Home Recipe Roundup What to Serve with Pork Carnitas (17 Best Side Dishes)

What to Serve with Pork Carnitas (17 Best Side Dishes)

For a delicious meal, serve sides like coleslaw, pinto beans, and sweet potato fries with pork carnitas. Rice and corn also pair beautifully with carnitas.

If you’ve chosen pork carnitas as your centerpiece, you’re halfway to creating a memorable meal.

Homemade Pork Carnitas with Guacamole
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From classic cornbread to flavor-packed rice and even refreshing salads, there’s something for every feast. Whether you’re planning a cozy dinner or hosting a Mexican-themed fiesta, these sides are perfect.

Ready? Let’s dive in and take your pork carnitas meal to the next level!

1. KFC Coleslaw

 A fast-food classic that never disappoints. This tangy and refreshing coleslaw replicates the much-loved KFC version.

It boasts a finely shredded medley of crisp cabbage and carrots. It’s bound with a creamy dressing, offering a delightful contrast to the savory pork carnitas. 

The hint of acidity cuts through the pork’s fattiness for an enjoyable palate cleanser between bites.

2. Best Pinto Beans

Simmered to perfection, these pinto beans are the epitome of comfort food

Soaked overnight and slow-cooked with a medley of aromatics, they offer a hearty, robust deliciousness. They harmonize wonderfully with the meaty umami of pork carnitas. 

The soft creaminess of the beans brings a pleasant contrast to the tender, crisp-edged pork.

3. Elote Fritters

Inspired by the beloved Mexican street food, these little treats are a fun pairing to pork carnitas. Elote fritters carry the vibrant flavors of corn on the cob into a fun, bite-sized package. 

Fresh sweet corn kernels are coated in cheesy, flavorful batter, and then fried to golden perfection. The result is a playful combination of sweet, savory, and spicy notes.

Plus, they offer a unique textural counterpoint to the pork carnitas.

4. Black Beans & Rice

A staple in Latin American cuisine, this dish is humble and nourishing. 

The black beans bring a deep, earthy flavor absorbed by the fluffy white rice. If you want something filling, this hearty side pairs beautifully with the savory pork carnitas.

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A dash of lime squeezed over the top adds brightness, balancing the overall flavors.

5. Baked Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

This dish is where comfort food meets a fiery kick. It combines classic mac and cheese’s creamy, cheesy goodness with the heat of jalapeno peppers. 

A layer of golden, bubbly cheese and crispy breadcrumbs brings an indulgent contrast to the pork carnitas.

The spicy notes from the jalapenos complement the pork, making every bite a thrilling experience.

6. Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber

Looking for a way to brighten up your day? This refreshing salad is the answer. It’s a taste of summer on a plate. 

Juicy, sweet watermelon chunks contrast beautifully with the crisp, cool cucumber and crumbly, salty feta cheese. 

Dressed with honey-lime dressing, this salad offers a wonderfully fruity contrast to succulent pork carnitas. Each bite is an explosion of freshness that cleanses the palate.

7. Fried Sweet Plantains

A classic Latin American side, these fried plantains are caramelized to perfection. They have a sweet, soft interior with a slightly crisp exterior. 

Their natural sweetness creates a delightful contrast to the savory pork carnitas. Plus, their soft texture complements the meat’s tenderness. The result is a simple yet irresistible pairing.

8. Sweet Potato Fries

These oven-baked fries are a delicious and healthier twist on a classic side. Sweet potatoes are cut into thin strips and tossed with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and olive oil. 

They’re baked to perfection, balancing a crispy exterior and a soft interior. Their slight sweetness and earthy undertones make them a fantastic accompaniment to pork carnitas. 

They offer a playful textural contrast and a light, crisp counterpart to the meat’s hearty flavor.

9. Mexican Red Rice

Are you feeling extra hungry and need something super filling? This vibrant side dish brings an enticing burst of flavor to pork carnitas. 

The rice is cooked in a savory tomato-based broth with onions, garlic, and a hint of chili. It boasts a distinct red hue and a smoky flavor profile that’s truly mouthwatering. 

This Mexican staple provides a substantial, comforting base, absorbing the juices of the pork carnitas. It melds beautifully with saucy, savory pork carnitas to enhance every bite.

10. Easy Mexican Street Corn

This dish transforms corn on the cob into a gastronomic delight. It’s grilled until slightly charred, bringing out the natural sweetness of corn. It’s slathered with a mixture of mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime.

Each bite of this corn offers a delicious blend of cheesy, juicy, zesty, and spicy flavors. And when paired with the succulent pork carnitas, it’s like a festival of deliciousness.

11. Homemade Refried Beans

This classic Mexican dish elevates simple beans to a new level. 

The refried beans are sautéed in aromatics and spices, then mashed to soft, creamy perfection. The hearty texture and rich flavors pair brilliantly with the texture of pork carnitas. 

Trust me, this side dish will make your pork carnitas shine!

12. Cilantro Lime Rice

Looking for a side to cut through the rich flavors of pork carnitas? Try cilantro lime rice!

This bright, zesty rice recipe offers a refreshing counterpoint to rich pork carnitas. The fluffy rice is infused with zesty lime and sprinkled with fresh cilantro.

It brings a light, citrusy balance to the meaty richness of the pork. Cilantro lime rice is a simple side that provides a beautiful base for the carnitas.

13. Homemade Tortillas

Fresh, homemade tortillas can elevate any meal. And they’re perfect for wrapping up mouthfuls of pork carnitas. 

These soft, pliable disks are made from flour, water, baking powder, oil, and salt. It’s cooked until slightly puffed and golden. 

Their neutral taste and slightly chewy texture are ideal for succulent, seasoned pork.

14. Mexican Cornbread (With Jiffy Mix)

Have you tried the perfect fusion of savory Southern comfort and authentic Mexican zest? It’s this mouthwatering Mexican cornbread. 

This fluffy, golden delicacy offers a moist interior laced with chiles and jalapeños. The spicy undertones and cheesy goodness contrast the cornbread’s sweetness.

And the best part? This dish is all brought together effortlessly with the versatile Jiffy Mix.

15. Mexican Corn Salad

This salad isn’t your typical garden-variety salad. Mexican corn salad is a flavorful fiesta in a bowl! 

It combines freshly grilled corn kernels tossed in a creamy, cheesy base. A generous sprinkle of crumbled cotija cheese adds a delightful creaminess.

It’s infused with cilantro and lime, introducing a citrusy sparkle that combines all elements. It really brightens up the rich, smoky pork carnitas!

16. Paula Deen’s Corn Casserole

This comfort food extraordinaire is inspired by Southern queen Paula Deen. It’s a decadent combination of sweet corn and creamy cheddar cheese blanketed in a fluffy muffin mix.

This casserole is a heavenly union of textures. The subtle sweetness of the corn perfectly balances the richness of the cheese.

A touch of Southern spices wonderfully enhances the casserole. Paired with pork carnitas, it will make your heart sing!

17. Scalloped Potatoes

Scalloped potatoes are the ultimate treat, serving as the ideal partner to tender, zesty pork carnitas. Picture layers of thinly sliced, tender potatoes, each bathed in a rich, velvety cream sauce. They’re sprinkled with hints of garlic and a blend of aromatic herbs. 

The crowning glory is the golden-brown, bubbly crust as it bakes to crispy, oozy perfection. Each bite has a savory sensation you’ll relish when paired with pork carnitas.

What to Serve with Pork Carnitas (17 Best Side Dishes)

Side dishes like rice, corn, fries, and coleslaw are perfect to serve with pork carnitas. Get ideas for more fabulous sides too!


  • KFC Coleslaw

  • Best Pinto Beans

  • Elote Fritters

  • Black Beans & Rice

  • Baked Jalapeno Popper Mac and Cheese

  • Watermelon Salad with Feta and Cucumber

  • Fried Sweet Plantains

  • Sweet Potato Fries

  • Mexican Red Rice

  • Easy Mexican Street Corn

  • Homemade Refried Beans

  • Cilantro Lime Rice

  • Homemade Tortillas

  • Mexican Cornbread (With Jiffy Mix)

  • Mexican Corn Salad

  • Paula Deen’s Corn Casserole

  • Scalloped Potatoes


  • Select your favorite recipe.
  • Organize all the required ingredients.
  • Prep a side for carnitas in 30 minutes or less!
What to Serve with Pork Carnitas

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Kim - InsanelyGood
Hey there! I'm Kim. I love running, cooking, and curling up with a good book! I share recipes for people who LOVE good food, but want to keep things simple :)

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