Carnitas Soup

Carnitas Soup with toppings and tortilla chips

Don’t you just love a two-for-one recipe? That’s when you make one recipe and it forms the base of another, saving you time and effort in another meal. Anything that saves time and effort is a win, with a bonus of also saving money by making the most of your ingredients. This Carnitas Soup does that by using the leftover braising liquid and any leftover meat from the Instant Pot Carnitas Tacos we made last week.

carnitas soup close-up

Making the Most of Everything

Remember that braising liquid we saved from the tacos? We saved it because it is so packed with flavor from the chilis, adobo sauce, spices, chicken stock, and the meat itself. We can’t let all that slow-cooked flavor go to waste. No way.

Instead of throwing it away, that burst of liquid goodness becomes the perfect flavor base for our Carnitas Soup. We’ve already built that flavor, so now all we need to do is sauté some diced onion with red pepper flakes, then add chicken stock, a can of diced tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted for this soup), black beans, and some more of the wonderful spices we used in the carnitas. A quick simmer to blend the flavors into our added ingredients and it’s ready to serve!

Soup that comes together quickly but has the flavor of a slow-cooked broth?

Yes, please!

carnitas soup

Customize Your Carnitas Soup

Top your soup with tortilla chips, cilantro, pickled onions (find our recipe at the end of this post), diced red onion, and/or avocado. Basically, most thing that are good on a taco will be tasty as a topping for this soup. Make it your own!

Kids of all ages also love a little toppings bar, where they can have fun piling in their own favorites.

A big bowl of this soup with a buffet of toppings would also be great for entertaining. Simple and easy, but with huge rewards in flavor. Your guests will love it and you will be able to enjoy your time with them instead of worrying about kitchen prep.

A Little Something Sweet

Don’t forget dessert! Here are some of our favorites:

Or take a look around the blog and choose your own favorite. So many amazing choices!


carnitas soup surrounded by toppings
carnitas soup

Carnitas Soup

All the flavor of slow-cooked carnitas goes into this quick and simple Carnitas Soup, making the perfect dinner for busy nights!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Course Gluten Free, Main, Pork Dish, Soup
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 6 people


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup diced yellow onion from 1/2 medium onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup braising liquid from Instant Pot Carnitas Tacos
  • 2 14-1/2 ounce cans fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 14-1/2 ounce can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1-1/2 cups leftover carnitas meat from Instant Pot Carnitas Tacos

Optional Toppings:

  • Pickled Onion or Diced Red Onion
  • Cilantro
  • Diced avocado
  • Tortilla chips


  • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Add the onion and red pepper flakes, then saute until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring often.
  • Add the braising liquid, tomatoes, chicken stock, and spices. Stir and raise the heat to medium to bring it to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in the black beans and leftover carnitas meat. Simmer for another 5 minutes or until the meat is heated through. Taste and add salt or pepper if necessary.
  • Serve immediately and top with diced red onion, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, and/or tortilla chips.


  • You may have a little more or less carnitas braising liquid. Use what you have! If it’s less than 1 cup, you may need to add more seasoning at the end. Complete the recipe, then taste and adjust as needed.
  • The leftover carnitas meat is wonderful here but can be omitted if you don’t have any left. The specific amount doesn’t matter. You can also sub in some shredded chicken.
Keyword carnitas, soup

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