This 5-Ingredient Carnitas Soup recipe is quick and easy to make, and it’s the perfect use for leftover carnitas! Stove-top, Instant Pot, and Slow Cooker instructions are all included.
A few weeks ago, we had a very important milestone in our lives as newbie expats living in Barcelona.
You guys, we actually had friends over to our place for dinner for the very first time! ?
Like, actual new friends that we’ve met! All together our new apartment! Eating food that I was (finally) able to cook with the new ingredients and cookware that we’ve slowly been collecting from all over town in our new little Spanish kitchen! It may sound like no big deal, but after a month full of transition, being able to do what we love to do and host friends together in our new home here felt sooo refreshingly normal and good. Also, totally fun. And also, totally delicious.
Since our party was on a martes, Barclay and I thought it would be fun to introduce all of our European friends to the brilliance that is Taco Tuesday. So I cooked up a big batch of my favorite Instant Pot carnitas and a sweet potato/black bean mixture for tacos, some homemade salsa and elote to serve with chips, and Barclay juiced up a mega batch of our favorite margaritas. And I’m happy to say, they were a hit!!
I was pretty proud of myself for making homemade salsa by hand sans food processor or blender, since we have yet to finish stocking our kitchen here (potato masher for the win!). But as it turns out, the surprise favorite of the night actually ended up being the elote. Turns out that none of our European friends had ever heard of it, and they absolutely loved it and polished off every last bite, ha! Since I made intentionally large batches of everything, though, I’m happy to say that Barclay and I still had lots of leftovers afterwards to pop in the freezer for when our Mexi cravings stuck again. And since he’s pescatarian, I had the leftover carnitas all to myself. ?
And last week, I officially discovered the absolute best thing to do with them:
Basically, this ended up being a carnitas version of my 5-Ingredient White Chicken Chili recipe, subbing the leftover pork carnitas in for chicken. And I also decided to sub potatoes in for white beans, since I had a bag of Yukon golds that needed to be used up. (Although beans, or potatoes + beans would work great too!)
So the ingredients are incredibly simple! You just need:
Chicken (or veggie) stock
Potatoes (or beans)
The key ingredient here being — you guessed it — salsa verde. It’s the mega burst of flavor that basically seasons the entire soup. So feel free to grab your favorite jar at the store (some are spicier than others), or I have a terrific homemade salsa verde recipe that I love and recommend (and you can customize the heat level to taste).
Just combine everything in on the stovetop, or in the slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot, and cook until the potatoes are nice and tender.
Then ladle it up…
…and serve nice and hot, garnished with all of your favorite toppings.
But…I’ve gotta be honest here.
In the recipe below, I noted that all of these are optional. But I can’t encourage you enough to top yours with a big handful of fresh baby arugula. I learned the arugula tip from Rick Bayless’ famous caldos (my faaaaves) at his XOCO restaurant in Chicago, and have been adding fresh arugula to my Mexican soups ever since. And it is an absolute game-changer. So fresh, so peppery, and so delicious.
Plus, you can never go wrong with some fresh avocado and cilantro. (And maybe a few spicy peppers, if you’re so inclined.)
The more toppings the merrier here, as far as I’m concerned.
And the result?
A big, gorgeous, fresh, and flavor-packed bowl of soup that’s guaranteed to warm you up during these chilly winter months ahead. I’ve been enjoying leftovers from my bowl of soup every day this week. And juuuust might need to make another batch of carnitas to enjoy another round soon.
So if you too happen to be Taco Tuesday-ing with carnitas sometime soon, I can’t recommend trying this one enough.
Stovetop Method: Add chicken stock, potatoes, carnitas, salsa verde and cumin to a large stockpot, and stir to combine. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling, then cover and reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Slow Cooker Method: Add chicken stock, potatoes, carnitas, salsa verde and cumin to a slow cooker, and stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm with desired toppings.
Instant Pot Method: Add chicken stock, potatoes, carnitas, salsa verde and cumin to an Instant Pot pressure cooker, and stir to combine. Close lid securely and set vent to “Sealing”. Press “Manual”, then press “Pressure” until the light on “High Pressure” lights up, then adjust the +/- buttons until time reads 8 minutes. Cook. Once the soup has cooked, very carefully turn the vent to “Venting” for quick release, and wait until all of the steam has released and the valve has dropped. Remove the lid. Taste and season with salt and pepper, if needed. Serve warm with desired toppings.
This soup looks so good and good for you. I love how soup fills up body and soul! Would love to have you come share at our What’s for Dinner party!
I love your recipes, and I am so happy to hear about your expat adventures! We were expats for nearly 6 years and would do it again in a heart beat! Enjoy your time in Spain and especially enjoy how easy it is to visit other areas in Europe.
Yum!!! This soup sounds wonderful. I am definitely in the salsa verde camp – there’s no comparison between rojo y verde. Verde wins every time. I tend to not care much for arugula, but I can definitely see where it would be good with a soup like this – it would be kind of like putting epazote in those wonderful cheese quesadillas you make…
congratulations on hosting your new Spanish friends, this looks amazing and interesting and am wondering if you’re not re-importing a Spanish dish or did carnitas originate in Mexico? Oh well, looks wonderful, I already love carnitas wherever it originated!
My husband & I spent some time in Barcelona in September. We stayed in the El Born neighborhood twice! I love that area! Before you even mentioned that your apartment was in El Born, I knew that’s where you are! We stayed right down the street from the Picasso Museum too! I love that you can walk everywhere! We felt totally safe there, day & night. There are so many great places to check out. What an exciting adventure you’re on! Enjoy!
This looks absolutely delicious, and I can’t believe how simple it is to make. Will definitely be trying the recipe out!
This couldn’t have been posted at a better time. Just made your slow cooker chicken carnitas earlier this week! I scaled the recipe down to accommodate for the amount of carnitas I had left over. Used a can of canellini beans instead of the potatoes. I used some chopped baby spinach instead of arugula because that’s what was in my fridge. Came together in less than 5 minutes on the stove. Topped with avocado and green onions, and added a drizzle of sriracha on top for extra heat. The only thing missing were those crispy salad tortilla strips. Such a delicious, easy, and quick way to make leftovers into a totally new meal. Will plan this into my meal plan for sure next time we have tacos.
We made the pork carnitas this afternoon. Half is for tacos tomorrow night and the other half we made the soup for future lunches. This is an excellent 2 for 1 recipe! Thank you!
Made it with fresh salsa because I had it and didn’t want to run back out to the store…delicious! Will definitely try with the salsa verde next time!
I am from South Africa, and love your blog. When reading the above post I was intrigued by “Elote” as I had never heard of it. So I googled it, as we have an abundance of “Mealies” aka sweetcorn in SA.
its now my favourite way of preparing corn.
Thank you for all the inspirations.
Soooo easy! Had pork carnitas left over from a gathering and what to do? This went together in five minutes! I added corn niblets just because. Yum! Like the little kick it has.
I was really hesitant that this would be bland with only five ingredients but I also had tons of pork to repurpose and thought this would be super easy in my instant pot! So, I went for it and it was SO GOOD!! I swapped sweet potatoes for regular potatoes because that’s what I had, but seriously, SO GOOD! I highly recommend this recipe and will be putting this in my recipe rotation for sure!! Thanks!!
My new fam fav! Love the quickness and flavor of this dish! We found precooked and seasoned carnita meat at Aldi even. Thanks
This was great. I made your carnitas a couple of weeks ago and had them in the freezer, so I combined them with homemade chicken broth, some pico de gallo that was on its last legs and a can of chili beans. I made the IP version. This soup is hearty and full of flavor — perfectly for the chilly spring weather we’re having in Nebraska. Plus, it will freeze well for lunches later in the month. Also, your carnitas are dynamite. I actualy made your recipe in a small, 3-quart IP and was able to fit an entire 5lb pork roast in it. Thanks!
WHAT ARE THE NUTRITION FACTS OF THIS RECIPE?
We had carnitas tacos last night and found this recipe this morning when searching on how to use the leftovers. It’s so quick and simple I just whipped some up right then and there and had it for breakfast ?. So delicious! Wish I would have had the baby arugula but all mine has bolted and haven’t reseeded a new crop yet. I did have the cilantro, pepper, and avocado…superb!! Thank you!
This has been a go to recipe for our family. We went vegan in January and I’d been missing it. Made it tonight with jackfruit as the carnitas — SO GOOD!!! Mounds of arugula, of course!
I needed something for lunch, I’ve been working from home (like many people at this time), so I’ve been terrible at planing lunch for the next day. I had a lot of carnitas pork leftover from the weekend and I just couldn’t do carnitas with it again. I went on a search for “carnitas soup” and found this. Turns out I had ALL the ingredients! At first I thought “potatoes in carnitas soup?!” And then I thought this doesn’t sound like it will do the trick, I was worried about flavor. I used the instant pot method and ended up leaving in a little too long, because the potatoes came out a little soft. But I have to say this soup is SO GOOD and FLAVORFUL! I added a can of black beans after cooking because wasn’t sure how it would taste. Next time I’ll cook a little less time and add the black beans in during cooking.
I used my leftover liquid from making my carnita instead af chicken broth and didn’t add any more cumin. This was delicious! Thanks !!!!
My husband has taken to making Carnitas on a regular basis and we always have huge amounts of leftovers. I needed to find a recipe that would change things up a bit and I’m so glad I found your Carnitas Soup recipe. It is absolutely delicious! The whole family loved it and my husband said “It’s a keeper!” So we will be making this again and again – as long as he continues to make Carnitas. I added a dash of lime juice to increase the acidity a bit and liked the additional zing.
It seemed a waste to throw out my leftover Mojo sauce from the carnitas recipe…… I had about a cup and a half of it left over. It was seasoned so well and full of pork flavor. I decreased the cumin and salsa verde (I used ready-made and it was salty ) by half and I added the leftover sauce to my soup! Delicious! I plan on serving tonight garnished with avocado and arugula-cornbread on the side.
This was a great and easy way to use leftovers. Thank you!
This was great! Next time I’m planning to add a few diced chayote, carrot and maybe some egg noodles(per husband’s request he needed more bite). It’s so versatile I feel like you could add anything to it and it’ll turn out. We had it for dinner with some fried queso tacos and plenty of avacado. I used homemade salsa verde from my mother in laws recipe that’s been handed down for generations from Oaxaca Mexico. I would be proud to serve this to my father in law, and that’s saying a lot! Thank you for the great recipe!
From someone who actually tried the recipe and isn’t just saying it “looks” delicious or they “want” to try it while giving it five stars anyeay, I can say this was delicious! My only complaint and reason for the 4 stars was it was a little too limey. Next time I will add less lime to the salsa verde. I also think an addition of yucca would elevate it just a tad. Great recipe and will make again. And thank you for the easy and delicious tomatillo sauce recipe. I made extra to eat with chips on the side. All of it was great!!
Delicious! We also added queso fresco and crumbled tortilla chips. Yum!
Really good soup! Topped mine with cilantro, cojita cheese, and some corn chips. My whole family loved it.
The arugula in this is fantastic! And it was a great way to use my carnitas that were originally a little dry.
Yum! We had leftover carnitas from tacos and this was a delicious way to use it up when we had eaten tacos twice.
This was delicious! I didn’t have enough green salsa, so I threw in some homemade red salsa and cut back on the broth so it would be more chunky. I can’t wait to have this again! Thanks for the awesome recipe.
Yummy! Used homemade red salsa instead of salsa Verdi, East and yummy substitute. Topped w/cilantro and cheddar cheese-hit! Our lips are on fire!!
this is great, but in no world would you eat 8 min at pressure. did 3 and it was borderline too long for the potatoes. still excellent though!
This was so amazing! Will save this recipe the only thing I did different was the red salsa rather than verde but either way it will be a household favorite thanks!!
This really took me by surprise – so simple, but SO tasty. We topped it with a little shredded cheese, sour cream, red onion, and cilantro. This is what I plan to always do with leftover carnitas from now on!
This recipe was an excellent way to use leftover carnitas. I was skeptical with few ingredients that it would not be flavorful, but it was delicious. It is a very simple recipe, great for weekday dinner. I think it would be great with leftover chicken as well.
What time of bean would you use in this dish with the potatoes ? I’m cooking it tonight. I can’t wait.
One of my favorite soups – I make it often! Thank you for the recipe!