Ground Pork Tacos

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These Ground Pork Tacos start with warmed tortillas filled with a carnita-inspired ground pork mixture and are then loaded up with your favorite taco toppings. Add a lime crema on top for the perfect finishing touch!

Try some of our other favorite taco recipes next, like these Shrimp Tacos, Chicken Tacos, or Beef Tacos

Three Ground Pork Tacos

Ground Pork Tacos

My whole family loves pork carnitas, but sometimes the craving strikes and we don’t have the hours to wait for an entire pork shoulder or butt to cook. While pork carnitas are easy to make and quick to assemble, the pork itself does take a while to cook (even in a pressure cooker!).

So I decided to take the concept of pork carnitas and apply it to create an easy 30-minute dinner recipe — carnita-inspired ground pork tacos! I’ve borrowed flavors from traditional pork carnitas by using similar Mexican seasonings and pairing fresh citrus with the ground pork.

Below I’ll break down each component of these tacos from the tortillas to the ground pork filling to the toppings and finally the crema! Let’s get started!

Process shots of sautéing the onions, garlic, jalapeño and seasonings.

Tortillas

Either corn or flour tortillas will work for these ground pork tacos. We like Street-sized flour tortillas best.)

For the best flavor and texture, I recommend charring or warming the tortillas. I promise it’s quick and easy! (I do this while the pork is cooking.)

Here’s how I quick-char the tortillas: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred and soft. Immediately fold the tortilla in half (so it will fold into a taco nicely later) and set aside under a tea towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Alternatively, warm the tortillas in a nonstick skillet. Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray; cook for about 10-15 seconds, flip and cook for another 10-15 seconds. Immediately fold the tortilla in half (so it will fold into a taco nicely later) and set aside under a tea towel to keep them warm and pliable.

Ground pork filling

The meat portion of these ground pork tacos whips together quickly. Here are some quick notes and tips:

  • Save some time by chopping the onion, garlic, and jalapeño all together in a food processor.
  • Using a microplane (like this one) and a citrus reamer or this citrus juicer are great time savers — you’ll have the citrus ready in a flash
  • When browning the pork, let it cook undisturbed in the skillet for a bit; we want to avoid stirring too much at the start, so it can get a nice brown crust. Browning equals flavor, so the more browning, the more flavorful the pork will be.
  • Adjust to personal preference. The pork is very forgiving — you can add more or fewer jalapeños, depending on your spice preferences. You can also increase seasonings if desired.
  • For stronger citrus-flavored ground pork tacos, add in the zest of the oranges and limes before juicing.

Process shots of browning the pork, making the lime crema and assembling the tacos.

Ground Pork Taco toppings

Our favorite toppings for these tacos are quick pickled onions, thinly sliced jalapeños, ripe avocado, and lots of the lime crema. Here are details:

  • Quick pickled onions or regular (raw) red onions
  • Cheese: think Monterey jack and/or Cotija cheese
  • Thinly slice cabbage 
  • Coarsely chopped cilantro
  • Ripe avocado or guacamole
  • Pick de gallo or diced cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Lots of lime crema (more on this below)

QUICK TIP

  If you’d like to add quick pickled red onions to top these tacos with, you’ll need:

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the red onion, red wine vinegar, salt and sugar. Toss to coat. Leave at room temperature and toss every 5 minutes or so, while preparing the rest of the meal.

Lime crema

This sauce is light and fresh-tasting; it provides a nice cooling contrast to the pork. It’s very mild and intended to add a nice complementary flavor (not a strong or overpowering flavor) in these ground pork tacos.

  • Lite or low-fat sour cream works well here if you’d like to save some calories.
  • Use fresh minced garlic instead of garlic powder for a more permeating garlic flavor.
  • For a stronger citrus flavor, add in more lime zest.

Three Ground Pork Tacos

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Ground Pork Tacos

These Ground Pork Tacos start with warmed tortillas filled with a carnita-inspired ground pork mixture and loaded with your favorite taco toppings. Add a lime crema on top for the perfect finishing touch!
Print Recipe

Ground Pork Tacos

These Ground Pork Tacos start with warmed tortillas filled with a carnita-inspired ground pork mixture and loaded with your favorite taco toppings. Add a lime crema on top for the perfect finishing touch!
Course Dinner, lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword ground pork tacos
Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 615kcal
Cost $8.52

Ingredients

Tacos

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (177g) finely diced red onion (1 medium onion)
  • 2 tablespoons (15g) EACH: minced garlic & finely diced jalapeño (~4 cloves & 1 pepper)
  • 2 teaspoons EACH: dried oregano, ground cumin, ground chili powder, garlic powder
  • fine sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 1/4 cup (50g) freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons (30g) freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 12 (6-inch) soft flour tortillas (or corn tortillas)

Toppings of choice: ripe avocado, cilantro, lime wedges, red onions or pickled onions (see below), Cotija or Monterey jack cheese (~1 cup), lime crema (see below)

    Lime Crema

    • 1/2 cup (122g) sour cream (lite/low-fat works!)
    • 2 tablespoons (26g) heavy whipping cream
    • 2 tablespoons (24g) freshly squeezed lime juice + 1/2 teaspoon zest
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

    OPTIONAL: Quick "Pickled" Onion

    • 1/2 large red onion thinly sliced (~1 cup, 75g)
    • 2 tablespoons (28g) red wine vinegar
    • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons white granulated sugar

    Instructions

    • OPTIONAL: QUICK "PICKLED" RED ONION: In a medium-sized bowl, combine the thinly sliced red onion, red wine vinegar, and sugar. Season to taste with salt; I add 1/2 teaspoon. Toss to coat; leave at room temperature and toss every 5 minutes or so while preparing the rest of the meal.
    • LIME CREMA: In a small bowl, combine all the crema ingredients and season to taste with salt and pepper; I add 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir and then place in the fridge until ready to use.
    • PORK MIXTURE: In a large, cast iron skillet, add the olive oil and heat to medium high. Add in the onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until turning golden. Add in the garlic and jalapeños and cook for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in the seasonings and salt and pepper to taste (I add 1 and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Sauté for 1 more minute or until fragrant. Nothing should be burning/overly browning; reduce heat if necessary (nonstick skillet will take longer because it doesn't hold heat the same). Press spiced veggies to the side of the pan leaving room for the pork.
    • PORK MIX, CONTINUED: Add the ground pork to the center of the pan. Let stand for about 30 seconds to a minute and then flip; we want to brown it as much as possible (color = flavor!) Continue to cook and break up the pork with a wooden spoon until the pork is nicely browned. Drain off any fat. Add in the orange juice and lime juice, and cook, stirring constantly until the juices are absorbed into the pork and it's nicely coated and browned. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to personal preference, adding additional salt if needed.
    • TORTILLAS: See Note 1 for preparing the tortillas. I typically char them over a gas flame on my stovetop, but any method works.
    • ASSEMBLY: Place generous spoonfuls of pork into warmed tortillas. Add your favorite toppings: cheese, avocado, cilantro, pickled red onions, and lots of lime crema are our must-haves! Serve with lime wedges on the side and enjoy immediately.

    Video

    Recipe Notes

    Note 1: Spray both sides of the tortillas with olive oil cooking spray and char the tortillas directly over the gas flames for a few seconds. Use tongs to flip until tortillas are lightly charred and soft. Immediately fold the tortilla in half (so it will fold into a taco nicely later) and place it under a towel to keep warm. Alternatively, warm tortillas in a large skillet over medium heat (in batches so the skillet isn't over-filled). Flip to warm each side, remove from heat, fold in half, and place under a towel to keep warm.

    Nutrition Facts

    Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 41g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 99mg | Sodium: 496mg | Potassium: 591mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 280IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 3mg

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