Slow Cooker Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos bring a fiesta of flavors to your dinner table! Loaded with the best crispy carnitas and all your favorite toppings!
Serve them as an appetizer for a party, game-day, or family style for dinner. Also, as I’m writing this, Cinco de Mayo is approaching, and this would be PERFECT for all your Cinco de Mayo festivities!
This post was developed in paid partnership with The Kraft Heinz Company. Thank you for being supportive of me working with brands I use and love!
Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos Recipe
Slow Cooker Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos (AKA totchos) are definitely one of my new favorite things! They’re so good, I could probably eat the entire plate myself.
The tater tots are crispy and layered with melty cheese for that perfect cheese pull effect. Then topped with flavor packed pulled pork, cilantro, red onion, cherry tomatoes, jalapeños, and sliced radishes.
Toppings are my favorite part of any nacho and these nachos are LOADED with them, so you won’t have a bite without them!
Slow Cooker Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos Ingredients
For the slow cooker carnitas:
- pork shoulder (boneless or bone-in)
- white onion
- orange juice (1 fresh orange is perfect)
- smoked paprika
- garlic powder
- onion powder
- dried oregano
- brown sugar
For the tater tot nachos:
- ORE-IDA® TATER TOTS®
- fresh cilantro
- shredded monterey jack cheese
- shredded cheddar cheese
- cherry tomatoes
- red onion
You can also add green onions, avocado, or sour cream.
How To Make Carnitas
You guys. I found the BEST secret to making carnitas extra crispy and flavorful! I’m so excited to share this with you so you can make the best carnitas ever and impress all your friends!
1. Season the pork. Combine the spices and brown sugar in a small bowl and rub it all over the pork.
2. Slow cook the pork. The key to making tender carnitas with lots of flavor is cooking the pork low and slow. Line the bottom of the slow cooker with sliced onions, then add the orange juice, lime juice, and pork. Cook for 7-8 hours on low. When it’s finished, remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat with two forks.
3. Broil the pork. THIS IS IT! HERE’S THE BIG SECRET! To get my carnitas extra crispy and flavorful, I sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar and paprika on top before putting them on a baking sheet in the oven and broiling them on high for 5-6 minutes until they are charred and crispy (not burnt).
I hate to compare pork to candy, but the carnitas literally tasted like candy when I pulled them out of the oven!
What is the difference between carnitas and pulled pork?
Carnitas and pulled pork are similar in the way that they are cooked slowly for several hours. They’re both great to make in the slow cooker or the instant pot!
Pulled pork can be enjoyed right out of the slow cooker, but carnitas are finished by broiling them in the oven until they are charred and crispy (not burnt).
If anyone is up for finishing their carnitas in the air fryer, I’m betting that would be amazing!
What cut of meat is used to make carnitas?
Carnitas are a Mexican twist on pulled pork. It’s traditionally made with pork shoulder (pork butt) because the high fat content helps the meat stay tender and juicy. It’s also easier to pull apart.
Whatever you do, don’t buy a pork tenderloin to make pulled pork! I tried to make pulled pork with it once when the store was sold out of pork shoulder….not good.
How To Make Carnitas Totchos
I used Ore-Ida TATER TOTS® to make these Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos because they are so easy to just pop in the oven!
1. Bake the tater tots. Line a 12-inch cast iron skillet with one layer of potatoes. You can use a 10-inch skillet if that’s what you have on hand, or you just want to make a smaller batch! Bake them at 450 F for 15 minutes.
2. Melt the cheese. Sprinkle half the cheese over the tater tots and place them back in the oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Add the carnitas and the rest of the cheese, and bake for 5 minutes.
3. Load up the toppings! Layer the totchos with cilantro, mango, red onions, tomatoes, radishes, and jalapeños. Squeeze a little fresh lime on there for good measure too!
Other Appetizer Recipes You Might Like
- Crispy Smashed Potatoes Loaded Nachos
- Loaded Beer Cheese Dip
- Watermelon Caprese Skewers
- Air Fryer Zucchini Chips
Delicious Dinner Recipes You Should Try
- Air Fryer Blackened Salmon Rice Bowls
- Baked Brie and Apple Flatbread Pizza
- Salmon Cakes With Lemon Dill Sauce
- Maple Miso Mushroom Rice Bowls
- Easy Blackened Shrimp Recipe
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Slow Cooker Carnitas Tater Tot Nachos
For the pork carnitas
- 1 3-4 pound pork shoulder, boneless or bone-in
- 1 large white onion, sliced into 1.5 inch rounds
- 1 large orange, juice
- 1 lime, juice
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 3 teaspoons paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the nachos
- 1/2 bag of ORE-IDA® Tater Tots
- 1 jalapeño, thinly sliced
- 2 radishes, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 1 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced into quarters
- 1/4 cup diced red onion
- 1 mango, cubed
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the slow cooker carnitas
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tbsps light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, 2 tsps paprika, and 2 tsps cumin. Rinse the pork under cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the pork.
- Line the bottom of the slow cooker with the sliced white onion, orange juice, and lime juice. Add the pork and cook on low for 7-8 hours.
- When the pork is finished cooking, preheat the broiler to high and remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred the meat with two forks. Arrange the pulled pork in a single layer on a baking sheet and sprinkle one tbsp of brown sugar and 1 tsp of paprika over the meat. Place the baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil for 5-6 minutes until the pork is charred and crispy (not burnt).
For the tater tot nachos
- Preheat the oven to 450 F and arrange the tater tots in a single layer in a 12 inch cast iron skillet. I followed the shape of the pan to cover everything, see the photo in the post above. Bake the tater tots for 15 minutes. Sprinkle half the cheese over the tater tots and place them back in the oven for 5 minutes, until the cheese melts. Add the carnitas and the rest of the cheese, and bake for an additional 5 minutes.
- Layer on the toppings: cilantro, mango, red onions, tomatoes, radishes, and jalapeños. Squeeze a little fresh lime on there for good measure too!
- If you don’t want to make your own seasoning at home, you can also use a rib rub, I like this one.
- This is the enameled cast iron skillet I have, but here is a more affordable option.
- This is the slow cooker I’ve had for years!
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