Tacos Al Pastor

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, you’ve likely heard of tacos al pastor. This beloved dish is a staple of Mexican street food and is known for its irresistible flavor and unique cooking method!

What is Tacos al Pastor?

Originating in Central Mexico, this dish is a fusion of traditional Mexican and Lebanese cuisines, combining marinated pork with spices like cumin, oregano, and achiote paste. People love Tacos al Pastor for its juicy, flavorful pork and, making it a beloved Mexican street food. Served on warm corn tortillas and topped with fresh cilantro, onions, and pineapple, Tacos al Pastor offers a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors that delight the taste buds.

Why everyone loves this recipe

The flavor is irresistible- Tacos al pastor is a dish with so much flavor! The marinated pork, combined with achiote and other spices, creates a rich and savory taste that perfectly complements the sweetness of the pineapple, and the freshness of the cilantro and onions. Each bite is a blend of flavors that everyone will love!

An authentic and cultural dinner- Tacos al pastor are not just delicious, but also culturally significant. They originated from Lebanese immigrants who brought shawarma to Mexico. This blend of culinary traditions created a cultural fusion that goes beyond food, adding depth and intrigue to every bite.

Customizable and Fun- This dish is customizable and fun. You can tweak and adjust the basic components of the taco to cater to different tastes and preferences. This versatility allows you to create spicy, smoky, or uniquely flavored variations to suit a range of palates.

The Main Ingredients You’ll Need (Full Recipe Below)

  • Pork Meat: Opt for pork shoulder, it’s perfect for that juicy, melt-in-your-mouth texture. Slice it thin for best results.
  • Pineapple: Pineapple isn’t just a topping; it plays a crucial role in the marinade. The natural enzymes in pineapple work wonders, tenderizing the meat and adding a delightful sweet and tangy flavor that perfectly complements the savory pork.
  • Achiote Paste: Achiote paste, made from ground annatto seeds, vinegar, and spices, gives the pork its vibrant red color and imparts a distinct, earthy flavor.
  • Guajillo Chiles: These dried chilies boast a mild heat and feature a rich, smoky-sweet flavor. They play a key role in the marinade, enhancing the dish with depth and complexity.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a key ingredient in Mexican cuisine, known for its ability to enhance flavors and add depth to dishes.
  • Onion: The marinade and toppings frequently include onions, contributing a sweet, savory flavor and a hint of crunch to the tacos.
  • Cumin: Cumin lends a warm, earthy flavor and aroma to the marinade, complementing the other spices and adding depth to the dish.
  • Oregano: This is the herb we will use for this recipe!
  • Vinegar: Vinegar helps tenderize the meat and adds acidity to balance the richness of the pork and the sweetness of the pineapple in the marinade.
  • Corn Tortillas: Corn tortillas, the traditional choice, offer a sturdy base for Tacos al Pastor, complementing the juicy pork and toppings with a delicious corn flavor.
  • Toppings (Cilantro, Onion, Pineapple, Lime): Toppings like cilantro, onion, pineapple, and lime add freshness and brightness. Pineapple complements the marinade with its juicy sweetness, and lime adds a tangy kick that brings all the flavors together.

How to Make the recipe (Full Recipe Below)

Here’s a straightforward recipe to kick things off:

  1. First, blend achiote paste, guajillo chiles, garlic, onion, cumin, oregano, vinegar, and pineapple juice to make the marinade.

2. Next, marinate the pork shoulder in the marinade overnight for maximum flavor.

3. Then, juice and tenderize the marinated pork by cooking it on a vertical spit or in the oven.

4. Finally, slice the cooked pork thinly and serve on warm corn tortillas with pineapple, cilantro, onion, and a squeeze of lime.

Tips for the Perfect Tacos

  • For an authentic touch, use a vertical spit to cook the pork. If a vertical spit is not available, you can alternatively use a grill or oven.
  • Don’t rush the marinating process – allowing the pork to sit overnight ensures that it absorbs plenty of flavor. Even though quick and easy recipes is what I stand by, you have to take your time with this recipe!
  • Serve the tacos with a side of grilled pineapple for an extra sweet and smoky flavor.

FAQ for this recipe

How does Tacos al Pastor stand out from other taco varieties?

Tacos al Pastor are distinct for their use of marinated pork cooked on a vertical spit, similar to Middle Eastern shawarma. This method of cooking gives the meat its signature flavor and texture.

Can I use a different type of meat for Tacos al Pastor?

You can try using other meats like chicken or beef. Just keep in mind that this will give the dish a different flavor profile.
How can I adjust the spiciness of Tacos al Pastor to suit my taste?

You can adjust the spiciness of Tacos al Pastor by varying the amount of chilies used in the marinade. For a milder version, use fewer chilies or remove the seeds, which contain most of the heat.

Can I make Tacos al Pastor ahead of time and reheat them?

Yes, you can make Tacos al Pastor ahead of time and reheat them. To keep the cooked meat fresh, store it in an airtight container in the fridge.

I hope you found this guide to making Tacos al Pastor helpful and inspiring! If you try this recipe, don’t forget to share your experience.

Leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram, TikTok, or Pinterest.

I’d love to see your delicious creations!

Tacos Al Pastor

Flavorful meat tossed in spices and pineapple
Prep Time 6 hours
Course dinner, lunch
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8
Calories 500 kcal


  • 2 lbs pork shoulder thin sliced
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 5 guajillo Chilies
  • ½ white onion chopped
  • 3 bay leaf

For the marinade

  • 2 tsps chili powder
  • 2 tsps chicken bouillon
  • 2 tsps cumin
  • 2 tsps salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp jalapeno seasoning optional but I LOVE THIS!
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 3 oz achiote paste if you cant find this use 2 tbsps of achiote powder!
  • 4 oz pineapple juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 juice lime
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 3 oz white vinegar
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella
  • cilantro, onion, toppings


  • Start by searing de-seeded chilies, bay leaves, and onions in oil. Then add white vinegar and simmer until the chilies are soft.
  • Next add chilis, bay leaf, and onion into a blender along with oil, lime, pineapple juice, spices, garlic, and achiote oil. Blend until smooth.
  • Thinly slice the steak and saturate it fully with marinade. Marinate for up to 6 hours or overnight.
  • Firstly, place one or two slices of pineapple on a baking sheet. Then, take a wooden skewer and insert it right in the center of the pineapple. Remove the pork from the refrigerator and slide the slices through the skewer, layering them one after the other, until there is a 1-inch gap at the top. Lastly, add another pineapple slice on top.
  • Cook at 300 degrees for 2-3 hours, basting with the juices every hour.
  • Once the meat is tender, remove it from the skewer and sauté it in a hot pan with diced pineapple and sliced meat. Add in Mozzarella cheese.
  • Serve with your favorite toppings, enjoy.
Keyword tacos, al pastor

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