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Mexican Carnitas

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
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 2 hours
  • Makes
    12 servings


  • 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve warm in tortillas with toppings of your choice.
    Freeze option: 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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Average Rating:
  • Kelsey
    Jan 17, 2021

    Ok, honestly, you HAVE to try this dish! It is so good! Frying it really brings out an amazing flavor and gives a beautiful color to the meat. It doesn't need a ton of toppings because the meat is the star of the show!

  • aug2295
    Mar 1, 2015

    This was really tasty. I agree the citrus was more subtle than I expected, but the frying really brought out the flavor. I served with chimichurri sauce on tacos.

  • sls777
    May 3, 2013

    No comment left

  • angelasandoval
    Jan 2, 2011

    I expected the citrus to shine through in this meat, which it didn't really, but the overall taste was still quite delicious! Served it up with avocado slices & fresh cilantro in corn tortillas.

  • carol odell
    Sep 12, 2010

    No comment left

  • Trilby Yost
    Jun 18, 2010

    I like that after the meat has baked it can be refrigerated (the taste actually improves) or even frozen. Later I only have to take what I need to fry, instead of frying it all for one meal and probably having leftovers.