Surprisingly easy to recreate at home, Instant Pot al Pastor is also quick to make thanks to the pressure cooking method! You’ll get perfect juicy and tender pulled pork, with a spice level you can customize to your preference. Served with big chunks of sweet pineapple, crisp red onion, and cilantro, these authentic tacos are always a crowd pleaser at parties!

A middle taco in a row of tacos al pastor with pineapple and chipotle.

After years of living in San Antonio and now Austin, Texas, I’ve learned what makes a good al pastor taco.

You need flavorful and tender meat with subtle hints of pineapple, perfectly pliable tortillas, and the right balance of spice from your homemade salsa or pineapple pico de gallo.

This recipe for al pastor tacos hit all the marks—and it’s super easy, to boot. With a pressure cooker, it uses a true set-it-and-forget-it method that feeds a crowd.

Why Instant Pot Tacos al Pastor Rock!

  • Quick and Convenient: Instant Pot Tacos al pastor are a lifesaver for busy nights or spontaneous taco cravings, thanks to the super fast cooking time of the pressure cooker.
  • Tender and Juicy: The pressure cooking method ensures that the pork turns out incredibly tender and juicy without overcooking it.
  • Easily Customizable: Don’t like it as spicy? Leave out the peppers. Want a little more sweet? Toss in more sugar!
  • Scalable and Perfect for Parties: You can easily double or triple the recipe without much added effort. They’re also so easy to keep warm in the pot so everyone can serve when they get hungry.
A delicious row of Pork al pastor tacos with fresh pineapple and spicy chipotle.
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Ingredients and Notes

  • Pineapple marinade. It’s so quick and easy to make the marinade for this pork. You only need 2 cups of fresh pineapple, red onion, garlic, maple syrup (or brown sugar), apple cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar), chipotle peppers in adobo, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Fresh pineapple is KEY here. If you get the canned variety they will taste WAY too sugary. Don’t forget the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. These bad boys give the tacos al pastor their signature taste.
  • Pork. These tacos are absolutely delicious with pork shoulder. It is the perfect balance of lean meat and fat. If you go with another cut, look for something similar, like a butt.
  • For the taco. Corn tortillas are the perfect base. Be sure to lightly fry them in coconut oil for the best texture. Top them with fresh pineapple, red onion, cilantro, and avocado. (Or try this pineapple pico de gallo!)
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How to Make al Pastor Tacos in the Instant Pot

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Marinate the Pork

The secret to the most tender meat is this awesome marinade. Plus, it’s super simple to make.

Combine the pineapple, onion, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, chipotle peppers, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper in the pitcher of a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes, until the sauce is completely smooth.

Add the trimmed and cubed pork shoulder along with the marinade to a large Ziplock bag or airtight container. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or up to 8 hours.

Note: Please marinate for AT LEAST 1 hour. The longer the better. I marinated mine overnight and they were perfect!

2. Cook in the Instant Pot, then shred

After the meat has marinated, add the pork along with the sauce to the Instant Pot. Place the lid on top, and make sure the pressure valve is sealed.

Cook the pineapple pork on high pressure for 45 minutes. When the timer goes off, allow for a 10-minute natural pressure release. Open the valve and allow the remaining pressure to release.

Open the lid and use two forks to shred the pork. Allow it to sit for another 10 minutes to absorb all the juices.

Too Much Liquid?

If your pork shoulder was very fatty you may have a bit too much liquid. If so, double up the corn tortillas to make sure your tacos do not fall apart!

3. Serve with Toppings

While there is no one right way to serve tacos al pastor, there are some irresistible toppings to choose from:

Instant Pot Tacos al Pastor recipe on a slate for a healthy dinner.

Are Tacos al Pastor Spicy?

Traditionally, tacos al pastor are not super spicy. However, they can vary depending on the heat from the chili peppers. If you want more heat, add more peppers. Or, use less for a milder flavor.

FAQs

What are tacos al pastor?

Typically, tacos al pastor include a sweet yet spicy pork served on a corn tortilla with pineapples, lime, and cilantro. Tacos al Pastor come from Central Mexico, specifically Puebla and Mexico City. “Al pastor” means “shepherd style” in Spanish. This is a super popular style of tacos found throughout American and Latin America.

What is the difference between tacos al pastor and tacos adobada?

Tacos al pastor and tacos adobada are similar, yet a just a little different. While they have similar flavors, the meat in adobada is grilled. For al pastor, the meat is traditionally cooked vertically on a spit.

Are tacos al pastor gluten-free?

Tacos al pastor should be gluten-free. As always, it’s essential to check the ingredients and ensure the tortillas and spices are free of gluten.

Recipe Tips

  • A little fatty. Be sure to get a cut of meat with some fat or it will turn out dry.
  • Let it rest. A 10-minute natural pressure release allows the meat to become extra tender.
  • An extra step. Lightly fry the corn tortillas in a little bit of coconut oil so they bend without breaking.

What sides pair well with tacos al pastor?

When you’re ready to dig in, you can’t go wrong with any of these delicious sides.

Opt for a traditional dish like Mexican Rice, Mexican Street Corn Salad, or Refried Black Beans.

Wash them down with a Mexican 75, Blood Orange Margarita, Cadillac Margarita, or a Watermelon Margarita.

An overhead picture of gluten-free al pastor on a slate.

More Taco Recipes

If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough tacos! Put these recipes on the rotation soon.

Tap stars to rate!

4.43 from 54 votes

Instant Pot Tacos Al Pastor Recipe

Surprisingly easy to recreate at home, Instant Pot al Pastor is also quick to make thanks to the pressure cooking method! You'll get perfect juicy and tender pulled pork, with a spice level you can customize to your preference.
A middle taco in a row of tacos al pastor with pineapple and chipotle.
Yield 8 tacos
Prep 15 minutes
Cook 55 minutes
Total 1 hour 10 minutes
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Ingredients 

  • 2 cups pineapple fresh, roughly chopped
  • ¾ cup red onion finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • cup pure maple syrup or brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 1 lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 2 pounds pork shoulder trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch cubes

To Make Tacos:

  • 8-16 corn tortillas*
  • ½ cup pineapple fresh, finely diced
  • ¼ cup red onion finely chopped, optional
  • Cilantro optional
  • Avocado optional

Instructions 

  • In a high speed blender or food processor combine pineapple, onion, garlic, maple syrup, vinegar, chipotle peppers, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper. Blend for 1-2 minutes or until marinade is completely smooth.
    2 cups pineapple, ¾ cup red onion, 2 cloves garlic, ⅓ cup pure maple syrup, 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar, 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, 1 lime, 1 Tbsp. chili powder, 1 tsp. cumin, ½ tsp. paprika, 1 ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ tsp. pepper
  • Place trimmed and cubed pork shoulder in a large bowl or a gallon-sized zip-top bag along with the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.
    2 pounds pork shoulder
  • Once ready to cook, add pork and marinade into the Instant Pot. Cover, make sure pressure release valve is sealed, and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Once the timer goes off, let the pork sit in the Instant Pot for 10 minutes for a 10 minute natural pressure release (NPR).
  • After 10 minutes, release the pressure valve and let it ventilate until you are able to open the Instant Pot. Shred the pork and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.
  • Serve shredded pork on corn tortillas with diced pineapple, red onions, cilantro, and avocado. Enjoy!
    8-16 corn tortillas*, ½ cup pineapple, ¼ cup red onion, Avocado, Cilantro
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

4.43 from 54 votes

Notes

  • If your pork shoulder was very fatty you may have a bit too much liquid. If so, double up the corn tortillas to make sure your tacos do not fall apart!
  • Nutritional information is calculated for 1 taco with 1 corn tortilla.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal, Carbohydrates: 31g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 59mg, Sodium: 525mg, Potassium: 600mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 14g, Vitamin A: 795IU, Vitamin C: 27.9mg, Calcium: 67mg, Iron: 2.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
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Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These tacos are divine. This recipe has become a staple in our house. We lived in San Diego for awhile and then moved to Michigan, we missed all the amazing tacos we had out there and these fixed that!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  2. BEST TacoTuesday night meat I have EVER made! Incredible recipe. Everyone devoured it. I doubled the meat and recipe (except kept cooking time the same) and it was still amazing!
    I added a slaw mix with cabbage slaw and chopped up pineapple and some lime juice and a bit of oil to top it off.

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Michelle! Sounds like a perfect Taco Night. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment!

  3. 5 stars
    It’s not clear to me in step 2 if you are supposed to add the marinade to the ziplock bag with pork. Can you please clarify?

    1. Thanks for the question, Noah! Yes, you add the marinade in with the pork. I’ll update the instructions to reflect this – sorry for any confusion!

  4. Do I place the marinade on the cubes meat while in the refrigerator or is the meat placed in the bag without the marinade ?

    1. You definitely want to coat the meat in the marinade before refrigerating it. This helps to tenderize the meat and give it a ton of flavor! Hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    This recipe was SO good! My boyfriend (who is a big cooking aficionado) and I were both so impressed! I’m definitely keeping this handy for anytime we want to do a taco night!

  6. 5 stars
    I’ve tried sooo many al pastor instant pot recipes and this is by far my fav. I doubled the chipotles and poured the adobo sauce in with the marinade, and was admittedly heavy handed with the cayenne but def the best flavor I ever got. Marinaded for about 4 hours, flavor for days. Thank YOU!! My search for al pastor awesome is over

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the al pastor recipe so much, Kira! And adding cayenne pepper is a great idea 🙂 Thanks for your comment and rating!

  7. 5 stars
    This pork turned out AMAZING. We took the leftover marinade/cooking liquid and reduced it on the stove, then added a bit of cornstarch to thicken and it made a baller taco sauce on top of the meat. Will definitely make these again.

    1. Oh that sauce sounds like it was to DIE for, Jenny! I’ll have to try that out the next time I make these. Thanks for your comment and rating!

  8. Help! i just finished blending the marinade. the flavor is great but a tad spicy, maybe my peppers are extra spicy. any suggestions to mellow it out before i put it on the meat?

    1. The peppers can definitely vary in heat, Kelly! You can add more pineapple to the marinade to dilute the pepper’s heat. Also, the marinade will disperse throughout the meat and the heat will decrease slightly after cooking. Hope this helps!

  9. I don’t even have these on the table yet and I’m a little worried I never will….people in my family keep pulling pieces of the cooling pork out of the pot and just eating it – one is literally drinking a cup of the broth….Very exciting.

    1. LOL. So happy to hear your family enjoyed the recipe so much. And thanks so much for your comment and feedback! 🙂

      1. 5 stars
        yeah – we ended up making DELICIOUS tacos with it – my oldest son: “omg mom – this is AMAZING.” They have been making burritos with the leftovers and are pretty much set on this being our taco meat from now on! Thank you for the delicious and EASY recipe

        1. You’re so very welcome, Teresa! The burritos sounds like a GREAT idea! Will have to try that out next time. Thanks so much for your comment and rating 🙂

  10. Hi London – I’m having a get together and plan to make this. I’ll be using 4 pounds of meat. I saw that you don’t double the time. Should I double the marinade but only put 1/2 of it in the IP? (I read the article on doubling you suggested and it stated that liquid doubling in some recipes like this can be tricky.) Thoughts? Thanks so much! Meg

    1. Hi Megan! It wouldn’t hurt to add just a touch more time to the recipe, but probably isn’t absolutely necessary. As long as you cut the pieces of pork into similar sized chunks you should be good! And yes, doubling the liquid can get a bit challenging since it can create too much pressure if the IP is too full. However, I think you’ll be good with this recipe! If you start to pour in the sauce and it fills up past the max fill line, you can always cook the remaining down in a skillet and combine it all when it’s done cooking! Please do let me know how it turns out for you and I hope you have a wonderful get together!