Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos

Total Time:
5 hr 36 min
25 min
5 hr 11 min

about 8 servings

  • 3 whole ancho chiles
  • 3 whole pasilla chiles
  • 4 cloves garlic, unpeeled
  • 2 to 3 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1/2 medium white onion, roughly chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 3 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder (untrimmed), cut into chunks
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Corn tortillas, warmed, for serving
  • Assorted taco toppings, for garnish

Put the ancho and pasilla chiles and the garlic in a bowl; add 2 to 3 tablespoons water. Microwave on high until soft and pliable, 2 to 3 minutes. Stem and seed the chiles; peel the garlic. Transfer the chiles and garlic to a blender.

Add the chipotles, onion, 2 tablespoons olive oil, honey, vinegar, 1 tablespoon salt and the oregano to the blender; puree until smooth. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over high heat; add the chile sauce and fry, stirring, until thick and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Pour in the broth and reduce until slightly thickened.

Season the pork all over with salt and pepper and transfer to a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves and cinnamon stick, then pour in the sauce. Cover and cook on high until the meat is tender, about 5 hours. (Or cook the meat in a large Dutch oven, covered, for 1 hour 45 minutes at 350 degrees; uncover and cook 30 more


Discard the bay leaves and cinnamon stick. Shred the pork with 2 forks; season with salt and pepper. Serve the shredded pork in the tortillas, along with toppings.

Photograph by Tina Rupp

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    186 Reviews
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    Absolutely FANTASTIC! One of the most delicious and versatile dishes I've ever made.
    It is a time consuming recipe but worth it! Made it in a crockpot on high for 5 hrs. That's all you need really! Used dried ancho and pasilla chili! Just to warn you, with all that chili cooking in the crockpot for a long period of time...If may give you the sniffles and watery eyes. Not everyone is affected the same way. Next time I'll cook it in the oven..
    fantastic flavor! I used fresh jalapenos and poblano peppers then chipotle chili powder and slow cooked on low for 8 hours. I served with shredded cabbage, lime and avocados....amazing. Definitely a new 'go to' weeknight dinner.
    Wonderful recipe! I used fresh pasillas and dried anchos (what was available locally) 
    I made this while visiting someone who didn't have a blender or food processor: so don't let that dissuade you from this recipe. I chopped sauce ingredients, then cooked a bit longer in half the broth while occasionally mashing with the back of a big wooden spoon. Definitely more work. Result was a semi-smooth but chunky sauce.  
    Served with lime, cilantro, avocado, shredded cabbage, crema and queso fresco, per our taste. 
    This is a definite keeper. 
    Thanks to all the other reviewers for your tips.
    Uh, delicious doesn't do this recipe justice. For lack actually of a better word, this was amazing! And yes, make sure you have enough leftover to enjoy it on day 2. Believe it or not, it actually tastes even better. I served mine with a home made roasted tomatillo salsa. I don't think you need anything else. The pork has so much flavor on it's own. No need to mask it, you only need to compliment it.
    This recipe was delicious. The store I went to didn't have the peppers listed in the recipe so I used poblano and anaheim. This was soo good!
    Really awesome flavors if you're bored with the usual. THANK YOU!!!
    Make this recipe! I made homemade corn tortillas too. Served with chopped avocado, cilantro and cojita cheese. So delish!
    Absolutely delicious pork tacos. I made for a kid's birthday dinner, and everyone loved. Good in corn or flour tortillas or hard shells. Made another time and used a 4 lb. chuck roast, instead of pork, and it was even more delicious.
    This recipe is a special treat in our family. Kids and husband(along with myself), a like, LOVE this meal. We serve it with fresh salsa, fresh chopped cilantro, and fresh squeezed lime juice. I leave out the pasilla chiles and double the dried ancho chilis. I have made this recipe several times. The first time, I was careless about reading the directions and added the whole can of chipotles(WOW!!). The second time I used the appropriate amount, and perfect. Before, I skipped the honey and chicken broth, use granulated chicken bouillon and a can of cola of my choice or what ever we had on hand. This time I just used chipotle salsa and both honey and cola. I know it will turn out as good as the others!
    The house smelled amazing, hubby couldn't wait for dinner. I used fresh ancho chilis but replaced the pasilla with Anaheim because that is what was at the store. I floured and browned the pork before putting it in the crock pot and used that same cast iron pan to cook the sauce. Actually quite a bit of work and was glad when finally got everything in the crock pot and all the dishes washed. Used the cinnamon and my son noticed, wasn't too sure he liked it but said it was a homerun meal anyway. Just threw some cilantro into a package of cole slaw mix along my dump salsa, the tacos were awesome. Makes a lot so I can freeze some for later. Another son is on Weight Watchers and he got to eat two large tacos, so he was very happy. This will stay in my recipe box.
    I made some substitutions, and left out the cinnamon as some suggested AND YUM!! This was super delicious and super light, but filling!! Made a mango salsa to go along with the tacos and coleslaw. Will be keeping this recipe!!
    Making today for a second time. Love this recipe. Found that pif you are in a rush, you don't have to blend everything first, you can blend it after. Served with fresh guacamole, lime slices, and regular taco toppings. It's a keeper. 
    I concur with other reviewers...this is an excellent slow cooker recipe! We planned on making a mango salsa to accompany the tacos, but the mango's had rotten seed cores (not the right time of year), so we did a quick substitute by making a pineapple salsa. We drained and dried off sliced canned pineapple. Then seared the pineapple in a super hot iron skillet. After it cooled, we chopped the pineapple up and added cilantro, red onion, jalapeno, and lime juice. We thought the pineapple salsa was perfect with this dish! So good that I doubt we will do mango next time, even if it is in season. We also served thinly sliced raw red cabbage and crumbled queso fresca for tacos. GOOD STUFF!!!
    This is one of the best things that has ever come out of my slow cooker! I followed the recipe as is except that I used regular oregano. I served the meat in flour burrito shells with a fresh mango salsa (diced mangos, diced red bell pepper, diced onions, chopped fresh cilantro, fresh lime juice and just enough sugar or honey to take the edge off the lime juice). YUM!!!
    This was amazing!! I was concerned about the prep time for the sauce, but so worth it! I have 2 picky children (6 and 16) and they loved it!!! I will be adding this to the recipe rotation!!!
    I love this recipe, usually I will tweak a recipe after following it to the "T" the first time, but this one I do not mess with! I like to top it with pickled red onions, green cabbage, cilantro and substitute sour cream with nonfat greek yogurt (you cannot taste the difference) with a side of black bean & corn salad....oh and don't forget the negro modelo and shot of tequila! ;-)
    This recipe is to die for delicious!!! I thought it was super weird when I was making it - frying this weird muddy paste in a frying pan. But it is seriously the best thing I've ever made. I was unclear on what peppers to buy - there was no "pasilla" or "ancho" label on anything in the produce section. So I used dried anchos, which I found in the latin cooking aisle, and fresh poblanos (which I think is comparable to the pasilla). I also found cans of chipotles in adobo in the latin cooking aisle. I made it for my brother's birthday party which is really convenient because there is no precision involved for timing when you serve this (after it was done cooking I set the crock pot to "Warm" and people were eating it between 8pm and midnight). The meat is unbelievable - use pork shoulder like the recipe calls for and you will not be disappointed. My husband and I have been living on the leftovers for 4 straight days and every day it is so freaking good
    I make these every other week and I crave them during the off weeks. Sometimes I do not use as many chills if any children will be eating. Just as good either way. One of my favorite dishes.
    Just perfect.
    This was AWESOME! I could only find dried pasilla and ancho chiles and frankly they were expensive and came in a large bag. So, I substituted 2 fresh jalepenos and 3 seranos. I didn't do the microwave boiling thing. I just stemmed and seeded them and put them in the blender with the other ingredients. I did that part the night before and put it in the fridge. I fried it the next morning and set the crock pot to go. I was going to work so I set it on low for 8 hours. It was perfect!!! It was actually better the next day even! This was like food truck good! I made a quick mango, cilantro, fresh serano topping and served with warmed La Tortilla Factory corn/wheat tortillas with melted jack cheese. Soooooo good!
    This is a hit every time. It's a bit time-consuming to prepare, but I'm pretty slow in the kitchen, so it could just be me. Also, just remember to soak the dried chiles in water before microwaving - I nearly choked myself out of the house the first time I followed the directions as written! It makes a lot of food, so I usually save this for parties. It's not too hot for heat-babies like myself and gives just enough heat so the spicey-lovers enjoy it, too.
    We love this recipe! It's hard to mess up, and has become our go-to recipe for dinner guests. My mom and sisters also love it and make it often. I use the leftovers for quesadillas or enchiladas (it makes a lot!. The depth of flavor from all the chiles and cinnamon is great!
    Wonderful & easy to throw in the slow cooker & have ready when you walk in the door.
    SWEET TOOTH ALERT! For those of you that are constantly looking for a good recipe this one has some good points and some very bad points. The cooking time and method for the duch oven are spot on. The meat will be tender and moist. As for the honey and cinnamon stick.....Not something I really wanted to put into a taco. I managed to save it by adding bar-b-q sauce and making sandwiches. Remove the honey and cinnamon, and add 3 cloves of garlic, 1 1/2 tablespoons of coriander and 2 teaspoons of cumin. Use the whole 7.5oz can of chipotle in adobo sauce. Waste not want not. Whole onion chopped finely. 4 seeded Jalapeno Peppers for those that want a little heat.
    Delicious. Toppings are endless. I make this the night before, set the crock pot when I go to work, and enjoy when I get home. Can't beat it!
    Delicious and super easy to make! Boyfriend loved it :. I was not able to find ancho or pasilla peppers, so I used California Chiles (New Mexico Chiles and pablanos.
    AMAZING! Only thing I changed was I listened to other reviews & used less salt - only 1 teaspoon and I could only find dried Ancho Chiles. Slow cooked for 5 hours and everyone loved these! Not too spicy at all & very easy to make.
    Yep, I love this recipe. I tried it last week, and this week I tried a different Food Network pork carnitas recipe that got rave review and looked a tad simpler (not that this is difficult - it's not. This one is far superior.  
    After reading the reviews, I added molasses to the sauce and was very happy with the results. My whole family enjoyed this, including my picky kids, and even requested it again. The meat worked with tacos, and also on buns with cole slaw. Yum!
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