Mar 13

Instant Pot Jackfruit Carnitas

in Main Course

Instant Pot Jackfruit Carnitas

I love my Instant Pot.  My mom gave it to me for Christmas two years ago, but it took me a couple of months to finally use it.  I had wanted one for a long time, but when it got down to it, I found it a bit intimidating.  I finally got on YouTube and watched a bunch of videos on how to use it, and quickly found myself un-intimidated.  Now it gets used almost every day.  My newest creation to come out of my Instant Pot is something I’ve actually been working on since this past summer and I finally nailed the recipe down last week.  Jackfruit Carnitas!!

Green Jackfruit in brine

When you’re buying your jackfruit, make sure you buy green jackfruit…when jackfruit ripens it is crazy sweet and orangey-yellow in color. (The flavor of Juicy Fruit gum was actually based on the flavor of ripe jackfruit!)  In the past I have cooked the jackfruit first and then shredded it.  But I have found that I prefer to shred it first before cooking.  This gives me a chance to tear up the core, which is a lot more dense, as well as the seeds.  Some people discard these, but they cook down to be nice and tender, so don’t waste them!  If you’d rather just throw your jackfruit in whole, or roughly chop it, you can totally do that too.

Shredding jackfruit

To make the carnitas, just put all of the ingredients into your Instant Pot and cook on high pressure for 4 minutes.  4 minutes, can you believe it?  You can also cook it in a pot on the stove, but you will need more liquid and it will take a lot longer to cook and get really tender.

Once the jackfruit is done cooking, you can serve it as is, or if you want to take it one step further, spread it out on a baking sheet and cook it under the broiler for about 10 minutes, stirring it halfway through, so that the edges brown and crisp up, just like real carnitas!  I know this gives you one more item to clean, but I think it’s worth it.

Give the jackfruit carnitas crispy ends under the broiler

We’ve used jackfruit carnitas for so many things…tacos, taquitos, burrito bowls, burritos, sandwiches, nachos…use your imagination!

Jackfruit Carnitas Nachos

Instant Pot Jackfruit Carnitas
3.4 from 5 votes

Instant Pot Jackfruit Carnitas


  • 2 (20-ounce) cans green jackfruit, packed in water or brine
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon sambal oelek


  1. Rinse and drain the jackfruit, then use your fingers to pull the pieces apart so that it looks like shredded pork.  

  2. Add the shredded jackfruit, along with the rest of the ingredients to the Instant Pot and stir to combine.  Secure the lid, close the pressure valve, and cook for 4 minutes at high pressure.  Let the pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then switch the valve to "venting" to quick release.

  3. Give everything another stir and remove and discard the bay leaf.  At this point you can serve the jackfruit carnitas or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.  

Recipe Notes

  • Some people discard the harder core and seeds of the jackfruit.  I do not.  I find that if you do your best to tear everything up, it all cooks up nicely and you won't even notice those parts.  Why waste?
  • If you want to crisp up the edges to be even more like carnitas, you can spread the jackfruit on a parchment lined baking sheet and put it under the broiler for 10 minutes, stirring it at the halfway mark.  The edges of the jackfruit will start to brown and crisp up.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Shiree | Confessions of Parenting March 14, 2018 at 10:30 am

I haven’t ever heard of jackfruit! I will have to find some at the grocery store this week and try this recipe out.

Thanks for joining #WanderingWednesday!


La Fuji Mama March 15, 2018 at 2:44 pm

It’s awesome stuff!!!


Meg March 14, 2018 at 2:29 pm

If you do not have an instantapot, how else could you cook the jackfruit?


La Fuji Mama March 15, 2018 at 2:50 pm

You can put everything in a pot on the stove! You will need to add some liquid so that it doesn’t burn…so keep a carton of veggie broth on hand. Start out by sauteing the onion in a bit of the veggie broth (or in a bit of cooking oil). When it softens, add the garlic and continue to sautee until it is fragrant, then add the spices and sautee for another 30 seconds. At this point you can dump all the rest of the ingredients into the pot, give it a good stir and cook over medium to medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and adding veggie broth as needed to keep it from burning. Some people cook their jackfruit for less time, which you can totally do, but I find I like it more tender, so I let it go longer!


La Fuji Mama December 5, 2018 at 10:50 am

You can put all of the ingredients in a pot on the stove and cook until tender! You may need to add a bit more liquid, so just watch it!


Lori | Choosing Wisdom March 15, 2018 at 11:13 am

Oh my!! I love carnitas but have never heard of jackfruit! Just added this to my “to try” recipes! Yum!



La Fuji Mama March 15, 2018 at 2:50 pm

If you try it, let me know!


Natalie May 22, 2018 at 4:20 pm

Does it have a meat-like flavor? Or is it the consistency? Always wanted to try Jackfruit, and this seems like an accessible recipe.


Monika June 10, 2018 at 8:21 am

It tastes, looks, feels like carnitas.
You can find it in Asian Market. Make sure you get the ones that are packed in brine and NOT syrup. Jack fruit is a fruit. Ripe it is sweet, green it is for cooking.


Drew August 8, 2018 at 5:47 am

What size pressure cooker is this recipe for?


Susan December 5, 2018 at 4:03 am

That doesn’t sound like very much liquid, even for an Instant Pot. Is there an expectation that the drained Jackfruit will release some?


La Fuji Mama December 5, 2018 at 10:52 am

It’s plenty! I promise! It’s just short of a cup, unless you count the tomato paste, which puts it right about 1 cup. The jackfruit contains a lot of its own moisture as well. I have never had a problem with it, nor have my testers!


Virginia Phelps January 22, 2019 at 10:55 pm

Can I halve this recipe? I only have one can of jackfruit, I’m worried if I halve the liquid it will burn.


Katie February 6, 2019 at 6:11 pm

Just made this tonight! It’s delicious! Definitely adding it to the must make again list! :-)


Letizia March 13, 2019 at 7:22 pm

I need to make this in an 8-quart instant pot and the minimum requirements for liquids is 2 cups. Is my only option to double the whole recipe? That would make a crazy amount of food…any other thoughts?


Lisa April 8, 2019 at 4:55 am

What brand of liquid smoke do you use? A tablespoon seems like a lot…I use the Wrights brand, and it’s pretty strong. Can’t wait to make these later!


Michelle April 22, 2019 at 9:18 am

Made this last night. Our favorite jackfruit recipe so far. Great flavor, texture, and super easy. Thank you!


1guacmama April 28, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Don’t know what went wrong, but I made this according to recipe & it was so SOUR that no amount of “doctoring” it made it edible! Ended up throwing the entire batch away! (And yes, I used the jackfruit with bribe and rinsed well).


Jessica January 25, 2020 at 6:41 pm

Mine was sour, too! I was hopeful it wouldn’t be, but it was. I added maple syrup. I think it’s edible, but not what I was looking for.


PBCooker May 30, 2020 at 5:48 pm

I agree 100% – way too sour to eat and overload on paprika. Ratios aren’t right, do not make. Shame to throw it all out


Jennifer May 5, 2019 at 2:39 pm

We’ve made this so many times. I’ve used it as a filling in enchiladas, tacos, burritos, taco salad… So easy and great flavor.


Sehar Knight November 11, 2020 at 9:04 am

For the sambal oelek are you taking about the chili paste?


La Fuji Mama November 24, 2020 at 3:03 pm

Yes, exactly!


Jessica Bachmann June 5, 2021 at 8:12 am

I’ve made this a few times now and everyone loves it! I’ve adjust the ingredients depending what I’ve had on hand. For example: subbed grapefruit juice, Subbed water instead of soy sauce( some said it was too salty), subbed homemade taco seasoning, and sriracha for the sambal.
This is a great recipe! It’s so versatile!! You can’t go wrong! I also recommend the putting under the broiler part, makes it even better! Thanks for sharing and perfecting this recipe!!


Monica October 6, 2022 at 8:22 pm

Not pleased at all- tasted bitter!
Just a waste of good ingredients!


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