This Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas recipe is as good as the classic! Tender, ‘meaty’ jackfruit deliciously spiced and seasoned then simmered for hours in a crockpot until all the flavors seep in and it melts beautifully in your mouth! The convenience of having a slow cooker do all of the work for you is hard to beat. You will be excited to go home to this delectably cooked vegan Carnitas!
What are Carnitas?
It is a popular Mexican dish traditionally made of animal products that is cooked on the stovetop for hours. Once tender, they are coarsely chopped thus the name of the dish. Nowadays, this can be done vegan using jackfruit and a pressure cooker if pressed for time, or in the slow cooker which we prefer! It is typically used as a filling for tortillas topped with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, guacamole, or salsa.
The Best Vegan Carnitas Recipe!
This vegan version came about because I love my BBQ Pulled Jackfruit so much, and I wanted to try using jackfruit in a vegan carnitas recipe. And it does NOT disappoint! I was really pleased with the results. Plus, it is super easy to make too. All you have to do is dump all the ingredients in the slow cooker, set the timer, and go your merry way! It is the ideal no-fuss, stress-free recipe for busy weekdays and lazy weekends. These could also work as a topping for nachos or rolled up in a burrito. This is a great meal to throw into the crockpot before work, and it will be ready for you when you get home.
Ingredients for Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas
Spices – This recipe used chili powder, dried onion, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper. These spices are a mixture of warm, earthy, spicy, and savory flavors that give the vegan Carnitas a flavor depth.
Cornstarch – A teaspoon is added to thicken the braising sauce.
Canned Young Jackfruit in brine – It has a neutral taste that takes on the flavors or seasoning and spices it is cooked with, making it incredibly versatile. And with their fibrous texture, they make a great meat alternative.
Garnishes – These ingredients are optional, but make your vegan Carnitas so much better! Use taco sauce or hot sauce, diced onion, and diced tomatoes.
How to make Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas
1) Mix all spices. Add all the spices to a small bowl, then set aside.
2) Prep the Jackfruit. Drain and rinse the canned jackfruit using a strainer under running water. Squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
3) Assemble and Cook. Place the jackfruit in the slow cooker. Add water and seasoning mixture. Cook for 8 hours under low settings.
4) Serve and Enjoy!. Using a fork, shred the jackfruit like pulled pork. Top tortillas with a generous amount of tender jackfruit shreds, taco sauce, sliced onions, and tomatoes. Enjoy!
Tips and Variations
Makes sure to rinse and dry your jackfruit to remove the brine. There is no need to remove the hard part of the jackfruit as it will soften in the slow cooker.
If you like your vegan Carnitas to be a little crispy, you can sear or pan-fry them before eating.
If you are making a kid-friendly version, you can skip the jalapenos and omit the chili powder and cayenne pepper. It should still taste good!
Add more herbs. You can use thyme, bay leaves, or dill to make your plant-based Carnitas even more flavorful.
Waste not! Repurpose your jackfruit carnitas leftovers into a variety of wonderful recipes. Carnitas are so adaptable you can use them as a filling for any burrito, taco, quesadilla, as well as topping for Nachos!
Storing Leftover Jackfruit Carnitas
Serve your vegan Carnitas warm straight off the slow cooker! If ever you have leftovers, place them in a lidded container once it has cooled down and keep it refrigerated for 4 to 5 days. This recipe is freezer-friendly for longer shelf life. Make sure to let the jackfruit carnitas cool completely before transferring to an airtight container or freezer-safe bag. It’s best to use your leftovers jackfruit carnitas within 2-3 months
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use fresh jackfruit instead of canned? Sure, you can. It might take you longer to prep, though, because you will need to peel and slice. Jackfruit skin has a tough and spiky skin, so be careful!
Does jackfruit taste like meat? It is a great meat substitute, primarily for its texture. It soaks up flavors from accompanying ingredients, so the taste will depend on what you cook it with.
Can I shorten the cooking time? Switch the setting to high and you can reduce the cooking time can be reduced to 3 to 4 hours only. The recommended time for keeping it on low for 8 hours is for a more flavorful and more tender result.
Can I use ripe jackfruits? No, ripe jackfruits have a sweet, tropical taste and soft and mushy texture that is inappropriate for cooking.
If you love jackfruit too, try these other yummy recipes!
Jackfruit Chicken Noodle Soup – Your go-to comfort dish for vegans. It’s the same delicious soup we grew up with, except it’s vegan! In this recipe, you’ll be surprised at how similar jackfruit tastes to chicken. Curious? Give it a go!
BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich – Try this BBQ Jackfruit Sandwich if you want to give your normal sandwich a new spin. It’s ‘meaty’, and any flavors you put on it will absorb beautifully. This sandwich will appeal to vegans and non-vegans alike.
This Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas recipe is as good as the classic! Tender, 'meaty' jackfruit deliciously spiced and seasoned then simmered for hours in a crockpot until all the flavors seep in and it melts beautifully in your mouth! The convenience of having a slow cooker do all of the work for you is hard to beat! You will be excited to go home to this delectably cooked vegan Carnitas!