Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas

BY : PUBLISHED : January 19th, 2022 UPDATED: June 11th, 2022

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 these delectably cooked vegan Carnitas!

completed jackfruit carnitas on tortillas against a white background with ingredients in the background

What are Carnitas?

It is a popular Mexican-inspired dish traditionally made of animal products that are 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.

completed jackfruit carnitas on tortillas against a white background with ingredients in the background

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.
  • Salsa – makes the braising sauce super rich and flavorful. Try using our  5-minute Fresh Summer Salsa or our Homemade Roasted red Salsa.
  • Lime Juice -  Brighten up your vegan Carnitas with a dash of citrus flavor! It also helps in making the jackfruit more tender.
  • Jalapenos – These mild peppers add another layer of heat to the vegan Carnitas.
  • Tortillas - Want to make your own? Here's how: Handmade Flour Tortillas.
  • Garnishes - These ingredients are optional, but make your vegan Carnitas so much better! Use taco sauce or hot sauce, diced onion, and diced tomatoes.

measured out ingredients for jackfruit carnitas against white background

How to make Slow Cooker  Jackfruit Carnitas

1) Mix all spices.  Add all the spices to a small bowl, then set aside.

measured out spices for jackfruit carnitas

2) Prep the Jackfruit.  Drain and rinse the canned jackfruit using a strainer under running water.  Squeeze out as much excess water as possible.

ingredients for jackfruit carnitas with slow cooker in the background

3) Assemble and Cook. Place the jackfruit in the slow cooker.  Add water and seasoning mixture. Cook for 8 hours under low settings.

process of jackfruit carnitas in the slow cooker against white background

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!

completed jackfruit carnitas in a white dish with two forks in the tray completed jackfruit carnitas in a white dish with two forks in the tray completed jackfruit carnitas on tortillas against a white background with ingredients in the background

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!
  • Level up your tacos with a fabulous and fresh Mango Pico de Gallo.

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

completed jackfruit carnitas on tortillas against a white background with ingredients in the background

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

  1. 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!
  2. 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.

Photos by Alfonso Revilla

completed jackfruit carnitas on tortillas against a white background with ingredients in the background

Slow Cooker Jackfruit Carnitas

Terrence Paschal
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 these delectably cooked vegan Carnitas!
4.99 from 50 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 hrs
Total Time 8 hrs 10 mins
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 4 servings
Calories 294 kcal
METHOD Slow Cooker
DIET Vegan

Ingredients
  

  • 3 teaspoons of chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons of minced dried onion
  • 1 teaspoon of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of oregano
  • ½ teaspoon of paprika
  • teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans of young jackfruit in brine 14-ounce
  • ¾ cups of water
  • ¼ cup of salsa
  • 2 Tablespoons of lime juice
  • 1 can of diced jalapenos small
  • small corn or flour tortillas
  • Taco sauce or hot sauce optional for garnish
  • 1 medium onion diced for garnish
  • 1 medium tomato diced for garnish
  • cilantro chopped for garnish
  • lime wedges

Instructions
 

  • Mix chili powder, minced onion, corn starch, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper in a bowl and set aside.
  • Rinse jackfruit in a strainer and squeeze out as much water as possible.
  • Place jackfruit in a slow cooker. Add water, and stir in seasonings.
  • Add salsa, lime juice, and jalapenos.
  • Cook on low for 8 hours.
  • Shred jackfruit with a fork.
  • Scoop the cooked jackfruit onto tortillas and top with taco sauce, diced onions, and tomatoes. (Sprinkle some cilantro and squeeze some lime (optional))

Notes

  • If you don't have all the spices, you can use a storebought taco seasoning intead.
  • 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 burritotacoquesadilla, as well as topping for Nachos!

Nutrition

Calories: 294kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 1788mgPotassium: 650mgFiber: 7gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 2392IUVitamin C: 22mgCalcium: 157mgIron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Please tag us at @PlantBasedonaBudget! 🙂

About Terrence Paschal

Plant based food, micro brews, punk rock, and running are what I am about.

View all posts by Terrence Paschal

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