Pork Carnitas Enchiladas make a delicious meal for any occasion. Filled with savory slow cooked pork and topped with a spicy homemade enchilada sauce, this recipe is perfect for sharing! Makes 20 enchiladas.
Cinco de Mayo is THIS WEEK!
Did y’all know that carnitas, when translated from Spanish, means “little meats?”
Upon a cursory Google search, I learned this dish originates from the Mexican state of Michoacán. They’re traditionally made by braising or simmering pork in oil or lard until fall-apart delicious.
Why I love this recipe:
These enchiladas? They start with the carnitas base, though this pork is not braised/simmered in oil or lard. However, it is slowly cooked in its own juices and fats.
Enchiladas are one of those entrees we absolutely love, but we hardly ever make because they’re more time-consuming than tacos.
The glorious thing about these homemade enchiladas is you can make them in stages.
Looking for some Mexican dishes? Head on over to my Cinco de Mayo recipe index for some more ideas!
What you need to make Pork Carnitas Enchiladas
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In addition to these tools, you’ll also need some ingredients to make this recipe:
- Pork roast—shoulder or butt roast with the bone in
- Taco seasoning—we make ours at home, but you can use your favorite store brand if that’s easier
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Green bell pepper
- A can of diced green chiles
- Tortillas—corn or flour is good!
- Pepperjack cheese—or a milder Monterrey Jack cheese if spice doesn’t sit well with you
- Spicy Enchilada Sauce
Quick tips and tricks for the best Pork Carnitas Enchiladas
Enchiladas are a time-consuming dish, but goodness gracious, are they delicious.
One of my favorite things about this recipe is that you can make it in stages over the course of a few days, if you want or need. And since you can make them in stages, this can be an easy weeknight meal!
Here are some ways to do this.
- Slow cooker carnitas: Cook the pork, shred it and set it aside… for minutes or days. We actually refrigerated our pork for a day or two before it was enchilada makin’ time because cool filling is easier to use than hot filling.
- Sauce: While we love to make ours at home, you could easily use your favorite store-bought brand for a quick shortcut, too. For the homemade sauce, you can freeze or refrigerate it until you’re ready to make this recipe.
- Pork filling: You can even make the filling and roll them up a day or two before you bake them, covering with plastic wrap in the fridge until it’s go time.
- Freeze them. We had great luck with this when we had babies. Make the enchiladas and place them in a foil tray (or another freezer-safe dish that can also be heated.) Seal and freeze for up to 2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
Freeze any leftovers (or an entire serving) in an aluminum or ceramic baking dish with the sauce frozen separately. Seal the enchiladas with plastic wrap and foil, and it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Remove the plastic wrap but leave on the foil and transfer directly to a 350°F oven. Bake covered for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. While the enchiladas bake, defrost the sauce. Then when they come out of the oven after 40, add the enchilada sauce on top of them. Crank the heat up to 375°F. Bake the enchiladas and sauce uncovered for an additional 15 minutes until cooked through.
If you have a lot left over, cover the baking dish, and store in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. If you don’t have a lot left, transfer the remaining enchiladas to a smaller food storage container, and refrigerate.
Place them on a plate, and zap in the microwave for 30 second increments until they reach your desired temperature.
You could, though you’ll be changing the part of the recipe that truly makes it a carnitas recipe.
Here are more recipes with enchilada flavors that you’ll love:
- Enchilada Meatballs
- Easy Cheese Enchiladas
- Creamy Chicken Enchilada Bruschetta (Instant Pot Appetizer)
- Chicken and Zucchini Enchiladas
Would you like to make this gorgeous recipe? Here’s how:
Pork Carnitas Enchiladas are a delicious entree for your Cinco de Mayo get-together! Pork simmers in the slow cooker on low all day. Once the meat is fall-apart tender, it is shredded. Combine it with onion and green chiles in a skillet, brown the ingredients slightly, then roll it up. The enchiladas are slathered in spicy enchilada sauce and baked until crisped on the edges. This entree is best served immediately, though it does freeze well!
- 4 ¼ lb. pork shoulder butt roast, bone-in
- 2 tablespoons taco seasoning, (homemade or store-bought)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 green bell pepper, diced
- 4 oz. diced green chiles, drained
- 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
- 3 cups pulled pork
- 20 tortillas, (corn or flour)
- 8 oz. pepperjack cheese, shredded
- Spicy Enchilada Sauce
Make the pork
- Place the bone-in pork shoulder butt roast in the slow cooker. Season liberally with the taco seasoning.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the pork begins falling apart.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Remove any large fat caps. Shred using two forks. Set aside.
Make the enchilada filling
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion, bell pepper and chiles to the pan. Season with the taco seasoning. Sauté until softened.
- Add the pork to the skillet with the vegetables.
- Cook until the pork crisps up, then remove from the heat.
- When the filling has cooled slightly, begin rolling the enchiladas.
Make and bake the enchiladas
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, and set aside.
- Dollop 2-3 tablespoons of filling into the tortillas. Carefully roll the enchiladas, and transfer to the prepared baking dish. Repeat until all the filling has been used.
- Pour the Spicy Enchilada Sauce over the enchiladas, then transfer them into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
- Once the enchiladas are slightly crispy on the edges and heated through, serve on individual plates. Enjoy immediately!
Total time INCLUDES slow cooker cook time. This is (obviously) NOT all hands on time.
Please note that if your pork shoulder is similar to mine and doesn't have a ton of additional fat that needs tossing, you'll have 2-3 cups left of pork AFTER cooking these enchiladas. You can buy a smaller pork shoulder, but I cannot 100% guarantee it will produce enough pulled pork for these enchiladas.
This recipe is freezer friendly. Freeze any leftover enchiladas (or an entire serving) in an aluminum or ceramic baking dish with the sauce frozen separately. Seal the enchiladas with plastic wrap and foil, and it can stay in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to consume, remove the plastic wrap but leave on the foil and transfer directly to a 350°F oven. Bake covered for 40 minutes, then remove from the oven. While the enchiladas bake, defrost the sauce. Then when they come out of the oven after 40, add the enchilada sauce on top of them. Crank the heat up to 375°F. Bake the enchiladas and sauce uncovered for an additional 15 minutes until cooked through.
Serving Size:1 enchilada
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 575Total Fat: 31gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 115mgSodium: 717mgCarbohydrates: 37gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 36g
Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate.