Get ready to tantalize your taste buds with these mouthwatering Pineapple Mexican Pork Carnitas, a flavourful twist on traditional pork carnitas that will become your new favourite pork recipe and can be perfectly cooked in a slow cooker or pressure cooker.
Pineapple Pork Carnitas
Whenever I dine at Chipotle or enjoy a meal at a local Mexican restaurant, my go-to choice is the Carnitas bowl. It's undeniably one of my all-time favourite dishes, but not all Carnitas are created equal. I've had my share of disappointingly dry and bland ones. However, this incredible Pineapple Mexican Pork Carnitas is bursting with flavour, delightfully juicy and tender, with a crisp edge that takes it to the next level of deliciousness.
The best part? It's remarkably easy to make. Just toss all the ingredients into a slow cooker or pressure cooker, and voilà – in no time, you'll savour this delectable Pineapple Mexican Pork Carnitas dish. While traditional Carnitas typically don't include pineapple juice, my kids absolutely adore my version, where the pineapple juice lends a subtle sweetness to balance the cayenne's mild kick.
- Pineapple Pork Carnitas
- Calories in Pork Carnitas
- Ingredients for Pineapple Pork Carnitas
- Cooking Carnitas in a Pressure Cooker
- Cooking Carnitas in a Slow Cooker
- How to make Pork Carnitas Crispy and Charred
- How to Serve Mexican Pineapple Pork Carnitas
- More Low Calorie Mexican Recipes
- Storing, Freezing and Reheating Leftovers
- Recipe Card
Calories in Pork Carnitas
These yummy Pork Carnitas serves 4 people and has 306 calories per serving (no sides).
If you're looking for more recipes within the same calorie range, you'll find an abundance of options in my dedicated collection of 300+ calorie recipes.
If you're following a calorie-controlled diet or a healthy eating plan, it's important to calculate your daily calorie intake using a reliable calorie calculator. Please note that the calorie counts provided are estimates and can vary based on specific ingredients and serving sizes. Personalizing your calculations is essential to meet your individual needs. By using a calorie calculator, you can make informed choices and stay on track with your dietary goals.
Ingredients for Pineapple Pork Carnitas
To prepare these Pineapple Pork Carnitas you only need a handful of ingredients as it's such a simple dish, here are some notes on the ingredients used:
- Pork Shoulder: This is the best type of meat to use in this recipe for Pork Carnitas, as it's a great cut of meat for slow cooker or pressure cooker, just make sure you trim of any large visbile pieces of fat to keep it as lean and low calorie as possible.
- Onion: just regular white onion
- Lime Juice: Use juice from fresh limes the citrus really help to tenderize the pork as well as adding flavour
- Fresh Pineapple Juice: This is added to give additional flavour to the pork and also helps to tenderize.
- Seasonings: Just a simple blend of Ground cumin, paprika, garlic and onion powder and cayenne pepper
- Salt and Pepper: These essential flavour enhancers play a crucial role in elevating the taste of your dishes. We use them to season the steak bites and recommend using them to season the final dish to taste as well. They ensure your food is never bland when used appropriately.
- Low Calorie Spray - this is only used for the toasting of the couscous part to the recipe. Use your preferred choice of low calorie spray, I prefer olive oil or avocado sprays without any added emulsifiers.
Once you've gathered all the ingredients and prepared them accordingly, you're all set to create this easy and delightful recipe.
See the recipe card for specific quantities and instructions.
Cooking Carnitas in a Pressure Cooker
I adore preparing recipes in my pressure cooker when I'm in a hurry but still crave I that same deliciousness tenderness of slow cooked meat. The meat is always so tender and literally falls apart
I use an Instant Pot, but any similar multi-functional electric pressure cooker will suffice. The process is simple: you gather all your ingredients, ensure the pressure valve is sealed, and select the appropriate cooking setting. After the pressure cooking is complete, I recommend allowing it to naturally release some of the pressure for approximately 10 minutes before manually releasing any remaining pressure. This is especially crucial when cooking meat as it guarantees that the meat turns out wonderfully tender.
Once the pressure is fully released, you can easily shred the meat using two forks, and it's ready to be savored.
(An Instant Pot is a versatile 7-in-1 cooker that can handle tasks like slow cooking, pressure cooking, sautéing, and offers various settings for soups, chili, rice, porridge, and even yogurt (although I haven't tried that feature yet). I generally prefer manual high-pressure settings and adjust the cooking times based on the specific dish I'm preparing.)
Cooking Carnitas in a Slow Cooker
Much like preparing Carnitas in a pressure cooker, it's remarkably straightforward and equally convenient to make them in a slow cooker. The beauty of this method is that you can skip the step of browning off any ingredients.
The process is as easy as can be: simply toss all your ingredients into the slow cooker, cover it with the lid, and select either the low-heat setting, where you can let it simmer for a leisurely 8 hours, or the high-heat option, which will have your meal ready in about 4-5 hours.
This recipe is a godsend on busy days when you can start it earlier in the day and return to a delightful dinner come evening.
How to make Pork Carnitas Crispy and Charred
If you prefer your pork carnitas meat to have a slight crispiness with charred edges, achieving that result is surprisingly easy.
After cooking in a slow cooker or pressure cooker, transfer the cooked meat to a baking sheet lined with foil, ensuring to spread it out evenly along with the flavourful juices. Then, position it under the broiler or set your grill to high heat for a few minutes until you achieve the desired level of crispy, charred edges.
How to Serve Mexican Pineapple Pork Carnitas
Carnitas are a versatile and flavourful dish that can be enjoyed in various ways. Here's a section on how to serve carnitas:
- Traditional Tacos: The most classic way to enjoy carnitas is by serving them in warm, soft corn tortillas. Fill each tortilla with a generous portion of the tender, seasoned pork. Top with your favourite garnishes, my family enjoy crispy shredd lettuce, slaw with guacamole or avocado slices, sliced red onion and fresh cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice is essential. For an extra kick, add some fierysalsa or pickled/fresh sliced jalapeños.
- Carnita Rice Bowls: Create a hearty carnita bowl by serving the carnitas with rice (we love this lime cilantro rice or mexican rice, black beans, cheese, and then the usual items like avocado, red onion, crispy lettuce, salsa or pico da gallo and some reduced fat soured cream or a similar light creamy dressing. .
- Salads: Carnitas can also be used as a protein topping for salads. Pair them with mixed greens, black beans, avocado, red onion, corn, cherry tomatoes, and a zesty vinaigrette for a refreshing meal option.
- Carnitas Nachos Sharing Platter: Create a delightful nachos platter by layering tortilla chips with a generous portion of savory carnitas, a sprinkling of cheese, and your preferred toppings. Slide it under the broiler until the cheese melts to a gooey perfection. Serve these delectable nachos with sides of zesty salsa, creamy sour cream, rich guacamole, and crisp lettuce for a crowd-pleasing, shareable treat.
- Omelette or Frittatta - When it comes to omelettes or frittatas, I enjoy incorporating any leftover carnitas meat. It not only infuses the dish with a burst of flavour but also provides that extra protein punch, making for a satisfying and delicious meal
- As a Soup Topping - If you find a bowl of Soup lacks the filling factor, consider adding a portion of pork carnitas on top. This not only introduces a protein boost but also allows you to create a fully-loaded soup experience. Complement your carnitas-topped soup with other delectable toppings like sour cream, avocado slices, finely diced red onion, and a sprinkle of fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves for a flavourful and satisfying meal.
Remember that the key to a great carnitas dish is the balance of textures and flavoUrs. Whether you choose to keep it traditional with tacos or get creative with other serving options, the succulent, slow-cooked pork will undoubtedly be a hit at your table.
More Low Calorie Mexican Recipes
Are you in search of more low calorie Mexican inspired recipes? Look no further! Here are some great choices below:
- Mexican Barbecue Chicken Skewers
- Pasta Chicken Enchiladas
- Air Fryer Chicken Fajitas
- Mexican Burger Stacks
- Mexican Chicken and Rice Bake
- Turkey Rice Burrito Bowls
or if you would like more recipe ideas or sides to make with this recipe - head on over to the FULL RECIPE INDEX where you will find over 900 delicious recipes with calories and you can search by meal type, ingredients, course, diet and more.
All recipes on Slimming Eats have estimated nutritional information for your convenience.
Storing, Freezing and Reheating Leftovers
You can keep these delicious carnitas fresh in a lidded container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. If you wish to preserve them for a more extended period, I recommend portioning them and freezing in the freezer.
When it's time to reheat, start by defrosting in the refrigerator. If your carnitas have lost some of their flavourful liquid, you can rehydrate them by lightly moistening with a bit of chicken stock. Then, spread them out on a baking tray lined with foil. Place them under the broiler or on a high setting grill for a few minutes until they're heated through and develop a delightful crispiness on the edges.
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