Easy and Delicious Carnitas Recipe

Are you craving a flavorful and tender meat dish that is both easy to prepare and absolutely delicious? Look no further than this mouthwatering Carnitas recipe! Whether you’re planning a casual weeknight dinner or hosting a gathering with friends and family, Carnitas is a versatile and crowd-pleasing option that will leave everyone wanting more. In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of making these irresistible Carnitas step by step. So, let’s get started!

Carnitas is a traditional Mexican dish that features tender and juicy pork that is slow-cooked until it becomes meltingly soft on the inside, with a crispy exterior. The word “Carnitas” translates to “little meats” in Spanish, and that perfectly describes the small, succulent pieces of pork that are the star of this recipe. Traditionally, Carnitas are made by simmering the meat in lard until it’s tender and then crisping it up for added texture and flavor.


To make this easy and delicious Carnitas recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 3 pounds of pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon of dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
  • 1 cup of chicken broth

Step 1: Preparing the Pork

Start by trimming any excess fat from the pork shoulder chunks. Fat adds flavor, but you want to remove any large pieces that won’t render down during cooking. Cut the pork into smaller, manageable pieces, about 2-inch cubes.

Step 2: Marinating the Pork

In a large bowl, combine the chopped onion, minced garlic, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, salt, black pepper, orange juice, and lime juice. Mix well to create a flavorful marinade. Add the pork pieces to the bowl, ensuring they are fully coated in the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.

Step 3: Slow Cooking the Carnitas

Once the pork has marinated, it’s time to cook it to tender perfection. Heat the vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the marinated pork pieces to the pot, allowing them to sear on all sides until browned. This step helps to develop rich flavors in the meat.

Next, pour in the chicken broth, which will add moisture and further enhance the taste. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer the pork for approximately 2 to 3hours, or until the meat is fork-tender and easily pulls apart.

Step 4: Shredding the Pork

Once the pork is cooked to perfection, remove it from the pot and transfer it to a large cutting board or a plate. Using two forks, shred the meat into smaller, bite-sized pieces. The slow cooking process ensures that the pork is incredibly tender and will effortlessly fall apart.

Step 5: Crisping the Carnitas

To achieve that irresistible crispy texture, we’ll now crisp up the shredded pork. Heat a large skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat and add a small amount of vegetable oil. Once the oil is hot, add a portion of the shredded pork, spreading it out in an even layer. Allow it to cook undisturbed for a few minutes until the bottom turns golden brown and crispy. Using a spatula, flip the pork and crisp up the other side. Repeat this process until all the shredded pork is crispy and golden.

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Serving Suggestions

Now that your Carnitas are ready, it’s time to serve them up and enjoy! Here are a few serving suggestions:

  • Carnitas Tacos: Fill warm corn or flour tortillas with the crispy Carnitas, and top with your favorite toppings such as diced onions, chopped cilantro, and a squeeze of lime juice.
  • Carnitas Burritos: Wrap the Carnitas in a large tortilla along with rice, beans, salsa, and cheese, for a satisfying and flavorful burrito.
  • Carnitas Bowl: Serve the Carnitas over a bed of steamed rice or cilantro-lime rice, and add toppings like black beans, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream.

Tips and Variations

  • For an extra layer of flavor, consider adding a cinnamon stick or a couple of bay leaves to the cooking liquid when simmering the pork.
  • If you prefer a spicier version, add some chopped jalapeƱos or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the marinade.
  • To save time, you can use a slow cooker instead of a stovetop pot for the cooking process. Simply transfer the seared pork and marinade to the slow cooker, add the chicken broth, cover, and cook on low heat for 6 to 8 hours or until the pork is tender.


Congratulations! You have successfully prepared a delectable batch of homemade Carnitas. The combination oftender and flavorful pork, with its crispy exterior, makes Carnitas a truly irresistible dish. Whether you’re enjoying them in tacos, burritos, or a hearty bowl, the rich and savory flavors will undoubtedly satisfy your cravings. Don’t forget to customize your toppings and sides to create your own unique Carnitas experience.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. Can I use a different cut of pork for Carnitas? While pork shoulder is the most commonly used cut for Carnitas, you can also use pork butt or even a combination of different cuts to achieve excellent results.
  2. Can I make Carnitas in advance? Absolutely! Carnitas taste even better the next day. You can prepare them ahead of time and refrigerate them. When ready to serve, simply reheat them in a skillet until warmed through and crispy.
  3. Can I freeze leftover Carnitas? Yes, Carnitas freeze well. Allow them to cool completely, then store them in an airtight container or freezer bags. They can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  4. What can I do with leftover Carnitas? Leftover Carnitas can be used in various dishes such as quesadillas, nachos, enchiladas, or even added to omelets for a delicious breakfast option.
  5. Can I make Carnitas using a different type of meat? While traditional Carnitas are made with pork, you can experiment with other meats like chicken or beef. Adjust the cooking time accordingly based on the type of meat you choose.

Anya Emard

Welcome to my blog! Here, you'll find a delightful mix of insights, stories, and discoveries from the world around us. Join me as we embark on a journey of exploration and inspiration. Together, we'll navigate life's twists and turns, celebrate achievements, and embrace our shared experiences. Let's embark on this incredible adventure!

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