Mexican Carnitas

Total Time

Prep: 40 min. Bake: 2 hours


12 servings

Updated: Mar. 15, 2022
Ever hear of carnitas? They're easy-to-make pork crisps that are very popular in Mexico. The secret to this recipe is the quick frying. Be sure the meat is well drained before it's placed in oil, though, or it will splatter and pop. —Patricia Collins, Imbler, Oregon
Mexican Carnitas Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pepper to taste
  • 3 large oranges, divided
  • 1 large lemon
  • Oil for frying
  • 12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • Optional toppings: Chopped tomatoes, shredded cheddar cheese, sliced green onions, sour cream and avocado slices


  1. Place meat in a medium-size roasting pan. Sprinkle with garlic and cilantro. Season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the juice from one orange and the lemon over the meat. Slice the remaining oranges and place over the meat.
  2. Cover and bake at 350° for about 2 hours or until meat is tender. With a slotted spoon, remove meat and drain well on paper towels. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet and fry meat in batches until browned and crispy.
  3. Serve warm in tortillas with toppings of your choice.

Can you freeze Mexican Carnitas?

Freeze cooled pork mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Fry meat in batches as directed until crispy and brown. Serve as directed.

Nutrition Facts

1 serving: 468 calories, 26g fat (6g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 501mg sodium, 34g carbohydrate (4g sugars, 3g fiber), 24g protein.

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