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Three Easy Delicious Leftover Pork Carnitas Recipes

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Have leftover pulled pork carnitas? Here’s 3 recipes for that!


Easy slow cooker pork carnitas tacos are amazing but there is always leftovers so, I want to share with you all my three favorite leftover carnitas recipes.

My 3 Favorite Leftover Pork Recipes:

  • Spicy Pulled Pork Carnitas Empanadas
  • Pulled Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls
  • Pulled Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wraps

Great Recipe #1

Spicy Pulled Pork Carnitas Empanadas

Ingredients

  • Leftover pulled pork carnitas
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Diced green chiles
  • Chipotles in adobo sauce
  • Cumin
  • Oregano – dried
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Store bought empanada dough discs
  • Canola Oil
  • Cilantro (optional)
There is a small wooden cutting board with pulled pork on it. There is a white plate with dough discs on it. There are three small white bowls. The largest bowl has shredded yellow and white cheese in it. One bowl has chopped green chiles the third bowl has red chipotles in it. There is a yellow onion and 2 garlic cloves. There are 2 small clear ramekins. One has ground cumin in it, the other has dried oregano in it.

I love putting meat into a slow cooker on a weekend so that during the week, we can whip up an easy meal for one of our weeknight dinners.

We usually have Tuesday tacos which of course includes pulled pork tacos, my copycat Torchy’s Tacos Queso Dip with tortilla chips and a cold beer!


There are so many delicious recipes that can be made with leftover pork roast.

If you’re craving beef tacos, check out this tasty recipe: Shredded Beef Tacos With Lime from Allrecipes.

How To Make Pulled Pork Empanadas

Pulled pork with spices, diced onions, green chiles, spices and chipotle mixed together in a gray fry pan. Pan is on a gray surface.
  1. Place a large nonstick pan over medium heat and add the oil.
  2. When oil is hot add the onions and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, drained green chiles, chopped chipotles, cumin, and oregano. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the shredded pork and mix throughly. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. In a separate cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan, heat canola oil over medium high. You want the oil to be at least 2 inches deep and to heat up to 350 degrees.
An empanada dough disc with pulled pork carnitas and shredded cheese in the middle of it. The item is on a gray surface.

6. While the oil is heating up, assemble your empanadas.

7. Working with one dough disc at a time, place a couple of tablespoons of pork mixture in the middle of the disc. Sprinkle some cheese on the pork mixture.

Empanada dough disc folded in half with pressed fork marks around the edges. There is a large stainless steel fork resting on the dough disc.Items is on a gray surface.

8. Fold over the dough disc until the edges meet. Press edges together with a fork. You will want to make up the empanadas before you start frying them.

9. Fry in 2″ of canola oil until golden brown, approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.

Small stainless steel serving tray with 3 cooked empanadas, a wedge of lime, and a small white ramekin with guacamole in it. There is chopped cilantro on the empanadas. Tray is on a gray surface.

Successful Tips

  • Don’t over stuff your empanadas. Too much filling will make the dough pop open.
  • If your dough discs are having a hard time keeping closed when you pinch them together, try dipping the fork in a little water and then press the edges together.
  • If you prefer to bake the empanadas, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the stuffed empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the dough with an egg wash (a beaten egg with 1 teaspoon of water). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Use an oven mitt and remove from the oven and serve with your favorite toppings and sides.

Simple Recipe #2

Light green bowl with brown rice, pulled pork, sliced tomatoes, sliced avocado, and black beans. There are 3 ring slices of a jalapeno pepper on top of the pork. Chopped red onion and crumbled white are on top of the black beans.There is a white cloth napkin laying to the left side of the bowl with a stainless steel fork resting on it. There is a small white ramekin with salsa in it in the background. All items are on a gray surface.

Pulled Pork Carnitas Burrito Bowls

Ingredients

  • Cooked rice (brown or white)
  • Leftover pork carnitas
  • Black beans
  • Avocado
  • Chopped red onion
  • Fresco cheese
  • Jalapeno pepper (optional)
  • Salsa

Spoon the rice into a bowl and add all the other ingredients to it. I love this burrito bowl for a quick dinner.

There are so many creative ways to make this your own delicious meal!

Easy Recipe #3

Small metal serving tray with 3 Romain hearts laying in it. Each Romain heart has pulled pork carnitas, salsa, sliced avocado, and crumbled white cheese on it. There are 3 small wedges of lime on the tray. The tray is on a gray surface.

Pulled Pork Carnitas Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients

  • Romaine hearts (washed and patted dry)
  • Leftover pork carnitas
  • Avocado
  • Salsa
  • Fresco cheese

Wash and pat dry Romaine hearts. Spoon on salsa, pork carnitas, add the avocado and cheese. This is such a yummy lunch!

A Variety Of Favorite Toppings That I Like To Use On Both The Burrito Bowls And The Lettuce Wraps

  • Sour cream
  • Red onions or white onions
  • Salsa Verde
  • Pico de gallo
  • Salsa
  • Red pepper
  • Guacamole
  • Cilantro

FAQ’s

What Is The Difference Between Carnitas And Pork Tacos?

Carnitas, which means “little meats” in Spanish, is a traditional Mexican dish that is made by braising pork until it is tender and then shredding it and is often served with warm corn tortillas.

Pork tacos are made by marinating pork in a combination of Mexican spices and then pan-frying it or cooking it on a grill.

How Do You Moisten Dry Pulled Pork?

Reheating pulled pork can be tricky especially if it’s dry. The only way to add moisture back into pulled pork is to add liquid. If you saved any liquid (drippings) from the slow cooker, use that. You can also add vegetable broth, chicken broth, apple juice, or pineapple juice.

How Long Is Pulled Pork Good For?

The USDA recommends using cooked pork within 3 to 4 days.

Spices That Make Pork Carnitas Delicious

By adding a few Mexican spices to the juicy pork and using some fresh toppings, you can have a quick meal everyone will enjoy.

  • Fresh lime juice
  • Garlic cloves
  • Yellow onion
  • Cumin
  • Oregano
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Salt
There is a whole yellow onion, orange, lime, jalapeno pepper, and 2 garlic cloves. There are 4 small clear ramekins. One with ground pepper, one with ground cumin, one with salt and one with dried oregano in it. All items are on a gray surface with a white tile background.

A Quick Recap Of How Pulled Pork Carnitas Are Made In A Slow Cooker

  • Place pork in a crock pot. Add all the spices except salt and pepper to the meat and let it cook on high for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove pork from the slow cooker, remove excess fat.
  • Shred the meat before returning it to the pot of juices and add the salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and warm for 30 minutes longer.
  • To Crisp: Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat and in batches spread the shredded pork in the pan and drizzle a small amount of the juices over it.
  • Cook until the juices evaporate and the pork begins to turn golden brown and is slightly crispy, approximately 2-3 minutes.

Helpful Tips

  • The best way to have pork for leftover meals is to not crisp it until you plan on using it.
  • Save some of the juice in a separate container and drizzle it over the pork when heating it up.
  • If you have lots of leftovers, freeze it in portions and enjoy it at a later time. You can also freeze the drippings in a separate container and add it to the pork when you are reheating it.

Love This Recipe? Here Are More Delicious Recipes From Join Me In The Kitchen

Yield: 10 Empanadas

Spicy Pulled Pork Carnitas Empanadas

Small stainless steel serving tray with 3 cooked empanadas, a wedge of lime, and a small white ramekin with guacamole in it. One of the empanadas is cut in half. There is chopped cilantro on the empanadas. Tray is on a gray surface.

Easy delicious empanadas made with leftover pulled pork carnitas and shredded cheese.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups leftover pork carnitas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion - chopped
  • 1 - 4 ounce can diced green chiles - diced
  • 2 to 3 canned chipotles in adobo sauce (NOT the whole can) - chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons oregano - dried
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (store bought Mexican flavored)
  • Store bought empanada dough Discs (package of 10)
  • 2 to 3 cups canola oil

Instructions

  1. Place a large nonstick pan over medium high heat and add the oil.
  2. When oil is hot add the onions and cook while stirring for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, drained green chiles, chopped chipotles, cumin, and oregano. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the shredded port and mix throughly. Remove from heat and cool.
  5. In a cast iron skillet or heavy frying pan, heat canola oil over medium high. You want the oil to be at least 2 inches deep and to heat up to 350 degrees.
  6. While the oil is heating up, assemble your empanadas. Working with one dough disc at a time, place a couple of tablespoons of pork mixture in the middle of the disc.
  7. Sprinkle some cheese on the pork mixture.
  8. Fold over the dough disc until the edges meet. Press edges together with a fork. You will want to make up all the empanadas before you start frying them.
  9. Use a large heat resistant food turner (pancake turner) and carefully slip them in one by one, bottom side down. Fry until golden brown then flip. Approximately 2-3 minutes on each side.
  10. You will end up making a few batches, so have a cooling rack set over a baking sheet ready.
  11. Once the empanadas are cooked, remove them from the oil using metal tongs and place on the cooling rack in a warm 200 degrees oven until you are ready to serve them.
  12. Use an oven mitt and remove from the oven and serve with your favorite toppings and sides.

Notes

Successful Tips

  • Don't over stuff your empanadas. Too much filling will make the dough pop open.

  • If your dough discs are having a hard time keeping closed when you pinch them together, try dipping the fork in a little water and then press the edges together.

  • If you prefer to bake the empanadas, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place the stuffed empanadas on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush the dough with an egg wash (a beaten egg with 1 teaspoon of water). Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Use an oven mitt and remove from the oven and serve with your favorite toppings and sides.

Did you make this recipe?

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