Easy and delicious, these Carnitas Tacos and Carnitas Flautas are full of flavour. They are made from the same ingredients, except the flautas are fried. Great for game day. Or any day!
Slow-Cooked Mexican Carnitas is perfect for both tacos and flautas. Flautas are just like taquitos, except taquitos are made with corn tortillas and flautas are made with flour tortillas. So both of these carnitas dishes are made from the same ingredients, except the flautas are rolled and fried, for a crispy tortilla.
I have to say, Carnitas Flautas are a favourite of mine. It’s just hard to beat all the flavours going on on this plate, together with the crispy tortillas. That said, they are fried, so they are a little more work. When time is shorter, Carnitas tacos are my go-to.
Speaking of fried, these flautas are not deep-fried. They are simply fried in a shallow layer of oil in a skillet. They cook up quickly and have the added bonus of delivering some wonderful crispy carnitas bits at the end (so be sure to fill them right to the ends!).
I posted the Slow-Cooked Mexican Carnitas recipe yesterday, separately. The carnitas will take about 2 hours to cook, so plan accordingly. I like to make it well ahead and refrigerate or freeze.
The carnitas in the tacos can be used as is, or crisp it up with a little oil in a medium-high skillet before adding to your tacos.
Both these dishes are very make-ahead-able. The carnitas can be made well ahead and refrigerated or frozen. Then, simply warm and use to fill your tacos. While the flautas are best enjoyed freshly cooked, they can be cooked ahead and re-heated in a 350 F. oven until just warm.
For garnishes, I love pickled onions, lettuce, cotija cheese, sliced jalapeno and Mexican crema, for drizzling. I’ve included recipes for the quick pickled onions and the quick Mexican crema below.
Can’t find Mexican cotija cheese? I can’t either. I substitute crumbled feta, as I understand it is a reasonable substitute.
Get the Recipe: Carnitas Tacos or Flautas
- Slow-Cooked Mexican Carnitas, (see instructions)
Quick Pickled Onions:
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- 1 Tbsp kosher salt
- 1 red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the taco and/or flautas:
- 9- inch flour tortillas
- Romaine or iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced
- Jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced in to rings
- Mexican cotija cheese or feta cheese, crumbled
- Cilantro or flat-leafed parsley, chopped, for garnish
For the flautas:
- Vegetable, canola or other neutral cooking oil for frying.
- Slow-Cooked Mexican Carnitas Recipe Note that the carnitas cooking time is about 2 hours, so plan accordingly. The carnitas can be made well ahead and refrigerated or frozen. Re-warm before using.
- For the Mexican Crema: Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and set it out at room temperature for 3 hours. Refrigerate if making well ahead, but bring to room temperature before serving.
- For the Quick Pickled Onions: Combine vinegar, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Add sliced onion and stir to combine. Press onion below the surface of the vinegar as much as possible. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. If making well ahead, cover and refrigerate. Drain onions from liquid before using.
- For the tacos: Fill tortillas with warm carnitas. If desired, you can crisp up the carnitas by frying in a skillet with a little oil over medium-high heat until crisp. Top with sliced lettuce. Sprinkle with cheese and drizzle with Mexican crema. Top with pickled onions and garnish with jalapeno rings and chopped cilantro.
- For the flautas: Lay a stack of flour tortillas on a cutting board in front of you. Cut the curved sides off both sides of the circle (the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock edges), but about 1 inch at the widest point. Working with one tortilla at a time, spoon a line of carnitas down the tortilla, from 12 o'clock to 6 o'clock, being sure to fill right to the ends. Take one side of the tortilla and roll it over the carnitas, tucking it around a bit, then continue rolling. Use a toothpick through the top to keep it from unraveling. Repeat with the rest of the tortillas.
- Heat a thin layer of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add flautas and cook until golden, rotating to ensure all sides are crispy. Remove to a cooling rack, then serve topped with sliced lettuce, cheese crumbles, Mexican crema drizzle. Top with pickled onions and garnish with jalapeno rings and chopped cilantro.
Double plus good! The first recipe I have located that works and doesn’t require a sous-vide or slow cooker. Bravo!
Thanks so much, Douglas! Glad you enjoyed it :)
What a great recipe and the flavors and textures made you wanting for more. We made the meat the day before so it would develop even more flavor. The pickled red onion added brightness to the dish and added a nice flavor. The light fry crisped the tortilla and then the warmth allowed the cheese to melt. Everyone enjoyed them and will definitely make again.
So glad you enjoyed this Cathy! Every time I see pork shoulder on sale, I make up a batch of carnitas and keep it in portion packs in the freezer. It’s so handy to have on hand as you can do so many things with it :)
Oh my goodness, Jennifer, these are so perfectly delicious! I think you are craving fresh flavours like I am at this time of year :) I love comfort food but I need some crispy freshness right now and this is the perfect combination of both. So pretty, too!
Have a fun, football-watching weekend!
Thanks Robyn and yes, I’m finding freshness sneaking in to my dishes more and more these days. It’s the ramp up ;)
These look mouthwatering, what perfect eats for game day!
Thanks so much, Laura :)
Any chance you could add a print button? These look delicious!
Hi Holly, Sorry about that. There is a print button, but I had a coding error that was hiding it. Fixed now (under the small photo in the recipe). Thanks for letting me know :)
I want to come to your house for the Super Bowl! What a great way to enjoy the carnitas pork. I’m not much for frying stuff but I think you’ve convinced me with a shallow bit of oil and those crispy ends on the flautas. Yummy! Make ahead food is the best! I’m with Mary Ann – love those quick pickled onions :)
Thanks Tricia and yes, they cook up beautifully crispy in just a bit of oil. And the pickled onions are one of my favourite parts!
Both of these are pretty as a picture! Every part is wonderful but, to me, pickled onions just make everything so beautiful. I almost always have a jar in my fridge. I think I’d prefer the flautas as well but my fitbit might tell me the tacos would be the smarter choice. :)
Thanks Chris and yes, the flautas are a delicious treat, worthy of the occasional splurge :)
Love the quick pickled onions too!
Thanks Mary Ann :)
Such flavorful dishes Jennifer and just gorgeous too! I love how the flautas aren’t deep-fried also. Perfect food for game day!
Thanks Mary Ann. I haven’t ever tried it, but I think these could be baked, as well. Any way, they’re yummy!