carnitas tacos

4 from 5 votes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 8



  • 3 lbs. pork shoulder or butt, fat trimmed
  • ½ cup lime juice (about 2-3 limes)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt


  • 16 (6-inch) corn tortillas, warmed or toasted
  • 1 large avocado, chopped or sliced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup shredded red cabbage
  • cup crumbled cotija cheese
  • 8 lime wedges, for garnish
  • Pickled onions, for garnish


  • Cut 3 lbs. pork shoulder into 1 ½-inch to 2-inch pieces. Add to a large Dutch oven or heavy pot.
  • Add ½ cup lime juice, 1 cup orange juice, 4 cloves garlic, 3 tablespoons chili powder, 1 teaspoon coriander, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 2 teaspoons salt.  Add just enough water to cover the pork and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and continue cooking on a simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring, until all of the liquid has been absorbed or evaporated, 10 minutes. Continue cooking, carefully turning the pork pieces, until they develop brown crispy edges, 5 minutes.
  • Serve the pork with warmed tortillas, avocado, cilantro, cabbage, cheese, lime wedges for squeezing, and pickled onions.


  • Serve with beans and rice or grilled corn and sliced watermelon to complete this meal.


  • Protein: Pork butt or shoulder can be swapped with pork tenderloin.
  • Vegetarian: Swap out the cooked pork for black beans and rice seasoned with lime and cilantro.
  • Vegan/Dairy-Free: Remove cheese as a garnish.


  • Pickled onions can be made up to 1 week in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Carnitas can be made up to 5 days in advance and stored in the fridge in an airtight container.
  • Prepare cabbage up to 3 days in advance and store wrapped in a damp paper towel tucked into a zip top bag in the fridge.


Calories: 361kcal | Carbohydrates: 35g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 75mg | Sodium: 809mg | Potassium: 763mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1138IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 122mg | Iron: 3mg