Have you ever wondered what to serve with pork carnitas? That Mexican braised pork actually goes well with lots of sides!
We can tell you all about what to serve with pork carnitas so you can make incredible, delicious meals.
Pork carnitas is made with heavily marbled pieces of pork like pork shoulder roast or pork tenderloin. The pork is braised and slow-cooked to make tender, fall-apart meat that is hard to resist.
Pork carnitas is very popular in Mexican cuisine. The tender meat is often served in small corn tortillas, making delicious pork carnitas tacos. It is an amazing and common street food.
Let’s look at the best side dishes to serve with pork carnitas to make a complete meal.
Side Dishes for Pork Carnitas
Pork carnitas is primarily shredded, tender meat that is sometimes seasoned. Carnitas are fatty, juicy, and super filling.
Since carnitas is mainly pork, you need a good side dish to complete your carnitas meal. Carnitas are good, but they really benefit from a tasty side.
Vegetable side dishes are great with hearty carnitas. Serving the protein-packed carnitas with a tender vegetable is a very good idea to make a healthy, well-rounded meal.
You also can’t go wrong with different kinds of rice and bean side dishes.
Take a look at our favorite carnitas side dishes and see which ones you want to try!
1. Cilantro Lime Rice
Our Simple Green Moms cilantro lime rice is the perfect side dish for your slow cooker carnitas recipe. It will bulk up your pulled pork dinner and add a lot of bright flavors.
Our cilantro lime rice is made with fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro. A little minced garlic adds a new level of flavor.
Serve the cilantro lime rice on the side of your crispy pork carnitas, or scoop it into a corn tortilla along with the pulled pork. It also works great as the base for burrito bowls.
A little extra fresh lime juice is the perfect finishing touch!
2. Refried Beans
Use this recipe from Cookie and Kate to make incredible refried beans. They are the perfect side dish for your favorite carnitas recipe.
Refried beans are a classic Mexican dish that starts with canned pinto beans. The chopped onions, salt, and garlic are sautéed with the beans.
Cumin and chili powder add a nice heat to the beans. Add less chili powder to make a more mild-flavored bean.
Top the refried beans with a little chopped cilantro and enjoy alongside your delicious crispy carnitas.
Refried beans are great as a side. But they can also be served inside pork carnitas tacos along with shredded meat.
3. Homemade Tortillas
You will go crazy for these homemade tortillas from Mexico in My Kitchen. Slow cooker pork carnitas is often served with corn tortillas. Pork carnitas tacos are a traditional, delicious dish!
All you need to make these tortillas are masa harina flour and water. You can find masa flour in most grocery stores. It is a blend of cornmeal and flour that is ideal for making tortillas.
Invest in a tortilla press if you want to make tortillas often. You can use a tortilla press to quickly make corn or flour tortillas.
You will be shocked by how amazing homemade tortillas are. They are so much better than anything you can get in the grocery store.
Homemade tortillas may take a little time to make, but they really are worth the effort!
4. Tortilla Soup
Spend With Pennies will show you how to make a fantastic crockpot tortilla soup that is warm and hearty. It is the perfect appetizer or side dish to serve with your favorite pork carnitas recipe.
Tortilla soup is a classic Mexican dish. It is made with rich chicken broth, onions, garlic, jalapenos, and tomato.
Black beans and pinto beans are also added to the soup.
We especially love this recipe because it cooks in the slow cooker. Toss all the ingredients in the bowl and just turn it on. Come back hours later to perfect tortilla soup.
Top your tortilla soup with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.
Skip the shredded chicken in the tortilla soup recipe since you already have pork. Replacing the chicken with chopped carnitas pork is an exciting twist on this recipe.
5. Mexican Street Corn
This Mexican street corn from Cooking Classy is one of the best side dishes to serve with your slow-cooked pork carnitas recipe. It is a classic Mexican food that adds fun and flavor to your plate.
Fresh ears of corn are gilled to give them a little char. The corn ears are slathered in mayonnaise then sprinkled with cilantro, cayenne pepper, salt, and lime. Some cojita cheese tops the corn and makes it picture perfect.
If you can’t find cojita cheese, you can use feta in its place. Feta cheese isn’t quite as salty, but it will work well. Feta may be easier to find in your local grocery store.
Use light mayonnaise for less saturated fat. That pork shoulder you use to make the carnitas already has enough tasty fats! A light mayonnaise is a good place to cut back.
6. Pinto Beans
Skinnytaste has mastered the Mexican pinto bean and shares the perfect recipe here. These soupy, flavorful beans are ideal for serving with pork carnitas.
We love that the beans cook in the instant pot, making it a quick and easy side dish.
Scoop some pinto beans into pork carnitas tacos or use them next time you make pork carnitas rice bowls. This recipe makes a lot so be prepared to be eating yummy pork roast and beans for days!
You can make this pinto bean recipe in a slow cooker if you do not have an instant pot.
Try cooking it over the stovetop as you cook meat for the carnitas at the same time.
Try one of the beans to see if it is soft and tender. This is how you know the dish is done! Any crunchy beans may need a little longer in the pot.
Use canned pinto beans to make the meal faster. You will not have to soak canned beans overnight but can simply drain the beans and use them right away.
If you love amazing guacamole, you definitely need to try this recipe from Downshiftology. It is one of the best guacamoles we have ever tried!
Be sure to start with a ripe avocado. Avocados should give a little when squeezed. They should be a deep green color and not feel too hard or be super soft. Choosing a ripe avocado is an art!
Adjust the guacamole recipe to suit your personal tastes. Add a little more jalapeno if you like spicy guacamole. Skip the jalapeno altogether to get a more mild guacamole.
Try pureeing the guacamole to make a smooth version of the dish. Mash the avocados less if you want a chunky guac.
Make a big bowl of guacamole to serve with your slow-cooked pork butt carnitas meat. This will be a delicious meal for your next Cinco de Mayo party or just for any Tuesday night!
8. Homemade Salsa
If you love classic side dishes, then you need to make this homemade salsa from Lil Luna.
Salsa is served at almost every taco night, at every Cinco de Mayo party, and with almost every Mexican meal you can think of. You need a great salsa!
This great recipe used the blender to chop and puree all the ingredients perfectly. Everything from the tomatoes to the red onion goes straight into the blender.
You will have a delicious side for your slow cooker pork shoulder carnitas in just a few minutes.
If you want a chunkier salsa, simply chop all the ingredients and mix them together in a big bowl. This will give you the same great-tasting salsa with a chunkier texture.
9. Mexican Rice
This authentic rice from Tastes Better From Scratch may be your new favorite side dish for slow cooker pork. It is easy, flavorful, and goes well with any of your favorite taco recipes.
The recipe uses white rice but feel free to use brown rice in its place. This will give your meal a little more fiber and minerals.
Peas, carrots, and tomatoes are the main veggies in the rice. Many people like corn in Mexican rice, so don’t be afraid to toss that in too!
Skip the serrano peppers if you’d like a less spicy dish. However, spicy rice is pretty great with Mexican slow cooker shredded pork!
10. Jalapeno Cornbread
Jalapeno cornbread from The Recipe Critic is sweet, spicy, and incredibly amazing next to a plate of slow cooker pork shoulder.
The smooth cornmeal batter is packed with shredded cheddar cheese, fresh corn kernels, and jalapeno slices. The cornbread is baked in a cast-iron skillet until golden brown.
Slice and serve the delicious jalapeno cornbread straight from the skillet.
It is a nice presentation and convenient. This may be the best recipe for cornbread we have ever tried!
11. Taco Salad
You are going to love this taco salad recipe from Wholesome Yum. Not only is it very filling, but it only takes a few minutes to make!
While this recipe calls for cooked ground beef to top the dish, replace that meat with your brown pork carnitas meat. Topping the salad with crispy pork carnitas gives the salad a delicious twist.
Fresh sliced tomatoes, chopped romaine lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese are tossed together to make the salad. Top the taco salad with some sour cream or pico de gallo to give it a tasty cream dressing.
Try serving the taco salad in a big taco shell bowl. This adds crunch and also makes the salad look incredible.
Everyone will love the presentation of your pork carnitas meal!
One bite of this delicious taco salad, and you will be back online to give the recipe five stars. You will never wonder what to serve with pork carnitas ever again!
12. Mexican Corn Salad
Follow the recipe notes from Dinner at the Zoo to make an incredible fresh corn salad. Corn salad is full of vibrant flavors. It also has a great crunchy texture that is tasty with tender pork butt carnitas.
Fresh or canned corn can be used to make the salad. A creamy lime dressing made with sour cream is incredibly delicious.
We especially love the cojita cheese that tops the corn salad. It is so unique and flavorful!
Try serving this corn salad with pork carnitas that has been slow cooking in orange juice. The orange taste goes well with the bright lime dressing.
14. Corn Pudding
Corn pudding from The Chunky Chef is one of our favorite, tender side dishes to serve with Dutch oven pork carnitas.
You may actually want to make this recipe with other southern-style meals, too! We have a feeling it will become a favorite recipe in your home.
Melted butter, sugar, flour, eggs, milk, and corn are all you need to make this delicious food. Replace the butter with olive oil for less saturated fat.
The casserole dish full of corn pudding is baked until golden brown. Serve the pudding while it is warm. It is great alongside pork carnitas, or you can shred pork right on top of the pudding. It is definitely tasty in one big bite!
15. Mexican Sweet Potatoes
Mexican stuffed sweet potatoes from a Couple Cooks are a recipe you will go crazy for. It is one of the best carnitas sides we have ever tried!
The recipe begins with roasting whole sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes are cut in half and then stuffed with a pico de gallo mix.
Top your Mexican Sweet potatoes with some sour cream. You can also give the avocado cream sauce in the recipe notes a try. This is a great way to add some healthy fats and flavor to the dish.
The avocado cream is very similar to smooth guacamole.
Make one giant stuffed sweet potato by topping the veggie with the cooked carnitas meat. This makes a complete meal that will definitely earn you five stars in the kitchen!
Delicious Sides for Your Favorite Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Recipe
Whether you make your pork carnitas in an instant pot, crockpot, or oven, these sides will complement that tender meat. Let us know which of these recipes you give five stars.
We know you will find a side dish for pork carnitas on this list that you love! Enjoy.