Ground Pork Carnitas Tacos

Get the same taste as slow cooked pork carnitas with this quick and easy ground pork recipe. Then assemble into tacos with salsa verde, cotija cheese, cilantro, and pickled onions!


  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper, to your liking
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 12 taco sized (6-inch) warm soft flour or corn tortillas
  • jarred salsa verde sauce
  • grated Cotija cheese
  • cilantro, if desired
  • pickled onions (recipe below)


  1. In large non-stick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute onion and jalapeno pepper on med heat until they begin to soften (about 5-7 minutes).
  2. Add in ground pork, garlic, oregano, cumin and salt and pepper. Brown pork and break it up as it cooks. (a potato masher works great for this!)  Continue to cook mixture until pork is well browned and at least 140 degrees F. (think sausage like browning - the browning gives the pork extra flavor!) and the onion and peppers are soft. Drain off any excess fat.
  3. Return meat to pan and increase heat to med-high. Add in orange juice and stir. Allow juice to come to boil and reduce by at least half. Take off heat and keep warm.
  4. To assemble tacos, warm the tortillas. Place tortillas on a plate and add meat, salsa, cheese, cilantro and pickled onion. Serve immediately.
 To Make Pickled Onions:
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (any vinegar will work)
  • 2 TBS granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
To quick pickle the onions: Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and kosher salt in a glass measuring cup. Stir to dissolve the sugar and salt into the vinegar. Microwave on HIGH until the mixture begins to boil. (about 2 minutes) Remove from microwave and add the red onions. Let sit until mixture comes to room temperature. Drain and put into a small bowl.

Yield: 6 servings

Prep Time: 00 hrs. 10 mins.

Cook time: 00 hrs. 20 mins.

Total time: 30 mins.