Carnitas Tacos With Tomatillo Salsa

Let me tell you about a mouthwatering dish that will leave your taste buds dancing with delight – Carnitas Tacos With Tomatillo Salsa. This delectable recipe combines tender, slow-cooked pork with tangy tomatillo salsa, creating a flavorful explosion with every bite. The succulent carnitas, seasoned to perfection, are nestled in warm corn tortillas and topped with a vibrant salsa made from fresh tomatillos, cilantro, and other zesty ingredients. Whether you’re hosting a festive fiesta or simply craving a satisfying meal, these Carnitas Tacos With Tomatillo Salsa are a must-try for any food lover. Prepare to indulge in the ultimate taco experience that will have you coming back for seconds and thirds.


To make delicious carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa, you will need the following ingredients:

Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is the star of the show when it comes to carnitas tacos. This cut of meat is rich and flavorful, perfect for slow cooking and shredding.


Garlic adds a wonderful aromatic element to the marinade for the pork shoulder. It complements the other flavors beautifully.

Orange Juice

Orange juice helps to tenderize the pork while adding a subtle citrusy sweetness to the dish. It pairs wonderfully with the other ingredients.

Lime Juice

Lime juice provides a bright and tangy flavor to the carnitas. It adds a refreshing element to the overall taste.


Cumin is a key spice in Mexican cuisine, adding a warm and earthy flavor to the carnitas. It helps to enhance the other seasonings in the dish.


Oregano is another staple herb in Mexican cooking. It contributes a distinct aroma and flavor that perfectly complements the pork.


Salt is a basic seasoning that helps to bring out the flavors of all the other ingredients. It adds that necessary savory element to the carnitas.

Black Pepper

Black pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor to the carnitas. It gives the dish a little kick without overpowering the other ingredients.


Now that you have gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to prepare the carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Marinating the Pork

First, marinate the pork shoulder with garlic, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper. This will infuse the meat with a delightful blend of flavors. Allow the pork to marinate for at least 4 hours, or overnight for best results.

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Slow Cooking the Pork

To achieve that tender and juicy texture that makes carnitas so mouthwatering, slow cook the marinated pork shoulder. You can use a slow cooker or a Dutch oven for this step. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, until the meat easily shreds with a fork.

Shredding the Pork

Once the pork is cooked, remove it from the slow cooker or Dutch oven and let it cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the meat into bite-sized pieces. Make sure to remove any excess fat or connective tissue that may remain.

Crisping Up the Pork

For that irresistible crispy texture, you can crisp up the shredded pork in a skillet. Heat a drizzle of oil in a pan over medium-high heat and add the shredded pork. Cook until the edges become golden and slightly crispy. This step adds a delightful contrast to the tender meat.

Tomatillo Salsa

Now that the carnitas are ready, it’s time to prepare the tomatillo salsa. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:


Tomatillos are the star ingredient of this salsa. They are small green fruits with a tangy flavor and a slightly citrusy taste. Remove the husks, wash them thoroughly, and dice them into small pieces.


Chop a fresh onion into small pieces. The onion adds a savory and slightly sweet element to the salsa.


For some heat, finely dice a jalapeno pepper. The amount can be adjusted according to your spice preference.


Cilantro adds a fresh and vibrant flavor to the tomatillo salsa. Chop it finely to incorporate it into the salsa.


Garlic intensifies the flavors of the salsa. Mince a clove or two to add a subtle yet aromatic taste.

Lime Juice

Lime juice brings a zesty and tangy element to the salsa. Squeeze the juice of a fresh lime into the mix.


Salt is essential to balance the flavors and enhance the taste of the salsa. Add a pinch or two, adjusting to your liking.

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To make the salsa, simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Allow the salsa to sit for at least 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

Taco Assembly

After all the hard work of marinating, cooking, and preparing the salsa, it’s finally time to assemble your carnitas tacos. Here’s what you’ll need:

Corn Tortillas

Corn tortillas are the traditional choice for carnitas tacos. They provide a light and slightly sweet base for the flavorful filling.


The star of the show, the juicy and tender carnitas, will be the filling for your tacos. Pile a generous amount onto each tortilla.

Tomatillo Salsa

Spoon a dollop of the tangy and fresh tomatillo salsa onto your tacos. It adds a burst of flavor that perfectly complements the carnitas.

Optional Toppings

To personalize your tacos, you can add some optional toppings. Here are a few ideas:

  • Chopped Onion: Add a crunchy and slightly pungent flavor to your tacos with some freshly chopped onion.
  • Chopped Cilantro: For some added freshness and vibrancy, sprinkle some chopped cilantro on top of your tacos.
  • Sliced Jalapenos: If you like it spicy, add some sliced jalapenos to your tacos for an extra kick of heat.
  • Sour Cream: A dollop of sour cream adds a creamy and cooling element to your tacos. It helps balance the flavors.
  • Cheese: Sprinkle some shredded cheese, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack, for a gooey and melty addition to your tacos.

Optional Toppings

Taco toppings allow you to customize your carnitas tacos to your liking. Here are a few suggestions:

Chopped Onion

Chopped onion adds a refreshing crunch and a hint of sharpness to the tacos. It complements the other flavors in the dish perfectly.

Chopped Cilantro

Cilantro adds a vibrant and herbaceous flavor to the tacos. It adds a bright and fresh element to each bite.

Sliced Jalapenos

For those who enjoy a spicy kick, sliced jalapenos are a fantastic addition. They add heat and a burst of flavor to the tacos.

Sour Cream

Sour cream provides a creamy and tangy element to the tacos. It helps to balance out the richness of the meat and adds a coolness to each bite.

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Cheese is always a crowd-pleaser when it comes to tacos. Sprinkle some shredded cheese, such as Cheddar or Monterey Jack, over the tacos for a gooey and melty addition.

Tips and Variations

Here are a few tips and variations to consider when making carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa:

Choosing the Right Pork Cut

While pork shoulder is the popular choice for carnitas, you can also use other cuts such as pork butt or picnic roast. These cuts have more fat marbling, resulting in tender and juicy carnitas.

Adding Additional Spices

Feel free to experiment with additional spices and herbs to enhance the flavors of your carnitas. You can try adding smoked paprika, chipotle powder, or even a touch of cinnamon for a unique twist.

Adjusting Heat Level

If you prefer a milder salsa, remove the seeds and membrane from the jalapenos before dicing or use fewer jalapenos altogether. For extra heat, keep the seeds and membrane, or consider adding other spicy peppers, such as serranos or habaneros.

Using Flour Tortillas

While corn tortillas are the traditional choice for carnitas tacos, you can also use flour tortillas if you prefer. Flour tortillas have a softer texture and a slightly different taste, but they work well with the savory and flavorful carnitas.

Making a Vegetarian Version

If you prefer a vegetarian option, you can substitute the pork with other ingredients such as jackfruit or mushrooms. Marinate and cook these alternative options in a similar way, and then proceed with the same taco assembly process.


Carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa are a delicious and flavorful dish that will transport you to the streets of Mexico. The tender and juicy pork, infused with garlic, citrus, and aromatic spices, pairs perfectly with the tangy and fresh tomatillo salsa. Whether you enjoy them with traditional toppings or add your own personal twist, these tacos are sure to satisfy your cravings. So gather the ingredients, follow the steps, and get ready to enjoy a mouthwatering feast of carnitas tacos with tomatillo salsa!

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