I frequent Mexican taco trucks generally late at night. And mulitas with al pastor or carnitas are always my go-to. Mulitas are like quesadilla sandwiches…with meat on the inside. Hello! That’s cool!

This carnitas recipe is suuuuper simple, and only takes about 3 hours of braising on the stove-top. Not too long at all. If you wanted, you could even stick it in a slow-cooker while you head to work. I bet that’d work lovely.

You’re gonna start by cubing up about a pound and a half of pork shoulder/butt. And then you’re going to salt it liberally.

This recipe serves two people with a bit of leftovers, but if you need to cook for more people, it’s pretty simple to double.

You’re going to cook the pork with all of the things you see below: orange juice, lime juice, white onion, garlic, ground cumin and chile powder.

So…I don’t have pictures of the remaining steps, but basically you’re going to sear the pork cubes until they’re nice and crispy and lightly golden brown. Then you’re going to sauté some stuff a.k.a. the onions and spices together.

Then the pork goes back in the skillet, covered with some water and kept at a simmer for about 3 hours.

You’ll know when it’s ready because you’ll be able to cut it with a fork. That’s the money sign.

Mulita time!!

1. Tortilla, cheese, in a pan. Place a lid on top until it melts.

2. Then place a tablespoon or so of carnitas.

3. Top with another tortilla and gently flip.

4. I like mine topped with warm refried beans, this little cilantro/onion mixture, crumbled queso fresco, avocado and a dollop of sour cream.

Annnnnd, if you want to be really lazy and don’t want to make your carnitas, Trader Joe’s has pre-made carnitas that aren’t terrible. Are they as good as the ones pictured? No, but they take two minutes to buy. AND you can get some gummi bear vitamins while you’re there.



Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size: 4
Calories: 384kcal
Mulitas are one of my favorite things to order from taco trucks. Cheesy, meaty and pan-fried--so good. 



  • 1 1/2 pounds pork shoulder/butt, cut into 1x1" cubes
  • 1 kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons neutral oil (avocado oil, vegetable or grape seed)
  • 1 whole white onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 whole garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 1 whole orange
  • 1 whole lime


  • 1 whole jalapeño pepper
  • 4 small corn or flour tortillas
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans , (you'll have leftovers)
  • 1 ounce cotija or queso fresco
  • 1/2 whole avocado
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream


To Make the Carnitas:

  • Lay the cubes of pork in one layer and sprinkle, on both sides, with salt, liberally. (I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.) To a medium pot or Dutch oven, set over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil. When the oil glistens, it's ready; using tongs, add the cubes of pork, in one layer, and sear on both sides for 30 seconds to a minute, or until golden brown. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in two batches. Remove pork and set aside.
  • Bring heat down to medium and add 1/2 of the diced onion; cook until translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Next, add the garlic cloves, ground cumin, chile powder, and toss. Cook for about 30 seconds more. 
  • Add the pork back to the skillet and in squeeze the orange and half of the lime over the meat. Pour enough water to slightly cover the meat and turn the heat to medium-high until it reaches a simmer. Once it's at a simmer, bring heat down to medium-low. Cook, uncovered, for 3 hours, adding water frequently. The meat is ready when it's easily shreddable.

To Make the Mulitas:

  • To assemble mulitas, get all of your accessories ready, which includes warming the refried beans in the microwave or over the stovetop. In a medium skillet, placed over medium-low heat, add 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. 
  • When warm, add one corn tortilla and top with a handful of shredded cheese. Cover the skillet with a top and cook until cheese is melted, about 1 minute. Place a few tablespoons of shredded carnitas on top of cheese and cap with a tortilla. Cook for an additional minute more until top tortilla becomes warm. Remove and transfer to plate.
  • Top with a tablespoon of refried beans, spreading it out evenly. Sprinkle onion and cilantro mixture on top, along with crumbled queso fresco. Top with a few slices of avocado and dollop of sour cream. Serve immediately with cold beer or margaritas. YES!
CourseMain Course
Keywordmexican food, mexican food truck, mexican mulitas, mulita, mulita food, mulitas
Nutrition Facts
Amount Per Serving (4 g)
Calories 384 Calories from Fat 223
% Daily Value*
Fat 24.8g38%
Saturated Fat 8.2g51%
Cholesterol 105mg35%
Sodium 147mg6%
Potassium 144mg4%
Carbohydrates 8.8g3%
Fiber 1.8g8%
Sugar 5.5g6%
Protein 31.1g62%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @acozykitchen on Instagram and hashtag it #acozykitchen
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Leave a Reply

  • Reply Mike @TheIronYou May 3, 2012 at 1:48 am

    Hahaha! Vitamins gummy bears can be treacherous…however don’t worry if you have eaten 15 of those; your body can absorb only a certain amount of vitamins and minerals, the extra goes to waste.
    And btw vitamins gummy bears are as dangerous as Mexican taco trucks late at night.

  • Reply Villy @ For the love of Feeding May 3, 2012 at 2:09 am

    I’m terrified of taking pills when I’m alone. I honestly think I will choke. And they keep making them bigger and bigger.. :/
    Delicious recipe by the way!

  • Reply Yuni May 3, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Holy crap… I didn’t even know mulitas existed. Thank you for enriching my life. You’re not alone in hating taking pills. I used to do this thing where I cut them up really small, then tried to take them with water, and cheating by chewing it a little, then I could swallow it. Did I mention no one could be looking at me? Now it’s gotten a lot better but I’m still working my way up to the horse pills of a daily vitamin they sell.

  • Reply Hannah-lyz May 3, 2012 at 3:24 am

    Be careful with those gummies! Too many vitamins can be bad for you. The fat-soluble ones are harder for the body to get rid of, and can make you sick if you get too much! So one a day from now on missy! =P
    As a one-off thing though, you’ll be fine 😉 Interesting recipe! I may make a vegan version some time!

  • Reply tina May 3, 2012 at 6:20 am

    holy bananas!! you are killing it lady!!! i must have that plate where you placed those delish mulitas!! so spring-ish 🙂 this is total yum city!! nom nom nom….

  • Reply Margarita May 3, 2012 at 6:25 am

    Yikes, this reminds me that I haven’t been good at taking my vitamins too. Mulitas… I have seen this in taco trucks and Mexican restaurants but never knew what they were called until now. This looks really good and totally authentic.

  • Reply katie May 3, 2012 at 6:52 am

    These look amazing! I completely agree about taking vitamins…I don’t have the gag thing, but I just don’t like taking big horse pills, which most of the time taste disgusting. My kids love taking the gummi vitamins so when I saw them available for adults too, I jumped at the idea. So much easier, but yes, they do taste like candy!
    I’ve never heard of Mulitas, but I know I’ll love them. Can’t wait to try your recipe!

  • Reply Rett May 3, 2012 at 6:54 am

    These look soooo good. Also, at one point, you said “if you need to cook more people”. I assume you left out a word and that carnitas aren’t code for cannibalism…

    • Reply Adrianna May 3, 2012 at 10:41 am

      Hahah! Definitely did not mean that. It’s changed now. The word “for” in that sentence does sooo much.

  • Reply Bev Weidner May 3, 2012 at 7:03 am

    I am SO in love right now.

    With the story AND the food.

  • Reply cindy May 3, 2012 at 7:07 am

    the thing I miss the most about the west coast, besides friends and fam, is mexican food! these look so good and the way to my heart is definitely through carnitas.
    carnitas luv-4-eva!
    ps, I have a reminder with an alarm set in my phone to take my vitamins. I guess I need those gummies!

  • Reply Emily @ She Makes and Bakes May 3, 2012 at 7:39 am

    I made carnitas awhile ago, but they were terrible. Although I definitely used the wrong cut of meat. A tenderloin–let’s cook the fat-less meat for 6 hours and then be surprised when it’s dry and disgusting. Anyway, this recipe looks awesome, and I can’t wait to try it. And I feel ya on the pills thing….uh, sometimes I have problems swallowing my BC pill, and those things are super super tiny! Glad you found edible vitamins. I should probably start taking some, too!

  • Reply Emilie @ Emilie's Enjoyables May 3, 2012 at 8:40 am

    eww i hate taking vitamins and mind aren’t coated so as soon as the vitamin hits your tongue, you taste the awfulness. I need to get some yummy edible ones!

  • Reply NicoleD May 3, 2012 at 10:43 am

    Yum! I wish I had taco trucks near me! Or maybe that would be bad for me, hmmm. I’m totally with you on the vitamin thing. I even brought my big bottle to work hoping it would help me to do it more often and that lasted a week. I think I may have to go the gummy route, too.

  • Reply mellissa @ ibreatheimhungry May 3, 2012 at 11:05 am

    Love taco trucks! Hate taking vitamins and the inevitable gag, choke, gasp, lurch thing that goes with it! Never heard of a mulita but will be making them soon! Thanks!

  • Reply Tia May 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

    You are not the only one that swallows your vitamins that way. I do the same thing!! My husband makes fun of me bc I fill my mouth, head back, drop in the pill and then shake my head to make sure it goes to back of my throat and then swallow. My husband thinks I am a NUT! haha

    I bought the giant thing of gummy vitamins from Costco and love them! So much easier than the other routine! 🙂

  • Reply Reformed Foodie May 3, 2012 at 11:38 am

    I do the gag reflex thing every morning with my pills (and also sometimes at Hot Yoga)- thanks for the heads up that it’s meaningless without anyone around to feel sorry for me:)

  • Reply Liza in Ann Arbor May 3, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Well now these certainly sound and look delicious. Mulitas? Never heard of them.

  • Reply Alison May 3, 2012 at 12:01 pm

    I’m SO with you on not enjoying swallowing pills. YUCK! These mulitas looks fabulous.

  • Reply erin @WELLinLA May 3, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I like to throw vitamins in my morning smoothies. With the exception of the fish oil! This looks like a delicious anytime meal. And L.A. food trucks are an ever-lurking danger of this city ; )!

  • Reply Living The Sweet Life May 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    Gummybear vitamins?!!? I need me some of those, I hate taking vitamins … they make me feel so gross ( I could be lying… it’s probably just me being lazy) … but gummy vitamins would take care of this!!

    Also these Mulitas …hooommmmyyygaaawwwdddd.
    Yes, that is exactly how I feel about these. Need. Now.

  • Reply Barbara Stoner May 3, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    First, thank you for reminding me I needed to take my prenatal vitamin today 🙂
    Second, this sounds so good. Something I could even make in advance and pull the pork out of the fridge when ever I decide to make one.

  • Reply Megan May 3, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    I’m SO hungry for this. Holey moley.

  • Reply Evi May 4, 2012 at 8:13 am

    This looks so delicious! It looks fairly simple, perfect for Cinco de Mayo- or the warm weather coming in!

  • Reply Carrie May 4, 2012 at 8:28 am

    I know this is categorized under dinner, but it’s not even noon and I would easily gobble a whole plate of this right now.

  • Reply sandra May 4, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Fantastic job with the blog

  • Reply Dana B @ thebakingbooth May 4, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    First, yes, you can take too many vitamins. Be careful! 🙂 ok, I’m sure there are too many Moms scolding you already, so onto the recipes. These look AWESOME!! I’m hungry for them now, this very moment. Can I pull them out of the computer please? 🙂

  • Reply fernanda May 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    I’m mexican, and this is the closest to mexican mulitas I’ve ever seen, your recipe is pretty accurate, now I’m craving one or two of those! great job 😉

    • Reply Adrianna May 8, 2012 at 5:47 pm

      That’s so awesome to hear. Truly! 🙂

  • Reply Amanda May 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Oh. My. Goodness.
    This looks incredible. I don’t know if I can wait until tonight to make this!

  • Reply Bally May 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I just found your blog and I found this post hilarious. I’ll be checking in regularly, thanks for the laugh!

    • Reply Adrianna May 15, 2012 at 4:19 pm

      HA! YES. Welcome. 🙂

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  • Reply Barbara S. April 18, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I went out and got everything to make these. I made the carnitas but instead of shredding the pork I ended up piling some up in a Kings Hawaiian roll and I don’t regret it.

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