Pork Carnitas Tacos

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Pork Carnitas Tacos feature juicy shredded pork shoulder slow-cooked in a rich tomato and green chili sauce. 

three pork carnitas tacos in hard shells with green jalapenos

Tacos are always a fun and welcome dinner recipe. And while they can be as simple as filling a taco shell with spiced ground beef, sometimes something a little elevated is in order. That’s when this recipe for shredded pork tacos comes in. 

Slow cooking cubed pork shoulder in the oven yields incredibly juicy, flavorful, and just-spicy-enough carnitas filling. Add your favorite toppings and you have an easy hands-off dinner that’s sure to impress. 

Update: This family-friendly dinner recipe is a must-try, so I’ve updated the post with helpful tips and new photos to make it even easier. Enjoy!

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How to Make Pork Carnitas Tacos

This is a great recipe to build bold, intense flavors with little work. This carnitas is mostly hands-off, due to the long, slow cooking in the oven, which develops rich flavors without drying out the meat. 

Look for Rotel diced tomatoes and the canned chilis in the canned veggie aisle. Sometimes the green chilis are in the international aisle near the taco ingredients.

The first step in making carnitas is to sear the meat well on all sides. This step helps to seal in the juices and keep the meat moist. While browning the meat, stir it only occasionally so the garlic and onions don’t overcook.

When adding the canned ingredients, add all of the liquid too. The juices flavor the pork and add moisture during baking.

steps to prepare pork carnitas tacos with tomatoes and green chilis

What Cut of Meat for Shredded Pork Tacos?

I make carnitas with cubed pork shoulder. I can often find pre-cut meat which makes the cooking (and cleaning) faster and easier. If you can’t find pre-cut pork, you can purchase pork shoulder and cut it into cubes. Cubing the meat reduces the cooking time without sacrificing the flavor or texture. This recipe cooks moist shredded meat in 2 hours. 

bowl of pork carnitas with taco toppings and tortillas

Serving Pork Carnitas Tacos

The best time to shred the pork is when the meat is still hot from the oven. Most of the meat should shred very easily just by pushing it with the back of a fork. For any tougher pieces, use two forks or a meat shredder. 

Then give it a good stir to coat the shredded pork fully in the juices at the bottom of the pan.

The carnitas is best served warm in warm tortillas. Corn or flour tortillas both work well.

Some of my favorite toppings for these meaty tacos include: 

  • Shredded cheese
  • Sliced jalapeños
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Diced onions
  • Chopped Lettuce
  • Salsa or salsa verde 
close up on a taco with shredded pork and raw veggie toppings

Can I Make Carnitas Ahead of Time?

Yes, this dish stores well. Leftover cold pork can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat it in the microwave or on the stove to serve. 

Or cool and freeze the meat in an airtight container for up to three months. Defrost it overnight in the fridge and reheat to serve. If necessary, add some broth or water if the meat is dry.   

More Taco Recipes

Because any night can be taco Tuesday if you want it to be, add these other popular taco recipes to your menu soon:

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three pork carnitas tacos in hard shells with green jalapenos
Yield: 4 servings

Shredded Pork Tacos

Moist and tender shredded pork carnitas tacos with pork shoulder, diced tomatoes, and green chilis are a bit spicy, moist and perfect with toppings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 pounds cubed pork meat
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tspground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 4-ounce can chopped green chilies
  • 1 10-ounce can Rotel diced tomatoes and chilies, Do not drain
  • Soft tortillas or taco shells
  • Toppings of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the oil. Brown the pork, garlic, and onion until brown.
  3. Add chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook 1 minute to toast spices. Stir in chilies and tomatoes.
  4. Cover the skillet with a tight-fitting lid and bake for 2 – 3 hrs until fork-tender, adding water if necessary to ensure the meat stays moist.
  5. Shred the pork and cook off any remaining liquid on the stove.
  6. Serve in tortillas or taco shells with toppings of your choices.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 729Total Fat: 41gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 200mgSodium: 753mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 5gProtein: 64g

Nutrition information is calculated by Nutritionix and may not always be accurate.

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