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15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes To Transform Your Leftovers

Carnitas (or Mexican pulled pork) is such a versatile dish, and the best part is that it makes loads of leftovers, which can be used in SO MANY GREAT LEFTOVER RECIPES! Check out these 15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes, so you never have to wonder what to make with carnitas!

Graphic with text: 15 Leftover Carnitas Recipes

What are carnitas?

"Carnitas" literally means "little meats" and it's a dish of spiced pork that is simmered slowly until it comes tender enough to shred or pull into little pieces. Carnitas originated from Mexico, but many Latin American countries have their own version of carnitas with different spices.

I've never had a carnitas dish I didn't like. Carnitas are always so flavorful and versatile!

And the best part is that leftover carnitas can be used in so many dishes the next day, so it's always a good idea to make a really large batch.

Below you'll find some amazing carnitas dinner ideas: everything from carnitas bowls, casseroles, soup with carnitas, as well as more snack-like dishes, like empanadas.

So dig in!!

Oh, and if you need a really amazing flavorful recipe for carnitas, try this Cinnamon Chipotle Spiced Pulled Pork. AAAMAZING!

Leftover Carnitas Recipes

Go ahead, make a really large batch of carnitas because there are so many delicious carnitas dinner ideas!

Serve leftover carnitas with a mac and cheese bar!

How to store carnitas

Carnitas can be stored in the fridge for several days; I recommend no longer than 3-4. To store carnitas, just let it cool down after it cooks, then place in a plastic or glass storage container with a lid.

Reheat it in a microwave or in a skillet or saucepan. If you want it to crisp up, you can reheat it in the oven, toaster oven, or air fryer.

You can also freeze carnitas for easy meals in the future.

How to freeze carnitas

If you won't be able to use up all the leftover carnitas within 4 days of cooking, you can freeze it. To freeze carnitas:

  • Freeze in batches of 1-2 cups (depending on how much you will need at one time for future recipes). Measure out 1 or 2 cups of carnitas and add to a freezer storage bag. Label the bag with the contents and amount.
  • Freeze carnitas for up to 3 months, but I recommend no longer than 1 month to prevent freezer burn and retain the most flavor.

To thaw carnitas in the fridge:

  • Place the freezer storage bag in a bowl or container, and let it thaw in the fridge for at least 8 hours or overnight. The bowl or container will catch any condensation from the freezer bag, or will catch any juices if there is a tiny crack in the storage bag.

To thaw carnitas faster:

  • Run the frozen storage bag under hot water for a few minutes to loosen the frozen contents from the bag. Now you can easily remove the frozen carnitas and thaw it in the microwave (using the microwave's thawing feature) or in a skillet over medium-low heat, breaking it apart with a spatula so that it thaws on the inside. You might need to add a few tablespoons of water if thawing frozen carnitas in the skillet, so the meat doesn't dry out as the pan heats it up.

If you enjoyed these ideas of what to make with carnitas, let me know with a comment and a star rating below. And don't forget to share it on Facebook and save it on Pinterest for later!

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