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overhead shot of shredded pork pernil in a white serving dish, and garnished with lime slices plus parsley. Corn tortillas are placed to the right, near the serving dish, and a bowl of rice is placed on the opposite side.

Instant Pot Puerto Rican Pernil

Katerina | Diethood
Instant Pot Puerto Rican Pernil is fall-apart tender, shredded pork loaded with garlic and spiked with Serrano peppers and citrus! And thanks to the Instant Pot, it only takes a fraction of the time to make it!
Servings : 8
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Marinating Time 1 hr
Total Time 2 hrs 45 mins


  • 1 medium yellow onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 bulb garlic, cloves separated and peeled, divided
  • 1 serrano pepper, seeded, ribs removed, and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 4 pound boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
For Serving:
  • cooked rice
  • corn tortillas
  • lime wedges
  • chopped fresh cilantro


  • In a food processor combine the onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, orange juice, half of the garlic cloves, serrano pepper, oregano, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper; process until smooth.
  • Reserve about ⅓ of the marinade in a separate container; put in the fridge and save it for serving.
  • Pour remaining marinade in a large separate mixing bowl or dish, and set aside.
  • Cut slits into the pork shoulder roast. Fill each slit with remaining cloves of garlic.
  • Place roast in the dish with the marinade and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 8 hours.
  • When ready to cook, remove roast from the fridge about 20 minutes prior to cooking.
  • Remove pork from the marinade and drain off any excess liquid.
  • Select the “saute” button on your Instant Pot and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  • To the heated oil, add the pork roast and brown on all sides; remove roast from IP and set aside.
  • Carefully pour in the chicken broth and stir all the browned bits from the bottom of the instant pot.
  • Return roast to the IP; lock lid and pressure cook on HIGH for 60 minutes.
  • Release pressure naturally for 10 minutes, then do a quick release.
  • Remove roast from the instant pot and transfer to a cutting board; shred the pork with two forks or meat-shredding claws.
  • Serve with rice, tortillas, lime wedges, cilantro, and reserved marinade.


  • Pork Shoulder: Pernil is the Spanish word for pork shoulder, which is why we are using pork shoulder for this recipe. For an evenly cooked roast, I suggest removing the pork shoulder from the refrigerator at least 20 minutes before you are ready to start with the recipe.
  • Serrano Pepper: If you can't find serrano peppers, use jalapeno peppers, but they're not nearly as spicy. If that's also not an option, you can use cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Keep in mind that substitutes are different from fresh peppers and will offer different textures and tastes.
  • Orange Juice: Freshly squeezed orange juice is always the better option, but you can also use store-bought orange juice.
  • Instant Pot Pernil: Traditional pernil takes 4 to 6 hours to roast in the oven, about 35 to 45 minutes per pound. Therefore, I like to use my Instant Pot and cook it for around one hour, or about 15 minutes per pound.  
  • Serving Pernil: Pernil is traditionally served with rice and beans, but I also like to serve it taco-style and stuff it in corn or flour tortillas.


Calories: 285 kcal | Carbohydrates: 3 g | Protein: 28 g | Fat: 17 g | Saturated Fat: 4 g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10 g | Cholesterol: 93 mg | Sodium: 407 mg | Potassium: 560 mg | Fiber: 1 g | Sugar: 1 g | Vitamin A: 172 IU | Vitamin C: 6 mg | Calcium: 41 mg | Iron: 2 mg | Net Carbs: 2 g

Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Puerto Rican
Keyword: pernil recipe, puerto rican pernil, pulled pork