Slow cooker pineapple pepper carnitas tacos are big in name and big in flavor and my take on tacos al pastor. Pork shoulder is slow cooked in a guajillo pepper, pineapple sauce, shredded and served in tacos with fresh pineapple salsa.

Slow cooker pineapple pepper carnitas tacos in a cast iron skillet

It’s a pineapple lovefest going today and I’m not sad about that! Pineapple is one of my favorite fruits to enjoy in the spring and summer months and when I can incorporate it into a recipe, even better.

These tacos are also similar to tacos al Pastor (translates to shepherd) where the pork is roasted on a vertical spit shawarma-style and shaved thin. So it is a bit of a hybrid mashup with this and carnitas inspired. Since  don’t have a spit, I slow-cooked the pork. But a lot of the same flavors are there, like guajillo peppers, Mexican spices and of course pineapple.

A closeup of slow cooker pineapple pepper carnitas tacos showing the tender pork and fresh pineapple salsa

The recipe starts with an easy pineapple pepper sauce. Dried guajillo (ancho peppers can also be used) peppers are soaked in boiling water, then puréed with pineapple juice, garlic, Mexican oregano and cumin. I recently made baked adobo chicken wings with a variation of this sauce that you really need to try.

Pork shoulder is rubbed with delicious spices like chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano and cinnamon, added to the slow cooker along with the sauce and cooked for 4 hours until perfectly shreddable.


An overhead image of slow cooker pineapple pepper carnitas tacos with fresh lime wedges

To ensure the sauce is not too spicy, I remove the seeds from the peppers. Soaking the peppers at least 30 minutes makes them nice and soft and ensures a smooth sauce. You will also need a really good, high power blender or food processor. If not, you will need to strain the sauce through a sieve if your blender cannot purée the skins.

Fresh pineapple juice adds a lovely touch of sweetness to the sauce. Just two ingredients are in these tacos, the carnitas and a fresh pineapple salsa (recipe coming next week). The salsa is the perfect sweet complement to the meat and what you get is a meaty, flavorful, slightly sweet well-rounded bite.

Fresh pineapple salsa is the perfect topping for these tacos. The fresh, sweet fruit cuts through the rich flavors of the meat to add a perfect bite. Get the salsa recipe here > fresh pineapple salsa.


If you’ve made these Slow Cooker Pineapple Pepper Carnitas Tacos or any other recipe leave a comment below. I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 4 people

Slow Cooker Pineapple Pepper Carnitas Tacos

2 carnitas tacos with colorful pineapple salsa in a black bowl

Pork shoulder is slow cooked in a guajillo pepper, pineapple sauce, shredded and served in tacos with fresh pineapple salsa.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes


  • 6 dried guajillo or ancho peppers, seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. Remove the pork shoulder from the refrigerator while you prepare.
  2. To a large bowl add the peppers and cover with boiling water, soak until softened, about 30 minutes.
  3. To a small bowl add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon and salt, mix well.
  4. Rub the spice mix all over the pork shoulder.
  5. Drain the peppers and add to a blender along with the pineapple juice, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Blend until smooth.
  6. Add the pork shoulder to a slow cooker and pour half of the sauce over the pork.
  7. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  8. There will be liquid in the bottom, do not discard. Remove the bowl from the slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the pork in the bowl. 
  9. Mix in the rest of the pepper pineapple sauce.
  10. Serve in a flour tortilla with fresh pineapple salsa.

Nutrition Information

Amount Per Serving Calories 319Saturated Fat 3gCholesterol 92mgSodium 584mgCarbohydrates 25gFiber 7gSugar 15gProtein 30g