Carnitas Tostadas

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Craving authentic Mexican cuisine? Look no further than “Carnitas Tostadas”. Bursting with flavor and packed with traditional ingredients, this mouthwatering dish is a delightful combination of tender, slow-cooked pork, crispy corn tortillas, and an array of vibrant toppings. With each bite, you’ll savor the rich and savory taste that is quintessentially Mexican. Whether you’re a seasoned foodie or simply looking for a delicious meal, “Carnitas Tostadas” is sure to satisfy your cravings and transport you to the vibrant streets of Mexico. Get ready to indulge in a culinary adventure that will leave you wanting more.

Carnitas Tostadas

Welcome to this comprehensive article all about Carnitas Tostadas! In this article, we will explore what Carnitas Tostadas are, the ingredients needed to make them, step-by-step instructions on how to prepare them, tips for making the perfect Carnitas Tostadas, different variations you can try, serving suggestions, recommended accompaniments, the history of Carnitas Tostadas, frequently asked questions, and finally, we’ll conclude with some final thoughts and a recipe recap. So let’s dive right in and discover the wonderful world of Carnitas Tostadas!

What are Carnitas Tostadas?


Carnitas Tostadas are a delicious and flavorful Mexican dish made with crispy fried tortillas, tender and juicy carnitas (usually pork), and a variety of toppings. It is a true delight for your taste buds, combining crunchy textures with savory and rich flavors.

Origin and Meaning of ‘Carnitas’

The word “Carnitas” comes from the Spanish language and translates to “little meats” or “small meats.” It refers to a traditional Mexican meat dish that is typically made by simmering or braising pork in lard until it becomes tender and flavorful.

What are Tostadas?

Tostadas are a popular Mexican dish made by frying or baking tortillas until they become crispy. The word “tostada” translates to “toasted” in English. Once the tortillas are crisp, they are topped with various ingredients such as meat, beans, cheese, and vegetables, among others.

Carnitas Tostadas


When making Carnitas Tostadas, you will need the following ingredients:

For the Carnitas:

  • Pork shoulder or butt
  • Garlic cloves
  • Onion
  • Orange juice
  • Lime juice
  • Bay leaves
  • Cumin
  • Paprika
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the Tostadas:

  • Corn tortillas

For the Toppings:

  • Refried beans
  • Shredded lettuce
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocado
  • Radishes
  • Cilantro
  • Mexican cheese (such as queso fresco or cotija)
  • Salsa
  • Mexican crema

These are the basic ingredients needed for Carnitas Tostadas, but feel free to customize and add your favorite toppings to make them even more delicious!


Now, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions for making Carnitas Tostadas:

Preparing the Carnitas

  1. Start by trimming the excess fat from the pork shoulder or butt.
  2. Cut the pork into large chunks, approximately 2-3 inches in size.
  3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, combine the pork chunks, garlic cloves, onion, orange juice, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, salt, and black pepper.
  4. Cover the pot and let the meat marinate in the fridge for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  5. Once marinated, place the pot on the stove and bring it to a simmer over medium heat.
  6. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let the meat cook for 2-3 hours, or until the pork is fork-tender.
  7. Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and transfer it to a cutting board.
  8. Shred the meat using two forks or your hands.

Making the Tostadas

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Place the corn tortillas on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  3. Brush each tortilla lightly with oil on both sides.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes, or until the tortillas are golden and crispy.
  5. Remove the tortillas from the oven and let them cool slightly before assembling the tostadas.

Assembling the Carnitas Tostadas

  1. Spread a generous amount of refried beans onto each crispy tortilla.
  2. Top the beans with a generous portion of the shredded carnitas.
  3. Add shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, sliced radishes, cilantro, and Mexican cheese.
  4. Drizzle with salsa and Mexican crema.

Carnitas Tostadas

Tips for Making Carnitas Tostadas

To ensure the best results when making Carnitas Tostadas, consider the following tips:

Choosing the Meat

  • Opt for pork shoulder or butt as they have enough fat to keep the meat tender and moist during cooking.

Marinating the Meat

  • Marinate the meat for at least 4 hours or overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate the pork.

Slow Cooking the Carnitas

  • Cook the meat on low heat for a few hours to achieve tender and juicy carnitas.

Crisping the Carnitas

  • For an extra layer of texture, crisp up the shredded carnitas in a hot skillet before assembling the tostadas.

Selecting the Right Tostadas

  • Look for sturdy and crispy corn tortillas that can hold all the toppings without breaking.

Managing the Toppings

  • Feel free to customize the toppings based on your preferences. Add your favorite vegetables, cheeses, or even a spicy salsa for an extra kick.

Handling the Assembly

  • Assemble the tostadas just before serving to ensure that the tortillas stay crispy.


Carnitas Tostadas can be made with various types of meat or even be vegetarian. Here are some popular variations you can try:

Pork Carnitas Tostadas

  • The classic option, made with tender and flavorful pork carnitas.

Beef Carnitas Tostadas

  • Substitute the pork with beef, such as flank steak or beef chuck, for a heartier flavor.

Chicken Carnitas Tostadas

  • Use shredded chicken instead of pork for a lighter option.

Vegetarian Carnitas Tostadas

  • Replace the meat with your favorite vegetarian protein, such as seasoned and grilled tofu or sautéed vegetables.

Feel free to experiment with different proteins and flavors to create your own unique version of Carnitas Tostadas!

Serving Suggestions

Carnitas Tostadas can be enjoyed as a standalone meal or as part of a larger Mexican feast. Here are some serving suggestions:

Side Dishes

  • Serve with traditional Mexican sides such as Mexican rice, refried beans, or a fresh salad.


  • Pair your Carnitas Tostadas with a refreshing traditional Mexican beverage like horchata, agua fresca, or a classic margarita (for the adults).

Feel free to get creative and explore what flavors and beverages go well with your Carnitas Tostadas!

Recommended Accompaniments

To enhance the flavors of your Carnitas Tostadas, consider serving them with the following accompaniments:


  • Add some heat and tanginess with your favorite salsa, such as salsa verde or salsa roja.


  • Creamy and flavorful guacamole adds richness to every bite.

Mexican Crema

  • Drizzle some Mexican crema on top for a luscious and tangy finish.

Pickled Onions

  • Tangy and vibrant pickled onions add a delicious contrast to the rich flavors of the carnitas.


  • Fresh cilantro leaves add a burst of freshness to your tostadas.

Lime Wedges

  • Squeeze some fresh lime juice over your tostadas for a bright and citrusy flavor.

Feel free to mix and match these accompaniments based on your preferences and what flavors you enjoy!

History of Carnitas Tostadas

To truly appreciate Carnitas Tostadas, let’s take a moment to explore their history and cultural significance.

Origins of Carnitas

Carnitas have been part of Mexican cuisine for centuries and are believed to have originated in the state of Michoacán. This region in Mexico is known for its traditional and authentic carnitas, which are typically made in large copper pots and cooked slowly over an open fire. The slow cooking method allows the pork to become tender and juicy, resulting in the mouthwatering carnitas we know and love today.

Evolution of Tostadas

Tostadas, on the other hand, have ancient origins that can be traced back to the ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. Corn tortillas were a staple in the diet of these civilizations, and tostadas were a creative way to use stale or leftover tortillas. The tortillas would be toasted or fried to make them crispy and then topped with various ingredients.

Carnitas Tostadas in Mexican Cuisine

The combination of carnitas and tostadas is a match made in culinary heaven. The crispy tortillas provide a textural contrast to the tender and juicy carnitas, while the toppings add freshness, creaminess, and a burst of flavors. Carnitas Tostadas have become a beloved dish in Mexican cuisine, showcasing the richness and diversity of flavors that this cuisine is known for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions about Carnitas Tostadas:

  1. Can I use a different type of meat instead of pork?
    • Absolutely! While pork is the traditional choice, feel free to use beef, chicken, or even a vegetarian protein.
  2. Are there any alternatives to frying the tortillas?
    • Yes! If you prefer a healthier option, you can bake the tortillas in the oven until they become crispy.
  3. Can I make the carnitas ahead of time?
    • Yes, you can make the carnitas ahead of time and store them in the refrigerator for a few days. Just rewarm them before assembling the tostadas.
  4. Can I freeze the carnitas?
    • Yes, you can freeze the cooked carnitas. Just make sure to place them in an airtight container or freezer bags to maintain the quality.
  5. How can I make the carnitas spicier?
    • If you prefer spicier carnitas, you can add some chili powder or cayenne pepper to the marinade.

Feel free to experiment and adapt the recipe to suit your preferences and dietary restrictions!


In conclusion, Carnitas Tostadas are a delightful Mexican dish that combines crispy tortillas, tender and juicy carnitas, and a variety of toppings. With their rich history and versatility, Carnitas Tostadas have become a beloved part of Mexican cuisine. Whether you’re enjoying them as a satisfying meal or as part of a larger Mexican feast, Carnitas Tostadas are sure to impress with their flavors and textures. So gather your ingredients, follow our step-by-step instructions, and get ready to indulge in this delicious and satisfying dish. Enjoy!

Recipe Recap

Here’s a recap of the ingredients and steps needed to make Carnitas Tostadas:


  • For the Carnitas:
    • Pork shoulder or butt
    • Garlic cloves
    • Onion
    • Orange juice
    • Lime juice
    • Bay leaves
    • Cumin
    • Paprika
    • Salt
    • Black pepper
  • For the Tostadas:
    • Corn tortillas
  • For the Toppings:
    • Refried beans
    • Shredded lettuce
    • Diced tomatoes
    • Sliced avocado
    • Radishes
    • Cilantro
    • Mexican cheese (such as queso fresco or cotija)
    • Salsa
    • Mexican crema


  1. Prepare the carnitas by marinating the pork with garlic, onion, orange juice, lime juice, bay leaves, cumin, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  2. Let the meat marinate for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  3. Simmer the marinated meat until fork-tender, then shred it.
  4. Preheat the oven and bake corn tortillas until crispy.
  5. Assemble the tostadas by spreading refried beans, adding shredded carnitas, and topping with lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, radishes, cilantro, Mexican cheese, salsa, and Mexican crema.

Enjoy your homemade Carnitas Tostadas!