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Mexican Carnitas As Made By Claudette Zepeda

These carnitas are the real deal! Slow-cooked until they're tender and crispy, they're the perfect filling for tacos or burritos. It's a taste of Mexico that will transport you straight to the streets of Tijuana.

Tasty Team
89% would make again
Mexican Carnitas As Made By Claudette Zepeda


for 12 servings


  • 5 lb pork shoulder (2.2 g), cut into 2-inch (5-cm) cubes
  • 2 large white onions, chopped
  • 10 avocado leaves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup kosher salt (60 g)
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • cold water
  • ½ cup orange juice (120 mL)
  • ½ cup milk (120 mL)
  • 12 oz Mexican-style cola (355 mL)
  • 3 lb lard (1.3 g), cut into large cubes

For Serving

  • white corn tortilla
  • guacamole
  • pickled vegetable
  • chopped fresh cilantro
  • Lime wedge
  • cilantro rice
  • pinto bean


  1. In a large pot, combine the cubed pork shoulder, onions, avocado leaves, black pepper, salt, garlic, and bay leaves. Add enough cold water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil over high heat, then continue to boil for 20 minutes.
  2. Add the orange juice, milk, and cola, return to a boil, and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half, about 1 hour.
  3. Add the lard, let it melt, then boil off the rest of the liquid until the meat begins to fry, 1 hour more.
  4. Once the meat turns dark golden brown and crispy, scoop it out of the pot and onto a paper bag or paper towel-lined baking sheet to drain.
  5. Serve with corn tortillas, guacamole, pickled vegetables, cilantro, lime wedges, cilantro rice, and pinto beans.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. Meal planning made easy with the Tasty app. Download now to see exclusive curated meal plans.
Mexican Carnitas As Made By Claudette Zepeda