Pork Carnitas Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Pork Carnitas Recipe
  • READY IN ABOUT 4 hrs

Pork Carnitas

Recipe by  

"Many find carnitas a little dry or flavorless. These have a great, distinctive flavor and are requested by friends and family over and over. Serve with warm, fresh tortillas and salsa."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 12 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    15 mins
  • COOK

    3 hrs 30 mins

    3 hrs 45 mins


  1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Season the pork shoulder with salt, then arrange the pork in the Dutch oven. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Pour in the chicken broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and continue to simmer until pork is very tender, about 2 1/2 hours.
  3. Transfer the pork shoulder to a large baking sheet, reserving the cooking liquid. Drizzle with a small amount of the reserved cooking liquid and lightly season with salt.
  4. Bake the pork in the preheated oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Drizzle more of the cooking liquid on the meat every 10 minutes, and use two forks to shred the meat as it browns.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Cook's Note
  • Serve the carnitas with warm, fresh tortillas and salsa.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Nov 06, 2014

Hi all, I just figured out today that this had been published. A few things: Keep in mind, the objective of the final step is to get slightly crispy outside with a moist, tender inside. Convection oven is great for this. The recipe says a "clove" of garlic ... I meant a bulb, but of course, garlic to taste, and for that matter, salt. Also remember to adjust your salt and spices to the size of the roast, but broth doesn't need the same levels of increases. I wrote this such a long time ago -- I don't use cans of broth anymore, just the sealed boxes -- about 1 will do for most roasts. Also, this is the Winter version with a dutch oven. I have a summer version where I marinate the pork pieces in lime, garlic, olive oil, adobo chili sauce, cilantro, and onion. I then grill outdoors to get the browned edges, and then set up a disposable aluminum pan covered with foil to do the braising in broth. I keep it on the grill on very low heat until tender. Then move the pieces indoors to finish with the same steps as the winter version. This way, it keeps the house a bit cooler. Some great ideas in your comments including crock pot use, and cola or beer for braising liquid. You know, you can also use this method for pulled pork... just decrease the cumin and chili, and add BBQ sauce to your braising liquid. Either way, for the carnitas, I've since started adding mild green chili to the braising broth. It's ok to be creative with this -- modify to your liking. Cheers!

Most Helpful Critical Review
Sep 08, 2013

Texture was perfect, but meat was waaaaay too salty. Salt overpowered the cumin and chili powder. 1 Tablespoon would have been plenty. Easy fix for an otherwise good recipe.

Mar 20, 2012

I'm very happy with how our carnitas turned out! I used a tenderloin and substituted a dark beer for the chicken broth. Very tender and flavorful!

Oct 09, 2011

i havent tried the recipe but if anyone out there wants to make a variation to this recipe, i recently saw a Mexican friend making carnitas (a whole pig) and what he put in for seasoning was coca cola, limes and lemons, laurel leaves, and cooking wine. dont forget the salt and use its own drippings to keep it from being dried out, remember, carnitas werent meant to be diet food.

May 16, 2012

So moist and with great flavor. I never measure just cook by smell, but I upped the garlic, and used the juice of a whole lime. Went a little heavy on the chili powder and cumin, and only salted the meat before browning. Also threw in just a touch of cayenne for good measure. Came out awesome! I used a pork loin, so I just left the meat in the dutch oven and let it work, after about 2 hours it fell apart with just tongs and stirring. Put them in a flour tortilla with tomato, avocado, and a touch of sour creme. Served with beans and elotes made an awesome Mexican night in!

Jul 25, 2012

This recipe is perfect! I followed it exactly with one exception - I added about 1/2 cup of coca cola to the liquid while the meat was simmmering and it turned out great. My husband is Mexican and every time we are in Mexico, my favorite food is the pork carnitas from the little trucks. I have been trying to make something that comes close and this recipe is it. Thank you for sharing this. I will be making this one often!

Sep 19, 2012

I loved the cooking method for these carnitas!! Seriously best I've ever made or bought eating out. I do admit I did a few things differently. I upped the spices, did a dry rub on the pork and then fried it till crispy and brown before adding homemade broth. I added an orange, juice and rind and more garlic then followed the rest of the instructions exactly. AMAZING. Like I said I only played with the spicing. This is a great way to prepare carnitas.

Feb 06, 2012

Tried this for the Super Bowl and it was fantastic. I used a bit more of the seasoning for the braising liquid. When putting it in the oven, I made sure there was plenty of the juice so it would dry out. Having some now (the next day) and it's still nice and moist. This was definitely a hit! I'll work it into my normal rotation, the kids love it too.


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  • Calories
  • 250 kcal
  • 12%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 2.3 g
  • < 1%
  • Cholesterol
  • 62 mg
  • 21%
  • Fat
  • 19.1 g
  • 29%
  • Fiber
  • 0.4 g
  • 2%
  • Protein
  • 16.2 g
  • 32%
  • Sodium
  • 2072 mg
  • 83%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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