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Meaningful Eats

Slow-Cooker Sweet Pork Tacos

These slow-cooker pork tacos are sweet, savory and beyond flavorful. The pork is rubbed with spices, slow-cooked, and shredded. Wrap the pork in tortillas and top with pickled onions and jalapenos!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 7 hours 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings


For the Pork:

  • 2 pounds of pork tenderloin
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

For the Pickled Onions (optional):

  • ½ a red onion very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ cup water

For the Tacos:

  • Warm corn tortillas
  • Optional toppings: Avocado, feta or queso fresco cheese, hot sauce


For the Pork:

  • On a large plate, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork tenderloins.
  • Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the pork and brown on all sides, 4-5 minutes per side. Remove the heat from the pan. Transfer the pork to the slow cooker.
  • Add ½ cup of water to the hot, now-empty pan and scrape any browned bits to deglaze. Pour the liquid into the slow-cooker. Add the brown sugar, garlic, and hot sauce. Combine and cook on low for 4-6 hours. (Now is a good time to make the pickled onions so they can sit!)
  • Shred the meat before serving and mix with the sauce. Season it with more salt, hot sauce and sugar if needed. I almost always add a little more salt.

For the Pickled Onions:

  • Thinly slice the jalapeños and onions. Whisk together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and water. Stir until dissolved.
  • Layer the onions and jalapeños in a jar. You can also simply place them in a bowl. Pour over the vinegar mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably a few hours.

For the Tacos:

  • Lightly cook some corn tortillas if desired. Do this by heating a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of oil and once heated add 2-3 tortillas. Cook on each side for 1-2 minutes. Place the cooked tortillas on a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  • Top with some of the pork, pickled onions, feta (or cheese of choice), avocado and hot sauce. Enjoy!


Ingredient Notes:
  • Pork tenderloin: Pork tenderloin usually comes in packs of 2. You’ll need both for this recipe.
  • Brown sugar: Gives the pork a delicious sweet-smoky taste. The sugar balances perfectly with the garlic and hot sauce.
  • Garlic: This recipe calls for a full 2 tablespoons of garlic. But just trust it! It doesn’t overpower the dish and rather lends a delicious savory flavor.
  • Hot sauce: This pork doesn’t taste spicy. The hot sauce simply rounds out the other flavors. My kids eat this dish all the time and don’t notice any spice. If you’d like it spicier feel free to add more hot sauce!
  • Spices: Cinnamon, cumin and chili powder make the best combination. You use the spices to form a crust on the pork.
Store any leftover pork in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 4 days. The pickled onions will keep for up to a week.


Calories: 383kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 98mg | Sodium: 1512mg | Potassium: 680mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2mg