Tacos Al Pastor is a spicy, sweet taco recipe with pork and pineapple. This recipe is easy in the slow cooker any time of the year. Great recipe for making a taco bar too!
Originally published July 2014; updated July 2018
There is a misconception about using slow cookers: that they are only good for cold months of the year. Not true.
The thought of turning on the oven in the summer is almost unthinkable by July or August. If you aren’t grilling, using cooking appliances like an Instant Pot or slow cookers a welcome relief.
This recipe for Tacos Al Pastor will quickly become a favorite all year long.
What is Tacos Al Pastor?
This recipe was originally titled ‘pork and pineapple tacos’ which describes the key ingredients and flavors.
Literally translated, Tacos Al Pastor are ‘shepherd style’. Originally they were made with crisp pork shaved from pork cooked on a spit. The combination of spicy chilies, sweet pineapple, onion and pork make a mouthwatering combination.
How to Make Tacos Al Pastor in a Slow Cooker
This slow cooker version of Tacos Al Pastor is very easy to make. Though this spicy, sweet pulled pork is intended for Tacos Al Pastor, it can certainly be used for other dishes such as a pulled pork sandwich or breakfast tostada.
A trimmed pork shoulder is combined with enchilada sauce, brown sugar, fragrant cumin and coriander, pineapple juice, lime juice, onion, garlic, salt and pepper in a slow cooker.
The pork may be cooked for 4-6 hours on high temperature or 8 hours on low temperature. After is cooked the pork shoulder is shredded.
The Tacos Al Pastor are made with corn tortillas, some of the shredded pork, pineapple, shredded red cabbage and torn cilantro leaves. They are served with lime wedges.
Do you love those pink pickled red onions served on street tacos too? This easy Quick Red Pickled Onion recipe is another great topping for carnitas tacos.
SERVING IDEA: These Tacos Al Pastor make a great meal for a crowd. The shredded pork may be added back to the slow cooker with some of the cooking sauce, with other ingredients being set up to make a Tacos Al Pastor ‘serve yourself ‘ taco bar.
Notes on Making Tacos Al Pastor
These pulled pork and pineapple tacos cannot be beat for fresh flavors. The pork is so simple to cook in the slow cooker, rendering it moist with earthy spices perfect for making tacos.
I prefer making these Tacos Al Pastor with smaller corn tortilla, about 4 1/2 inches diameter or ‘street taco’ size. One can make a serving of a few tacos and despite the smaller size they are surprisingly filling.
If unavailable, using traditional size corn tortillas works great too; increase the filling as desired.
Tacos are what I’d consider ‘personal’ as it relates to preference on how much filling is used. However I’ve included my suggestions for pork servings sizes below.
Pork Shoulder Portion Guide
As a guide a pork shoulder slightly under 2 pounds will yield approximately 3 cups of shredded pork, and I found 1/4 cup of pork was about right for smaller tortillas per taco to still allow them to be folded for eating.
A 2-pound pork shoulder will make approximately 12 small tacos.
The Slow Cooker I Use
Because you’ve asked, I have a few slow cookers but use this 6 quart Crock Pot brand slow cooker for recipes like this (as well as Slow Cooker Mexican Chicken Taco Meat (for a crowd) and Pineapple Citrus Slow Cooker Carnitas & Carnitas Tacos).
I like that it is programmable (‘set it and forget it’) and has clips to secure the lid if transporting it to a gathering.
More Recipes You’ll Love!
- Slow Cooker Lentil and Brown Rice Tacos
- Slow Cooker Smoky Pulled Pork Tacos
- Crockpot Chicken Tacos
- Beef Brisket Tacos in the Slow Cooker
- Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken Tacos
- Barbacoa (in the Instant Pot)
- Instant Pot Chicken Tacos
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How to Make Tacos Al Pastor (Slow Cooker) – Step by Step:
Tacos Al Pastor in a Slow Cooker
Ingredients for the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:
- 1 15-16 ounce jar/can Red Enchilada Sauce; medium-heat
- 3 tablespoons Light Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground Coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground Cumin
- 1 2-3 pound Pork Shoulder; extra fat trimmed (leave some fat for flavor)
- Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
- ¼ cup Lime Juice
- ¼ cup Pineapple Juice
- 1 Onion (red or yellow, or an equivalent mix), cut into large pieces
- 3 Garlic Cloves , pressed or diced
Ingredients for the Spicy Pork Pineapple Tacos:
- Corn tortillas (preferably small 4 1/2 inch diameter size; regular size may be substituted); gently warmed in a dry skilled or microwave
- Chopped fresh Pineapple (plan approximately 1/8 cup per small tortilla)
- Finely shredded Red Cabbage
- Torn Cilantro Leaves
- Lime wedges
Instructions for preparing the Slow Cooker Pulled Pork:
- Combine the enchilada sauce, brown sugar, coriander and cumin. Stir to mix well and pour into the base of a slow cooker.
- Rinse and pat dry with paper towels the pork shoulder. Liberally salt and pepper all sides of the pork shoulder. Place in the slow cooker on top of the sauce.Turn the pork to coat on both sides with the sauce.
- Combine the lime juice and pineapple juice and pour over the pork in the slow cooker. Top with the onions and garlic. Gently spoon the sauce over the onions and garlic and stir them into the sauce, mixing in the lime and pineapple juices to fully mix together.
- Turn the pork one last time and cook in the slow cooker for 4-6 hours on high, or 8 hours on low.
- Lift the pork above the slow cooker, allowing any excess sauce to drip back into the slow cooker; set aside to cool until able to be handled easily. Using two dining forks, pull the pork into fine strips or pieces for serving.
Instructions to assemble the Spicy Pork Pineapple Tacos:
- As a guide plan 1/4 cup pulled pork and 1/8 cup pineapple per small tortilla, layered with shredded cabbage for color and crunch, some cilantro leaves and a squeeze of lime.
This has such incredible flavor! Being able to toss everything and come home to a meal this delicious is heavenly!
My absolute favorite! I make al pastor all the time and I love that I can do it in the slow cooker. The sweet and spice sauce is perfection!
Aimee Mars says
Okay, it’s Thursday so I’m just gonna say Taco Thursday is now a thing because these tacos sound too good to pass up and I love how they’re made in the slow cooker, which makes my life easier.