Mexican Pulled Pork Taquitos with Pineapple Salsa

Homemade taquitos or rolled tacos are some of my favorite authentic Mexican foods. And this recipe for Mexican pulled pork taquitos gives a twist to the traditional taquito recipe by pairing them with freshly made pineapple salsa for an amazingly easy and flavorful dish filled with Mexican flavors. A bit different from Mexican tacos, taquitos are rolled tortillas usually filled with savory meat and fried or baked until crunchy. This taquitos recipe is my go-to when I have leftover carnitas, as I typically make a big batch of pork carnitas at least a couple of times per month.

Pulled pork taquitos with pineapple salsa

Combining the Mexican pulled pork or carnitas with the sweet pineapple salsa in these crunchy taquitos will take your Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo to the next level. I used a Mexican carnitas recipe for these taquitos that is easy to make in your Instant pot or slow cooker. This easy pulled pork rolled taco recipe is sure to wow all your family and friends and have them asking for more!

Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork Taquitos 

Carnitas is one of my favorite Mexican dishes. I love to make a double batch of this mouthwatering shredded pork and freeze some. It’s so easy to make and comes out so tender and juicy! It is perfect for tacos, sandwiches, topping for nachos, and ideal for making my easy pork taquitos. I often make this recipe for weekday dinner, Taco Tuesday gatherings with friends, and our annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations! 

Mexican food is so vibrant, both in color and taste, that I could eat it every day without ever getting tired of it. And while I could eat these pulled pork rolled tacos any day, these taquitos are perfect for Cinco de Mayo or even as a great game day food to enjoy while watching football at home. I love that you can eat them with your hands, dipped in pineapple salsa if you want, so they are great Mexican food for entertaining and ideal for that Cinco de Mayo party! 

best pulled pork taquitos

These pulled pork taquitos are the best, most delicious fiesta party food full of flavors and a citrus touch. I tried different cooking methods for making Mexican carnitas and discovered that using my instant pot makes this carnitas recipe so easy! So now I can make a big batch of this instant pot carnitas recipe l, regularly for weekday dinners, our summer BBQs, and our Cinco de Mayo fiesta!

What are Taquitos?

Sometimes referred to as rolled tacos or tacos flauta, taquitos literally mean “little tacos” in Spanish. They are a small rolled corn tortilla filled with beef, pork, or chicken. Taquitos are traditionally fried until they are crisp. However, you can also bake them in the oven on a baking sheet until golden brown for a healthier option.

best rolled taco recipe

What is the difference between a taco and taquitos?

You might be confused about whether traditional tacos, taquitos, or rolled tacos are the same. And although the names are so alike and people tend to use them interchangeably, taquitos and tacos are different Mexican dishes. The most notorious difference is that taquitos are stuffed tortillas rolled into flute shapes, whereas traditional tacos are filled with other ingredients and folded in half.

The other big difference is that tacos, at least traditional Mexican tacos, are soft, while rolled tacos or taquitos are crunchy since the tortillas are fried or baked after rolling them. While tacos are filled with all of the ingredients, taquitos are usually only filled with the meat, be it chicken, pork, or beef, and topped with the rest of the ingredients. 

taquitos or rolled tacos
Photo by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

Corn tortillas are most commonly used for both taquitos (rolled tacos) and regular tacos, sometimes flattened so you can fold or roll them better. But the main difference is what happens after you assemble them. You typically deep-fry the rolled taquitos until super crispy, while tacos remain a soft tortilla. As for my recipe, I chose to bake the taquitos in the oven for a healthier choice. 

What is the difference between taquitos and flautas?

Taquitos and flautas are often confused, but they have some subtle differences. Flautas and taquitos are made by filling tortillas with different meats and other ingredients like cheese taquitos. For example, there are chicken taquitos and chicken flautas as there are versions of both of these dishes filled with pork or beef. The difference lies mainly in length.

Taquitos are usually shorter, while flautas are longer. Because of the difference in length, taquitos are often made with corn tortillas, while flautas with flour tortillas. However, you can use smaller corn tortillas to make taquitos and larger corn tortillas to make flautas. 

How to make taquitos

Taquitos are easy to make once you have your main ingredients: tortillas, meat to fill them with, and oil for brushing them if you are baking or frying them. I prefer to bake the taquitos so they are not so greasy and so they are also healthier.

how to make taquitos

  • Step 1: Cook your meat. You can make chicken taquitos or pork taquitos like I’m making in this recipe. You can also fill your taquitos with ground beef or anything else you want to. 
  • Step 2: Fill your tortillas with the meat and any other ingredient you will be using and roll them.
  • Step 3: Cook your taquitos. If you are baking your taquitos, brush them with oil before baking them until golden brown. If you will be frying your taquitos, place them in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of oil and turn them until golden and crispy on all sides. 

It’s that easy!

What are the ingredients for Pulled Pork Taquitos with Pineapple Salsa?

The main ingredient for this delicious taco recipe is a flavorful shredded pork shoulder rubbed in a spicy mix and rolled into a corn tortilla. The crown jewel is a fresh salsa made from pineapple, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and a splash of lime juice. And if you want to add heat, place a couple of sliced jalapeños on top to spice things up!

The best thing about Mexican taco recipes is that you can put anything on them; the same applies to taquitos! If I don’t have any pork meat around the house, I sometimes like to make chicken taquitos or beef taquitos, giving this mouthwatering dish a whole new taste. Cooking is about being creative, so don’t be scared to try different ingredients!   

What Cut of Pork Is the Best for Making Carnitas?

For me, you can’t beat the juiciness of pork shoulder because it is well-marbled with fat and cooks up incredibly tender with a long braise. Pork butt, shoulder roast, Boston shoulder, Boston butt, or Boston butt roast refers to cuts from the same general area and work just great.

The key to using a good substitute is finding a piece of boneless, skinless meat that you can dry rub with the seasoning. Alternatively, you can use an upper loin roast or pork ham (leg), but I recommend that you ask the butcher at your local store what other cuts are best for shredding. Of course, it’s always a good idea to buy the best quality meat for the best results.

Is Carnitas the Same as Pulled Pork?

Carnitas, which literally means “little pieces of meat,” is the Mexican version of pulled pork. Carnitas are so versatile that you can use them for basically everything you can fill, like tacos, quesadillas, gorditas, tostadas, or toppings for nachos and burrito bowls. My favorite carnitas recipes include Carnitas Loaded Fries, Carnitas Tacos, and Carnitas Sopes

Mexican slow cooker carnitas

Like pulled pork, carnitas are traditionally made with pork shoulder, seasoned with loads of Mexican spices, and simmered for hours. However, they differ from pulled pork in that carnitas are usually finished by baking or roasting the meat in the oven to be a little crispy. Carnitas can be served on its own accompanied by Mexican rice or to make tacos, taquitos, burritos, topping nachos, etc.

How to make the best pulled pork Taquitos with pineapple salsa:

Cook the Carnitas

  • Cut the pork shoulder into large 4-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
  • In a smaller bowl, combine the chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. 
  • Season pork shoulder with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides.
  • Add the broth, lime, and orange juice, mixing thoroughly to coat the meat.
  • Depending on your desired cooking method, follow the instructions below.

Instant Pot Tomatillo Pork Carnitas Taco Recipe

Slow Cooker Carnitas Instructions:

  • Place the pork and juices in the slow cooker, cover, and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. 
  • When the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and shred it by pulling it apart with two forks. 
  • Return the shredded pork with all the juices back into the slow cooker, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Let the meat sit warm for an additional 30 minutes to allow the meat to soak in all the flavors.
  • Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and place the shredded pork on the baking sheet. Add about 1/2 cup of the juices to the shredded meat. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the pork becomes crispy on the edges.

Instant Pot Carnitas Instructions

  • Place the pork and juices in the Instant pot and lock the lid. Next, press the “manual” button and set the timer on high pressure for 40 minutes.
  • When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. If your instant pot has a venting position, set it to release the remaining pressure.
  • Open the lid, take the meat out of the pot and shred it by pulling it apart with two forks.
  • Remove the pork from the Instant pot and transfer to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat, but do not discard the juices in the slow cooker.

Instant Pot Tomatillo Pork Carnitas Taco Recipe

  • Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and place the shredded pork on the baking sheet. Add about 1/2 cup of the juices to the shredded meat. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the pork becomes crispy on the edges.

Make  the Pineapple Salsa

  • In a small bowl, mix the diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, minced onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice, 
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Cover and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.

How to Assemble the Pineapple and Pork Tacos:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
  • Drizzle a clean kitchen towel with three tablespoons of water and wring the towel to distribute the moisture evenly. 
  • Using the towel, wrap the tortillas and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave them at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. It will make the tortillas soft and pliable and prevent them from breaking when rolling them. 
  • Place a tortilla on a flat surface or plate. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the pulled pork in a row, closer to one side of the tortilla (about 1-inch from the edge), then snuggly roll the tortilla. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.

How to make baked taquitos

  • Place the rolled tortillas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. 
  • Brush the tops and sides of rolled tortillas lightly with the canola oil and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 
  • Serve warm topped with pineapple salsa and jalapeño slices for a bit of kick!

Mexican carnitas taquitos

Tips for making the best taquitos or rolled tacos:

  • Prep Your Tortillas: The key to a manageable tortilla that you can roll into a taquito? Microwave them in a wet paper towel! It is a super important tip, making the tortillas pliable enough to roll after filling them with your chosen ingredients. 
  • Crispy Baked Taquitos: Baking your taquitos is definitely healthier than frying them. To achieve super crispy taquito, don’t forget to brush them with a bit of oil (I prefer olive oil) to give them that fried crunchiness without the added fat.

Make Ahead of Time

Although this is a super easy recipe, the prep time might take a little bit of time. And if you are anything like me, taking shortcuts or simplifying things is always on the top of my list. So, the first thing I do when making this delicious dish is to take out my Instapot, cutting the pork cooking time in half!

You can make the shredded pulled pork a couple of days in advance and keep it in your fridge until you are ready to assemble the taquitos. If you want to make a double batch and freeze half, I recommend doubling all the seasonings, except the salt. Then, once you cook the pork, check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. 

How To Store Rolled Up Taquitos

Nothing tastes better than a crunchy taquito right out of the oven! Unfortunately, fried food tends to turn a little soggy if you don’t eat it right away. So if you are freezing your taquitos, you will need to bake them, not fry them. 

  1. Bake the taquitos following the recipe instructions here. Then, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the rolled tacos and let them cool down to room temperature.
  2. Pop them in the freezer for about one hour or until chilled enough that they don’t fall apart to the touch.
  3. Place the taquitos in a Ziploc bag or air-tight container and freeze. Remember to label the bag, so you don’t forget how long they have been sitting in your freezer.
  4. To reheat: preheat the oven at 425° and place the frozen taquitos on a baking sheet previously sprayed with cooking spray. Bake on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes or until the taquitos are hot in the middle.

If you use any meat for the filling, the taquitos will last for up to 3 months in your freezer. And if you follow these steps, you will have pulled pork taquitos ready for your Cinco de Mayo celebrations or any other day!

What To Serve with Taquitos?

I love honoring my roots, so I take any chance I get like Cinco de Mayo celebrations to whip up delicious Latin-inspired dishes. And nothing says Mexican food like crispy taquitos with pineapple salsa! I love serving them with a side of freshly made guacamole or refried beans.

Then, while I wait for the meat to cook, we have a family tradition of sitting at the kitchen counter and creating Cinco de Mayo crafts. It teaches our kids about Mexican traditions, Cinco de Mayo’s real meaning, and the historical significance (clue: Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico’s independence day).

taquitos

Photo by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

The most fun part of eating flautas or taquitos is to top them with your favorites. For example, you can layer shredded lettuce, Pico de Gallo, salsa, or recado sauce (tomato-based red sauce) on top of the rolled taquito. Of course, you can also top this crunchy Mexican dish with freshly made guacamole, grated cheese, or in this case, fresh salsa. I have to say that nothing brings out the smokey taste of pork carnitas like a good pineapple salsa on top of my crispy taquitos!

 

flautas rolled tacos recipe

Surely, you can always skip the toppings, hold the rolled taco flauta in your hand, and eat them on the run or dip them in your favorite sauce! But, for me, the best part is all the extra flavor the toppings bring to this Mexican recipe. I prefer to sit down and enjoy a pile-high pulled pork carnitas rolled taco piled high with lots of pineapple salsa. It’s a fiesta of flavors made in heaven.

 

Other Amazing Mexican Recipes Perfect for Cinco De Mayo

  • Pork Tacos with Citrus Mango Relish: Made with marinated fresh pork tenderloin, red cabbage, and mango, these delicious tacos are ready in less than 30 minutes. This easy pork taco recipe is delicious and is sure to be a hit with everyone in your family.

Pork Tacos with Citrus Mango Relish

  • Grilled Portobello Tacos with Chimichurri Sauce: These vegetarian grilled portobello tacos with chimichurri sauce are a fantastic meatless alternative for your summer BBQ. Combine fresh parsley, cilantro, vinegar, and spices to make the delicious cilantro chimichurri sauce and marinade that will have you licking your fingers! 
  • Avocado And Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas with Cilantro Lime Crema: The combination of the fresh guacamole with the spiciness of the chipotle shrimp over a crunchy tortilla is amazing! Plus, these Mexican tostadas are easy to eat, making them a perfect appetizer for entertaining.

Avocado And Chipotle Shrimp Tostadas With Cilantro Lime Crema

  • Chipotle Shrimp Taco Salad Tortilla Boats:  these taco salad tortilla boats are the perfect tailgating appetizer to celebrate every football game day gatherings this season and fuel your excitement for your favorite team!

This easy recipe for Mexican pulled pork taquitos is full of flavors, from the juicy shredded meat to the citrusy pineapple salsa, all rolled in a crunchy tortilla. It is the perfect recipe for feeding a crowd, celebrating Cinco de Mayo, or your regular Taco Tuesday dinner. Using an instant pot or slow cooker to make the carnitas is a game-changer, as it helps with the pork cooking without changing the outcome. our family and friends will love these rolled taquitos.

Pulled pork taquitos with pineapple salsa

Mexican Pulled Pork Taquitos with Pineapple Salsa

Yield: 8 portions

Tender pulled pork rolled tacos with juicy citrus salsa.

Ingredients

For the Carnitas (Mexican Pull Pork):

  • 2 ½ pounds pork shoulder (or pork butt), excess fat trimmed
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • ½ to 1 cup of vegetable broth (depending on pot size)

For the Pineapple Salsa:

  • 1 cup of diced pineapple
  • 1 cup diced Roma tomatoes
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • ¼ cup minced red onion
  • 4 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

For the Taquitos:

  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • One small jalapeño pepper, sliced (optional)

Instructions

Cook the Carnitas

  • Cut the pork shoulder into large 4-inch chunks. Place in a large bowl and set aside.
    1. In a smaller bowl, combine the chili powder, oregano, cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. 
    2. Season pork shoulder with spice mixture, rubbing in thoroughly on all sides.
    3. Add the broth, lime, and orange juice, mixing thoroughly to coat the meat.
    4. Depending on your desired cooking method, follow the instructions below.

    Slow Cooker Carnitas Instructions:

    1. Place the pork and juices in the slow cooker, cover, and cook high for 4-5 hours or low for 7-8 hours. 
    2. When the meat is tender, remove it from the pot and shred it by pulling it apart with two forks. 
    3. Return the shredded pork with all the juices back into the slow cooker, and season with salt and pepper if needed. Let the meat sit warm for an additional 30 minutes to allow the meat to soak in all the flavors.
    4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and transfer it to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat. Do not discard the juices in the slow cooker.
    5. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and place the shredded pork on the baking sheet. Add about 1/2 cup of the juices to the shredded meat and broil 3-5 minutes or until the meat becomes crispy on the edges.

    Instant Pot Carnitas Instructions

    1. Place the pork and juices in the Instant pot and lock the lid. Next, press the “manual” button and set the timer on high pressure for 40 minutes.
    2. When the time is up, let the pressure release naturally. If your instant pot has a venting position, set it to release the remaining pressure.
    3. Open the lid, take the meat out of the pot and shred it by pulling it apart with two forks.
    4. Remove the pork from the Instant pot and transfer to a cutting board. Using two forks, shred the meat; do not discard the juices in the slow cooker.
    5. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking oil and place the shredded pork on the baking sheet. Add about 1/2 cup of the juices to the shredded meat. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until the meat becomes crispy on the edges.

    Make the Pineapple Salsa

  • In a small bowl, mix the diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, minced onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice, 
    1. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
    2. Cover and store it in the fridge until ready to serve.

    How to Assemble the Pineapple and Pork Taquitos:

    1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. 
    2. Drizzle a clean kitchen towel with three tablespoons of water and wring the towel to distribute the moisture evenly. 
    3. Using the towel, wrap the tortillas and place them on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave them at 50 percent power for 4 minutes. It will make the tortillas soft and pliable and prevent them from breaking when rolling them.
    4. Place a tortilla on a flat surface or plate. Spread about 3-4 tablespoons of the pulled pork in a row, closer to one side of the tortilla (about 1-inch from the edge), then snuggly roll the tortilla. Repeat process with remaining tortillas.
    5. Place the rolled tortillas on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, spacing them at least 1 inch apart. 
    6. Brush the tops and sides of rolled tortillas lightly with the canola oil and bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are golden brown. 
    7. Serve warm topped with pineapple salsa and jalapeño slices for a bit of kick!

    Notes

    • I have tried both slow cooker and instant pot methods, and it doesn’t change anything but prep time. I prefer the instant pot when time is of the essence, as it cuts the cooking time in half. The key lies in baking the pork carnitas for a few minutes to achieve that slightly crunchy carnitas texture.
    • Canned substitutes: you might have trouble finding find it hard to find a sweet ripe pineapple during winter. But don’t let it stop you from cooking this delicious recipe. Instead, you can easily change fresh pineapple for a 432g of canned pineapple. Just don’t forget to drain the juices, so you don’t get a soggy salsa.

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    2 thoughts on “Mexican Pulled Pork Taquitos with Pineapple Salsa”

    1. Wonderfull recipe thank you !!! I just spoke to a Humana rep in Guatemala and me a foodie. asked about gardening fishing and food asked him for a favorite recipe , and that’s how I found your site. just made burritos using pulled pork crisped with White Onion , Serranos , Anchos . rolled and crisped on two sides in a second skillet. I will try your rub ,I love FLAVOR , and as an old friend and associate chef from the 70s would say “Good Appetite”. that was James Beard.

      Reply

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