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Pork Carnitas Tacos

Juicy pork carnitas tacos made in the crockpot for an effortless taco night recipe. Wrapped in warm corn tortillas and topped with pineapple, pickled onions, avocado crema and queso fresco for one epic bite!

Easy Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Tacos

Made in the crockpot for an easy meal, these juicy pork carnitas tacos with hints of citrus and beer will become your new favorite recipe for the summer. Quickly shredded and assembled, they’ll keep you out of the kitchen and enjoying the sun longer.

Seasoned with a homemade spice rub and slow-cooked until fall-apart-tender, every bite is perfectly smokey, earthy, and herby. Popped into the broiler for some toastiness, don’t forget the blended avocado crema for an extra layer of flavor!

For a pop of color, you can pile on lots of tangy, spicy, and creamy toppings like pineapple or pico de gallo. Served with warm corn tortillas, they’ll add a taste of Mexico to all your taco nights.

Three pork carnitas tacos with toppings.

Why You’ll Love These Carnitas Tacos

These pork carnitas tacos are effortless, freezer-friendly, and versatile. They’ll save any weeknight dinner or impromptu taco night!

  • Effortless. Aside from mixing the spice rub and blending the sauce, all you have to do is throw everything into the crockpot. Can it get any easier?
  • Freezer-friendly. Freeze the leftovers and pull them out later for a last-minute meal. Your future self will thank you!
  • Versatile. Change up the topping combination or use the carnitas to make gorditas, burritos, or tortas. Either way, you’ll never get tired of them.

What Are Carnitas?

Carnitas are a shredded or diced pork dish from the state of Michoacan. It consists of confit pork (slow-cooked in fat) seasoned with citrus juice and spices. It’s made in huge copper casseroles that are said to give them part of their signature flavor. Carnitas are chopped and used as a filling for tacos, gorditas, burritos, and tortas.

Recipe Ingredients

This recipe is full of Mexican spices and ingredients like chipotle, garlic, oregano, and lime juice. Check the recipe card at the bottom of the post for full ingredient amounts.

For the Tacos

  • Pork loin
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Smoked paprika Regular paprika also works.
  • Dried oregano – Mexican oregano is best for this.
  • Onion – White or yellow onion is okay.
  • Garlic cloves
  • Chipotle pepper – Feel free to use chipotle sauce.
  • Limes
  • Lemon
  • Beer – Use your favorite brand.

For the Avocado Crema

  • Avocado
  • Garlic clove – You can use 2 teaspoons of garlic powder per clove in the recipe.
  • Lime – Lemon juice is a good substitute.
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Red pepper flakes – Cayenne pepper is a good swap. Feel free to leave it out too.
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Corn tortillas – Don’t use flour tortillas.
Overhead shot of three pork carnitas tacos with avocado crema and toppings.

How to Make Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Tacos

The crockpot does most of the work for you, so just lay back and watch these flavorful carnitas come together after you throw everything in.

  • Make the spice rub. Whisk the salt, black pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, and oregano in a small bowl. Rub the pork loin with the spice rub.
  • Fill the crockpot. Place the pork in the crockpot. Add the onion, garlic cloves, chipotle, lime juice, lemon juice, and beer.
  • Cook it. Place the lid on the crockpot. Cook the pork on HIGH for 6-8 hours. Remove the pork from the crock pot, leaving the juices in the pot and cooking on HIGH. This will help the juices reduce and thicken.
  • Shred it. Use two forks to carefully shred the pork. Spread it out on a baking sheet. Depending on how much meat you have, you might need two baking sheets.
  • Broil it. Turn the broiler on HIGH, and place baking sheets under the broiler for 5-10 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  • Add the juice. Add pork back into the juices in the crock pot and turn it off. Don’t skip this because it’ll make the carnitas nice and juicy.
  • Make the avocado crema. Add the avocados, garlic, lime juice, fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper to the blender. Process until you get a smooth mixture. Pour it into a serving bowl. Refrigerate it until ready to use.
  • Assemble the tacos. Heat the corn tortillas in a griddle over low heat for 1-2 minutes on each side. They should be soft and bendy. Fill them with carnitas and add your favorite toppings.

Tips for Success

Want to make sure your pork carnitas tacos are the best ever? Here are some easy tips for success:

  • Use a timer. A kitchen timer is great for helping you remember there’s something in the oven or broiler. If you have a timer, use it!
  • Add more citrus. Add 3/4 cup of freshly squeezed orange to the crockpot ingredients. It’s a very traditional ingredient in carnitas recipes!
  • Use another cut. Pork butt is a good substitute but trim off the excess fat to avoid the carnitas from becoming too greasy.
  • Watch the broiler. Don’t leave the carnitas in the broiler for too long or they’ll dry out too much. Remove them from the broiler as soon as the time is up.
Toppings for tacos.

Topping Ideas

Try these simple toppings for lots of extra flavor:

  • Queso fresco – Queso cotija is a good swap.
  • Pickled onions – I love adding these to tacos, burgers, you name it.
  • Diced pineapple – Mango’s good too.
  • Sliced jalapeños – For more heat, use chile serrano instead.
  • Pico de Gallo This light salad adds a refreshing bite.
Overhead of carnitas tacos with avocado crema and toppings.

What Goes With Carnitas Tacos?

These pork carnitas tacos are great with veggie sides, salads, and/or salsas. Try my Easy Homemade Baked Beans, Roasted Potatoes, and Corn on the Cob for sides. A light salad like my Green Goddess Salad will also do. Don’t forget a spoonful of my Avocado Salsa Verde or Fresh Mango Salsa for even more flavor.

How to Store and Reheat Leftovers

Once fully cooled, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Keep it away from heat and sunlight when on the counter for reheating. Throw it away as soon as it starts to smell sour or funky, even if it’s not been 4 days.

Here are three ways to reheat carnitas:

  • Microwave. Sprinkle them with 1-3 teaspoons of water and pop them into the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until warm.
  • Stove. Place the carnitas in a large pan over medium-low heat. Stir them for 6-7 minutes or until warm.
  • Oven. This is best for larger portions. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the carnitas on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until warm.
Three carnitas tacos with toppings.

Can I Freeze Extras?

Yes! Don’t freeze whole tacos, though. Those don’t freeze well at all. What you can freeze are the carnitas. Place them in a freezer-friendly bag or container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the fridge overnight before reheating them as usual.

More Taco Recipes to Try

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Three pork carnitas tacos with toppings.

Pork Carnitas Tacos

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 2530 tacos 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Juicy pork carnitas tacos made in the crockpot for an effortless taco night recipe. Wrapped in warm corn tortillas and topped with pineapple, pickled onions, avocado crema and queso fresco for one epic bite!


Ingredients

Scale

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas:

  • 34 lbs. pork loin, fat trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 large chipotle pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 bottle of beer

Avocado Crema:

  • 2 avocados
  • garlic clove
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • salt & pepper

Other Ingredients:

  • 2530 tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cup diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup crumbled queso fresco
  • pickled onions

Instructions

  1. In a small dish add sea salt, black pepper, ground cumin, smoked paprika, oregano.
  2. Rub the pork loin with the spice rub.
  3. Place the pork loin on the bottom of the crock pot. Add the chopped onion, garlic cloves, chipotle pepper, lime juice, lemon juice, and a bottle of beer.
  4. Cook on HIGH for 6-8 hours.
  5. Remove the pork from the crock pot, still leaving the juices in the pot and cooking on HIGH.
  6. Using two forks, shred the pork and spread it out on baking sheet. (you may need 2 depending on how much meat you have)
  7. Turn the broiler on HIGH, place baking sheets under the broiler for 5-10 minutes. Or until pork gets browned and crispy.
  8. Then add pork back into the juices in the crock pot. Turn off and set aside.
  9. To a food processor add: avocados, garlic clove, lime juice, fresh cilantro, red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Mix until they are smooth.
  10. Assemble Tacos: to a tortilla add pork, diced pineapple, queso fresco, avocado crema and pickled onions. Serve

Keywords: pork carnitas tacos, carnitas tacos, tacos de carnitas

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