Cookies & Cups > Recipes > Dinner Ideas > Carnitas Mac and Cheese

Carnitas Mac and Cheese

I love this Pork Carnitas Mac and Cheese…it’s a simple slow cooker Pork Carnitas recipe mixed into a creamy, slightly spicy mac and cheese! Try this Mexican mac and cheese, and you’ll never go back to a regular pasta dish.

Crockpot Pork Carnitas Dinner Recipe

Have I got a pasta recipe idea for you…

I’m not going to pretend it can be made in 30 minutes. It can’t.

But I will tell you, it’s not hard, it just takes a bit of time. And when there are Carnitas involved, I highly suggest going the extra mile.

Homemade Carnitas and Mac and Cheese

I adore Mac and Cheese. I mean, duh. But the addition of pulled pork with a bit of spice sends this dish over the top.

The Carnitas portion of this recipe is made in the crock pot, which DEFINITELY simplifies things. AND you can easily do this a day ahead…

How to Make Pork Carnitas:

Just make a simple dry rub for the pork…


Chop up some goodies to throw in the slow cooker with the meat…


Put it all in there, cover it and go about your day. It will be ready in a few hours…when the meat shreds easily.


How to Make Mexican-Style Mac and Cheese:

When you’re ready to prepare the mac and cheese grab some cheddar cheese…


…and don’t hate me, but Velveeta. Sometimes you just have to go there.

It’s just so dang creamy!!!!


Drain a can of Ro-Tel tomatoes to throw in the cheese sauce you’re gonna make for the pasta.


Once you have your cheese sauce done, mix it with some pasta and scoop in some Carnitas. You can honestly add as many or as little pork as you would like! There’s no right or wrong here folks.

And then of course top it all off with more cheese.


Bake it until it’s all bubbly and gorgeous!!!

Carnitas Mac and Cheese...simple Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas mixed in to a creamy cheesy Mac and Cheese!

You guys are going to love this, from the slow cooker Carnitas, to the creamy mac and cheese…it’s perfection!

Pork Carnitas Mac and Cheese...simple slow cooker Pork Carnitas mixed into a creamy, slightly spicy mac and cheese!


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Carnitas Mac and Cheese

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Cookies & Cups
  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hrs 20 mins
  • Total Time: 5 hrs 55 mins
  • Yield: serves 8
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


I love this Pork Carnitas Mac and Cheese…it’s a simple slow cooker Pork Carnitas recipe mixed into a creamy, slightly spicy mac and cheese! Try this Mexican mac and cheese, and you’ll never go back to a regular pasta dish.




  • 45 pound Pork Shoulder
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Coriander
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and cut into chunks
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 2 medium oranges (I used 4 mini)

Mac and Cheese

  • 12 ounces of Rotini pasta
  • 6 Tbsp butter
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 cups warmed milk (not boiling)
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese, plus 3/4 – 1 cup for sprinkling on top
  • 8 oz Velveeta processed cheese, cubed
  • 1 can Rotel, drained well


  1. Trim excess fat from the Pork Shoulder and place in you slow cooker.
  2. Combine Cumin, Salt, Pepper, Chili Powder and Coriander in a small bowl. Rub this dry mixture all over the pork.
  3. Add onions, jalapeno and garlic to the slow cooker. Half the oranges and squeeze the juice onto the pork. Place the orange rinds in the slow cooker as well to add flavor. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or high for 4-5 hours until pork is tender.
  4. When pork is done remove from slow cooker and remove the onions, oranges, garlic and jalapenos, so all you have remaining is liquid. Place the pork back in the liquid and shred. Turn slow cooker to warm and cover while you make your mac and cheese. You can also do this step up to a few days ahead.

Mac and Cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375*
  2. Butter a 9×13 baking dish and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook Rotini according to package directions.
  4. Meanwhile while pasta is cooking in a large skillet melt 6 Tbsp butter over medium heat. Once butter is melted whisk in your flour creating a pasta and cook for 1 more minute. Slowly add warmed milk to butter and milk, whisking constantly. Add cayenne pepper. Allow mixture to come to a boil and thicken slightly. Once mixture is thickened slightly add in 2 cups grated cheese and cubed Velveeta, stirring until cheese is melted.
  5. Drain pasta well and place back in large pot. Pour the cheese mixture over the cooked pasta. Stir in your drained Rotel until combined.
  6. With a slotted spoon add in pork to the mac and cheese, draining the liquid before adding to the pasta. Add as much or as little pork as you would like.
  7. Transfer mac and cheese to the prepared dish, sprinkle remaining 3/4-1 cup grated cheese on top and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes until bubbly.
  8. Serve warm


This recipe will leave you with a bit of pork leftover. I used about 3/4 of the pork in my mac and cheese, as we like it with a lot of meat, but please add as much or as little to the pasta as you would like.


  • Serving Size: 1 bowl
  • Calories: 529
  • Sugar: 14.2 g
  • Sodium: 1730 mg
  • Fat: 23.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 54.1 g
  • Protein: 26.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 67 mg

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29 comments on “Carnitas Mac and Cheese”

  1. How important is coriander to the flavor,,, not something I have in my spice cupboard… can you leave it out or substitute something else? Thanks!

    1. You can certainly leave it out if you don’t have it or don’t want to purchase it, but it is a citrus/curry-ish type spice that really adds a layer of flavor to the meat, that’s tough to mimic.

  2. I thought I read somewhere that after you shred the pork you put it on a baking sheet in the oven to crisp it up (like they serve it in mexican restaurants) before mixing it with the mac and cheese… have you heard of that???

    1. Yes 🙂 When I make carnitas on their own or for tacos I do this step. But adding them to the mac and cheese, I tested it both ways and it didn’t seem to make a huge difference.

  3. I love the carnita meat in this! I always double the meat and make mac n cheese, use the meat to make “beef” enchiladas, tacos, etc. Question-I just purchased an Instant Pot and was curious if this would work in it.

  4. Made the meat for this this weekend (had to alter dinner plans due to last minute company) and used for enchiladas. Made McCormick enchilada sauce and then poured the juice from the meat into the sauce. Everyone raved about how wonderful it was. Can’t wait to try as the mac n cheese! Will be making this meat on a regular basis for mac n cheese, enchiladas, tacos and more. Would also make an incredible stuffed potato!! Oh the options! I would give it more than 5 stars if I could

  5. Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch

    This is calling me! It seriously looks like comfort food of the best kind! Love it!

  6. Sommer @aspicyperspective

    Definitely worth the extra time in the slow cooker! Love this mac and cheese recipe!

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