Carnitas Seasoning – Why You Should Use It and an Easy How-To Recipe

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One of the tastiest Mexican recipes you can make: seasoned, slow-cooked pork carnitas tacos. Truly are a thing of beauty. Imagine some pork that has been slow cooked until tender, which is gently teased apart before pan-frying until it’s golden and crisped to perfection. Now, imagine this with shredded pork that has been marinated and seasoned in a delicious blend of herbs and spices. Drool!! This pork carnitas dry rub seasoning mix recipe is a must if you are looking to make any Mexican food at home. It can be used for many other dishes too. Keep reading to find out how you can make this tasty creation at home!

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Pork Carnitas Seasoning – Why You Should Use It And An Easy How To Recipe

Table of Contents

What are Pork Carnitas?

Pork carnitas is the Mexican version of pulled pork. Traditionally, they are made by slow-cooking pork that is fully submerged in lard.

Also known as a confit method, the resulting meat is ridiculously tender and rich. The pork is then usually pan-fried to create crispy golden pieces of tender pork meat.

For this pork carnitas recipe, the pork meat which you can use for this can be pork loin, pork tenderloin aka pork butt, or pork shoulder. The best method of cooking is by slow cooking the pork. This will create that super tender, fall-off-the-bone effect. Slow-cooker carnitas are a super easy method of achieving this and provide delicious flavor.

What is the importance of Pork Carnitas Seasoning?

If you’ve not heard of dry meat rubs, then you need to get to know them. The difference that a dry meat rub makes when cooking meat is huge.

Seasoning the meat before cooking will work as a sealant, helping to keep the meat moist. If you are grilling the meat, or even broiling, the dry rub will then provide a nice, crispy caramelized exterior.

Dry rubs don’t need to be overcomplicated either. Once you have made the mix, you can just pop it on before cooking. Or better yet, let it sit on the meat for 30 minutes.

Seasoning is supposed to enhance the flavor of the meat, not mask it. Therefore, the use of a dry rub reduces the need for needing a bottle of sauce or other condiments to make up for the flavor.

What Can You Use Pork Carnitas Seasoning on?

Carnitas seasoning is really great because you can use it on a variety of different Mexican dishes, such as pork chops, tacos, briskets for barbacoa, chicken, and many more!

If you’re looking to make a Mexican twist on a dish then this is the perfect spice blend for the occasion.

Can you Make Pork Carnitas Seasoning Ahead of Time?

Yes, you absolutely can.

This seasoning won’t go off for a long time. And when I am making this mixture, I usually double the recipe so that I can make a batch of pork carnitas straight away while saving some of the seasonings for the next time.

Make sure you are storing the seasoning in a sealed jar in a dark, cool dry place and it will last a really long time.

Recipe for Pork Carnitas Seasoning Mix


  • 2 tbsp Kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp fine ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 tbsp granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsp granulated onion
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried marjoram
  • 1 tbsp ground bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili powder


Carnitas seasoning mix

Total Time: 5 minutes

Prepare ingredients

Prepare the ingredients and mix them all together in a jar, or a bowl with a lid. Seal, and shake well


Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

If you think that a video might be easier to follow instructions from for this delicious recipe, I’ve included this easy-to-follow video which should help:

How do you Prepare your Meat when Making Carnitas?

The best way to prepare your meat is by letting the dry rub have some time to work its flavor magic. So, what is the optimal amount of time to leave the dry rub on your meat?

Personally, I think between 15 minutes to 2 hours is good. But of course, the longer you leave it the better.

FAQs – Carnitas seasoning

What Do You Put in Pork Carnitas Tacos?

Some great toppings that go really well with carnitas are refried beans, pico de Gallo, guacamole, sour cream, finely chopped raw white onions, chopped cilantro, and shredded green or red cabbage, or shredded cheese. A squeeze of lime juice would taste super good too!

What does Evaporated Milk do for Carnitas?

Sweetened condensed milk is a great ingredient for helping the pork to caramelize while you are cooking. For best results, use well-marbled pork, as the extra fat absorbs the sweet, caramelized flavor more and produces super sweet, juicy pork flavors.

What Is the Difference Between Pulled Pork and Carnitas?

Pulled pork is meat from a pig (typically the shoulder region) that is slow cooked. This method of cooking makes it easier for the meat to shred nicely. Carnitas (meaning ‘little meats’) is a version of pulled pork that is fixed with Mexican spice.

How Do You Fix Bland Carnitas?

If you’ve already made your pork and you think they need more flavor, then add this carnitas seasoning mix, even after you’ve cooked the meat will save your carnitas.
If you’ve already cooked the pork, just fry the pork in a little oil on a low heat for 3 minutes for the seasoning to properly latch to the meat.

Street Tacos

The Tastiest Way to Make Mexican Recipes at Home!

Hopefully, this easy-to-follow recipe will have saved your bland carnitas and on the road to the tastiest Mexican food, you’ve ever made! Whether it is for your midweek dinner or you’re hosting a fiesta, this tasty seasoning mix on your pork carnitas tacos will go down as a treat for all occasions!

I hope you enjoyed this post!

If you’re looking for other ways to marinate different meats, I have a few separate blog posts outlining different ways to marinate. Make sure to check them out!

By Anna

Anna Brooks, the voice behind, is a seasoned writer and editor with an insatiable love for food. While not a professional chef, her culinary adventures and unique insights have captivated readers for years. Anna believes in the transformative power of food, stating it "feeds the soul." Dive into her writings for a mix of inspiration, entertainment, and culinary wisdom. Author Pinterest Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Tumblr Reddit Quora

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