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Tacos de Yucatán (Yucatan Tacos)

Tacos de Yucatán bring the vibrant flavors and rich history of the Yucatán Peninsula right to your plate. From the unique marinating techniques to the use of traditional Mayan ingredients, these tacos offer an unforgettable culinary experience.

Key Takeaways

  • Who This Meal Appeals To: Lovers of Yucatecan and Mayan cuisine, fans of slow-cooked dishes, and those looking to expand their taco horizons.
  • Estimated Duration: Prep time: 30 minutes, Cooking time: 2-3 hours.
  • Nutrition Facts: Approximately 400-450 calories per serving, rich in protein and essential vitamins.

About this Recipe

Yucatecan cuisine is influenced by Mayan cooking methods and flavors, often featuring ingredients like achiote, sour orange, and habanero peppers. Tacos de Yucatán typically showcase marinated meats slow-cooked to perfection, often in banana leaves for added flavor.

Equipment Required

  • Slow cooker or Dutch oven
  • Mixing bowls
  • Citrus juicer
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Tongs


  • Pork or chicken: 2 lbs, cut into chunks
  • Corn tortillas: 12 pieces
  • Achiote paste: 3 tablespoons
  • Sour orange juice: 1 cup (or a mix of orange and lime juice)
  • Garlic cloves: 4, minced
  • Habanero peppers: 1-2, minced (adjust to taste)
  • Salt: 1 teaspoon
  • Optional garnishes: pickled red onions, chopped cilantro, lime wedges


  1. Prepare Marinade: In a bowl, mix achiote paste, sour orange juice, minced garlic, minced habanero peppers, and salt.
  2. Marinate Meat: Coat the meat chunks in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.
  3. Slow-Cook: Transfer the marinated meat to a slow cooker or Dutch oven. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours in the slow cooker or 2-3 hours in the oven at 325°F (163°C).
  4. Shred Meat: Once tender, shred the meat using two forks.
  5. Assemble Tacos: Load each corn tortilla with shredded meat and garnish as desired.

Side Dishes

  • Cilantro-lime rice
  • Yucatecan-style black beans
  • Jicama salad

Storage Options

  • Store leftover meat in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave.

Ingredient Substitutes

  • Achiote can be replaced with a mix of paprika, oregano, cumin, and a dash of vinegar.
  • Jalapeños can substitute for habanero peppers for less heat.

Alternatives to this Meal

  • Tacos de Cochinita Pibil: Pork tacos marinated in achiote and citrus juices.
  • Tacos de Pollo Pibil: Chicken version of the classic Yucatecan Pibil.
  • Tacos de Relleno Negro: Tacos featuring a blackened spice sauce and turkey meat.

A number of taco recipes can be found on this page


Tacos de Yucatán offer a sumptuous dive into the culinary world of the Mayan Peninsula. The complex marinade and slow-cooked meat result in flavors that are as rich and layered as the history from which they originate. Whether you’re a taco aficionado or a newcomer to Yucatecan cuisine, these tacos are sure to impress. Happy cooking!