Pork Carnitas Tacos feature juicy shredded pork shoulder slow-cooked in a rich tomato and green chili sauce.
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!
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.
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.
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
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:
- Pressure Cooker Chicken Taco Filling with juicy shredded chicken is a fast Instant Pot recipe for lunch or dinner.
- Crispy Baked Chicken and Black Bean Tacos add crunch, creamy black beans, and tender baked chicken to your taco repertoire.
- Pressure Cooker Greek Tacos are a Mediterranean spin on pork tacos brightened up with lemon juice and served with pita.
Shredded Pork Tacos
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 2 pounds cubed pork meat
- 1 medium onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tsp chili powder
- ¼ tspground cumin
- ¼ 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large oven-safe skillet, heat the oil. Brown the pork, garlic, and onion until brown.
- Add chili powder, cumin, and salt. Cook 1 minute to toast spices. Stir in chilies and tomatoes.
- 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.
- Shred the pork and cook off any remaining liquid on the stove.
- Serve in tortillas or taco shells with toppings of your choices.