Ninja Foodi Crispy Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

Ninja Foodi Crispy Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

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This crispy carnitas recipe is one of the best meal prep recipes on my blog. You can make tacos, burritos or bowls, nachos, salads, and all kinds of dishes with this Mexican pulled pork. 

Every serving is packed with flavor and 24 grams of protein with just 4 grams of carbs, 6 grams of fat, and 3 WW Smart Points. That leaves tons of room for tortillas, cheese, and other fixin’s! 

crispy carnitas tacos

Ninja Foodi Carnitas Recipe Walkthrough

Thanks to the Foodi, this is an easy recipe that stays in one pot aside from a little prep and shredding the pork. And the ingredient list is a simple one so I doubt you have many questions. Still, I’ll touch on any potential ingredient modifications as we go. 

Step 1: Coat Pork Tenderloin(s) in Olive Oil and Carnitas Seasoning 

You can do this in a bowl like the recipe calls for or by hand on a cutting board like I initially did with my Ninja Foodi bbq pulled pork recipe. I think I like the bowls better because you can add what I’m calling a flavor potion in step 2 to make sure no oil or spices go to waste.

It’s also a great way to keep your hands clean! 

carnitas rub with olive oil coated pork tenderloins

Here’s what you’ll need for the carnitas seasoning:

  • salt and pepper
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • cinnamon 

The only notes I’d add here would be on the salt and cinnamon. If you’re using table salt as opposed to kosher salt like the recipe calls for, you’ll want to cut it in half. And if you’re wondering about the cinnamon, just trust me. (But yes, you can leave it out.)

Step 2: Make a Flavor Potion for Pressure Cooking

I know lots of my readers love simplicity and appreciate shortcuts. So, I figured this route would alleviate any need for chopping veggies and work loads of flavor into the recipe all at once. 

cilantro, orange, onion, garlic, and chicken broth in a food processor

Add the following to a food processor:

  • onion
  • orange
  • garlic
  • cilantro
  • chicken broth

If you don’t have broth on hand, you can use water. And if you’re a cilantro hater, just leave it out! 

Step 3: Sear the Pork Tenderloin with the Foodi’s Sauté Function

That’s it for ingredient prep. Now it’s time to cook. 

The only thing you can mess up in this step is not letting the pot heat up enough before adding the pork tenderloin. You can flick a little water in the pot to test the heat. If it sizzles, you’re probably good to go. 

cooking the pork tenderloin with the carnitas rub using the ninja foodi's sauté function

Sear each side of the pork tenderloins for 2 minutes. Nothing fancy here. 

Step 4: Add the Flavor Potion and Pressure Cook

Pour the blended ingredients into the pot around the edges and move the pork around to fully coat the bottom of the pot. Seal and cook with high pressure for 12-14 minutes. 

pork tenderloin carnitas before and after pressure cooking

I hate to give a time range, but every pork tenderloin (and user) is different. If you have a food thermometer and the pork hasn’t reached an internal temp of at least 160F, you can seal and cook for another minute or two. 

Note: If you want to make a smaller batch with just 1 pork tenderloin, follow the recipe as written but cut the chicken broth in half. The cook time should be about the same. 

Step 5: Reduce the Remaining Liquid while You Shred the Pork

Like I mentioned in my buttermilk pan fried chicken breast recipe, letting your proteins rest for at least 5 minutes after cooking is always a great idea. Even though you’ll be mixing the pulled pork back in the remaining liquid before broiling, letting the meat rest will make shredding much easier. 

shredded pork carnitas and the reduced sauce

As for reducing the remaining liquid, you want carnitas, not pulled pork soup. It doesn’t have to be a flawless sauce, just reduce it long enough to thicken. If you let the pork rest and then shred (about 8-10 minutes total), it should be perfect timing. 

Bonus tip: Meat claws make shredding cooked meat so much easier.

shredded pork tenderloin carnitas in a bowl with meat claws

You can find the meat claws I use, along with all my other recommended kitchen equipment, on my Amazon storefront. Other shredding options include the classic two fork method or a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. 

Step 6: Use the Foodi’s Broil Function to Make Crispy Carnitas

This is an optional but highly recommended step. Not only does it create crispy edges, the pork soaks up all the remaining juices during broiling. 

If you want even crisping, you can stir halfway through or broil in two batches. 

pork carnitas mixed in the sauce and after broiling in the ninja foodi

If you’re using an Instant Pot or slow cooker, you can transfer the pork to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and use your oven’s broil function. Example: slow cooker pineapple chipotle chicken 

How to Serve Your Crispy Carnitas

Idea time! 

carnitas nachos, carnitas burrito bowl, and carnitas tacos

Let me know what you end up doing with your pork tenderloin carnitas! Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram @mason_woodruff or share it with my Facebook group

Ninja Foodi Crispy Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

Ninja Foodi Crispy Pork Tenderloin Carnitas

Yield: 8 Servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

This tender, flavorful pork carnitas with broiled crispy edges is perfect for meal prep. You can easily make burrito bowls, tacos, nachos, and more.

Ingredients

  • 2 Pork Tenderloins (16oz each)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1/2 tsp Cinnamon

For Pressure Cooking

  • 1 small (140g) Onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 small (100g peeled) Orange, halved
  • 2 cloves (10g) Garlic, peeled
  • 1 handful (3g) Cilantro
  • 1/2 C (120g) Low Sodium Chicken Broth

Instructions

  1. Place the pork tenderloins in a large bowl with the olive oil. Mix the dry spices together before sprinkling over the pork. Use a rubber spatula or your hands to evenly coat the pork in the oil and spices. Set aside.
  2. Add the onion, orange, garlic, cilantro, and chicken broth to a food processor and blend until smooth, about 30 seconds on high.
  3. Turn the Foodi's sauté function on HI and let the pot heat up. Once hot, add the pork tenderloins. Cook for 2 minutes before flipping and cooking another 2 minutes.
  4. Add the pressure cooking ingredients to the pot, moving the pork tenderloins around to evenly coat the bottom of the pot with the mixture. Seal the Foodi and pressure cook on HI for 12-14 minutes* with quick release pressure. The pork should reach an internal temp of 160F at its thickest point. Transfer the pork tenderloins to a bowl to rest for 5 minutes before shredding.
  5. While the pork rests, turn the Foodi's sauté function back to HI to reduce the remaining liquid to a thick sauce, stirring occasionally.
  6. After the pork rests, shred and add back to the pot with the thickened sauce. Stir to evenly coat and use the Foodi's broil function** for 10-15 minutes for crispy edges.

Notes

*Use 12 minutes for long, thin tenderloins and 14 minutes for thicker tenderloins.

**If you're using an Instant Pot, use the sauté function to reduce the sauce before mixing with the shredded pork tenderloin. Add the pork to a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and use your oven's broiler to make crispy carnitas.

Each 3.25-ounce serving of crispy carnitas has 3 WW Smart Points (blue plan).

For Slow Cooker Carnitas

Sear the pork tenderloins in a large skillet and cook in a crockpot on low for 3-4 hours or high for 2-3 hours. Once the pork reaches an internal temp of 160F, transfer to a bowl to rest/shred. Transfer the remaining liquid to a saucepan over high heat to reduce to a sauce. Toss the pulled pork in the sauce and crisp on a baking sheet under your oven's broiler, if desired.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Servings Serving Size: 3.25 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 165 Total Fat: 5.9g Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 23.4g


4 thoughts on “Ninja Foodi Crispy Pork Tenderloin Carnitas”

  • Just made these tonight and the flavors were spot on!!! So good! My kids scarfed them down and wanted seconds. Thanks for another amazing recipe!

  • These came out so good!! I just got a pressure cooker and this was the first thing I wanted to make. . Finished in the air fryer to crisp them up. Can’t wait to use in tacos, pizza, salad. Thanks for such a delicious and versatile recipe!!

  • I will be making these in a slow cooker. Does that mean that I should forget about the pressure cooking ingredients altogether? I am confused about this step.

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