Pork Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa

26 Reviews / 4.8 Average
Switch up the normal beef taco nights with these Pork Carnitas Tacos! They go perfect topped with tomatillo sauce and wrapped in homemade corn tortillas. I've adapted this recipe from Marcela Valladolid and it's a big hit every time we share it.
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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos on 100 Days of Real Food

If you don’t have a slow cooker I think this recipe alone is worth the $25 or $30 investment (we use this basic, inexpensive slow cooker).

We have tested these pork tacos on quite a lot of people (including our dinner club guests), and it gets rave reviews every time!

I’ve also already shared another slow cooker favorite of ours “The Best Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot,” which can easily be turned into overnight homemade chicken stock. There is no better way than a slow cooker to make inexpensive cuts of meat delish.

Pork Carnitas Tacos Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food

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144 thoughts on “Pork Carnitas Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa”

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Recipe Rating

  1. 5 stars
    Hello there!!!
    I have made this carnitas recipe several times, A family and friends favorite pork Carnitas. I just do it slightly diferent. I add orange juice from the fruit and a laurel leave. It add the flavor that I remember from my childhood in México.

  2. Do you think I could substituted chicken thighs? I’m making one batch pork and then looking for an alternative for a few non pork eaters.

  3. Genevieve Rodrigue

    5 stars
    These carnitas were simply amazing!!! Made them for a birthday fiesta and everyone was raving about their goodness!!! Thank you for such a simple yet delicious recipe!

  4. Does anyone have recommendations on what to substitute for the avocado? I love it, but I have a severe avocado allergy.

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      While the avocado is admittedly hard to replace :) , I’d say any other of your favorite taco-style toppings would do.

  5. Makes a great pulled pork. Very tender and easy to shred! I did add some cayenne and ancho chili powders for some heat.
    Good to snack on cold too.

  6. 5 stars
    I made this today, along with the whole-grain corn tortillas and the tomatillo sauce. Wow!!! We loved it! My husband and son requested that I make this again! It is a definite keeper!

  7. 5 stars
    Made these last night. Sooooo easy and yummy! My 3 year old came home from school and said “What’s that smell? It smells good! I’ll eat lots!” And she did! I kept the onion and put it on the tortilla along with the home made tomatillo salsa, avocado slice, and some sour cream. My husband also put his rice on his. Yum!

  8. 4 stars
    I am just curious why you discard the garlic and onion? I minced the garlic so didn’t take it out. I sliced the onions but took them out, but thought about adding them back to the leftovers I am going to freeze.

  9. Hi. I’m planning to make this on Friday (today is Sunday). Can I make the salsa early and freeze? Or how long will it keep in the fridge? I’ll do the pork the day of.

  10. ive made this before and love it! i slacked today and started it a little late. id rather not eat at 9pm, can it be cooked on high? or maybe high part of the time? or do you think that would dry it out too much?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Delmara. So sorry that we are not able to answer recipe questions in real time. How did it turn out?

  11. How much tomatillo sauce do you need for the recipe? I like that you suggest using store bought if you don’t have time to make fresh, but I seldom see what the quantity should be.

  12. I saw that a few people have used pork tenderloin. I have a pork tenderloin tip, and was wondering if this would work for this recipe?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Michelle. It is the higher fat content of the shoulder/butt that makes this recipe moist and juicy. A tenderloin is a very lean cut.

  13. 5 stars
    My husband looked at me after a couple of bites and said ‘I could eat this ALL the time!’ Great, easy recipe! I’ve never made carnitas before, and this couldn’t be more simple and flavorful! I used Frontera tomatillo salsa – local company in Chicago, no crazy chems and salt is one of the last ingredients so not as salty as others. I also used Whole Foods corn tortillas. This is going into our permanent meal rotation, thanks Lisa!

  14. This recipe was so easy to make and absolutely delicious. Instead of throwing the onions away I ate them. I would have like to save the flavorful grease to do something with later, but didn’t know whether to refrigerate it or not, so I threw it out.
    I am definitely going to put this on my monthly meal plan. Yum!!

  15. Hi! I have never cooked pork shoulder before. Do you trim fat off of pork shoulder or leave for moisture? Thank you. I

  16. Yummy! I make a Mexican Soup very similar to this. BUT, I recently took a food safety certification course, and you should never put frozen meat into a crock pot. With the low heat, the bacteria can build up during the slow thawing to cooking time. Just thought I’d share that info!

  17. I squeezed 1 small Valencia orange in with the meat. It turned out a amazing and the Orange adds the sweetness found in the authentic recipes (which includes brown sugar and oranges) huge hit. Portions may appear too small but only feels that way because you are left wanting more of a good thing.

  18. I shop at thrift stores. If your thrift store has kitchen things, sooner or later there will be cheap slow cookers. Mine comes from a thrift store and has been doing yeoman service for eight years.

    Just saying.

  19. This is my favorite recipe to use when we invite people over for dinner. They love the pork carnitas and always ask for the recipe. This makes enough to feed 3-4 families. I also make cilantro-lime rice and spelt flour tortillas. Thank you so much for the recipe 100 days of real food!!!

  20. Made these last night, and we could not wait for the leftovers at lunch today! Spoiler alert: they were just as tasty-maybe even better-after one day. Such a great recipe!

  21. 5 stars
    I made this carnitas recipe today for a family get-together and I don’t think I’ve ever received so many compliments. The best part is that the pork took all of 5 minutes to put together and then I could walk away and hit the pool with the rest of the family. Thanks for all that you do to make clean eating easy and delicious!

  22. “Oh My”, These haven’t even made it to the table yet and I can’t stop grabbing bites every time I walk by!! Started to double the recipe, Kicking myself now!! Hopefully there will be some left for the supper table tonight!! If not, Oh Well, I got to enjoy it!!

  23. 5 stars
    These were amazing!!! The whole family really enjoyed these and couldn’t get enough. Needless to say there were no leftovers. Will definitely be making these again very soon!!

  24. 5 stars
    This is the first 100 days of real food recipe I have made. It was fantastic. Even my picky 2 year old ate the pork. My 1 year old goobled it up and my husband fist bumped me. All in all a rounding success.

  25. 5 stars
    Yummy! Made them for a dinner party. huge success. The tomatillo salsa really adds a wonderful component. Because I am paleo, I used cabbage leaves instead of tortillas. It gave a real nice crunch, although lettuce leaves would be good too!

  26. 5 stars
    I can’t even describe how amazing and easy this recipe is! And the smell…oh my goodness! I could smell the deliciousness when I pulled into the garage. We made some pickled red onions to go on top, which I highly suggest for an added touch. This will be a regular meal in my household! Thank you!!

  27. 5 stars
    I made these last night and used 3 pounds of meat (including the bone which was discarded after cooking) for 6 adults. I didn’t think our portions were too large but we could have used more. I definitely don’t think that 2-2.5 pounds of meat would feed 8-10 people as the recipe says. Just my experience!

  28. I made this and it is so good. Very easy and fast to put together in the morning. Its not spicey so I might add a touch of cheyanne pepper to the rub next time. Thank you!

  29. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was AMAZING! I wasn’t sure about all the oregano but I’m glad I included it. We also used a pork tenderloin because we had one in the freezer already. I added 1/2 c of water as well, because I was worried it might be a tad dry since I was using the tenderloin. Will definitely be making this again!!!

  30. 5 stars
    I made these tonight for my family (husband, 12 yo, 9 yo and 7 yo). Super duper yummy! They all slurped it up! Trying to keep it real (foods)!

  31. 5 stars
    Great recipe. My guy was stationed in California and loves carnitas and said he hasn’t had good ones since he left there. I made it with pork roast with the tomatilla salsa as well and it was a hit. This will be a regular meal at our house.

  32. Making this tonight in the Dutch oven in the oven ( don’t own a slow cooker).Browned the pork first though. Smells delish. Can’t wait to try it!

  33. Mary Catherin Martin

    5 stars
    We love this recipe & I am trying to make it even easier by making multiple batches ahead of time & freezing so I can just dump it in the crockpot in the morning. Have you ever done this? What changes would you suggest with cooking? I was thinking 10 hours on low?

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Mary. We’ve not tried it with frozen ingredients. 10 hours sounds about right. Let us know how it turns out! :) ~Amy

  34. Hi Lisa. I know you like “short cuts” in the kitchen – I make a recipe very similar to this but instead of preparing the tomatillo salsa separately and adding to the crock pot, you can just add quartered tomatillos directly into the crock pot with the meat, onions, etc. They cook down substantially and create a salsa right in the pot with the meat :)

  35. 5 stars
    As the managing editor of a food and restaurant magazine here in Canada, I get inundated with recipes. But when I saw this on my Facebook feed, I knew I had to try it. All I can say is WOW! This recipe was so delicious and easy to make. A few minutes in the morning before work and my wife and I came home to the most amazing dinner. I served this with a homemade cabbage and celeriac coleslaw. Even though I am not a fan of avocado, this carnitas recipe could make me a believer. If you are used to having cheese on any kind of taco, the avocado eliminates that need. Keep these fantastic ideas coming!

  36. Hi! I made this yesterday – the pork and the tomatillo sauce. We really liked the tomatillo sauce. The pork kind of came out dry. I realize this has nothing to do with your recipe, but I have this problem a lot when making pork in the crockpot. It seems like maybe my crockpot runs a little extra hot… Any suggestions??? Thanks for an awesome recipe!

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

      Hi Bridget. Did you have it on the low setting? It is true, crockpots can run hot. If you try again, I would keep a close eye on it to make sure you turn it off as soon as the meat is falling apart. ~Amy

  37. Do you add any water when cooking the pork in the crock pot? You just toss it in the crock pot with onions, garlic, and spices?