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Taco de Carnitas Recipe: Slow & Steady

Taco de carnitas are a type of taco that is made with slow-cooked, tender, and juicy pork that is typically seasoned with citrus and spices. The pork is usually cooked in lard or oil until it is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. The pork is then shredded and served on a corn tortilla with various toppings, such as chopped cilantro, diced onion, salsa, guacamole, and lime wedges.

Taco de carnitas are a popular Mexican dish that can be found in many Mexican restaurants and food trucks. They are often served as street food and are a favorite among taco lovers. Taco de carnitas can be made at home using a slow cooker or by braising the pork in a pot on the stove. In this article we guide you through this slow cooker recipe.

About this recipe

Taco de Carnitas is a Mexican dish that’s a hit at any gathering. This recipe is your one-stop guide to making the most mouth-watering Taco de Carnitas ever. Simple, delicious, and quick to make, it’s a must-try!

  • Ease of Cooking: Easy
  • Preparation Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 2 hours
  • Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes

Taco de Carnitas Recipe Background

The term “Carnitas” translates to “little meats” in Spanish, and that’s what this dish is all about—small pieces of pork cooked to perfection. Originating from the state of Michoacán in Mexico, Taco de Carnitas has become a staple in Mexican cuisine and has gained international popularity.

Why Make This Recipe?

Here’s why you should try this Taco de Carnitas recipe:

  1. Flavorful: The pork is tender and rich in flavor.
  2. Versatile: Great for any occasion.
  3. Easy to Make: Even beginners can master this dish.

What Does Taco de Carnitas Taste Like?

Imagine tender, juicy pork with a hint of citrus and spices, all wrapped in a warm tortilla. That’s what Taco de Carnitas tastes like—a burst of flavors in every bite!


  • Pork shoulder: 2 lbs, cut into chunks
  • Orange: 1, juiced
  • Lime: 1, juiced
  • Onion: 1, chopped
  • Garlic cloves: 4, minced
  • Spices: Cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper


  • Slow cooker or Dutch oven
  • Frying pan
  • Cutting board
  • Knife


  1. Preparation: Place pork chunks in a slow cooker.
  2. Marination: Add orange juice, lime juice, onions, garlic, and spices.
  3. Cook: Set the slow cooker on low for 2 hours.
  4. Shred: Once cooked, shred the pork.
  5. Crisping: In a pan, fry the shredded pork until crispy.

What to Serve Taco de Carnitas With

  • Salsa Verde: For a tangy kick.
  • Mexican Rice: To make it a complete meal.
  • Guacamole: Because who doesn’t love guacamole?

My Recommendations and Tips

  • Slow Cooking: The longer you cook, the more tender the meat.
  • Spice Level: Adjust according to your preference.
  • Tortilla Choice: Corn tortillas are traditional but feel free to use flour.

For more information on how to cook the perfect Perfect pork taco, check out this comprehensive guide on Pork Tacos.

Storage Ideas

  • Pork: Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • Tortillas: Keep in a sealed bag at room temperature for up to 2 days.

Ingredients Substitutes

  • Orange Juice: Lemon juice is a good alternative.
  • Spices: Feel free to experiment with your favorite spices.


  1. Pork Belly Tacos: Carnitas and pork belly tacos both utilize a fattier cut of pork. While carnitas are slow-cooked and traditionally use the shoulder, pork belly, often grilled or roasted, has a similarly rich and indulgent flavor due to its high fat content.
  2. Birria Tacos: In terms of the slow-cooking method, carnitas and birria tacos share a commonality. Both involve slow-cooking the meat, although the specific seasoning and flavors differ considerably.
  3. Barbacoa Tacos: Both carnitas and barbacoa involve slow-cooking methods, typically using different cuts of meat. Barbacoa often uses beef, lamb, or goat, but the slow-cooking technique is similar to that of carnitas.

While these comparisons share some cooking methods or features, each type of taco has its own distinctive taste, seasoning, and regional influences, setting them apart from one another.


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