step instructions for making perfect pork tacos with an Instant Pot, it's time to put your culinary skills to the test! Don't be intimidated by the process – with the right ingredients and following the guide closely. You can create mouthwatering tacos al pastor right in the comfort of your own kitchen.

So, gather your ingredients, fire up that Instant Pot, and get ready to impress your friends and family with your delicious homemade pork tacos. Happy cooking!

Pork Tacos (How to Make Tacos de Cerdo)

Pork Tacos (How to Make Tacos de Cerdo)

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

When Americans think of tacos, they immediately think of beef or possibly chicken. But if you want authentic Mexican food, you need to consider pork tacos. Pork is such a nice alternative from the typical beef tacos.


Ingredients for the pork

  • 1 Pound pork tenderloin
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tsp garlic powder
  • 1 Tsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tsp coriander
  • 1/2 Tsp onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup beer

Ingredients to make the tacos

  • Tortillas
  • Avocado
  • Lime wedges
  • Any other taco topping you like


  1. Rub the pork tenderloin with chili powder, paprika, brown sugar, garlic powder, cumin, coriander, onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Set the Instant Pot on the sauté setting. Add the olive oil and heat. Add the pork tenderloin and sear on all sides.
  3. Pour the orange juice, lemon juice, and beer.
  4. Close the lid and valve and set on high pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  6. Manually release steam. Open the valve and lid, and with the help of a fork, shred the pork.
  7. Transfer to a baking pan, discarding half of the cooking liquid. Set the oven to broil and cook for 8 minutes or until some bits and pieces are slightly crunchy and charred.
  8. Serve over warm corn tortillas topped with avocado and some lime juice.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 226Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 45mgSodium: 204mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 3gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g

These nutritional calculations might not be accurate. Please speak with a licensed nutritionist to assist you.

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