Tacos de Cochinita Pibil

These delicious and flavorful Tacos de Cochinita Pibil, or shredded pork tacos, give you an authentic spice profile. Traditionally made in banana leaves and cooked underground, this recipe slowly cooks the meat in the crockpot.  I first made this decades ago and haven’t changed one thing.  It’s perfect as written for our family.

This Mexican pork dish originated in Yucatan. Because the pork is marinated in a combination of annatto paste, orange juice, and garlic, the taste is delicious and refreshing.  This isn’t spicy hot. Instead, it has a bright, authentic taste.  

The slow cooking ensures the roast is tender for shredding while the meat marinates in the delicious juices and spice.  Like any taco, you can choose what toppings you and your humans like.  If you’re a cheese lover, choose a mild flavor like Colby, Monterey Jack, or a Mexican blend.  Doing this will highlight the fresh flavors of the pork with a hint of orange. Whipped guacamole is an ideal condiment for these tacos.


tacos el cochinita pibil in a black small cast iron skillet on a round farmhouse cutting board. The pork is surrounded by corn tortillas, tomatoes, tomatillos, annatto seed and mini margaritas.

Annatto seeds may appear mysterious if you have yet to try them.  However, they are widely used.  This ingredient comes from the tropical achiote tree!  Because of its bright yellow-orange hue, you’ll find it a natural food dye ingredient in items like butter, cheese, and ice cream. 

It is a much-used ingredient in many Latin American foods and Caribbean and Filipino cuisines. You will find it in soups, stews, sauces, and marinades, leaving a sweet, peppery taste.  This Tacos de Cochinita Pibil recipe is an ideal example of the flavors you can create using annatto.  

Annatto seeds in a small matte black bowl with molcajete for grinding them. These are sitting on a farmhouse style cutting board with a small rustic wooden spoon.
tacos el cochinita pibil in a black small cast iron skillet on a round farmhouse cutting board. The pork is surrounded by corn tortillas, tomatoes, tomatillos, annatto seed and mini margaritas.

Tacos de Cochinita Pibil - Shredded Pork Tacos

Foodie de Froid
Servings 12 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
These delicious and flavorful Tacos de Choninita Pibil, or shredded pork tacos, give you an authentic spice profile. Traditionally made in banana leaves and cooked underground, this recipe is for slow cooking in the crockpot.
5 from 1 vote


Recado Colorado

  • 1 tbsp annatto seeds known as achiote
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds or ¾ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp dried oregano Mexican
  • ½ tsp peppercorns or ¾ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp allspice or ¾ tsp ground allspice
  • ¾ inch cinnamon stick ⅛ tsp cinnamon
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tsp distilled vinegar
  • 1 tsp water

Shredded Pork Tacos

  • ½ cup orange juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 tbsp lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 recipe Recado Colorado
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • 4+ pound pork butt roast bone-in and trimmed
  • 1 small onion halved and sliced thin
  • corn tortillas or flour - whatever you prefer


  • 2 tomatoes chopped
  • cilantro
  • 1 small head iceberg lettuce shredded
  • 6 ounces longhorn cheese shredded
  • 6 green onions sliced
  • guacamole if desired
  • salsa if desired
  • sour cream if desired


Recado Colorado

  • Pulse the dry spices in a spice or coffee grinder
    1 tbsp annatto seeds, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp sea salt, ½ tsp cumin seeds, ½ tsp dried oregano, ½ tsp peppercorns, ½ tsp allspice, ¾ inch cinnamon stick, 3 whole cloves
  • Pour the spice mixture into a small bowl. Add the vinegar and water and mix to form a paste.
    2 tsp distilled vinegar, 1 tsp water

Shredded Pork Tacos

  • In a medium bowl, combine the orange and lime juices. Add the Recado Colorado mixture and stir until dissolved. Add the salt and garlic cloves. Set aside.
    ½ cup orange juice, 1 tbsp lime juice, 1 recipe Recado Colorado, 1 tsp sea salt, 2 cloves garlic
  • Cut the trimmed meat into three or four large chunks. Place them into the slow cooker.
    4+ pound pork butt roast
  • Pour the orange juice mixture over the meat and stir lightly to cover. Top with the onion slices.
    1 small onion
  • Turn the crockpot to low and cook for 7 - 9 hours. Use a shorter time for a smaller roast and a longer time for large roasts.
  • Remove the meat from the crockpot and place it on a large cutting board. Shred the meat using your meat claw shredders or two forks. Return to the crockpot, and give it a good stir to combine the meat with the juices. Turn to high and cook one hour longer


  • Wrap tortillas in foil and place them in a warm oven. Or heat them in a tortilla steamer or the microwave oven wrapped in paper towels.
    corn tortillas
  • Remove meat from the juices with a slotted spoon and pour it onto your tortilla, leaving room for additional toppings. Add the taco garnishes as desired. Fold and enjoy!
    2 tomatoes, cilantro, 1 small head iceberg lettuce, 6 ounces longhorn cheese, 6 green onions, guacamole, salsa, sour cream

Kitchen Equipment

Meat Claw Shredder


Pork Butt Roast:  Substitute a 2-3 pound boneless roast for the bone in.
Tip:  Use your measuring spoon's handle to mix the Recado Colorado spices with the liquid.  It makes cleanup easier.
Course dinner, entree
Cuisine Mexican
Calories 322


Serving: 12servingsCalories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 25gFat: 13gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0.001gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 570mgPotassium: 538mgFiber: 4gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 405IUVitamin C: 11mgCalcium: 168mgIron: 2mg
Keyword authentic mexican tacos, shredded pork tacos, tacos
Have you made this recipe? We'd love to hear how it was!

De Froid Tip: Appetizer-sized Mini's

You’ll find a common theme here: we love appetizer-sized adaptations of our favorite food!  These Tacos el Cochinita Pibil are no exception.  Ortega makes a three-inch corn taco shell that’s a perfect tasting size, making it easy to have mini tacos on a whim.  

Mini bottles set the mood for mini-margaritas!  I love these jewel salts from Snowy River.  Because they offer a variety of colors and textures, they’re my go-to for cocktail salts.

Mini bottles with gold metal straws are filled with margaritas. Sitting next to them are mini tacos sitting in lime wedges. All of these are in a large round wooden serving platter.

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