Crispy Carnitas Tacos with Zesty Salsa Verde

Easy and Sustainable Tacos de Carnitas with Homemade Salsa Verde Recipe

Discover the ultimate taco experience with our mouthwatering carnitas tacos recipe! These juicy, flavorful pork tacos are a Mexican street food classic, perfect for your next fiesta or family dinner. Our easy oven method yields tender, succulent meat with irresistibly crispy edges – no bucket of lard required!

Carnitas, the undisputed king of taco fillings, brings the rich flavors of Michoacán to your kitchen. Our version balances traditional taste with modern convenience, infusing the pork with hints of orange, onion, and warm spices. Paired with a homemade tomatillo salsa verde, these tacos are a flavor explosion waiting to happen!


  • 2 medium onions, divided
  • 1/2 cup (8g) chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon (8g) kosher salt, plus more to taste; for table salt, use half of the volume or an equal amount by weight
  • 1 medium orange
  • 6 cloves garlic, halved, divided
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into three or four pieces
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil
  • 6 medium tomatillos (about 1 1/2 pounds, 0.7kg), husks removed and halved
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, stem removed and halved lengthwise
  • 24 corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (150g) crumbled queso fresco
  • 3 limes, cut into wedges


  1. Preheat your oven to 275°F (135°C) and position the rack in the middle. Dice one onion finely and mix with cilantro; refrigerate for later. Quarter the remaining onion and set aside. Season the pork cubes with 1 tablespoon salt and arrange in a 9- by 13-inch glass baking dish, ensuring a snug fit. Squeeze the orange juice over the pork and nestle the squeezed quarters among the meat. Add 2 onion quarters, 4 garlic cloves, bay leaves, and cinnamon pieces. Drizzle vegetable oil over everything. Cover tightly with foil and bake for about 3 1/2 hours, until the pork is fork-tender.
  2. Once cooked, strain the pork mixture over a bowl. Discard the aromatics and return the meat to the baking dish. Separate the fat from the cooking liquid – you should have about 1/2 cup of each. Add the fat back to the pork and shred the meat into large chunks. Season to taste and refrigerate if not serving immediately. Reserve the cooking liquid for the salsa.
  3. For the salsa verde, combine the reserved cooking liquid, tomatillos, remaining onion and garlic, and jalapeños in a saucepan. Add water to cover and simmer for 10 minutes until vegetables are tender. Blend until smooth, season with salt, and cool before refrigerating.
  4. When ready to serve, broil the pork 4 inches from the heat for 6 minutes. Stir and broil for another 6 minutes to maximize crispiness. Keep warm under foil.
  5. Warm your tortillas in a hot, dry skillet. Dip each tortilla in water before cooking for 30 seconds on one side and 15 on the other. Keep warm in a towel or tortilla warmer.
  6. Assemble your tacos by stacking two tortillas, adding a generous spoonful of carnitas, and topping with salsa verde, onion-cilantro mix, and queso fresco. Serve with lime wedges and enjoy your homemade taco feast!

Chef’s Tips

Prepare the carnitas up to three days in advance for easy meal planning. For a milder salsa, remove jalapeño seeds or omit them entirely. Experiment with your favorite toppings to create your perfect taco!

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
904 Calories
48g Fat
67g Carbs
53g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 904
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 62%
Saturated Fat 17g 87%
Cholesterol 170mg 57%
Sodium 1136mg 49%
Total Carbohydrate 67g 24%
Dietary Fiber 11g 38%
Total Sugars 9g
Protein 53g
Vitamin C 30mg 150%
Calcium 306mg 24%
Iron 5mg 26%
Potassium 1230mg 26%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

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