This Carnitas de Puerco recipe uses with pork butt, onion, limes, spices, and ancho chiles. This is the most flavorful Carnitas recipe ever!
This is a simple Carnitas recipe used to make a ton of Mexican dishes. With this Carnitas recipe, you can make tacos, tostadas, and even tamales! This Carnitas recipe uses with pork butt, onion, limes, spices, and ancho chiles. Poblano peppers originated from Puebla, Mexico, which is how they received its name. Poblano peppers are extremely versatile. Ancho chiles are poblano peppers! It has mild to medium heat with hints of fruity flavor. Mexican chefs use chiles anchos for mole and other sauces.
When my American friends think carnitas and they think of a meat they put on their chipotle bowl. While this is true, in Mexico, carnitas usually is a meat topping on a taco, enchiladas and tamales. Other types of tacos are al pastor, asada, chorizo, barbacoa, lengua and cabeza. Meat is not wasted in Mexico!
If you love this recipe, feel free to try my Beef Queso Birria Tacos or my Beef Tinga.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make this. The exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Pork Shoulder or Butt
- Ancho Chiles
- Bay leaf
See recipe card for quantities.
How to make Carnitas Recipe
Start by putting the 2 destemmed and deseeded ancho chiles in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes.
Rub cumin, oregano, salt and pepper on the pork shoulder. Cut the pork into cubes and place in the slow cooker or pressure cooker.
After, place chopped onion, minced garlic, ancho chiles with the water, broth, juice and zest of lime, and 1 bay leaf.
For the slow cooker: cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. For the pressure cooker: cook on high for 60 minutes.
Take the meat out of the oven and garnish with chopped cilantro (if you wish). Enjoy this Carnitas de Puerco.
Hint: (Optional) Preheat oven to broil. Use tongs to take the pork out and place on a baking dish. Throw the ancho chiles and the bay leaf out. Using two forks, shred the meat and take the bones out. Reserve ½ cup or 1 cup of the juice in the crockpot. Put the shredded meat in the oven to broil for 5 minutes. This will crisp the ends of the meat and provide a delicious texture!
Pork: You can use pork shoulder or butt, whatever will shred easily. Alternatively, pork leg (ham), upper loin roast, and upper leg are also suitable.
Ancho chiles: This is optional but very traditional to use for carnitas. You can buy these on Amazon or at a local hispanic grocery store. Just check on google maps and type "hispanic grocery store." There are so many all over the US. You can also check the ethnic food section at your local grocery store.
Lime: Use real limes instead of store bought lime juice for best flavor.
Broth: Feel free to use any type of broth for this. I used chicken broth but you can use beef or vegetable broth.
Onion: I love using red onion for this but you can use yellow or white onion as well.
Garlic: Use fresh garlic for best flavor, finely minced.
Cooking is a chance to be creative! Have fun with it and feel free to make your own variation.
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes into the pot or top with hot sauce at the end.
- Deluxe - add guacamole on the side or pickled onion.
- Kid friendly - add crushed tortilla chips or serve as a taco.
Check out these Pork Birria Tacos. Use the meat from this dish and make these delicious tacos.
Equipment can have a big impact on how a recipe turns out. Stone bakeware takes longer to heat up than metal pans, and also retain heat for longer, which could make the recipe more watery, or burnt on the outsides.
I love using my Caraway pots, pans and baking sheets for best quality. Get yourself a discount by clicking here!
This will be good in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
The Carnitas de Puerco can be frozen for up to three months.
This step is not necessary but broiling the pork at the end will give it great crispiness.Print
Carnitas de Puerco
- Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
Carnitas de Puerco is pork shoulder that is slow cooked and shredded and served on a taco. It uses ancho chiles, or dried poblano peppers, to give it the best taste!
- 1.5 lbs bone in pork shoulder
- 2 ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed (optional)
- 1 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ cup of chicken, beef or vegetable broth
- 1 lime, juiced and zested
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- Garnish with cilantro, chopped
- Soak the chiles. Start by putting the 2 destemmed and deseeded ancho chiles in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes to rehydrate.
- Season the pork. Rub cumin, oregano, salt and pepper on the pork shoulder. Cut the pork into cubes and place in the pressure/slow cooker.
- Cook in Slow Cooker/Pressure Cooker. Place chopped onion, minced garlic, ancho chiles with ¼ cup of its water, broth, juice and zest of lime, and 1 bay leaf. For Slow Cooker: Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. For Pressure Cooker: Pressure cook on high for 60 minutes. Quick release after.
- Preheat oven to broil (optional for crispiness). When the carnitas are done, use tongs to take the meat out and place on a baking dish. Throw the ancho chiles, bones, and the bay leaf out. Using two forks, shred the meat. Reserve ½ cup of the juice in the crockpot. Put the shredded meat in the oven to broil for 5 minutes. This will crisp the ends of the meat and provide a delicious texture!
- Serve. Take the meat out of the oven and garnish with chopped cilantro.
- I would fry the tortilla to serve as a tostada. It give it that crunch you need!
- Ancho Chiles are difficult to find. You can always add a teaspoon of chili powder if you still want a nice spice to your carnitas.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Instant Pot
- Cuisine: Mexican
- Serving Size: 1
- Calories: 227
- Sodium: 873 mg
- Fat: 12 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 0 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 29 g
- Cholesterol: 66 mg
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
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