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Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

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Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

During our stay in Austin this past month, Kathryne and I lived for a month with our version of a very “minimalist” kitchen.

The house that we rented definitely had some of the basic pots and pans. But in order to do our jobs and cook for a month, we got all Google-spreadsheet-y beforehand and coordinated a few “essential” items to bring along, like my favorite Le Creuset Dutch oven (which we both loved so much we had to schedule times to use it), her favorite food processor (that she can’t live without), and a good-quality lime juicer (for regular margarita nights at home, a must). We kept culling back our list to keep things as simple as possible, nixing things like our stand mixers and extra baking dishes that would take up space we didn’t have. And at the last second, I decided to also leave my beloved slow cooker back at home in KC.

Never again.

Over the course of the month, I decided unequivocally that having a slow cooker is not an option in my kitchen. It’s a must!! I kept having idea after idea while we were down there for various slow cooker recipes that I wanted to make, and with us buzzing all over town during the days in evenings, there was no way I was going to babysit some recipes while they slow cooked on the stove. Patience is not a virtue of mine. So instead, I fired up my crock pot the second I got home and have been slow cooking my way through a delicious list of recipes ever since.

First up? Slow cooker tacos al pastor.

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

I realized — around the time I ate my 500th taco in Austin — that I had actually never tried making tacos al pastor homemade before. Which is something I immediately needed to address, because I’m a mega fan. I mean, tender pork marinated with fresh pineapple and chiles and lime juice? What’s not to love??

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

Well, let’s just say that this classic combination is even more lovable when the slow cooker does all the work for you. No need to babysit a pot on the stove all day. Just puree up the marinade, toss it in the slow cooker with your pork, and let the slow cooker work its magic.

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

Then a big pot of tender, juicy, flavorful, perfect pork will be yours to enjoy.

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

I served mine up street-taco-style, with fresh chopped cilantro, onions, and a few lime wedges. And since I had some pineapple leftover, I also tossed in a few tidbits. (Fresh, mind you. Resist any temptation to use canned pineapple in this recipe. Resist!)

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

If you want, you can also add some crumbly Mexican cheese on top, like cotija or queso fresco. But otherwise, the slow cooked pork is the rockstar of the recipe, so there’s not much else you need.

Ah, feels so good to write those words again. Slow cooker, I missed you. :)

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |


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Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.3 from 16 reviews
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 240 minutes
  • Total Time: 250 minutes
  • Yield: 6 -8 servings 1x


This slow cooker tacos al pastor recipe is quick and easy to prepare, full of amazing flavor, and your slow cooker does all the work for you!


  • 1 (5-pound) boneless pork shoulder roast (Boston butt), extra fat trimmed off
  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle of beer (I used Modelo Negra, or use chicken stock if making this gluten-free)
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 fresh pineapple, peeled and cored, then roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons chili powder (not cayenne)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • corn tortillas, for serving
  • optional toppings: crumbled goat cheese, (extra) diced fresh pineapple, chopped fresh cilantro leaves, chopped red onions, diced avocado, thinly-sliced radishes


  1. Cut the pork shoulder into 2-inch cubes.  Add the pork to the bowl of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the chipotles in adobo, pineapple, red onion, chili powder, lime juice, white vinegar, salt, cumin and black pepper to a blender or food processor.  Puree until the mixture is completely smooth, about 30-60 seconds.  Stir in the beer until it is evenly combined.  Then pour the mixture on top of the pork, and toss until the pork is evenly coated.
  3. Cook on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-5 hours, until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.  Use two forks to shred the pork, then toss it in the remaining juices.
  4. Serve warm on tortillas, garnished with optional toppings.

Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor Recipe |

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215 comments on “Slow Cooker Tacos Al Pastor”

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  1. I can say that I have never had tacos al Pastor before! But, really, you had me at slow cooker. I am pretty sure that a wizard lives in mine, because everything comes out magical! These tacos look BOMB. Pinned!

  2. You really know how to rock a taco. With all that bling-y color too in your photo’s. I used to hate pork because my wife bought only the dark meat pork from the store, I’m sure you know what I”m talking about. Your pork looks…..hmmmm, I’m still think of a word but it just looks really really good. And I’m actually all about the crock-pot. 

  3. I call my crock-pot the “Magic Time Machine” because I love throwing my ingredients in there and letting it do all the work. A few hours later, it comes out perfectly cooked and ready to eat! We must be on the same wave length because I made carnitas yesterday! This warmer weather has me craving my Mexican favorites.  Great recipe, I can’t wait to try it!

  4. Loooove the sound of breaking out the crock pot this week for your gorgeous tacos!  Mmmm :)

  5. Slow Cooker + TACOS = my life. These look amazing, friend!

  6. For your first tacos, these ones are looking FAB! You go, girl. And welcome back home!

  7. Somehow I’ve managed to never hear of this magical meat, but now I know I must have it in my life as soon as humanly possible. And also yes — slow cookers are nonnegotiable. Add two kids to the equation and that thing saves my life on the daily. Adding this meal to my next meal plan!! xoxo

  8. Tacos with pineapple…my mouth is watering!! These look so delicious! 

  9. Delicious dish, Ali! Love spicy, love tacos and most of all, LOVE my slow cooker!!! This looks just beautiful and bright!!!

  10. I cant wait to try this!  BTW we make your slow cooker chili recipe all the time – it is our favorite chili recipe :)

  11. is there anything that can be substituted for the beer? These look amazing but I can’t use alcohol in my cooking. 

  12. This is awesome! I adore tacos al pastor especially for the fresh pineapple. I love that you simplified such a long and complicated recipe. Well done, and fabulous pictures!

  13. A hole-in-the-wall taco joint a few blocks from me in DC makes fabulous al pastor tacos w/ loads of fresh pineapple! In all of my visits, which have been many, I’ve never thought to look up how to make them myself for some reason. But, now that problem’s solved thanks to your recipe! It looks AMAZING and seriously satisfying. 

  14. These look absolutely amazing!!!

  15. since we don’t drink beer would another drink work? 

  16. These look so yummy! Pineapple and pork together is so good, and I love the idea of making it in the slow cooker. Plus, with the weather getting warmer, there’s no need to heat up the house to still have amazing tacos!

  17. Always always always looking for new slow cooker recipes – especially now that my fiance is injured and I am doing 99% of the meal prep/cooking. This looks fantastic!

    xo Rachel

  18. omg. You left your slow cooker at home?? I would give up a chefs knife for a slow cooker!! LOL I only half kid. Btw Why have I never made these before?? The sweetness from the pineapple might even trick my husband into eating a taco… 

  19. I love Tacos Al Pastor, but sadly they are rare to find in my area even though there are plenty of Mexican restaurants. Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  20. We are not a pork eater so can we try this recipe with Chicken? It is a wonderful way of cooking so trying to fit in my way.

  21. This looks delicious and I really want to try it! However I’ve never used chipotles in adobo sauce – are they really spicy? What if I don’t use them, will it change the overall taste a lot? I have 2 young kids who don’t like spicy dishes.

    • Thanks Julie! Chipotles in adobo sauce can pack some heat, and while it totally depends on how high your threshold is for heat, I would probably leave them out if you’re kids will be eating them. In addition to some spice, chipotles and adobo sauce add a tart, smoky flavor to dishes. To still achieve that flavor without the heat, you could try ketchup and/or steak sauce (for that tanginess the adobo sauce provides), along with a tiny bit of liquid smoke or hot sauce. You could also cut up some bell peppers to replace the chipotles. I hope that helps, good luck!

  22. You did an exceptional job of re-creating the al Pastor.  Recently moving to Austin myself, I can agree, there are tacos everywhere!  Love the idea of cooking the meat in the slow cooker :-)

  23. really excited to try this… I’ve been really into slow cooker recipes lately but I find so many of them have a lot of artificial ingredients like a packet of ranch. its such a turn off for me and I’m so excited that this has such fresh ingredients- I can tell Ill like it already… thank you! 

  24. I still dream about the al pastor tacos I had in Mexico last year. Can’t wait to try this slow cooker version!

  25. Man! this is a great slow cooker recipe. Spicey, and the lime juice gives it that fresh taste……and pork. Who doesn’t love a good pork dish.

  26. These look delicious and your photos are so clear!

  27. Hi Ali, 

    I see that you suggest chicken broth instead of beer, do you have any other suggestions? Something that’s gluten free per chance but maybe still offers an unique flavor like beer?


  28. Ali: can you substitute pork tenderloin or pork loin for the pork shoulder instead? 

  29. Also forgot to ask, should I remove the seeds from the chipotle chilis? If not, wouldn’t this be rocket hot? Two chilis really packs a heat punch unless cooking it for 8-10 hours in a slow cooker takes some of the heat off at the end?

  30. What size slow cooker did you use for this recipe? I have a 5Qt and can’t wait to try this recipe!

  31. This is so pretty! These tacos look gorgeous!

  32. Just found your recipe tonight. I have all of the ingredients except fresh pineapple. Can you substitute canned? And if so, how much. Thanks!

  33. I have never cooked with chipotles before. Are they very spicy? I am thinking of making this for Easter this Sunday, and I think if it’s too spicy my kids will have a hard time eating it. If it is pretty spicy, do you have a substitution idea?

    • Hey Lara! Chipotles in Adobo can be pretty spicy, though I guess it all depends on your tolerance for heat. Since your kids will be eating it and it doesn’t call for that much, I think you’re safe to leave it out. You could add a tiny bit of hot sauce or a splash of vinegar (to make up for the tanginess and the heat of the chipotles), if you’d like. I hope that was helpful, enjoy!

  34. Wow…I made these yesterday. so I could skim the fat off the sauce.  I had a lot of sauce after I shredded the meat.    Today I took the sauce and simmered it to reduce by half.  The sauce is so good and flavorful.  Cant wait to serve tonight.  This is definitely a keeper.
    Just wondering…did you use the whole pineapple in the sauce…maybe that is why I had a ton.

    • Hey Kim! Glad you enjoyed it. And yes, I used the entire pineapple and ended up with quite a bit of sauce, but the meat seemed to soak most of it in once I shredded it and let it sit in the sauce for a bit. Still, I might have had a smaller pineapple, so I’m glad you reduced it and made it work! :)

  35. Making this for dinner right now and it’s delicious. I would just like to make a quick note for everybody watching:  2 chipotles in adobo =/= 2 CANS of chipotles in adobo

  36. This message is for Sarah (march 25th) – look for some gluten free beer.  I live in Connecticut and there are a bunch of GF beers on the market now.  They may not satisfy the “regular” beer drinker in the crowd, but I have used in chili with great success.
    Also want to say to Ali – a big thank you!!  I had never heard of tacos al pastor, and I don’t eat pork.  But I did this with chicken thighs (and GF beer) – the taste is fantastic.  Thanks so much for a great recipe.  Keep those slow-cooker ones coming – I can’t function without mine either :)

    • Thanks for the tips Patricia! And you are so welcome, I’m glad you like the tacos al pastor (with chicken)! I’ll have to try it with chicken next time! : )

  37. Just finished my 1st taco and heading back for more!  Delish! Mine too turned out super saucey with a thick layer of fat on top that I skimmed off (the meat I used seemed fatty when I was cutting it up).   Thanks for posting! Can’t wait to eat the leftovers at lunch tomorrow :-)

  38. This looks amazing!  I realize pineapple is a big component of the dish however we have an allergy in the family.  Would you have a good idea for a substitute?  Or is it non replaceable and we should just skip this meal?  Thank you!!!  Made your arugula salad with grapes the other day and it was a big hit!

  39. Any suggestions for how to make this with beef instead of pork? What type would be best?

    • Hey Ellen! If you’d prefer to try this with beef, I would advise using flank/skirt steak. Here’s a recipe with instructions on what to do with the steak before you put it in the slow cooker: I hope this was helpful and that you enjoy the tacos! : )

  40. Is it possible to make this recpie without a slow cooker? Thanks, it looks delicious.

  41. Could you substitute chicken breast for the pork? Cook less time but I wonder if the flavored would still meld nicely?

  42. Do you think it would work to marinate this overnight and then slow cook it the next day?

  43. I have never used chipotles in Adobe. Does this mean I use two cans or 2 peppers from a can?  

  44. I lived in Mexico for over 11 years and just moved back to the US in January .Our family really misses this meal. here we lived they topped it with just pineapple, white onion, and cilantro. I can’t wait to try it! 

  45. Hi! My husband is muslim and so I can’t use pork for this recipe – do you think chicken would be an ok substitute?

    Thanks! Looks delicious :)

  46. Just made this overnight. Ok, I lied…I put it in at 5pm last night and I just turned it to WARM at 7am. I like to overdo big roasts. Also, I was lazy and did not cut it into cubes. 

    Tonight tacos, tomorrow pork fried rice…then sandwiches….then lord knows but this will last the 2 of us all week. 

  47. I made this recipe this past weekend, and it was so delicious!   It was for a southwestern themed party, take along picnic style.   Couple of things….  First, I used ancho chile powder – at first I didn’t add as much because it is so concentrated, but I ended up adding more to get the right heat.  Next, I also had to cook off the liquid a bit.  Second, I used 2 full pineapples (probably why I had so much liquid), 1 in the crock pot and 1 caramelized to serve on the side.  I also made your guacamole, along with the onions, goat cheese & parsley.  Everyone loved the heat and how all the flavors complimented one another!   Thank you for this recipe.  All I really need is a good recipe for homemade tortillas.

    • That’s great Janine, we’re so happy you liked it, and thanks for sharing! :)

  48. Thank you delicious recipe

  49. Goin to try this recipe!  However, I only have a bone-in pork roast.  Do you think it would work leaving it whole and shredding when done?

    • Hey Lisa, we think that should work just fine — we hope you enjoy the recipe! :)