Pernil is a mouthwatering roast pork recipe celebrated throughout the Caribbean and beloved in Hispanic culture. The roast pork meat is juicy and carries notes of oregano, garlic, salt, and various spices. The skin, also known as the “cuero,” is crunchy and decadent. While enjoyed throughout the year, pernil experiences peak popularity during Christmas, making it a true labor of love that’s worth every bit of energy invested in the holiday season.

Why everyone loves this Pernil Recipe

  • It’s straightforward- Want a delicious, juicy pernil that’s easy and doesn’t consist of a ton of steps, equipment or ingredients? This is the recipe for you! I recipe tested 4 times to bring you a recipe that is simple and fool-proof
  • The meat is so flavorful- Pernil can not be dry! I repeat, the meat has to not only be flavorful, but juicy! In order to ensure a perfect pernil you need the right blend of spices and a delicious marinade, which this recipe has!
  • The skin is so crunchy- Pernil without crunchy skin is a sin. It is a mandatory part of this recipe and luckily I have a fool proof method to make sure your pernil comes out perfect- everytime!

Ingredients/ Items You’ll Need

  • Large Disposable Aluminum Pan
  • Roast Pork Shoulder
  • Spices
  • Oil
  • Sofrito
  • Garlic

How to Make Puerto Rican Pernil

  1. Make your marinade
  2. Peel back skin and post holes in your meat
  3. Marinate your meat overnight
  4. Bake your pernil covered
  5. Uncover your pernil and bake until skin is crispy

Tips for Making the Perfect Roast Pork

  1. Marinate your meat overnight– This is truly a mandatory step. A major part of making sure your meat is flavorful is ensuring it is tender, and juicy. If you do not have enough time to marinate overnight, at least marinate for 4 hours.
  2. Make sure your Skin is dry- In order to ensure you have crunchy skin, you’ll want to make sure your skin is patted dry completely. Use a papertowl to soak up an additional moisture before baking! This is truly a mandatory step.
  3. Let the meat cook- Do not rush the process. A roast pork takes time. Check the meat every two hours. A knife should be able to stick in the meat easily.

Let’s Make Pernil together with @themoodyfoody

@themoodyfoody YUM this is my highly requested pernil recipe! the meat is juicy, that skin is crispy and Its THAT good! theres no other pernil recipe you need this holiday season!🇵🇷 #pernil #boricua #puertoricanrecipes #holidayrecipes ♬ Tu Con El – Frankie Ruiz


  • What is pernil?

Pernil is a mouthwatering Puerto Rican dish featuring slow-roasted pork shoulder, seasoned to perfection with a blend of simple yet flavorful spices. The result is tender, juicy meat with a crispy, golden-brown skin that will blow everyone away!

  • Where can I purchase the meat?

You can purchase the meat at Puerto Rican or Latin American grocery stores, or try local butcher shops.

  • How long do I cook the meat?

You should cook your pernil for 4-5 hours. Pernil takes time. Use a knife to test if your meat is cooked. You should be able to stick a knife in your meat easily (That’s how you know it’s ready!)

Pernil Puerto Rico


A delicious Puerto Rican Style Roast Pork
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 8 hours
Cook Time 6 hours
Course dinner
Cuisine Hispanic
Servings 12
Calories 450 kcal


  • 1 large roasting pan


  • 1 8-12 lb Roast Pork
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil you can also use olive oil

For the Marinade

  • 1/4 cup sofrito
  • 12-15 fresh garlic cloves smashed
  • 1 packet Sazon
  • 2 tsps adobo
  • 2 tsps maggi seasoning
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 2 tsps oregano

For the Skin

  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp sazon


  • Combine oil, smashed garlic, sofrito, and spices in a large bowl to create the marinade. Mix well.
  • Carefully peel the meat's skin back with a sharp knife. Evenly poke 6-8 holes across the meat using a fork.
  • Next, massage the marinade onto the meat, ensuring to place large chunks of garlic inside the holes. Thoroughly marinate both the meat and underneath the skin.
  • Season the top of the skin with salt and salon only. Ensure the skin is dry, and none marinade is on top.Pat dry if needed.
  • Place the meat in your pan, cover it with aluminum foil and let it marinate overnight.
  • The next day, remove the meat and gently pat the skin dry with paper towel.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F and bake the meat covered with aluminum foil for 4-5 hours.
  • Uncover the meat, increase the oven temperature to 375°F, and continue baking for an additional hour or until the skin is crispy!
  • Remove from the oven, let it rest for fifteen minutes, then begin shredding the meat with oven save gloves or tongues.


There may be small boils on the skin, (also known as chicharron, this is totally normal)
This marinade suffices for a pernil from 8-12 lbs!
Depending on the size of your pernil you may need to cook it for longer
Keyword puerto rican, pernil, holiday

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Recipe Rating


  1. Egypt Kreshana Bailey December 9, 2023 at 2:29 am

    This looks so good , I can’t wait to try it for Christmas this year. What sazon should you use for the pernil ? And which type of sofrito?

  2. Krysta December 23, 2023 at 6:34 pm

    5 stars
    I tried this recipe and my goodness it was so delicious. It reminded me of my grandparents pernil … but honestly up 10 notches. It was amazing!!! I followed step by step. Definitely will be using this recipe as my first and last.