Carnitas are one of the most popular and beloved Mexican dishes.
They are pork that is braised in a variety of spices until it is incredibly tender, then sliced and served with side dishes.
But what to serve with carnitas? There are so many delicious and simple side dishes that you can choose from.
In this article, we will share 15 of the best side dishes that go great with carnitas.
We hope you enjoy our list as much as we enjoyed putting it together.
What to Serve with Carnitas? 15 TASTY Side Dishes
1. Street Corn Salad
Street corn salad is a delicious and easy dish to make.
It’s a great way to use up leftover corn on the cob, and it’s a perfect side dish for any summer BBQ or potluck.
The salad is made with corn, diced tomatoes, diced red onion, chopped cilantro, and a simple dressing of lime juice, olive oil, and salt.
The salad has a great mix of flavors and textures.
The sweetness of the corn is balanced by the acidity of the lime juice and the heat of the diced red onion.
The chopped cilantro adds a freshness to the dish, and the diced tomatoes add some juicy texture.
To elevate this dish, you could add some avocado or crumbled feta cheese.
You could also swap out the diced tomatoes for roasted cherry tomatoes.
If you’re looking for more of a Kick, you could add some diced jalapeño pepper to the dressing.
2. Corn Tortillas
If you’re looking for a delicious and authentic way to enjoy carnitas, then you need to try them with corn tortillas.
Corn tortillas are soft and have a slightly sweet flavor that pairs perfectly with the rich, savory flavors of carnitas.
Plus, they’re easy to make.
Simply warm them up in a pan or on the grill before adding your carnitas.
One thing to keep in mind is that corn tortillas can be quite delicate, so be careful not to overload them with too much filling.
Otherwise, they may fall apart and become difficult to eat.
Instead, fill them just enough so that they’re easy to fold and bite into.
If you want to elevate your dish even further, try serving the carnitas on top of grilled corn tortillas.
The smoky flavor of the grill will add another level of depth and complexity to the dish.
Just be sure not to overcook the tortillas, or they’ll become hard and brittle.
3. Authentic Mexican Rice
If you’re looking for an authentic Mexican rice dish, look no further than this recipe.
Made with simple ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and cilantro, this dish is packed with flavor.
The rice is perfectly cooked, with a slightly firm texture that makes it perfect for soaking up all the delicious sauce.
To elevate this dish, try serving it with some carnitas on top.
The rich pork flavor pairs perfectly with the freshness of the cilantro and rice.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even add a little hot sauce to really give it a kick.
4. Refried Beans
There are few things more comforting than a big pot of refried beans.
This dish is typically made with pinto beans, though black beans can also be used.
The beans are cooked until soft and then mashed with a little bit of water or broth.
Seasoning and fat (usually lard or bacon grease) until they’re smooth and creamy.
Refried beans have a rich, earthy flavor that pairs well with many other dishes.
They’re also relatively inexpensive and easy to make.
You can usually find them on the menus of Mexican restaurants, but they’re also popular in Tex-Mex and Southwestern cuisine.
If you’re looking for ways to elevate your refried beans, try adding some chopped onions, jalapeños, or cilantro to the mix.
You could also top them with shredded cheese, sour cream, or avocado slices.
Or, get really creative and use them as a base for nachos or enchiladas.
5. Black Beans
Black beans are a delicious and nutritious option for your next meal.
These beans are packed with protein and fiber, making them a filling and satisfying choice.
Black beans have a mild flavor that can be easily enhanced with other ingredients.
These beans have a creamy texture that is perfect for dishes like black bean soup or chili.
You can also use them as a base for tacos or burritos.
Adding some spices to the beans will give them an extra zing.
If you want a heartier dish, you can add some cooked rice or quinoa to the mix.
6. Mexican Brown Rice
This Mexican brown rice is a delicious and easy side dish that is perfect for any Mexican-inspired meal.
The rice is cooked in a flavorful broth, then seasoned with cumin, chili powder, and garlic.
This dish is also a great way to use up any leftover rice you may have.
The taste and texture of this rice are amazing.
The rice is perfectly cooked and has a great flavor.
The cumin, chili powder, and garlic all work together to create a delicious and well-balanced dish.
There are a few tips that will help you elevate this dish.
First, if you have any fresh cilantro on hand, add a handful to the recipe.
Cilantro really brightens up the flavors in this dish.
Second, if you want some extra protein, you can add cooked black beans or pinto beans to the recipe.
Third, if you want some extra heat, you can add diced jalapeños to the recipe.
This dish is already pretty spicy, so only add jalapeños if you like things really spicy.
Salsa is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways.
The most common way to enjoy salsa is as a dip, but it can also be used as a topping or filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos, and more.
Salsa is typically made with fresh tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and lime juice, but there are endless possibilities when it comes to ingredients and flavor combinations.
One of the best things about salsa is that it can be customized to suit your taste.
If you like your salsa on the spicier side, you can add more jalapeños or use hotter varieties of peppers.
If you prefer smoother salsa, you can blend the ingredients together before serving.
And if you want to change up the flavors completely, you can experiment with different types of fruits and vegetables – mangoes, pineapple, watermelon, cucumber, and corn are all great options.
8. Pico De Gallo
Pico de gallo is a delicious, fresh, and healthy dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The main ingredients in pico de gallo are tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime juice.
This dish is very simple to make and can be tailored to your liking by adding more or less of each ingredient.
The taste of pico de gallo is both sweet and savory, with a slight kick from the onions and lime juice.
The texture is chunky and slightly watery from the tomatoes.
I love to eat pico de gallo with tortilla chips, on tacos, or simply by itself as a snack.
There are many ways to elevate this dish and make it your own.
Some people like to add jalapeno peppers for an extra spicy kick.
Others prefer to use different types of tomatoes, such as cherry or grape tomatoes.
You could also add avocado to make it creamier or swap out the lime juice for lemon juice.
No matter how you make it, pico de gallo is always a winner in my book.
Guacamole is a delicious Mexican dish that is perfect for any occasion.
The main ingredients in guacamole are avocado, tomato, onion, and lime juice.
All of these ingredients come together to create a smooth, creamy, and flavorful dip.
The taste and texture of guacamole are unique and extremely versatile.
The avocado provides a rich, creamy base that is offset by the acidity of the lime juice and the sweetness of the tomatoes.
The onions add a crunchy element to the dish while also providing a slight sweetness.
There are endless ways to elevate this dish.
Some common additions include jalapeno peppers, cilantro, garlic, and salt.
However, you can really get creative with your toppings and add anything that you think would pair well with the avocado and tomato base.
Some unexpected but delicious additions include mango, pineapple, bacon, or even chocolate chips.
10. Shredded Cabbage
If you’re looking for a versatile side dish that can be used in a variety of ways, look no further than shredded cabbage.
This simple ingredient can be used to create endless possibilities, from salads to slaws to sides.
One of the best things about shredded cabbage is that it’s relatively mild in taste and has a crunchy texture that pairs well with a variety of other ingredients.
If you’re looking to add some flavor to your dish, consider adding shredded carrots, diced apples, or raisins.
For an extra bit of crunch, try topping your dish with chopped nuts or seeds.
If you’re looking to elevate your dish, consider roasting your cabbage instead of eating it raw.
Roasting cabbage brings out its natural sweetness and makes it more tender.
Simply toss shredded cabbage with olive oil and salt, then roast at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes.
If you’re looking for a little bit of spice in your life, jalapenos are the perfect addition to any dish.
These peppers pack a punch when it comes to flavor and can really elevate a dish to the next level.
Here are some tips on how to use jalapenos to give your food an extra zing.
When it comes to taste, jalapenos are definitely on the fiery side.
But they also have a bit of sweetness to them as well, which makes them versatile enough to use in both sweet and savory dishes.
In terms of texture, they’re fairly firm and have a bit of crunch to them.
One great way to use jalapenos is to slice them up and add them to salads or sandwiches.
This gives the dish a nice spicy kick that will really wake up your taste buds.
You can also char them on the grill or roast them in the oven and then add them to salsas, sauces, or dips.
If you want to tone down the heat a bit, you can remove the seeds and ribs from the pepper before using it.
This will help reduce some of the spicinesses.
Or, if you’re looking for an even bigger flavor boost, try using smoked jalapenos instead of fresh ones.
12. Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup
Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup is a delicious and easy-to-make dish that is perfect for a winter meal.
The soup has a rich and hearty flavor, with a hint of spice from the black beans and corn.
The soup is also very filling, thanks to the protein-rich black beans.
To make the soup more interesting, I like to add some chopped green onions, diced avocado, and freshly-squeezed lime juice.
This elevates the flavors and adds a bit of texture to the soup.
If you’re looking for an easy and delicious way to warm up on a cold day, this soup is the perfect dish.
13. Crispy Patatas Brava
Crispy Patatas Brava is a dish that is often served as a side but can also be enjoyed as a main course.
The dish consists of potatoes that are fried until they are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
The potatoes are then covered in a brava sauce, which is a tomato-based sauce that is typically spicy.
The taste of Crispy Patatas Brava is both savory and slightly spicy, thanks to the brava sauce.
The texture of the dish is also quite unique, as the crispy potatoes contrast with the smooth sauce.
There are many ways to elevate this dish and make it even more enjoyable.
One way is to top it with a fried egg, which will add a richer flavor and creaminess to the dish.
Another way to make it more filling is to add some chorizo sausage to the mix.
This will add some spice and protein to the dish, making it a complete meal.
14. Mexican Casserole with Roasted Corn & Peppers
This Mexican casserole is the perfect dish to make for a crowd.
It’s packed with flavor, and the roasted corn and peppers give it a nice texture.
Plus, it’s easy to customize to your liking.
Here are some tips on how to make this dish even better:
- If you want a little more of a crunch in your casserole, try adding some chopped-up tortilla chips to the top before baking.
- For an extra kick of flavor, add some diced green chilies or jalapeños to the mix.
- If you’re not a fan of corn, you can substitute black beans or pinto beans in its place.
- To make this dish vegetarian, simply omit the meat and increase the number of beans.
- For a bit of creaminess, stir in some sour cream or shredded cheese into the casserole before serving.
15. Mexican Zucchini Boats
These Mexican zucchini boats are the perfect side dish to carnitas.
They’re packed with flavor and have a great texture.
The best part is that they’re relatively easy to make.
Here are some tips on how to elevate this dish:
- Add some spice by including jalapeños or other chili peppers in the mix.
- Make it extra flavorful by adding some cumin and chili powder.
- Add some freshness with chopped cilantro.
- For a cheesy twist, top with shredded cheese before baking.
In conclusion, there are a ton of great side dishes that go perfectly with carnitas.
I hope this blog post has helped give you some inspiration on what to serve next time you make carnitas.
Be sure to try out some of these dishes, and let us know how it went.
And don’t forget to sign up for our newsletter to get new recipes straight to your inbox.
- 1. Street Corn Salad
- 2. Corn Tortillas
- 3. Authentic Mexican Rice
- 4. Refried Beans
- 5. Black Beans
- 6. Mexican Brown Rice
- 7. Salsa
- 8. Pico De Gallo
- 9. Guacamole
- 10. Shredded Cabbage
- 11. Jalapenos
- 12. Mexican Black Bean Corn Soup
- 13. Crispy Patatas Brava
- 14. Mexican Casserole with Roasted Corn & Peppers
- 15. Mexican Zucchini Boats
- Select your favorite sides from the list above.
- Prepare the side dish according to the recipe instructions.
- If you're short on time, some of these can be made ahead of time and reheated before serving.
- Serve and enjoy!