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14 votes | 28459 views

Carnitas are the Mexican version of pulled pork. Braised first in a spicy sauce, pork shoulder is slow cooked until so tender the meat just shreds easily with a fork, then it's roasted at high heat to make crispy browned bits full of flavor.

Prep time:
Cook time:
Servings: 4


Cost per serving $2.65 view details


  1. Cut pork into strips (three inches by one inch), place into stewpot or dutch oven and add orange and pineapple juice, water, soy sauce, salt, bay leaves and bring to a boil and then simmer uncovered on low for 2 hours. Do not touch the meat.
  2. After two hours, turn heat up to medium high, and continue to cook until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat has rendered (about 45 minutes). Stir a few times, to keep pork from sticking to bottom of pan.
  3. When pork has browned on both sides, it’s ready (there will be liquid fat in the pan). Serve either cubed or shredded (pork will be tender enough that just touching it will cause it to fall apart).
  4. Goes very well with a green salsas such as Ninfa's green sauce or this tomatillo salsa or this salsa verde with avocados and tomatillos.
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Nutrition Facts

Amount Per Serving %DV
Serving Size 477g
Recipe makes 4 servings
Calories 367  
Calories from Fat 121 33%
Total Fat 13.41g 17%
Saturated Fat 4.65g 19%
Trans Fat 0.09g  
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 1331mg 55%
Potassium 990mg 28%
Total Carbs 14.52g 4%
Dietary Fiber 0.3g 1%
Sugars 11.45g 8%
Protein 44.0g 70%



  • John Spottiswood
    April 4, 2009
    I've made carnitas before with recipes that had me barbeque them. This boiling and then browning method is MUCH better. The carnitas are juicy and very flavorful. I didn't think this would have enough flavor with just salt and orange juice, but the carnitas were delicious! Just serve with some spicy salsa or hot sauce for those who want a little more kick. We served with Sergio's Arroz Congri recipe. Great combination!
    I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
    2 people like this review
    • April 4, 2009
      This recipe was simple, very tasty, tender and perfect for
      children and adults!
      I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
      1 person likes this review
      • Nancy Miyasaki
        April 4, 2009
        When I first saw this recipe I thought it was too good to be true. So few ingredients and such simple instructions. But it came out very tender and tasty. I've heard other carnitas recipes use lard or other fatty ingredients in the cooking, and this one didn't. So it's a winner that is simple, tasty, and relatively healthy.
        I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
        2 people like this review
        • purpleone
          September 16, 2010
          sounds good & easy. I love Ninfa's green sauce too!
          • Arturo Féliz-Camilo
            October 16, 2011
            This is specially nice in a baguette! (As a sandwich)
            I've cooked/tasted this recipe!
            • Sherri Rochester
              September 4, 2016
              this looks yummy!
              I've cooked/tasted this recipe!


              • Kyra Martin
                May 3, 2013
                We featured your recipe on Facebook! Thanks for making such delicious food. I love carnitas!
                ~Kyra, Community Manager
                • ShaleeDP
                  February 5, 2013
                  Haven't done this but I could give this a try....

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