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A skillet of jackfruit carnitas on a white wood table with a red towel and limes.

Tasty Jackfruit Carnitas Recipe

Savory, crispy, Mexican inspired Jackfruit Carnitas will change your taco, burrito, bowl making game forever! This quick and easy recipe will blow your mind with its amazing depth in flavor and "meat" like texture.
Author: Kim @ DancesWithKnives
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan
Servings: 6


  • 2 20oz cans of young green jackfruit in brine or water
  • 2 tablespoon grapeseed oil or any neutral oil (canola, vegetable also work)
  • 1 medium white onion, small dice (1 ½ cup diced)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional for spice)
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 pinches ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup low sodium tamari (low sodium soy sauce if not gluten-free)
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke


  • Drain the jackfruit well. Then shred the jackfruit. There are few different ways to do this.
    You can do this by cutting the hard core off the triangles and shredding the softer bits with a fork into what looks like pulled pork. Then chop the cores into finer pieces to match the shredded.
    You can also throw all the jackfruit into a large bowl and squeeze the jackfruit with your hands, which will shred the softer bits and leave the core. If you choose the squeezing method you have to pick out the hard cores that are left over and chop them into pieces just as you would with the first option. This is how I do it.
    When you complete this step drain the jackfruit again to remove any extra liquid.
  • Combine all the spices in a small dish so they are ready to go before you start cooking. This includes the cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, oregano, cinnamon, and salt.
  • Heat the oil at medium high heat in a large saute pan. Then add the onions and garlic to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes until the onions are translucent.
  • Next add the spice mix of cumin, chili powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, oregano, cinnamon, and salt. Stir to coat the onions well and continue cooking for about 1 minute.
  • Now add the jackfruit, maple syrup, water, low sodium tamari, and liquid smoke. Stir to combine and cook at medium heat uncovered for about 10-15 minutes. Check every few minutes and turn the jackfruit as needed. You want for the liquid to reduce and the jackfruit to turn into what looks like shredded pork.
  • When the jackfruit liquid has reduced to virtually nothing, turn the heat up to high and cook for 2-3 minutes turning often to evenly crisp up.
    For extra crispy carnitas, you can also spread the jackfruit out onto a sheet pan and place under the broiler for a few minutes to crisp up. I find that I can achieve the same results on the stove top. It's just a matter of preference.
  • Serve as a filling for tacos, burritos, bowls, and more! My recipe for Salvadoran Pupusas is fantastic using jackfruit carnitas as a filling!


*Make sure to use canned jackfruit packed in brine or water. 
*You can adjust the spices to your preference.
*The liquid smoke isn't necessary but will create a better carnitas flavor.


Calories: 146kcal | Carbohydrates: 21.5g | Protein: 3.1g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 0.5g | Sodium: 705mg | Potassium: 95mg | Fiber: 10.5g | Sugar: 6.1g | Calcium: 28mg | Iron: 8mg
Keyword Carnitas, Jackfruit, Jackfruit Carnitas
Tried this recipe?Mention me on Instagram @dances_with_knives and add the hashtag #danceswithknives! Would love to see your yummy creations!