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Air Fryer Carnitas

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Air fryer carnitas is one of the easiest, most delicious, and heavenly tasting dishes that you can make in the air fryer. The dish is not only great for a lazy Sunday brunch but it also makes for a quick weekday dinner or lunch. It’s low-carb and gluten-free so it will be perfect for any diet!

air fryer pulled pork on a plate.
Easy air fryer pork carnitas

If you love making dinner in the air fryer, you’ll want to check out these recipes for Air Fryer BBQ Chicken Drumsticks and Air Fryer Parmesan Crusted Chicken Breast for more air fryer dinner ideas.

This recipe for air fryer pork carnitas is simple, delicious, and perfect for a quick weeknight meal. The pork chops are seasoned with taco seasoning, paprika, garlic powder, and salt before being cooked in the air fryer. They are then removed from the air fryer and served with your favorite toppings.

They’re perfect in tacos, taquitos and enchiladas. While traditional carnitas are made by slow cooking, this air fryer version makes it super quick and easy.

carnitas on a plate with orange slices.
Shredded pork carnitas

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Carnitas are a delicious, savory dish that can be made in the air fryer.
  • They are perfect for a Mexican-themed meal or party.
  • Carnitas are perfect for serving as a main course or appetizer.
  • They can be served with rice, tortillas, or other Mexican sides.

Ingredients You’ll Need

  • Boneless pork chops – To make the carnitas, you’ll need boneless pork chops!
  • Taco seasoning – You can find taco seasoning in the spice aisle of your grocery store.
  • Paprika – Paprika is used to give the carnitas a nice, red color and a delicious flavor!
  • Garlic powder – Garlic powder is a must for any good carnitas recipe!
  • Salt – You’ll also need salt to season the pork chops. Salt is a must!

How To Make This Recipe

three image process making air fryer carnitas.
Air fryer carnitas process

Step 1:

Remove basket from air fryer and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

Step 2:

Mix the spices together and rub both sides of the pork chops with the mixture.

Step 3:

Place the pork chops in the air fryer basket and cook at 380 degrees F for 15 minutes. Flip pork chops over and cook for another 15 minutes.

Step 4:

Remove the pork chops from the air fryer and shred with forks.

carnitas tacos on a plate.
Carnitas tacos with onions and limes

Helpful Recipe Tips

  • If you want to make a large batch of carnitas, double or triple the recipe.
  • You can also use pork loin instead of pork chops.
  • You can make this recipe in the slow cooker or oven! 
  • Don’t overcook the pork chops, they should be cooked through, but not dry or overdone.
  • After you store them in the fridge, the meat may be a little dried out. Make sure to add oil and reseason.

Variations of Air Fryer Pork Carnitas

The possibilities are endless when it comes to carnitas. You can add different seasonings, sauces, and toppings to make them your own. There is something for everyone when it comes to carnitas. You can mix and match different seasonings, sauces, and toppings to create your own perfect dish.

Here are a few of our favorite variations:

  • Chipotle Carnitas: Add 1-2 teaspoons of chipotle powder to the seasoning mix for a smoky, spicy flavor.
  • Pineapple Carnitas: Toss the pork chops with a little bit of pineapple juice and some diced pineapple before cooking.
  • Pork Carnitas Verde: In a blender, combine 2 cups of salsa verde with 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Pour the sauce over the cooked pork chops before serving.
  • Carnitas Street Tacos: Serve the carnitas in warm tortillas with diced onion, cilantro, and lime juice. Add your favorite toppings, such as sour cream or guacamole.

Storing & Freezing

Storing:  If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Freezing: If you want to freeze the carnitas, place them in a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2-3 months. When you’re ready to eat them, thaw them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat them in the air fryer or microwave.

FAQ

How many calories are in air fryer carnitas?

There are about 300 calories in a serving of air fryer carnitas. They are also low in fat, with only 4 grams per serving. This makes them a healthy option for a Mexican dish.

Can I use pork loin instead of pork chops?

Yes, you can use pork loin instead of pork chops.

Can I make carnitas ahead of time?

Yes, you can make the carnitas ahead of time. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

What are some toppings I can use for carnitas?

You can add sour cream,  guacamole, diced onion, and cilantro to your carnitas. You can also use them in tacos or burritos.

How can I keep these carnitas low carb?

You can omit the taco seasoning and replace it with 1 teaspoon of garlic powder. You can also use a low-carb tortilla.

Can I make these carnitas spicier?

Yes, you can add 1-2 teaspoons of chipotle powder to the seasoning mix for a smoky, spicy flavor.

Click here to download my FREE kitchen cheat sheets.

Yield: 4 Servings

Air Fryer Carnitas

carnitas on a plate with orange slices.

Air fryer carnitas is one of the easiest, most delicious, and heavenly tasting dishes that you can make in the air fryer. The dish is not only great for a lazy Sunday brunch but it also makes for a quick weekday dinner or lunch. It's low-carb and gluten-free so it will be perfect for any diet!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless pork chops
  • 1 teaspoon taco seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Remove basket from air fryer and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Mix the spices together and rub both sides of the pork chops with the mixture.
  3. Place the pork chops in the air fryer basket and cook at 380 degrees F for 15 minutes. Flip pork chops over and cook for another 15 minutes.
  4. Remove the pork chops from the air fryer and shred with forks.

Notes

Pork chops are considered cooked through and safe to eat when the internal temperature reaches 145°.

Different air fryer brands may cook at different rates, so be sure to keep on eye on food.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 325Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 50gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 191mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 44g

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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