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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

  • 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”

  1. Hi there.
    I’m having 6-7 girls over this week and I want to make this reciepe for us! I’m thinking everyone will each 2 tacos each — should I double the reciepe? Thanks!

    • Kera, how fun! We’d say go ahead and double it to be on the safe side, that way you’ll definitely have enough in case you have 7 people show up and they all want two each, or if someone wants an extra one. We hope this helps and that you girls have a great time!

  2. Just made these tonight. Knock your socks off spicy,  and so unbelievably delicious! 

  3. I have this in the slow cooker right now! A bit concerned with how saucey it already is – does the pork absorb some of the liquid once shredded or should I ladle some out before shredding? Any ideas what to do with the extra sauce? So excited! Thanks for the beautiful recipe! It already smells delicious!

    • Yep, the pork should definitely absorb lots of the leftover liquid once it is shredded. (And it will absorb even more if you refrigerate the leftovers.) Otherwise, you could reduce the leftover sauce in a saucepan to make a thicker sauce to pour over the pork afterwards if you’d like. Enjoy!

  4. What can I use instead of beer, I’m allergic to alcohol and this recipe makes my mouth water!

  5. my gradma recipe in mexico
    is 10pasilla chiles also known as ancho chiles and 10guajillo chiles and two dried chipotle chiles and teaspoon of oregano and five garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon of cumin

    and 1/2 cup of vinegar and half cup of orange juice and half cup of pineapple juice and a package of achiote paste

    • Wow, thank you for sharing with us Felipe, we’ll have to try her recipe sometime, it sounds wonderful! :)

  6. Note: SPICY DISH. I really enjoyed the dish, but it was too spicy for my toddler to eat. I reduced how spicy it was by adding a bit of milk, and a tbs of sugar. I wish I would have read the comments before making, and I would have left some of the spicy stuff out. Very good, nonetheless. Thank you! 

    • Thanks for sharing, we’re glad you enjoyed it! You can definitely adjust the spice depending on your heat tolerance and preference. Thanks for giving the recipe a try!

  7. This looks amazing but I live in Ireland and would be hard pressed to find chipotles in adobo sauce (have to admit I don’t even know what adobo is!)… Any suggestions for substitutions? Could I use a jar of jalapeños instead or does it need to be a smokey chili? 

    • Hi Ruth! Jalapeños would probably work, but chipotles in adobo are definitely smokey, and you want some smokey goodness in this recipe. :) So, if you can find chipotle powder or smoked paprika, those would be the closest substitutes (add small amounts at a time, to taste). You’ll want to mix either of those spices with some cayenne powder (for this combo, use equal amounts) – this will help you achieve that smokey heat without the actual chipotles in adobo. We also found a recipe you could try, on this website: We hope this helps!

  8. I have boneless pork loin roast, would this work in place of the pork shoulder?  

    • Hi Mary, we wouldn’t advise using a pork loin roast instead of pork shoulder here. Pork loin roast is a much leaner and nicer cut of meat, and it won’t take to the slow cooker as well as pork shoulder will. Because it’s fattier, the pork shoulder meat will fall apart and shred so much easier in a slow cooker, yielding better results (slow cooking is one of the best ways to cook pork shoulder). As a rule of thumb, fattier (and usually less expensive) cuts of meat just work better in slow cookers than leaner cuts. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy the recipe!

  9. Hi there  
    Making this tomorrow but 2 of us aren’t fond of real spicy and my other 3 are lol. Are the Chipotle in adobe sauce spicy? Can I only had half the can? What would you suggest?

    • Hey Melissa! The chipotle peppers in adobo sauce pack some pretty good heat, but since this recipe only calls for two (out of several in a can), and the recipe makes about 6-8 servings, we think it would be fine. We don’t find it that spicy, however, if you’re still concerned, you could always just use one pepper. We hope this helps and that you and your family enjoy!

  10. Is there a substitute for the chipotle in adobo? I can’t have tomatoes or onion!   Would a jalapeño work? 

  11. Hi! Dying to make this recipe this weekend.. i have a question about the chipotle. By 2 do you mean 2 cans of chipotle in adobo sauce? How many ounces are needed?
    Thank you!!

    • Hi Isabel! No, not 2 cans, just 2 peppers (each can contains several, and they’re pretty potent)! :) We hope you enjoy this!

  12. I have a 4 quart crock pot would this recipie fit inside?

    • Hi Rebecca! We used a 6-quart for this, and a 5-quart might work, but we’re afraid the 4-quart would be too small. Maybe you could cut the recipe in half though?

  13. Can I prep the meal the day before and put the whole crockpot on the fridge overnight and then cook in the morning?

    • Hey Carl! That’s a good question, but we wouldn’t advise that. The acids will likely start cooking the meat, and marinating everything for that long might throw off the flavor balance of things. To help save a bit of time though, you could make sure your pineapple and red onion are already chopped. Then you can literally just throw everything in the crockpot – so easy! We hope you enjoy the recipe! :D

  14. As a form KC girl relocated to Northern AZ I’m always glad to see your recipes pop up on my Pintrest. Loved this recipe! Simple and delicious! First had Tacos al Pastor in KC at a dive. Amazing! So glad to find a simple version of it! I used frozen pineapple bc fresh aren’t in season this time of year. It was still a succes! My father, who introduced me to these tacos, recommend grilling the pineapple. Great idea but I love a simplicity of this recipe and crock pot cooking. I made a simple pico with the ingredients you listed as a garnish and servers with feta on top bc it’s easier to find and cheaper. I always have feta in my fridge! Even my 5 and 3yr old liked it bc it had pineapple on at! It’s going in my recipe box as a family fav! Great tacos for days! Froze some of the leftovers to use for BBQ pizza or sandwiches later! 

    • Thanks Anna, and we’re so glad you’re here! We’re so happy you like the recipe (and we think grilling the pineapple is an AWESOME idea)! :D

  15. I accidentally used two cans of chipotle in adoba. I have it cooking now. Is it going to be ruined? Or is there anything I can do to fix this?

    • Hi Olivia! Oh no! Well, we’re afraid they’re going to be really, really spicy unfortunately :( We’re so sorry!

  16. I am straight mexican and i know my mom would have said NO! DONT DO THAT!!!
    But i tryed making it your easy way and it was delish!! ? 
    Plus if you make a salsa roja then those tacos would be perfect!!! For those who really like spicy

  17. Hi there!

    I loosely followed this recipe, and it turned out great. I just wanted to comment that I didn’t blend any of the ingredients before hand, just threw them all in the slow cooker and cooked on high for 3 hours and low for 6.  If you have enough time to cook this down, when you blend everything up with a fork at the end, you get a fairly homogenous-looking sauce.  For me, it just saves a good 10 minutes or so and having to wash out a food processor.  

    • Thanks for sharing with us Emily, that’s great to know! And we’re happy you enjoyed these! :)

  18. Thanks for this delicious recipe!! These are fantastic! Simple to make but impressive to eat. They are a hit each time I make  them. 

  19. I’ve decided to make it this week but on a stove top, is there any change in the time to cook this or is it still in the 8-10 hour range? 

    • Hi Wendy! We strongly advise trying this on the stovetop. However, you could convert the recipe by cooking it in a covered Dutch oven in a 275-degree oven for 3 1/2 – 4 hours until tender. We hope this helps, and that you enjoy!

  20. Sounds amazing! However, I am not a pork fan. Has anyone tried this with chicken breasts?

  21. Hi , I’m having a Mexican party this weekend and I have a baby in my arms all day. I literally only have his nap time to prepare meals so I have no choice but to prepare this recipe today (Thursday) to serve Saturday. I’m hoping this is one of those recipes that once cooked it gets better when reheated a day or two after? Will it still be good?

    • Yes, completely — we think the flavor develops even more after a day or two. :) We hope you enjoy! :)

  22. LOVED em!! Great recipe, thanks for sharing! 

  23. Hello.  This sounds super yummy and am planning on making it this week.  I was just wondering, in your opinion, could you canned pineapple tidbits rather than the fresh that the recipe calls for? And if not fresh what about frozen?  Thanks in advance for your help.

    • Robin! We’ve only tried this with fresh (which we think would work best), but you can certainly use the canned pineapple tidbits instead, or the frozen (just thaw them first). We hope you enjoy this!

  24. Hey there! Made this last week and it became a huge hit. My pot came out soupy. I drained off the extra liquid and it left behind a beautiful paste that I tossed back in with my shredded pork. I love that this recipe didn’t require an extra sauce made up to keep the meat moist on the taco. It was so easy! Will make again in the future. Thank you for sharing!!

  25. Hi! I want to make this with boneless chicken breast in the slow cooker, should i adjust anything and is the cooking time the same?

    • Hi Lisa! We haven’t tried this with chicken, but we think it would probably be the same cooking time, and you shouldn’t have to adjust anything. We hope you enjoy!

  26. Do you think this will work if I put a pork shoulder with the bone in directly into the slow cooker, then shred it later? My grocery store only had the bone-in variety, and de-boning it seems pretty challenging . . . 

    • Hey Rebecca! We haven’t tried using a bone-in pork shoulder for this, but we think you should be able to. The only thing is, the cooking time will probably take a little longer (we’re not sure how much longer though). Just make sure you keep an eye on it so it doesn’t overcook and get dried out — we hope you enjoy!

  27. Hi there.
    if we were to double the recipe, will this affect the cook time?

    • Hey Casidy! The time should be about the same, just make sure your slow cooker is big enough to double this, otherwise it won’t cook properly/evenly.

  28. Sorry! One other quick question. Can I make the puree the night before, refrigerate, then put everything into the slow cooker the next morning before work? Or would the puree not taste as well?

    • Hi Casidy! You can definitely make the puree the night before — we hope you enjoy! :)

  29. Made this last night and loved it! Was super easy but packed with flavor! Left off the pineapple and added a mix of bell pepper, red onion, chick pea, and garlic that I quickly grilled on the cast iron. It was a good alternative in case pineapple isn’t a crowd pleaser. Thanks for the great recipe! 

    • You’re welcome Kristi — we’re so glad you enjoyed everything, and your additions sound wonderful! :)

  30. SO, I accidentally used a whole can of chipotle in adobo :( Is it ruined??? I’m scared we won’t be able to eat it!

    • Oh no! We’re so sorry Erin! That is going to be super strong and spicy. It’s going to be a pain, but what you can do to try and salvage this is make another batch without the chipotle and try and combine the two? Otherwise, we’re not sure how else you could mellow it out and make this batch still edible. We hope this helps!

  31. I can’t find boneless pork shoulder.  What can I use instead?

    • Hi Natalie! You can use a cut called Boston Butt (that’s an equivalent cut). We hope you enjoy!

  32. I wish I would have read the comments. I used 2 cans of chipotles and I believe I may have ruined this dish

    • Oh no, we’re so sorry Ashley! The recipe does call for 2 chipotles in adobo, not 2 cans of chipotles in adobo, but we apologize for any confusion.

  33. Mistook 2 as two cans not 2 peppers- any suggestions on what to do? Is this going to be extremely spicy?

    • Oh no! Yes, we’re afraid this is going to be extremely hot and we’re not really sure how you could salvage this. Please update us and let us know how this turned out!

  34. I too, live in Austin, and my husband loves these tacos at El Borrego off of south Congress.
    This recipe looks delicious! Looking forward to trying it in my pressure cooker.
    Thanks for sharing!

  35. Made your recipe with my leftovers from a pig roast. Added a couple Jalepeno, adjusted the cook time (cause my piggy is already cooked). Couldn’t be happier with the use of my leftovers!!! Thank you from the fialas.

  36. Thank you for the recipe. Made these today and my family loved them! My work schedule has been crazy and it was nice to be able to come home and have a delicious meal on the table within a few minutes.

  37. Hello ! I’m going to make these tmrw and I can’t wait ! But I had a question . How much of the pineapple should I use ?

    • Hi Mariah! We’re sorry for just now getting to your comment. We used the whole pineapple (saved just a bit to garnish on the top of the tacos we made). We hope you enjoy these!

  38. Hi! Planning to make these on the 23rd for my husbands Texan family.  If I make them a day or two ahead how would you pre-heat them?  Do you think they would be just as good, or better two days later?  High standards over there and I want to impress!

    • Hi Laura! Yes, you can totally make these a day or two ahead of time. For reheating, we recommend covering a pan tightly with foil reheating in a 225 degree oven, stirring occasionally, so they don’t dry out. (You may need to add a splash or two of chicken stock.) We hope this helps and that everyone enjoys them!

  39. This is one of my favorite recipes. I’ve cooked it a couple of times and it’s been a huge hit.
    I’m cooking it for lunch tomorrow but since I don’t have enough time in the morning, I’m going to put it for 5 hours in the slow cooker today and then 2-3 tomorrow morning.
    I’m hoping this will allow the juices to soak into the meat.

    I love your recipes. Please post some more slow cooker and taco ones :)

    Thanks again

  40. Hi! I was wondering if you know of anyone who has converted this recipe for a pressure cooker. If so, please advise.

  41. Have you tried these in an ‘Instant Pot’ and if so, what modifications did you make?

  42. How ca I make this less spicy 

    • Hi Natassia — you can just use 1 chipotle pepper instead of two, and you can also cut back not he chili powder if you want (you can always add more later on). We hope this helps!

  43. Can you use a different kind of beer or does it have to be modelo Negro could I use Budweiser???

  44. hey! 
    i  wanna do this for super bowl but i don’t have a crock pot … i think you tried to say you DONT recommend stove top but can use a covered Dutch oven @275  for 3.5-4 hours!!! is that correct?

    • Hi Christina, yes, that’s correct! We hope you enjoy!

    • I wish I had read the comments before making this – what a fail! There is SO MUCH liquid and the flavor is not at all like al Pastor (we live in Texas, and yes there is some variation amongst recipes, but this recipe is nothing like any al Pastor!). My advice if you attempt this at all is to skip any beer/stock and just try the chili/pineapple mixture and see what happens (and also add more chipolte… Two are barely enough to even taste…). Maybe you’ll get lucky…., I am here draining half a gallon of liquid off and trying to figure out if I can make a sauce out of a second pineapple and extra chipolte to try to make this edible. I generally love Ali’s recipes but this one was unusually disappointing. I also have no idea how these photos were obtained from this recipe, she must have used a different sauce or reduced it.

  45. I was concerned about the spice from the comments because our kids are 4 and under, but I went ahead and made the recipe anyway. So glad I did! If you follow the directions and just take 2 chipotle peppers out of the can, it just adds flavor. I chose smaller peppers from the can as well… I’m sure i could have used larger peppers or even an additional pepper for spice! Thanks for the recipe! I’m using the leftovers for soup!

  46. If I want some good flavor and not too spicy, what should I reduce in the recipe? Cut the chipotle pepper in adobe from 1 to 2 and possibly cut the chili powder from 3 to 2 tablespoons? I don’t want to mess with culinary perfection but half our family doesn’t like spicy. Just trying to find a good balance. Thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us!

    • Hi Tandra! If you want to reduce the spiciness in this, we’d suggest 2 TBS of chili powder (instead of 3). We think you would still be fine to use both of the chipotle peppers in adobo, but if you’re concerned, you could just use one. We hope this is helpful!

  47. Yes, I don’t know what I did wrong but I followed the recipe to the t  I  thought and it didn’t have much flavor at all! I  would suggest also putting the extra pineapple in with it when it is finished cooking making it easier to serve 

  48. What kind of beer do you recommend?

  49. I’m a little bummed that the recipe did not come out how it was supposed to. I followed exactly like it was instructed, it tasted DELICIOUS, but it just didn’t taste al pastor AT ALL. 

    Al pastor is my favorite type of tacos, and I couldn’t taste it at all. Just because it has Pineapples doesn’t mean it should called al pastor. However, it was still delicious and everyone loved it. 

    I’ll definitely make it again, just won’t call it al pastor. 

    • We’re sorry this did not meet your expectations, Pri, but we’re glad it was still enjoyed!

  50. Dying to try this out! Roughly how much is in one pineapple? A little over a pound, 20 oz-ish? And can you use two 2.5lb pork shoulders? I didn’t see a 5lb last time I was at a Safeway, but maybe WF would have bigger ones….

    • Hi Kristen! We just used a standard-sized pineapple for this (about 2 lbs). And yes, we think you could probably use two 2.5 lb pork shoulders if you’re unable to find one 5 lb one. We hope this helps and that you enjoy!