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Tacos with Pork in Green Sauce (Tacos de Cerdo en Salsa Verde)

Yield: Makes 15-20 tacos

Servings: 6

The acidity of the tomatillos beautifully balances the fat of the pork shoulder in these tacos, so there is no need for lime wedges when serving them. The onion and additional cilantro provide crunch and fragrance.

This recipe is excerpted from Just Tacos: 100 Delicious Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.


For the pork in green sauce

  • 1-1⁄2 lb. tomatillos (15 to 18), husked and rinsed
  • 2 serrano or jalapeño chiles, stemmed
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 3 allspice berries
  • 1 whole clove
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1⁄2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1-1⁄2 tsp. salt, divided
  • 3 lb. pork shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil

For the tacos

  • 15 to 20 6-inch corn tortillas, warmed
  • chopped white onion, for garnish
  • chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Mexican crema or sour cream, for garnish


  • In a 3-quart saucepan, cover the tomatillos and chiles with cold water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the vegetables uncovered, turning occasionally, until the tomatillos are tender and khaki-green all over but still intact, about 15 minutes.
  • Heat the cumin, allspice berries, and clove in a small, dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan or stirring the spices until they are fragrant and the cumin seeds are a few shades darker, about 1 minute.
  • Put the spices in a blender along with 1 cup of the tomatillo cooking water and blend until the spices are ground. Using a slotted spoon, gently lift the tomatillos and chiles out of the remaining cooking water and put them in the blender along with the garlic, cilantro, and 1⁄2 tsp. salt. Blend until smooth.
  • Pat the pork dry and season with the remaining 1 tsp. salt.
  • Heat the oil in a wide, heavy 4- to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat and brown the pork in batches without crowding, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes per batch.
  • Return all the meat to the pan and add the tomatillo sauce. Bring to a simmer, stirring to coat the meat, then reduce the heat. Simmer the pork, covered, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thickened, 1-1⁄2 to 2 hours. If necessary, continue to cook uncovered to thicken the sauce. Shred the meat with two forks.
  • Make the tacos with the tortillas, onion, cilantro, and crema.

Make Ahead Tips

Note: The pork in green sauce will keep chilled 3 days.


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Reviews (4 reviews)

  • bakerchick | 02/27/2015

    We love, love, love Mexican food and this is one of the best tacos I have ever made. I made them for my husband's birthday dinner last month and everyone raved. Making them again this weekend for company. I love the tomatillo sauce, I'm pretty sure I could drink it.

  • salkenn | 09/09/2013

    My husband is from Texas, I'm from upstate New York--hundreds of miles from NYC. He said this recipe is the best taco he has ever had.

  • Bquart | 12/17/2012

    This is insanely good- restaurant quality! And I say that having burned the bottom of the sauce while braising due to heat being too high, using boston butt instead of shoulder, and using feta instead of crema and/or white onions which I didn't have. I made a half recipe bc I wasn't sure but this is SO GOOD!!!!!! Definitely will make again...and again.

  • Awesomer | 05/05/2012

    To give the veggies a little more flavor (and because I think boiling vegetables is so 18th century serf class), I roasted the tomatillos, the peppers, a sliced onion and garlic under the broiler for 20 minutes turning once as they browned, before blending with water.This recipe was sooo Delicioso!!!! I will definitely make it again (and again) the hardest part was cutting the pork. We wound up eating the pork out of bowls, like stew with the tortillas on the side to scoop with. Definitely worthy of the Cinco de Mayo Battle of Puebla Celebration!!!

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