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Orange and Milk-Braised Pork Carnitas

Chef John

"It must have been the subliminal beer and liquor advertising that got me, because I wasn't even thinking about Cinco de Mayo when I decided to make this milk-braised pork carnitas recipe. The milk braising beforehand seems to give the meat a little extra succulence. The subtle sweetness from the orange is also very nice."
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2 h 40 m servings 325 cals
Original recipe yields 8 servings

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  • Prep

  • Cook

  • Ready In

  1. Season pork with pepper and salt.
  2. Heat oil in large pot over high heat. Working in batches, cook pork in the hot oil until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes. Return all cooked pork and accumulated juice to pot.
  3. Season pork with bay leaves, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper. Stir in fresh orange juice, orange zest, and milk. Bring mixture to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until meat is fork tender but not falling apart, about 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  5. Remove pork from liquid. Skim some fat from the pot to grease a baking dish. Transfer the pieces of pork to the baking dish. Drizzle about 2 more tablespoons of the floating fat over the meat. Season with more salt, if needed.
  6. Bake in preheated oven until pork is browned, about 15 minutes. Stir pork.
  7. Turn on oven's broiler. Cook pork under broiler until crisp, 2 to 3 minutes.


  • Chef's Note:
  • You can strain and reduce the cooking liquid if you want, and do "wet" tacos by adding some of the juice to chopped meat.
  • Tip
  • Aluminum foil helps keep food moist, ensures it cooks evenly, keeps leftovers fresh, and makes clean-up easy.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 325 calories; 24.1 g fat; 3.7 g carbohydrates; 22.4 g protein; 84 mg cholesterol; 805 mg sodium. Powered by the ESHA Research Database © 2018, ESHA Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Read all reviews 39
  1. 45 Ratings

Most helpful positive review

This is a winner! Perfect, tender, well seasoned and succulent...which is how carnitas should be. I used lard and I was a little more generous with the amount than Chef John's recipe. I suggest ...

Most helpful critical review

I made it as says. It was disgusting. Family ordered pizza and swore to never speak of this again it was so gross.

Most helpful
Most positive
Least positive

This is a winner! Perfect, tender, well seasoned and succulent...which is how carnitas should be. I used lard and I was a little more generous with the amount than Chef John's recipe. I suggest ...

This was fantastic, though I have some questions...Are you supposed to add water to boil the pork? I just covered it after pouring in the milk. Also, O.J. and milk curdle. Is that what's intende...

love it!!! didnt have time so instead of baking used the pressure cooker. also added some garlic, just because we like it. the mix of milk, orange juice and the spices is simply SPECTACULAR. it ...

I haven't made this yet, but assure you that I will soon!! Reading some of the previous comments made me glad that I had taken the time to WATCH Chef John's video. Aside from his delightful man...

I made it following literally the recipe and was delicious. I will do it again

I made this using lamb instead of pork, but otherwise made as directed. Flavor was good, but there were little balls of curdled milk still sticking to the meat at the end of cooking time. I actu...

Very good. I will make this again. Super simple. My hubby loved it.

This is excellent, soft and crispy and delicious. To accommodate a dairy-free eater I replaced the milk with chicken broth and it worked very well.

Okay so, I was PETRIFIED of the idea of braising meat in milk. However it did come out super tender, a little dry though. I'll also be changing up the spices next time, but it was great. Thanks ...