15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes (2024)

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Carnitas (or Mexican pulled pork) is such a versatile dish, and the best part is that it makes loads of leftovers, which can be used in SO MANY GREAT LEFTOVER RECIPES! Check out these 15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes, so you never have to wonder what to make with carnitas!

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What are carnitas?

"Carnitas" literally means "little meats" and it's a dish of spiced pork that is simmered slowly until it comes tender enough to shred or pull into little pieces. Carnitas originated from Mexico, but many Latin American countries have their own version of carnitas with different spices.

I've never had a carnitas dish I didn't like. Carnitas are always so flavorful and versatile!

And the best part is that leftover carnitas can be used in so many dishes the next day, so it's always a good idea to make a really large batch.

Below you'll find some amazing carnitas dinner ideas: everything from carnitas bowls, casseroles, soup with carnitas, as well as more snack-like dishes, like empanadas.

So dig in!!

Oh, and if you need a really amazing flavorful recipe for carnitas, try this Cinnamon Chipotle Spiced Pulled Pork. AAAMAZING!

Leftover Carnitas Recipes

Go ahead, make a really large batch of carnitas because there are so many delicious carnitas dinner ideas!

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Sweet Potato Pulled Pork Hash

Use leftover carnitas in this amazing sweet potato skillet! So many delicious flavors in this dinner. This is a go-to weeknight recipe for us because it is so customizable with whatever add-ins your have on hand!

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Black Bean Carnitas Quesadillas

Adding cheese and a tortilla makes EVERYTHING better! I love this 10-minute dinner idea of adding leftover carnitas, black beans, and cheese to a tortilla and toasting in a pan to make the easiest, most delicious quesadillas. Serve with some pineapple pico de gallo or charred corn salsa as well as sour cream and guacamole.

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Baked Potato Bar with Carnitas

Use carnitas as a topping for a baked potato, or serve them for a baked potato bar! And make sure to check out this other great recipe roundup of canned potato recipes!

Texas Twinkies typically use leftover shredded brisket, but leftover carnitas make an AMAZING filling for these bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers.

RELATED: Leftover Corned Beef Recipes

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Photo Credit:honest-food.net

Fried Empanadas

Use leftover carnitas as an empanada filling! Add a little bit of cheese too. So good!

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Photo Credit:alittleandalot.com

Spanish Potato Soup

This creamy, warm and slightly spicy Spanish Potato Soup is comfort food at its best. Buttery Yukon Gold potatoes are cooked in a broth flavored with onion, red pepper, garlic, cumin, oregano, and paprika. Add some sour cream, cheese and pork carnitas and serve with warm tortillas or bread to sop up all that delicious broth.

Related recipe: Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork

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Photo Credit:www.fittoservegroup.com

Cuban Casserole

This low-carb Cuban casserole is an easy variation of the classic Cuban sandwich. Made with leftover shredded pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and a creamy cheesy Dijon mustard sauce, it’s a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love.

With crunchy corn tortilla chips, crispy-edged pulled pork, and plenty of melted cheese, Carnitas Nachos are irresistible.

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Photo Credit:prepareandnourish.com

Carnitas Breakfast Skillet

This breakfast skillet combines juicy leftover carnitas with potatoes and eggs, and is fried in a skillet on the stovetop. Such a delicious weekend breakfast or brunch!

Serve leftover carnitas with a mac and cheese bar!

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Photo Credit:www.mashupmom.com

Comforting Carnitas Stew

Comforting Carnitas Stew—what a quintessential comfort food! Full of hearty beans & pork with bursts of crisp-tender sweetness from the corn and bell pepper, but and an underlying warmth from the seasoned carnitas and chipotle pepper.

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Photo Credit:alittleandalot.com

Quinoa Veggie Carnitas Bowls

Here's a healthy, delicious way to use leftover carnitas: in quinoa bowls! Top quinoa with delicious carnitas, all kinds of veggies, fresh herbs, and ajalapeño cream sauce.

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Photo Credit:www.acedarspoon.com

Slow Cooker Cuban Pork Rice Bowls

Pair leftover carnitas with rice and add your favorite toppings for an easy lunch or dinner!

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Photo Credit:www.runningtothekitchen.com

Carnitas Pizza

This carnitas pizza from is topped with sticky pineapple juice slow cooked beef and tomatillo sauce, mozzarella, peppers and onions.

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Photo Credit:foodieandwine.com

Mulitas with Carnitas

A mix between a soft taco and quesadilla, Mulitas will quickly become your favorite Mexican recipe. Mulitas are a street food staple of the LA food truck scene. Two corn tortillas are loaded up with tender carnitas and melted cheese and garnished with your favorite toppings.

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Photo Credit:inmamamaggieskitchen.com

Tortas Ahogadas (Drowned Sandwiches)

If you like saucy, messy, and delicious, you're going to love these drowned sandwiches made with carnitas!

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Photo Credit:www.mommytravels.net

Mexican Lasagna

Have you ever tried Mexican Lasagna? It's so good made with carnitas and makes large portions, ensuring you'll have leftovers and don't have to cook again tomorrow. If you like the idea, try my take on Mexican Lasagna made with ground beef!

How to store carnitas

Carnitas can be stored in the fridge for several days; I recommend no longer than 3-4. To store carnitas, just let it cool down after it cooks, then place in a plastic or glass storage container with a lid.

Reheat it in a microwave or in a skillet or saucepan. If you want it to crisp up, you can reheat it in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.

You can also freeze carnitas for easy meals in the future.

How to freeze carnitas

If you won't be able to use up all the leftover carnitas within 4 days of cooking, you can freeze it. To freeze carnitas:

  • Freeze in batches of 1-2 cups (depending on how much you will need at one time for future recipes). Measure out 1 or 2 cups of carnitas and add to a freezer storage bag. Label the bag with the contents and amount.
  • Freeze carnitas for up to 3 months, but I recommend no longer than 1 month to prevent freezer burn and retain the most flavor.

To thaw carnitas in the fridge:

  • Place the freezer storage bag in a bowl or container, and let it thaw in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight. The bowl or container will catch any condensation from the freezer bag, or will catch any juices if there is a tiny crack in the storage bag.

To thaw carnitas faster:

  • Run the frozen storage bag under hot water for a few minutes to loosen the frozen contents from the bag. Now you can easily remove the frozen carnitas and thaw it in the microwave (using the microwave's thawing feature) or in a skillet over medium-low heat, breaking it apart with a spatula so that it thaws on the inside. You might need to add a few tablespoons of water if thawing frozen carnitas in the skillet, so the meat doesn't dry out as the pan heats it up.

If you enjoyed these ideas of what to make with carnitas, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes (2024)
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