Carnitas Tacos

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Life without guacamole just isn’t worth living!! Which is why I’m always on the prowl for fun ways to incorporate one of my favorite condiments! And today it’s all about these Carnitas Tacos topped with guac!

Carnitas Tacos from (@whatsgabycookin)

I can’t even remember the first time I made carnitas tacos. It had to be years ago when I was in culinary school and just starting to emerge from my picky eater status. (20 some odd years of not really eating fish, meat, mushrooms etc… so if I can get over it, there’s hope for everyone else!) Since then, I can’t get enough.

Carnitas Tacos from (@whatsgabycookin)

These melt in your mouth carnitas are to die for. And when you put them in a warmed flour or corn tortilla and top it off with some guacamole and a sprinkle of pickled onions, well, things look just about perfect!

Carnitas Tacos from (@whatsgabycookin)

These carnitas tacos are made on the stovetop. If you’re using a slow cooker, cook the pork shoulder on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours. It’s important to use a meat thermometer to make sure your pork shoulder reaches an internal temperature of 170°F.

And if you’re looking for some ideas of what to make with your leftovers, try these carnitas recipes:

Burrito Bowl – My all time fav Carnitas Burrito Bowl! All of the toppings, yummy rice, and the best carnitas!

Skillet Nachos – These mini skillets are composed of layers of homemade tortilla chips, carnitas, some shredded cheese, a bit of queso for good measure, and salsa.

Pizza – This pizza with lots of carnitas, guacamole, and cheese is a game changer.

Carnitas Tacos from (@whatsgabycookin)

Carnitas Tacos

5 from 8 votes
These melt in your mouth carnitas are to die for. Put them in a warmed flour or corn tortilla and top it off with some guacamole and a sprinkle of pickled onions, for the perfect dinner.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 50 mins
Total Time 3 hrs
Course Main Course, Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 -8 people


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
  • 10 oz chipotle salsa
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
  • Small corn and flour tortillas


  • Diced white onions
  • Lime wedges
  • Guacamole
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Sliced Jalapenos

For the Pickled Red Onions

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced


  • Make the pickled red onions. Whisk the apple cider vinegar, sugar and salt with 1 cup water in a small bowl until sugar and salt dissolve. Place onion in a jar; pour vinegar mixture over. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  • Place the pork in a large dutch oven with the orange juice, lime juice, salsa and salt. Add enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours, at which point the pork should be falling apart to the touch.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high, and continue to cook the pork for 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring every once in a while, until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat as been rendered.
  • Parts of the pork should be caramelized and golden brown. Remove the dutch oven from the stove and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve as needed or let cool and store in an airtight container for 4 days in the fridge
  • To assemble the tacos, warm or char a small tortilla and place a few pieces of carnitas on top. Add a dollop of guacamole, a few pickled red onions, chopped onions, jalapenos and a sprinkle of cilantro. Serve immediately.

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking


  1. Gaby- these look amazing! I have a dinner party this week and was trying to decide what to make that’s easy and delish! How many tacos does this recipe make? Thanks!

  2. I love tacos! I could eat them everyday, and these pickled onions are going to really give a nice zingy flavor!!

    1. Yes – but they wouldn’t get that crispy topping- so if you do them in a slow cooker, I’d shred them up and put them in the broiler for a few minutes to get them crispy

    1. thanks Gaby! on my menu for next week! have made several of your recipes lately
      and they are all keepers!!! Told my coworker about you and she was sharing with me yesterday about several that her family has loved as well!!! thanks 🙂

  3. Such a good recipe. The onions are a must. Husband raved about them all night. I made avocado crema for them, which was good, but I’d stick to guacamole or avocado slices in the futures.

  4. Gaby – these look amazing – could I just put the whole pork shoulder in the Dutch oven uncut? And shred when cooked?

    1. it would take way longer to make it that way! But also there’s a whole pork butt carnitas recipe in the new cookbook and it’s AMAZING

    2. Thanks – made them yesterday – posted them on IG – sorry I didn’t make the cut on your story but they were delicious.

  5. 5 stars
    This was insanely good! Make it immediately. Also is it in your first cook book? I have your new one and didn’t see it in there.

  6. Hi Gaby-

    We have really enjoyed your recipes the past several months and your new cookbook is amazing.
    Question: have you ever made your carnita recipes with chicken. I’m allergic to hooved animals, (yep, that’s a real thing) so pork won’t work. I would love your advice.
    Many thanks-
    Rebecca McVeigh

  7. 5 stars
    No brainer! has quickly become our family’s go to taco night! so easy and my So Cal raised hubby says best tacos he has outside of Huntington Beach!

  8. Great recipe and congrats on Poppy! Suggestion for slow cooker/insta pot timing/tips? Made these stovetop and they are great.

  9. 5 stars
    Made this today after seeing it on Gaby’s insta stories earlier this week.
    Extremely simple recipe, but the result – wow – AMAZING!!!! Even the picky 9 year old twin ate it all.

  10. This recipe is so yummy. My husband and I both loved it and left overs. The pickled onions and the other toppings are delicious. I will make this recipe over and over. Again thank you Gaby!

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