Bring the Heat: Reinvigorating Leftover Pork Carnitas to Maximum Taste

Juicy, shredded carnitas are the ultimate taco filling. After spending hours tenderizing pork and infusing it with spicy, smoky flavors, you don’t want those leftovers to go to waste.

Properly reheating carnitas preserves that signature taste and texture you worked hard to achieve Whether you made them from scratch or ordered in, leftovers deserve more than a limp microwave zap

This guide covers the best reheating methods to revive leftover carnitas into their former glory. We’ll walk through foolproof techniques to bring out the absolute best from your carnitas next day.

Handling Carnitas Safely for Later Enjoyment

Foodborne illness is no fun, so start with proper storage and handling:

  • Cool cooked carnitas completely before storage Divide into smaller containers,

  • Refrigerate leftovers within 2 hours and use within 3-4 days.

  • Freeze for longer storage up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in fridge before use.

  • Reheat fully to 165°F internal temperature. Check temperature with a probe thermometer.

Follow those rules for safely preserving your carnitas’ deliciousness. Now let’s reheat them right.

Evaluating Your Carnitas Reheating Options

You have several good choices for reheating leftover carnitas. Consider volume, desired texture, time, and equipment needed to pick your best method.


The stovetop reigns supreme for small batches. It brings back the iconic crispy, charred carnita bits.

  • In a nonstick pan, heat oil over medium-high heat.

  • Add pork and cook until hot throughout, stirring occasionally.

  • Add a little liquid like broth if pork seems dry.


The oven is great for larger amounts. Spread on a baking sheet and cover with foil. It revives texture beautifully.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.

  • Spread pork on a foil-lined baking sheet.

  • Pour on a little liquid then cover with more foil.

  • Bake 10-15 minutes covered, then uncover to crisp.


For party-sized portions, the crockpot does the work. Submerge in broth and cook on low heat for gradual reheating.

Sous Vide

Sous vide reheating is hands-off. Vacuum seal pork with seasonings and cook 1 hour in a 165°F water bath. Use the stovetop to crisp afterward.

Step-by-Step Stovetop Perfection

For small, single meal batches, the stovetop can’t be beat for quick, crisp carnitas joy. Follow these simple steps:

  • Heat 1 tsp oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.

  • Add carnitas and spread into a single layer.

  • Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until hot throughout.

  • If pork seems dry, add 1-2 Tbsp broth and toss to coat.

  • Cook 2-3 more minutes until browned edges appear.

  • Add any additional desired seasonings and serve.

It doesn’t get much easier than that. Now for some tasty ideas to enjoy your reheated carnitas.

Creative Uses for Refreshed Carnitas

Bring on the tacos, of course! But don’t limit your leftover pork to the expected. Try these crave-worthy ways to savor reheated carnitas:

  • Carnitas nachos piled high with all the fixings

  • Carnitas burrito bowls with rice, beans, salsa

  • Carnitas omelets or breakfast tacos

  • Carnitas chopped salad with crispy lettuce and creamy dressing

  • Carnitas pizza with mango salsa and lime crema

  • Carnitas fried rice or bibimbap style rice bowls

Take your leftover carnitas to all new flavor destinations from Tex-Mex to Asian fusion. Get creative!

Carnitas Taste Even Better the Second Time Around

Don’t relegate leftover carnitas to boring sandwiches smothered in sauce. With proper storage, careful reheating, and creative serving ideas, you can enjoy carnitas with revived texture, juicy pork flavor, and craveable crispy bits every time.

Now that you know how to reheat carnitas like a pro, you can double that pork shoulder recipe without hesitation. Your taste buds will thank you later as you bite into reheated carnitas that taste amazingly fresh again. ¡Buen provecho!

How to reheat carnitas?


How do you revive carnitas?

In a skillet, heat up some chicken stock over medium high heat. How much chicken stock depends on how much leftover carnitas you’re reheating. Then, turn off the heat and place the pork in the warm stock. Allow it to reabsorb some of the moisture for about 90 seconds before serving.

Are carnitas better the next day?

Plus, as with many braised meats, this pork is possibly even better the next day. Reheat it on the stove, adding a little more chicken stock to moisten things up as needed.

How to keep pork carnitas warm?

Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a low oven until you’re ready to serve. (Though I use the bacon mostly for flavor, I like to brown it with the other pieces of meat and chop it up for my guests to enjoy.) You may wish to pull the meat off the bones in large chunks, removing as much fat as you like in the process.

How to store carnitas for next day?

TO STORE: Refrigerate leftover carnitas in an airtight storage container for up to 3 days. TO REHEAT: Rewarm carnitas on a baking sheet in the oven at 350 degrees F or in the microwave.

How do you reheat carnitas?

For the crispiest reheating method, re-fry the carnitas in a skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until warmed through. For the best results, add some extra lard (1 to 2 tbsp, depending on amount of meat) to the pan before heating. Can Carnitas be made with boneless pork loin, pork chops, or another cut? Not really.

How do you cook carnitas?

Carnitas meat is made with pork shoulder or pork butt, a tough, marbled cut that needs low-and-slow cooking to become succulent and tender. Freshly shredded, carnitas taste fabulous, then they’re fried on the stove top or under the oven broiler until the edges are tantalizingly crispy. But Versatile Too!

How do you cook pork carnitas in a crock pot?

Place the pork in a large pot, then add the orange zest and juice. Combine. Add the garlic, onion, and spices. Pour in enough water to just cover the pork. Cook. Bring the pot to a boil, then let the carnitas simmer over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 hours. Increase the Heat.

Can You reheat carnitas in the microwave?

Reheating: For the easiest method, you may microwave portions in 30-second intervals until warmed through. However, the meat will not be as crispy. For the crispiest reheating method, re-fry the carnitas in a skillet over medium high heat for about 5 minutes, until warmed through.

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