What to Serve with Carnitas

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Carnitas are a common dish in Mexican cuisine and means “little meats” in Spanish. It’s usually made of pork butt or pork shoulder and it’s traditionally prepared by braising or simmering the pork in oil or lard until it is tender and has a delicious flavor, then shredding it into small pieces. Deciding what to serve with carnitas will be easy with this list of ideas I put together for you!

instant pot carnitas on baking sheet

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You can make carnitas easier to prepare with out slow cooker carnitas or Instant Pot carnitas recipe. You can also make carnitas-style chicken as well.

Your favorite pork carnitas recipe can be served in tacos, burritos, or in other dishes. It is also popularly served as a topping for nachos and other Mexican dishes. When it comes to the best side dishes for this meal, let’s look at some other Spanish food and Mexican-inspired foods to complete a delicious meal.

16 Dishes to Serve with Carnitas

white rice in a slow cooker with large serving spoon

1. Slow Cooker Rice

Rice is always the perfect side dish for a Mexican meal if you’re looking for a simple but tasty side.

grilled yellow, orange, and red bell peppers on white plate with parsley

2. Easy Grilled Peppers

Grilled peppers are a great addition to a traditional Mexican dish like tender pork carnitas. You can eat these as a side or add them on top of your carnitas dish.

roasted bell peppers on white plate

3. Easy Oven Roasted Bell Peppers

Bell peppers can be used with slow-cooked pork carnitas in a variety of ways. You can add them to carnitas tacos, nachos, burritos, and more!

A close up of cowboy caviar made of black beans, corn salad, cilantro and lime

4. Easy Cowboy Caviar

This cowboy caviar is a black bean and corn salad that would be perfectly paired with pulled pork carnitas. Use it as a topping for your dish or serve it as a side with tortilla chips.

5. Tostones: Fried Plantains

Tostones are popular throughout the Caribbean and Latin America, especially in Puerto Rico. These will make a great side for anything from pork carnitas tacos to slow cooker pork carnitas with rice and beans.

6. Corn Avocado Salsa

This corn and avocado salsa makes a great topping for slow-cooked pork carnitas. Try this over the main dish like nachos or add it as an appetizer or side dish with chips.

7. Simple Butter Cilantro Rice

Butter cilantro rice paired with juicy pork tenderloin carnitas is mouth-watering just thinking about it. Fresh cilantro is a very popular ingredient in Mexican food. This is a really easy side to bring your carnitas to the next level.

three pieces of stacked jalapeno cheddar cornbread on white plate

8. Mexican Cornbread

This easy Mexican cornbread is made with Jiffy mix, spicy green chilis, and delicious cheese. You’ll never settle for regular cornbread again!

9. Slow Cooker Refried Beans

Slow cooker refried beans by Love Bakes Good Cakes are great for topping carnitas tacos, nachos, and more. You can even melt a little cotija cheese on top after cooking and you’ll have a delicious dish that tastes amazing with carnitas meat.

10. Spanish Rice with Black Beans and Corn

Spanish rice with black beans and corn by Amanda’s Cookin’ would be fantastic topped with pork carnitas! Make it like a burrito bowl by adding pico de Gallo, sour cream, red onion, romaine lettuce, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice.

11. Homemade Salsa and Chips

Homemade salsa and chips by Coupons and Freebies Mom is a no-brainer as a side for carnitas. Salsa and chips make tasty sides for anything from a normal dinner or a Cinco de mayo celebration.

12. Mexican Street Corn Casserole

Serve this Mexican street corn casserole by Tastes of Lizzy T as your only side dish for this meal. It would make a great complimentary burst of flavor to pork carnitas.

13. Mexican Salad

Mexican salad by Tastes of Lizzy T is made with layers of lettuce, ground beef, cheese, tomatoes, black beans, and more. This would be a great light side for your pork carnitas.

14. Mexican Rice

Serve this Mexican rice by Two Sleevers with the refried beans recipe above and your pork carnitas and you have yourself a full Mexican meal!

15. Homemade Corn Tortillas

Homemade corn tortillas from The Gracious Wife are perfect for making homemade pork carnitas street tacos!

overhead view of homemade pico de gallo in white bowl with chips

16. Homemade Pico de Gallo

Like homemade salsa, pico de gallo is easy to make at home and the perfect topping for your carnitas, whether you are serving them on tacos, quesadillas, or on their own.

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