Are you looking for what to serve with carnitas? We’ve rounded up 21 of our best sides dishes that you can make at home to pair with your carnitas.
If you’ve ever had the blissful experience of trying Carnitas antojito (street food) you’ll know it’s unlike any other pulled pork recipe you’ve tasted.
The authentic Mexican-style Carnitas is soft on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Pork shoulder or the Boston butt part is often the go-to of modern-day carnitas cookers.
But it’s not uncommon to find ribs, pork skin, offal, tongue, and legs among the pork parts used as well.
It’s cooked in its fat or pig lard–and a copper pot.
It’s often seasoned with bay leaves and citrus fruit like lime, lemon, or orange.
There are some who prefer spicy and will toss in chili powder, cayenne, paprika, Mexican oregano, and cumin into their marinated pork cuts.
The method of slow cooking in fat is what creates its exceptional taste.
If it’s your first time cooking it and you don’t know what to serve with carnitas, there are several suggestions we’ll share in this post, so make sure to read on.
Carnitas is traditionally enjoyed with a fresh batch of corn tortillas or tacos.
Enjoy making Mexican Casserole for your family, Loaded Street Fries for your friends, and capping the weekend with Elote to go with your Carnitas family recipe.
Several recipes here are sweet sides for carnitas like Stone-fruit salsa and Camotes Enmielados.
Corn has long been a staple when cooking Mexican-style.
This salad whips up in 25 minutes and is versatile enough to include in your pork carnitas tortillas or even as a dip or an appetizer.
There’s the usual sour cream, cayenne pepper, black pepper, and lime.
You’ll have some mayo and Cotija cheese with your corn salad too.
Bonus: This recipe is great for potlucks, too.
It goes well with Mexican chicken fares as well.
Black beans are another must-have in many Mexican recipes, so it’s no surprise that they should also pair well with carnitas.
If you have some tortilla chips, cheese, and leftover carnitas, you’ll want to make this main course.
It’s a quick hearty meal made with lots of spices, whole kernel sweet corn, and black beans.
Oh, what pure bliss to enjoy warm, tender, crispy carnitas with Mexican corn on the cob (aka Elote).
This corn-on-the-cob recipe is often smothered in a sauce made of some Mexican crema (or sour cream), mayonnaise, chili powder, lime juice, and cumin.
The char-grilled Mexican side dish always goes well with meats, rice, beans, and summer BBQs.
When you’re having a get-together, Elote is great to bring with carnitas, too, as you can pair these with nachos, quesadillas, tacos, and tortilla chips.
Rice is also becoming one of the staples in Mexican kitchens.
This recipe is great for those who want to keep things simple when deciding what to serve with pork carnitas.
The tomato-based colorful rice recipe calls for Roma tomatoes and Caldo de Tomate with some garlic, onion powder, chili powder, and pepper.
Mexican rice is great to pair with carnitas as well as chicken fajitas, chimichangas, enchiladas, beef tacos, and burrito bowls.
Is it leftovers night?
Here’s something to make for unexpected guests that will have them second-guessing whether or not you’ve served leftovers.
Make the Mexican bowl with quinoa, tomatoes, avocados, black beans, cilantro, corn, and crumbled queso fresco on top.
The Chipotle Honey Lime Vinaigrette will add liveliness to your dish.
A batch of cornbread will always be the go-to for a Mexican spread that includes meats, soups, stews, and dips.
It’ll be like eating at an actual Mexican restaurant when you serve cornbread as a side dish.
It’s easy to prep this recipe, and it’s ready in about half an hour, too.
Tortillas are a suitable accompaniment to authentic carnitas.
This homemade recipe makes a dozen tortillas in half an hour.
Enjoy them warm as a homey complement to your pork carnitas.
Do butter your tortillas to add flavor, as the recipe is a basic one that can easily be copped from a Mexican kitchen.
Learn how to soften tortillas here!
Turn to this Mexican-inspired sweet potato recipe when you want anything but bland sides for pork carnitas.
This recipe is a crowd-pleaser during holidays and in fall and winter.
The texture of the sweet potatoes perfectly balances crispy carnitas.
The herbs complement carnitas as well.
Finally, the piloncillo syrup ties it all together.
Bring the family together over a casserole of chipotle peppers, refried beans, red enchilada sauce, frozen corn, and red and green bell peppers.
Add Sargento blend Mexican cheese and bake.
The roasted vegetables and cheesy goodness make this an excellent pairing for carnitas lunches.
15. Queso Dip
You won’t go wrong by adding some cheesy goodness to your pork carnitas.
To prepare, mix butter, milk, and a pound of deli American cheese.
Bell peppers and cilantro add a kick to your dip.
Having dips are considered a thoughtful addition to a Mexican spread, and cheesy dips are almost certain to be a crowd favorite.
Here’s another great party food to try at your next a la Mexican festivity.
Bring the antojito feels to your home with this recipe that levels up shoestring fries.
You’ll be cooking the carnitas first and then assembling the accompaniments like shredded cheddar, cream cheese, mashed avocado, sour cream, chili powder, and chopped cilantro.
Here’s a gluten-free, low-carb, tasty accompaniment to your full-fat pork carnitas.
The recipe starts with cutting the zucchini lengthwise to make the boats.
Next, the zucchini boats are filled with enchilada sauce, corn, black beans, onion, garlic, and cheese on top that melts when baked.
You can also try to add other veggies to your boats–green pepper, tomato, or diced squash.
Here’s a superb homemade veggie recipe to complement tenderized fall-of-the-bones pork shoulder carnitas.
This tangy slaw is great to pair with carnitas to make sandwiches, tacos, or simply enjoy as a side dish.
It’s also colorful with coleslaw mix, red cabbage, carrots, and broccoli slaw mix.
After all those spicy carnitas side dishes, let’s sweeten things up with this fruit salsa for carnitas.
Enjoy an assembly of peach, nectarine, apricot, plums, and avocado with your carnitas.
Sweet sides make for a more put-together Mexican fare as it balances out the spices and other flavors.
A vegetable salad will surely balance the fatty deliciousness of carnitas.
This Mexican salad recipe is a colorful festivity on its own with Roma tomatoes, cucumber, black beans, corn on the cob, red onion, avocado, and mini orange peppers.
The special dressing raises the bar for mayo, pepper, and lime juice with cayenne, cilantro, cumin, garlic, and onion.
There’s milk and plain Greek yogurt in the ranch dressing, too. Yum!
Finally, when deciding what to eat with carnitas, you can never go wrong with a Mexican favorite–guacamole.
If you want to try traditional-style guacamole like the way they make it in Mexico, this recipe is a great go-to.
The home cook even added a few tips on how to make traditional guacamole from going brown.
The recipe further claims to have a secret step that goes beyond mixing the avocado right away.
Make the paste first, combining onion, chili, cilantro, coriander, and salt.
Guacamole can also be enjoyed with corn chips, vegetable sticks, flatbread, and crackers.
The bottom line
There are so many choices that will perfectly complement the savory taste of pig shoulder cooked in lard–aka carnitas.
You’ll enjoy eating them with authentic Mexican rice, dips, or salsa.
We also curated a couple of party favorites for your next weekend get-together, Mexican style.
So many tempting recipes to try here as well for an exciting Mexican night in the comfort of home.
Enjoy your Mexican fiesta!
- Street Corn Salad
- Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup
- Crispy Patatas Brava
- Mexican Pasta
- Authentic Mexican Rice
- Mexican Brown Rice
- Mexican Quinoa Bowl With Chipotle Vinaigrette
- Mexican Cornbread
- Homemade Flour Tortillas
- Camotes Enmielados
- Mexican Casserole With Roasted Corn & Peppers
- Refried Beans
- Nacho Fries
- Queso Dip
- Loaded Street Fries
- Mexican Zucchini Boats
- Mexican Cabbage Slaw
- Stone-Fruit Salsa
- Mexican Chopped Salad With Greek Yogurt Cilantro Lime Ranch
- Authentic Guacamole
- Skim through our What to Serve with Carnitas list.
- Select the recipe you’re looking for.
- Prep the ingredients as instructed.
- Spill your thoughts on our Facebook page!