Instant Pot Al Pastor Tacos

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Al Pastor tacos start with a good marinade. There are many versions of an authentic marinade and this one is our favorite.

There is only one true way to cook the real deal Al Pastor and that is over a vertical “rotisserie” style spit. Traditionally, it is impossible to recreate at home but the essence of the flavors can be captured.

It starts with a marinade of dried chilies, fresh juice, sweet pineapple, and the right blend of spices. Preparing this up to two days in advance, not only tenderizes the pork but infuses it with all of the amazing flavors.

The best way to cook it is by slow cooking. Nothing fancy, I just found that a long marinade and a low and slow cooking time resulted in tasty and tender tacos. Using the pressure cooker setting on my instant pot also gives great results.

I love to serve them with soft corn tortillas and top off with my mom’s recipe for homemade red salsa, sweet pineapple, and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

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What You’ll Need:

6-quart Instant Pot/Slow Cooker- My instant pot has a slow cooking setting (just use a glass lid) and I cook it in there on HIGH for 10 hours. I do this in the morning before I grab coffee and by the time we are done with work, dinner is done! I have tried cooking this with the pressure cooker settings, and you can but the flavors are best doing a slow cook.

3-3.5 lbs. Boneless Pork Shoulder- Trim excess fat and cut into 6-8 large chunks.

Dried Guajillo & Ancho Chilies- Fresh chilies have color to them and have a pliable texture. Avoid using chilies that are dry, brittle, and bland in color.

Garlic- You can use whole garlic cloves or granulated (not powdered) garlic. Both work great.

Apple Cider Vinegar– Adds the necessary acidity.

Fresh Pineapple- Use a nice ripe, sweet pineapple. Add one cup to the marinade and cut the rest into small bite sized pieces for finishing off the tacos.

Fresh Orange Juice- Bottled also works.

Clove & Ginger– You can use ground clove or whole cloves as listed below. Using clove and ground ginger was something that I was a little unsure of. After much research I realized that it is found in many authentic recipes. The ingredients are all simple, but each one adds to the complexity of the flavors.


Salt– Add what is listed in the recipe and more if needed to taste. Sometimes I like to add a pinch or two of flaked sea salt over the tacos as part of the garnish.

Pepper- I tend to use fresh cracked pepper which can be a challenge when measuring. I have added whole peppercorns to this marinade since it is all going in the blender anyways. You can use any pepper you have.

Annatto Seeds- Annatto is a product of the achiote tree, which is native to Central and South America, and Mexico. In the event that you can’t find annatto seeds you can substitute it with one packet of Sazon Goya with Annatto & Coriander.

Bay Leaves- Toss a couple into the pot when cooking.

Large Ziplock Bag or Covered Container

Garnishes- Red Salsa, Fresh Pineapple, Chopped Cilantro, Avocado.

Tortillas- Corn tortillas are our favorite. I love to warm them over the gas stove for those slightly blackened edges.

Love Tacos?

Try my other recipes for Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken Tacos and Instant Pot Cuban-Style Pork Tacos, or make a simple Taco Seasoning for your pantry.

Instant Pot Al Pastor Tacos

These easy Al Pastor tacos can be prepared in your Instant Pot or slow cooker. No matter which way you cook them, they are tender & delicious.
Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Fusion, Gluten-Free, Mexican
Servings 24 tacos (approximately)
Calories 122 kcal



  • 3-3.5 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 3-4 dried guajillo chilies, deseeded
  • 2-3 dried ancho chilies, deseeded
  • 1 cup fresh pineapple (ripe & sweet), cubed for the marinade
  • 1/4 cup oil, (olive, avocado, or vegetable oil)
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup orange juice, (fresh is best if you can)
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 4 garlic cloves, you can sub 1 t. granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 whole cloves, you can sub 1/4 t. clove powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, you can sub about 10 peppercorns
  • 2 whole chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seeds, see notes below*
  • corn tortillas for serving


  • 1-2 cups fresh pineapple (ripe & sweet), cut into small bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped
  • avocado, diced (optional)
  • red salsa, (see link above to my recipe)
  • sea salt flakes, optional


  • Cut the pork into 4-6 large chunks and place in a gallon Ziploc bag or large glass dish.
  • Cut the dried chilies open and remove & discard the seeds.
  • Place the chilies in a medium bowl and fill just until covered with boiling water. Place a plate or lid on top to steam & soften. Set a timer for 10-20 minutes.
  • When they are done steaming, remove them from the liquid and place in your blender with the rest of your marinade ingredients.
  • Blend until smooth, about 1 minute depending on your blender.
  • Pour the blended marinade into the bag or dish with the pork, seal well. Place in the fridge and marinade for 24-48 hours.
  • When you are ready to cook, place in your crock pot and cook on HIGH for 8-10 hours or pressure cook for 45 minutes and natural release for about 20-30 minutes. Slow cooking does produce a better flavor and is the method I recommend.
  • After it is done cooking. Remove the meat and place in a foil pan or a broiler safe dish. Shred the pork well and add about a cup of the cooking liquid. Broil for about 5 minutes to crisp the edges just a little bit.
  • Remove from the broiler, stir, and serve the tacos with your garnishes. Enjoy!


Serving sizes/amounts and nutritional values are estimates only. 
*Annatto seed can be substituted with 1 packet of Sazon Goya with Annatto & Coriander


Calories: 122kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 13gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.02gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 326mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 945IUVitamin C: 13mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg
Keyword crockpot, instant pot, meal prep, pork tacos, pressure cooker, slow cooker, taco bar, taco tuesday, tacos, weeknight meals
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!



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