These cheese crusted Crispy Pork Carnitas Tacos are a family favorite for the cheesy crunch of the corn tortilla, and delicious flavor of crispy pork. You cannot get enough! If you love crispy food, also try Baked Turkey Taquitos and Cheeseburger Tacos.
So, our first savory recipe of the year! And Tacos, why not? You see, last year me and my husband celebrated both of our birthdays, two weeks apart, dining in Mexican restaurants, so that was like twice in a month!
That was when I got inspired to make pork carnitas because they are so good! Now these Crispy Pork Carnitas Tacos are next-level addictive. The tortillas are cheese crusted making them crispy, cheesy and flavorful.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Pork Carnitas are flavorful, ultra tender shredded meat with crispy bits. It is a versatile dish. You can enjoy them in tacos, burritos or salad. I eat it with rice, too!
This is slow cooked to perfection. Just put all your ingredients in the slow cooker and let it cook away. To crisp the pork up, we put it under the broiler for a few minutes. Then, it is done and ready. .ready for your crispy tacos!
The Crispy Tacos
The tortillas are cheese crusted, making these tacos so special. The pork, as you pan fry the tacos, release some oil so you wont need any oil to add to the pan when frying making the tacos. There is so much flavor! I am so excited for you to make it.
Slow Cook the Pork. Cut the pork in 3 inches chunks. Then add it, together with all other carnitas ingredients, in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4. The pork should be easily shredded with a fork.
Shred the Pork. Transfer the pork and some juices to a rimmed dish, shred using two forks.
Broil the Pork Carnitas. Transfer to a parchment lined baking pan. Spread it out and pour more juice on top. Broil for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp. Toss the pork and broil again for 3 more minutes. ( Times vary so watch closely).
Make the Crispy Pork Carnitas Tacos
Lay out 2-3 tortilla on a heated flat griddle or large non stick pan. Spoon 2-3 tablespoons pork carnitas to one half of each tortilla. Top with some pickled onions and cilantro. Fold the empty side of the tortilla over the center to cover the filling. The tortillas should be warmed just enough now. If you wait too long to fold it, it will crisp up and break as you fold.
Sprinkle some cheese over the top of the folded tacos. Then flip it over. The cheese will crisp up underneath, and the pork will release some oil to crisp up the tortilla too.
As that happens, sprinkle cheddar cheese on the now top side of the tacos. One the underside is crispy, flip the tacos once more to crisp up the other side.
And that’s it. Transfer the crispy tacos to a serving platter and serve!
Obviously we do not make all tacos in one occasion. Using small tortillas, these makes a lot, and I prefer small tortillas for cute hand held tacos. My kids love them! Store leftover pork carnitas in the fridge, tightly covered. Then, make the tacos fresh each time! I do not recommend assembling the tacos ahead, because.. well.. the crunch and freshness is everything!
If you are into hand-held food, try Baked Chicken Shawarma as well.
Although.. my kids want them for school lunch, and then I had to make them in the morning. I wrap them up loosely in foil. They say the tacos are still crispy and not soggy. So consider yourselves advised 🙂
- Easy Anytime Beef Burritos
- Easy Cheeseburger Sliders
- Roasted Mini Potatoes
- Easy Baked Chicken Meatballs
Crispy Pork Carnitas Tacos
- slow cooker
- wide non stick pan or flat griddle
- 3 lbs Pork Shoulder (boneless blade roast)
- 2¼ tsp salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 2 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp. garlic powder
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 large onion chopped into chunks
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¾ cup orange juice
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
For the Tacos
- 12 or more corn tortilla 6 or 7 inches in diameter
- 2 cups cheddar cheese grated
- 1 cup pickled onions or diced onions (see note)
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
Make the Pork Carnitas
- Chop the pork shoulder into 3 inches chunks.
- In the slow cooker, add the pork, the salt and pepper, cayenne, paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, bay leaves and chopped onions. Pour orange juice, chicken broth, and lime juice. Arrange the pork so that they are submerged in the liquid.
- Cook on the slow cooker at low for 5-6 hours, or at high for about 3 hours. The pork should be tender that it can be easily shred with a fork. Transfer the pork pieces and about a cup of the liquid into a rimmed dish. Using two forks, shred the pork.
- Line a large baking pan with parchment paper. Transfer the shredded meat to the pan. Spread it out in a thin layer. Pour about a half cup more of the liquid all over the meat.
- Broil this in high for about 3-5 minutes, or until the tops looks crispy. Slowly take it out of the oven and toss the meat to stir. Spread it out to a thin layer and broil for 2-3 minutes more, or until crispy. Do not walk away and look closely. Time can vary depending on the oven. Take the pan out of the oven and make the tacos.
Make the Crispy Tacos
- Heat a wide non stick pan or flat griddle over medium heat (no oil). Lay out 2-3 tortillas (depending on your pan). Spoon about 2-3 tablespoon of pork on one half on the tortillas. Top with some onions and cilantro. Once the tortillas are warmed and pliable, use a wide spatula to slowly fold the empty half over the pork filling to close the tacos. Tip: Do not wait too long to do this or else the tortilla will crisp and it will break when you fold it.
- Sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of cheddar cheese on the top of the folded tortilla, then carefully flip the taco over. The cheese underneath will start to crisp up, together with the tortilla. Now, sprinkle cheese on the top side of the tortilla. One the underside is crisp, flip the tacos again and allow the other side to crisp up.
- Transfer the tacos to a serving plate and serve immediately.
- Feel free to use oregano in the pork carnitas to suit your flavor preference, or add jalapenos to add more heat.
- Do not wait too long to fold the empty side of tortilla over the pork filling so the tortilla do not crisp up and break as you fold.
- A great and easy pickled onion recipe is here. Or you can also use just diced onions.
- Once the cheese has been added to the tortilla, flip it over so the cheese crisps up underneath. The pork will also release some oil here, making the tortilla crispy.
- If the tacos are sticking to the pan, the cheese needs more time to crisp up. You can easily remove the tacos with a spatula once they are nice and crispy!
- Store leftover pork carnitas in the fridge tightly covered. Then just make the tacos fresh each time. I do not recommend making the tacos ahead then storing them, because.. why? They are easy to make on the spot and fresh and crispy is best!