Planned Leftovers: Carnitas Tacos from Pork Roast

by Texas Homesteader ~

I hate food waste. Now I’m sure we ALL hate food waste, but for some reason it’s a deep-seated hatred for me. I’m not sure where such strong feelings originate – I never recall going hungry a day in my life. But for some reason I simply cannot stand food waste. I keep an eye on food freshness in my kitchen like a ninja!

I’ve spoken before about my Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking where you cook a boatload of main dish & freeze the rest for future meals. These entrees will be served exactly as they were cooked. Homemade Meat Ravioli or Stuffed Bell Peppers are two examples.

But there’s another method of cooking I often employ to stop food waste in its tracks: Planned Leftovers. This is a little different, a main ingredient is made in large quantities and then the leftovers are made into completely different dishes.

For instance I might cook a Slow-Cooker Sticky-Chicken one night and then make Tortilla Soup with the leftover chicken. Make sense?

Now hear this: recently I purposely made massive quantities of Slow Cooker Pork Roast. One of my all-time favorite leftovers planning is Carnitas Tacos. Oh man you’re gonna love this!

Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader

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Planned Leftovers

I had a huge amount of pork roast to cook so I pulled out all THREE of my slow cookers! I have a normal-sized one, a large one and a mammoth-sized one & it took all three to cook this much Pork Roast.

Of course for that night’s supper RancherMan & I enjoyed roast with potatoes & carrots. But I’ve got big plans for all that leftover pork – oh yes indeed!

Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader

I’ve made pulled-pork enchiladas and even a Meaty Stew with the leftovers. But today I’ll talk about my favorite meal remake – CARNITAS TACOS!

Now since I knew beforehand that I was planning this leftover meal with my pork roast I was sure to toss in plenty of extra onions & bell peppers. That way they can cook right alongside my pork roast.

When I was storing the leftovers in the fridge I placed the roast in one huge container and all the leftover veggies in a separate container.

But now it’s time to whip up those Carnitas Tacos and this simple prep work means it’ll be done in a flash!

Using The Leftovers

First I take out almost all the leftover bell pepper & onion and mash it into almost a paste consistency. (I reserve a small amount of each so that I can add that delightful texture in my taco meat)

Then I bring out about 3 cups of cooked roast and toss it into my pan. It’s easier to shred when it’s warm.  So after it heats just a short time I use my KitchenAid mixer to quickly shred the meat.

Quickly shred leftover roast. Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader

Then I add about 1/2 cup tomato-based sauce. Now you know I’m a ‘Use Whatcha Got’ kinda gal, so sometimes it’s just tomato sauce, sometimes it’s my Roasted Tomato Puree. And sometimes it’s salsa or a mixture of salsa & salsa verde. It all depends upon what I have that needs to be used. 

(See note about food-waste hatred above!) Then I add my seasonings – a teaspoon each of chili powder, cumin & paprika.

Easy Crispy Taco Shells

While my meat mixture is heating slowly to perfection I turn my attention to the taco shells. 

Now I love crispy tacos. LOVE ‘EM. But I’ve always hated buying the shells. To me they’re an unnecessary expense and it seems several are always broken in the package by the time I get them home.

Oh, and they’re oftentimes stale too. Plus there are about 12 in a package, way too many for RancherMan & me to consume. (Once again, see above statement about hatred for food waste)

So I’ve started making my own Crispy Taco Shells. Not only are they cheaper but they’re fresh and lightly crispy, not hard like the commercial ones.

Oh, and they stay together when you bite them unlike the commercially-purchased crispy shells of my past that would crumble with each bite. I really can’t say enough about my homemade version. Give ’em a try!

Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader


I’ve started making my own corn tortillas so I gave them a try with this crispy taco shell procedure too! They worked perfectly! 

And with so few ingredients, why not make your own tortillas??

Easy homemade corn tortillas. Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader

Serving Our Carnitas Tacos

Anyway, after my taco shells are ready, the meat mixture is hot & ready too. I simply call RancherMan to the table for supper.

Oh make no mistake the calling is easy, he’s been hovering around the kitchen smacking his lips all along!

We take a couple of crispy shells and fill ’em to our heart’s desire with the Carnitas Taco meat.  Typically that’s all it needs for us – no lettuce or cheese. No sauce of any kind. Just plain, simple, delicious Carnitas Tacos. Of course you can add those garnishments if you like.

Planned Leftovers - remake leftover pork roast into a totally new dish: Carnitas Tacos. Delicious & you can make your own taco shells too! #TexasHomesteader

And since I’ve made them from my planned leftovers I’ve been able to turn extra leftover pork roast into a brand new and totally delicious meal in a snap.

No food wasted here!

Planned leftovers means that leftover roast is turned into carnitas tacos another night. #TexasHomesteader
5 from 3 votes

Carnitas Tacos from Leftover Pork Roast

What do you do with that leftover pork roast after supper tonight?  Plan on using it another night for CARNITAS TACOS!   Planned leftovers at its finest.



  • 3 cups leftover pork roast
  • Leftover cooked onion & pepper from roast to taste, chopped
  • 1/2 cup salsa (can use tomato sauce)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika



  1. In a large pan, add roast, heat slightly and shred with 2 forks. Add the chopped cooked onions & peppers, the salsa (or tomato sauce) and 1 tsp each of chili powder, cumin & paprika. Heat gently until heated through.

    Add meat mixture to either corn or flour tortillas, or make your own crispy corn tortilla shells.

    Garnish with lettuce, cheese and a spoon of salsa if desired (optional)


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10 thoughts on “Planned Leftovers: Carnitas Tacos from Pork Roast

  1. Maureen

    5 stars
    I just made the pork carnitas tonight from a leftover roast cooked in the oven on Saturday. I shredded in the mixer like you suggested. Worked great. This was sooo good. My husband and I loved it. Also I love crispy corn taco shells too. One of these days I am going to try your recipe for tortillas. Thank you so much!!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      This is a favored meal here on the Homestead as well Maureen. Glad y’all loved it as much as we do! ~TxH~

  2. Thelma Briggs

    5 stars
    In using the planned leftovers meal plan mentioned in this post, I used leftover shredded pork roast from the Instant Pot pepperoncini roast recipe (also from this website) to make carnitas tacos. My husband and I loved it! 5 star recipe.

  3. Amy O'Bryan

    5 stars
    I’ve made this several times now. Excellent!! I used chicken too. Sometimes I add BBQ sauce. This one is a keeper!

    1. Annalisa

      Im definitely with you, i always try to revamp leftovers too. And tacos are a definite number 1 in my house. I do tacos or quesadillas with all kinds of left over meats and veggies.

  4. Keri

    These carnita tacos sound great! Great idea on cooking it all at once and then freezing for later; I bet that’s a real time saver.

  5. Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & Beyond

    I hate food waste as well! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us using leftovers. It is great to have you link up at #OvertheMoon Link Party this week. I’ve pinned and shared.

  6. Katy SkipTheBag

    These look so delicious! I can’t wait to try it.

  7. Debbie @ Bible Fun For Kids

    These tacos sound delicious! (I like leftover turkey for tacos.) Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  8. ColleenB.~Texas

    Sure does look delicious. Never thought about having tacos with leftovers. We always had pulled pork sandwiches. Tacos will be a great change. Thank U.


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