Copycat Chipotle Carnitas Bowl

The only thing better than a good Chipotle copycat recipe is… well, Chipotle. Duh. I used to be a reg at Chipotle when I worked in corporate America. I was one of those customers like “ya guac is extra but SO AM I, give it to me.” I always find it funny that they say that even if they know they see you in there every other day of the week. Just a habit I guess!

I don’t actually know many of my friends that opt for carnitas at Chipotle, but I personally love carnitas so I always did/do…? Idk I haven’t been there in years but I totally still would. Aaaanyway…

There are TONS of at-home carnitas recipes out there, but the one thing I see in most of them is that they’re cooked in more of an “americanized” way. Meaning that in Mexico, carnitas are usually just cooked with a little lard, water and salt because the meat itself is so yummy without any seasoning. If you’d like yours seasoned up the ‘ol tex-mex way then go for it! To each their own 🙂 I’ll provide a seasoning mix below in the ingredients list. Otherwise, follow this recipe to make traditional carnitas, or via crockpot if you don’t have time to sit over the stove top.


  •  2lbs pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 1/4c lard (or sub vegetable oil like I do)
  • 1c. water
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • **Optional ingredients:**
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp orgeano
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • cilantro lime rice OR cilantro lime riced cauliflower 
  • black beans
  • pico de gallo
  • sour cream
  • guacamole
  • salsa (green or red!)
  • tomatoes
  • shredded lettuce
  • shredded cheese 


  1. Cut the pork in to large chunks.
  2. In a large Dutch oven or Cast Iron Pot place the pork, lard, water, garlic, and salt. Cook covered on a medium heat to a boil. Reduce to simmer for about 45 minutes until pork starts to feel tender.
  3. Uncover, turn the heat to medium high and reduce the liquid until the meat starts frying in its own fat. Brown the meat on medium low heat, stirring frequently until pork is evenly browned which will take approximately 15-20 minutes. DO NOT over cook or you will get very dry meat (yuck!!).
  4. Serve with preferred optional ingredients.

Oven-baked method:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Place the meat, 1/4 cup lard, 1 cup of water and 1 Tablespoon of salt in an oven bag and cook 2 hours. I recommend putting the bag on a baking sheet or in oven safe bakeware.
  • Take the bag out of the oven to drain *most* of the juices released by the meat, close the bag and place back in the oven for another hour or so until the meat is golden brown.
  • Serve as previously mentioned.

***Cheat method carnitas***

Let me just say that I ain’t judgin if you decide to go this route because I have also elected to use this method on occasion because sometimes I be busyyyy.

Most grocery stores will sell a preseasoned carnitas in the bag that you can pop in the oven or in your slow cooker and get a delicious result!



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