What to Serve with Carnitas: 30+ Mexican Sides

Wondering what to serve with carnitas? Whether you’re looking for something simple or something more elaborate, find a perfect side dish here!

I love making these Crispy Instant Pot Carnitas and Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas. They’re always a crowd pleaser, and it leaves room for pairing them with some delicious sides and sauces!

Here are a few tips for serving carnitas with sides:

  • Make sure to have a variety of sides to choose from. This will give your guests options and ensure that everyone has something they enjoy.
  • Serve the carnitas and sides warm. This will help to bring out the flavors of the food.
  • Don’t forget the tortillas! Tortillas are essential for serving carnitas. They can be used to make tacos, burritos, and quesadillas.

When serving carnitas for dinner, there are 3 essentials in my book:

  1. An amazing homemade sauce – like chipotle crema or cilantro lime sauce. Here are even MORE tasty Mexican sauces!
  2. Margaritas. Keep reading below to find some great options!
  3. And, of course, some really delicious side dishes.

Be sure to check out these 25+ Mexican Desserts too!

But, what else goes with carnitas for a side?

Here are 30+ AMAZING sides for carnitas!

Roasted carrots in bowl with spoon.
I’m serving up these Oven Roasted Mexican Carrots elote style. Similar to how you’d dress grilled street corn, these delicious tender carrots are topped with lime, crumbled cheese, jalapenos and cilantro. So crazy good! 
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Overhead shot of Mexican street corn salad in serving bowl.
This Couscous Corn Salad puts a salad twist on Mexican Street Corn. Smoky grilled corn, a creamy cumin-lime dressing, and pearl couscous combine to create this delicious salad.
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Overhead shot of arroz verde in bowl.
This easy Arroz Verde (Green Rice) recipe is inspired by the classic Mexican side dish. Fluffy white rice is mixed with green veggies and lime juice, lending a vibrant green hue and delicious, zesty flavors! Pair it with chicken, beef, or seafood, or use it as the tasty base for a grain bowl.
Arroz Verde
Bowl of Mexican Corn Soup garnished with cliantro, chile powder and lime wedges.
This Mexican Corn Soup recipe has all the flavors of Mexican street corn in soup form. This creamy corn soup is flavored with chile powder, poblano peppers and cotija cheese.
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Cooked shrimp skewers arranged on a grey plate with bowl of creamy green sauce.
Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Green Tahini Sauce are perfect for summer barbeques and so simple to prepare. 
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Blistered shishito peppers served on a black plate with lemon wedges.
These Blistered Shishito Peppers are the perfect finger food. They’re so easy to make too. Lightly seasoned and slightly smoky, you’ll find that most are mild… one out of every ten might surprise you. 
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Overhead close up of combined vinegar slaw in large white mixing bowl.
Red Cabbage Slaw is a super simple side dish recipe made without mayo. It’s tangy, delicious and crunchy. 
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Overhead shot of octopus ceviche in large grey bowl next to lime slices and tortillas.
Octopus Ceviche (aka ceviche de pulpo) combines tender octopus with tangy lime juice, red onions, cilantro and chiles for a light and refreshing appetizer. Serve it with tortillas or chips and enjoy! 
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Beans // 4 Ways!

Bowl of cooked pinto beans flecked with cilantro.
Instant Pot pinto beans are easy to make and taste so much better than the canned version! Perfect for meal prep or as a side dish to your favorite tacos, salads, or protein bowls, these beans can be ready in under an hour with no soaking required.
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Mexican black beans in grey bowl topped with cotija and lime wedges.
Jazz up the cans of black beans in your cupboard with this easy Mexican Black Beans recipe. It’s a low-fuss skillet recipe that’s quick and easy, and made with warm and smoky Mexican-inspired flavors. Serve them with tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, fajitas, and more!
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Overhead shot of refried beans in blue bowl topped with crumbled cotija, tomatoes and jalapenos.
Instant Pot Refried Beans require no presoaking. Plus, they're virtually fat free and can be made vegetarian or vegan with some simple swaps. 
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Top shot of black beans in large white bowl with spoon
These no soak Instant Pot Black Beans are easy to make and taste so much better than the canned version! Perfect for meal prep or as a side dish to your favorite tacos, salads, or protein bowls, these black beans can be ready in under an hour.
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Rice – An Essential Mexican Side Dish

Overhead shot of Mexican rice in white bowl topped with lime wedges.
Inspired by the flavors of the classic Mexican restaurant side dish, this Instant Pot Mexican Rice is perfect with enchiladas, fajitas, tacos, and more. It’s a foolproof recipe made entirely in your pressure cooker!
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Chipotle’s Cilantro Lime Rice
I am a huge fan of the rice at Chipotle’s. Here is a copycat version for their cilantro lime rice, it tastes just like the real thing!
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Bowl of cheesy lentils with spoon.
These EASY Cheesy Southwestern Instant Pot Lentils & Rice are the perfect quick vegetarian weeknight dinner recipe that's perfect for Meatless Monday! Hearty lentils and brown rice combine with southwestern spices, tomatoes, peppers & plenty of melty cheese!
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Bowl of rice with chopsticks next to rice cooker machine.
With an electric rice cooker and this easy-to-follow guide, you’ll make tender and fluffy rice every time. This Rice Cooker Rice is as simple as measuring, pushing a button, and returning to a batch of perfectly cooked rice!
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Salsas, Sauces & Condiments

Side shot of jar of pickled onions with pink background.
Quick Pickled Onions are so easy to make at home. With just 5-minutes you can have your red onions pickling. Let them cool to room temperature before using and then you can store them in the fridge for up to two weeks! 
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Bowl of guacamole on tray with chips.
This fresh and vibrant Guacamole recipe is so easy! Mix it up in minutes for a creamy dip, a delicious topping for nachos, or to serve on Taco Tuesday.
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Overhead shot of bottle of salsa taquera next to dried chiles and spoon with sauce.
Skip the jar of store bought salsa and make ​​Salsa Taquera instead! It’s a smoky and vibrant condiment that’s perfect for tacos, carnitas, grilled meats, and more. The ingredients are simple, but the flavor is extravagant!
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Crema arranged on plate with limes and cilantro.
This quick and tangy Cilantro Lime Crema is ready in just 5 minutes. Better than sour cream, this Mexican condiment is flavored with fresh cilantro and lime juice to create a creamy and vibrant dressing, taco topping, or dipping sauce.
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Hand dipping spoon into bowl of pico de gallo.
This fresh, easy Pico de Gallo recipe is a classic Mexican salsa made from tomatoes, onions, lime, chiles, and cilantro. It’s a delicious snack to enjoy with chips or as a topping on tacos, eggs, and burrito bowls!
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Bowl of chipotle salsa in serving tray with chips and limes.
This 5-Minute Chipotle Salsa comes together easily with the help of your blender. It's a great sauce for tacos or dip for tortilla chips!
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Jar of chipotle crema with spoon on small plate next to lime wedges and small bowl of chipotles.
Add some smoke and spice to your favorite recipes with this Chipotle Crema. A Mexican-inspired sauce, this creamy mix is made with chipotles in adobo to give a boost to tacos, salads, and more!
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Chips + Tortilla Strips

Extreme close up of tortilla chips in air fryer basket.
These 3-ingredient Air Fryer Tortilla Chips are quick and easy to make, super crunchy, and light. They’re perfect for dunking in salsa, guacamole, hummus, and more! Made with flour or corn tortillas.
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Baked tortilla chips on baking sheet.
These Baked Tortilla Chips are made using store-bought corn tortillas. Just cut them into wedges, season them with Mexican spices, spray with oil and bake for a perfectly crispy, dippable chip!
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Overhead shot of tortilla strips in bowl.
Learn how to make tortilla strips at home with just 3-ingredients! They’re the perfect crunchy topping for chili, soups and salads.
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What Drink Goes with Enchiladas?

Margaritas, of course! Here are some amazing ones to try!

Hibiscus margarita in salt rimmed glass garnished with grapefruit wedge on white serving tray.
This Hibiscus Margarita recipe is a fun twist on a traditional margarita. Made with an easy homemade hibiscus tea concentrate, grapefruit juice and tequila. The ingredients are simple, but the taste is amazing!
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Overhead shot of prepared margarita.
This Grapefruit Habanero Margarita is the perfect spicy cocktail for sipping on summer days!
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Side view close up of elderflower margarita.
Elderflower Margaritas can be made with just three ingredients – tequila, elderflower liqueur and lime juice. They're a delicious St. Germain cocktail that you'll love having in your arsenal.
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Three glasses of Italian Margarita rimmed with salt and garnished with orange and lime slices.
This Italian Margarita recipe is easy to make with just four ingredients! Orange juice, tequila, amaretto and lime juice combine in this delicious cocktail recipe. 
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Side view of grilled pineapple margarita garnished with grilled pineapple and jalapeno.
This Grilled Pineapple Jalapeno Margarita is the perfect blend of sweet, spicy, and smoky. Caramelized grilled pineapple & a splash of vanilla make it extra delicious.
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What to Serve with Carnitas Besides Beans and Rice?

How to Make Ahead and Store

Many of these carnitas side dish recipes can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator for a few days or even in the freezer. Simply check the individual recipes for full storing instructions and details on how to make ahead. 

More Mexican Recipes

More Side Dish Recipes

Did you Make Any of These Carnitas Side Dishes?

Please leave a comment and rating below, if you loved this round up of what to serve with carnitas. Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished dish and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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COLLAGE OF SIDE DISHES FOR CARNITAS.

What to Serve with Carnitas: 30+ Easy Sides

Carnitas are a delicious and versatile Mexican dish that can be served with a variety of sides. Whether you're looking for something simple or something more elaborate, there's a side dish out there that's perfect for your carnitas. Try this Rice Cooker Mexican Rice. It’s a foolproof recipe made entirely in your automatic rice cooker!
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Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6 people

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Combine rinsed rice, onion & garlic, broth, tomato sauce, bay leaves and salt in the rice cooker liner.
  • Cook on the “quick” setting or white rice setting.
  • After the cook time is up, allow the rice to sit for 5-10 minutes. Remove the bay leaves.
  • Sprinkle in the salt, peas and cilantro and fluff the rice with a fork. Season with additional salt, to taste. Enjoy.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!

Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 256kcal | Carbohydrates: 54g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 0.1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 349mg | Potassium: 201mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 217IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 1mg

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