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Easy Shredded Pork Tacos (Slow Cooker or Pressure Cooker)

These Shredded Pork Tacos can be made using a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Each person can customize their toppings for this pork taco recipe as they see fit!

photo of shredded pork tacos on a black plate with cilantro and pickled red onions

Creating This Shredded Pork Taco Recipe

Shredded pork tacos are what happens when I decide that the freezer is entirely too full and the pork shoulder’s (the one that has already been in there a few months, or maybe a few more than a few) time has come to an end.

Being me, I didn’t think ahead as well as I should have taken the pork out the night before to thaw (check out my tips for defrosting meat!). But I really wanted those pork tacos when I got home and didn’t have any other meals ready to go that would take any less time

It was way too late for the crock pot at this point, so I cut the partially thawed pork shoulder into chunk so it could fit in the pressure cooker easier and sort of winged it from there. And guess what? It turned out great! And we still ate dinner at a decent time.

For those who may be wondering, I’ve refined this recipe for shredded pork tacos since the first time preparing it.

photo of seasonings for shredded pork tacos

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What I Love About this Shredded Pork Taco Recipe

3 reasons I think these are the best shredded pork tacos:

  1. Shredded Pork Tacos are great for families who like to serve meals buffet style so everyone can customize their own tacos.
  2. It is a great recipe for a busy day because you can cook it in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot and is easily doubled for large groups or to freeze for later.
  3. The shredded pork in this taco recipe is flavorful and super tender!

Tools Needed for This Recipe

  • Slow Cooker: If using a slow cooker to make this easy pork taco recipe, I recommend this model.
  • Instant Pot: You’ll need a 5 to 7 quart Instant Pot to make this recipe.
  • Cast Iron Griddle: A cast iron pan works great for heating the tortillas. I like them a little crispy on the edges, but still soft (not crunchy like taco shells). A griddle is nice for cooking multiple tortillas at once.
  • Tortilla Steamer: I prefer to cook the tortillas on a cast iron griddle to get them a little crispy, but you can also steam them if you prefer. Using this tortilla steamer to heat our tortillas. It prevents them from breaking once they’re loaded with toppings.
photo of ingredients to make shredded pork tacos

Shredded Pork Tacos Ingredients

Whether you make this easy pork tacos recipe in the Instant Pot or the slow cooker, the ingredients remain the same. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare this recipe:

  • Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
  • Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
  • Yellow Onion
  • Garlic
  • Orange Zest
  • Spices (Cumin, Bay Leaves, Chili Powder, Mexican Oregano)
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Chipotle Pepper in Adobo
  • Brown Sugar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Limes
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Corn Tortillas, for serving

For the complete ingredient list and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this post for the FREE printable recipe card.

Can I Use a Different Cut of Pork to Make Shredded Pork Tacos?

I like Pork Shoulder the best because it doesn’t dry out due to the fat marbling, so the meat is always nice and tender. Pork Shoulder is also sometimes called Pork Butt or Boston Butt, depending on your grocery store. However, you can use another cut of pork if you prefer. I’ve made this with pork tenderloin when that is what I had on hand.

photo of pork browning in the instant pot for shredded pork tacos

How to Make Instant Pot Pork Tacos

I made this shredded pork taco recipe in my Instant Pot. Here’s a brief overview of how I threw this recipe together:

  1. Heat the oil in a 5-7 quart pressure cooker over medium-high heat. 
  2. Cut pork into large chunks, quarters or so, while also discarding any excess fat deposits. Salt and pepper the pork generously all over. 
  3. Place in the cooker and sear on all sides, repeat with the second half. After searing, remove and set aside on a plate.
  4. Add the chopped onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
  5. Combine the seasonings to prepare a quick dry rub.
  6. Coat the pork with the spice mixture followed by the garlic and spices, then return the pork to the cooker and add the remaining ingredients.
  7. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, lock the lid in place, and cook over high pressure for 35 minutes.
  8. Remove from heat and quick-release the pressure.
  9. Transfer the pork to a serving platter or cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat.
  10. Return the shredded pork to the cooker with the liquids and spices and bring to a boil. 
  11. Lock the lid in place and cook over high pressure for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and quick-release the pressure.

The above is simply a quick summary of this recipe. Check out the full recipe in the free printable recipe card at the bottom of this post for all the detailed instructions.

photo of pork with seasonings on it for shredded pork tacos

Can I Make Slow Cooker Pork Tacos Instead?

Yes! I’ve given detailed instructions on how to make slow cooker pork tacos in the recipe card below. The method is pretty similar, but you’ll need a cast iron pan to sear the meat if your slow cooker doesn’t have a stove top safe insert.

The shredded pork will have a longer cooking time in the slow cooker than it will in the Instant Pot. Sometimes the slow cooking works better for my schedule because it allows me to walk away for hours at a time while pork cooks.

Pork Taco Toppings

Serve the shredded pork tacos as you see fit. If you need topping ideas, here are some of our favorite toppings:

The great thing about shredded pork tacos is that once you prepare the meat, you can top the tacos with whatever you like!

photo of pork with seasonings, cilantro, and lime in the instant pot to make shredded pork for tacos

How to Store Leftover Shredded Pork Tacos

The shredded pork and any leftover taco toppings are best stored separately in the refrigerator. All items should be transferred to an airtight container after the meal is finished. The meat will be good in the refrigerator for up to 5 days when stored properly.

Can Shredded Pork Taco Meat Be Frozen?

Yes, the shredded pork freezes well for later use as a full recipe serves anywhere from 8-12 depending on the number of tacos served per person. Freeze the shredded pork in its juices to keep it moist.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat with the juices using the warm setting on your instant pot or slow cooker.

Ways to Eat This Shredded Pork Taco Meat

I love the versatility of this shredded pork recipe because it tastes good in so many different ways besides just the typical pork taco! Here are some of my serving suggestions:

  • DIY Pork Taco Rice Bowls: Layer some rice (or quinoa) with shredded pork, black beans, and all your favorite toppings and enjoy shredded pork tacos in burrito bowl form instead of in a tortilla.
  • Pork Nachos: Add some of the shredded pork taco meat to my favorite Easy Nachos Recipe. So good!
  • Egg Scramble or Omelet: Make your scrambled eggs or omelet and add some shredded pork, bell peppers, and onions. Then, top with pico de gallo or Salsa Verde and your favorite cheese. I love doing this with leftover meat!
  • Shredded Pork Breakfast Tacos: Add some of the meat to this delicious recipe for Black Bean Breakfast Burritos.
  • Loaded Carnitas Fries: Top these Tex-Mex Oven Fries with shredded pork taco meat and plenty of cheese. Pop the fries back in the oven to melt the cheese, then drizzle with the two dipping sauces included with the fries recipe and any other toppings you like.
  • Shredded Pork Taco Salad: This shredded pork would taste great added to Black Bean Taco Salad or Layered Taco Salad in a Jar.
photo of cooked pork being shredded for tacos

What to Serve with Shredded Pork Tacos

Here are a few of our favorite side dishes to serve alongside these delicious shredded pork tacos:

This Cilantro Lime Broccoli Slaw is super easy thanks to pre-packaged shredded broccoli slaw mix. It also has a carrots, red cabbage and is tossed with jalapeño, lime, red onion, and red bell pepper and is tossed with a creamy dressing for a refreshing side salad.

For a lighter slaw side dish, try serving these Shredded Pork Tacos with this Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw.

This Easy Black Bean Salad with zesty lime dressing is easy to prepare that can be made ahead. It makes a great cold side dish to serve with this shredded pork taco recipe.

Roasted Poblano Cilantro Quinoa is a great alternative to rice and it tastes great alongside these pork tacos. If you prefer rice as a side dish with your tacos, try this recipe for Homemade Spanish Rice.

woman holding a black plate with shredded pork tacos on it and a margarita in the background

More Easy Taco Recipes:

Try a fun summer take on tacos with this recipe for Chicken Tacos with Grilled Corn Tomato Salsa. Chicken is flavored with a tasty Chipotle Lime Marinade and then grilled.

Classic fish tacos get a healthy and quick makeover for busy weeknights in these Fish Taco Bowls with Cilantro Lime Kale Slaw.

These Grilled Lime Cilantro Chicken Walking Tacos feature grilled lime cilantro chicken and grilled pineapple.

These Roasted Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos are a quick and easy vegetarian option for any Taco Tuesday Night or Cinco de Mayo Menu!

Lemon Pepper Chicken Tacos are light and fresh, making them the perfect meal for spring or summer.

For more of our favorite Mexican Recipes, check out the recipe index.

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photo of a plate with shredded pork tacos

Shredded Pork Tacos

Yield: 8-12 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

These shredded pork tacos can be made using a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Each person can customize their toppings as they see fit!

Ingredients

  • 5 lb. Pork Shoulder or Pork Butt
  • Kosher Salt, to taste
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Avocado Oil or Olive Oil
  • 1 medium Yellow Onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Orange Zest
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican Oregano
  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder
  • 2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 14 oz. can Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Chipotle Pepper in Adobo, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) Cilantro Leaves, chopped
  • 2 Limes

Instructions

Preparing the Pork

  1. Cut away any large deposits of excess fat and discard.
  2. Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks, such as quarters.

To Cook in the Instant Pot:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a 5-7 quart pressure cooker over medium-high heat.
  2. Place in the cooker and sear on all sides, repeat with the second half. After searing, remove and set aside on a plate.
  3. Adding more oil, if necessary, add the chopped onion and saute for 2 minutes.
  4. Combine the garlic, orange zest, cumin, oregano, chili powder, and brown sugar in a small bowl, then coat the pork pieces all over with the spice mixture.
  5. Return the pork to the cooker and add the remaining ingredients (juice the limes and then toss the whole lime into the pot as well).
  6. Bring to a boil for 2 minutes, lock the lid in place, and cook over high pressure for 35 minutes.
  7. Slow release the pressure from the Instant Pot. After all the pressure has released, open the lid, tilting it away from you to block any escaping steam.
  8. Transfer the pork to a serving platter or cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat.
  9. Return the shredded pork to the cooker with the liquids and spices (which should still be in the cooker).
  10. Lock the lid in place and cook over high pressure for 5 more minutes. Remove from heat and quick-release the pressure. Open the lid, tilting it away from you to block any escaping steam.

To Cook in the Slow Cooker

  1. Proceed with the instructions above but cook on low for 6 - 8 hours, or until the meat falls apart and is easily shredded.

Serving the Shredded Pork Tacos

  1. Drain excess liquid and discard the bay leaves and any large pieces of fat when shredding the meat.
  2. Serve the shredded pork on warmed corn tortillas with sliced avocado, red onion, fresh cilantro leaves, sour cream, and your choice of salsa.

Notes

  • The shredded pork freezes well for later use as a full recipe serves anywhere from 8-12 depending on the number of tacos served per person.
  • Using a pressure cooker is a great way to get still semi-frozen meat on the table quickly!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information
Yield 12 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 402Total Fat 15gSaturated Fat 5gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 9gCholesterol 159mgSodium 222mgCarbohydrates 7gFiber 2gSugar 4gProtein 57g

GoodLifeEats.com offers recipe nutritional information as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although GoodLifeEats.com makes every effort to provide accurate information, these figures are only estimates.

Did you make this recipe?

I’d love it if you let me know what you think! Snap a photo and tag me on Instagram at @goodlifeeats with the hashtag #goodlifeeatsrecipes so I can see what you’re cooking up in YOUR kitchen!

Becky

Tuesday 30th of October 2012

AMAZING! Leftovers make great soup as well!! Great!

elle pee

Saturday 28th of August 2010

Delicious recipe... and beautiful photo! How can I see more of your pressure cooker recipes. Do you have a label so I can see them all?Ciao!http://www.hippressurecooking.com/

Kevin

Tuesday 30th of March 2010

Those tacos look really good!

Melanie

Saturday 27th of March 2010

These tacos look so refreshing and delicious. I'm a bit scared of pressure cooking but it seems so doable! Maybe I'll finally get around to learning.

Jennifer P.

Friday 26th of March 2010

Hi- Awesome recipe & thanks for spreading the word about pressure cooking!!!

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