Give your tacos something to be happy about! These Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas are full of flavor and made with strictly plants and spices!  A healthy, delicious vegan filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and Burrito bowls!  Perfect for Sunday meal prep! Video.

Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas - a simple vegan Mexican-inspired filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep! #jackfruit #carnitas #vegantacomeat #tacos #jackfruittacos #vegantacos #plantbased

Many of you who come to the blog are requesting more plant-based recipes. Whether you are vegan or just trying to introduce more plants into your daily life – here is a simple fun recipe to try using canned jackfruit that you’ll be able to use in a variety of dishes throughout the busy work week!

Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas can be made ahead then used in like you would with taco meat- serve with tortillas, guacamole, and salsa, use in quesadillas, these delicious jackfruit tacos, enchiladas or burrito bowls or Mexican breakfast bowls.  And I’ve found this to be especially handy during the busy work week. Meal prep a batch on Sunday and you’ll find a hundred ways to use it during the week.

The best part? Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas are totally vegan (and also bean-free!), only take 20 mins to make (if that) and can keep up to 4 days in the fridge!

Watch How to make Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas! | 60-sec video 

Why you’ll love Jackfruit carnitas!

  1. Vegan-friendly: Jackfruit Carnitas are a delicious vegan option for those who are looking to incorporate more plant-based meals into their diet. They are completely free of animal products, making them a compassionate choice.
  2. Texture and flavor: Jackfruit has a unique texture that is reminiscent of pulled pork or shredded chicken when cooked. It has a slightly tangy flavor that pairs well with the spices and seasonings used in the recipe.
  3. Versatility: Jackfruit Carnitas can be used in a variety of dishes such as tacos, enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and bowls.
  4. Easy to make: Making Jackfruit Carnitas is a straightforward process that takes only 20 minutes or less. It’s a quick and convenient meal option, especially when you meal prep a batch on Sunday to use throughout the week.
  5. Healthy: Jackfruit is high in fiber, low in calories, and gluten-free, making it a nutritious choice. By opting for Jackfruit Carnitas instead of traditional meat-filled dishes, you can enjoy a lighter and healthier meal without compromising on taste.

Ingredients in Jackfruit carnitas

Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas - a simple vegan Mexican-inspired filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep! #jackfruit #carnitas #vegantacomeat #tacos #jackfruittacos #vegantacos #plantbased

Ingredient Notes

  • Canned Jackfruit– young green jackfruit packed in WATER, not syrup
  • Red onion– or shallot.
  • Garlic cloves– add a much-needed savory taste to the jackfruit.
  • Jalapeno– add more or less depending on spice preference.
  • Cumin– ground or whole seeds are nice too for a warm earthy flavor common in Mexican cuisine.
  • Mexican Oreganodried oregano is used to enhance Mexican-inspired flavors in the carnitas.
  • Smoked paprika– adjust to taste, more for smokier. Feel free to use chipotle or the adobo sauce from the can.
  • Salt and pepper
  • Sugar– just a bit to help caramelize and crisp up the edges.

See the recipe card below for a full list of ingredients and measurements.     

Jackfruit Carnitas FAQS

What is Jackfruit?

Jackfruit is a tropical fruit that grows in Southeast Asia, Brazil and parts of Africa. It is similar to breadfruit, and when young is quite mild and flavorless, best for using as a meat-substitute, and what is used when canned. Fresh jackfruit can grow up to 50lbs, one of the largest fruits on the planet.  Jackfruit is high in fiber and very low in calories with a texture similar to pulled pork or shredded chicken. Again, perfect texture for a meat substitute!

Where can I buy Jackfruit?

You can find Jackfruit in the canned vegetable section of most grocery stores, or online. I like the Trader Joe’s Brand of canned Jackfruit.

How do you cook Jackfruit?

Jackfruit can be pan-seared, sauteed, simmered, or even roasted!

What does Jackfruit taste like?

Unlike fresh jackfruit, canned Jackfruit is processed when it is unripe and still green- so even though it is a fruit, it has very little sweetness. It has a very mild flavor, with a subtle tanginess – perfect for soaking up all the flavors it is cooked with. A great candidate for this recipe!

What can you do with Jackfruit?

Because canned jackfruit is green, unripe and not very sweet it can be used in many savory ways in the kitchen. Use it as a vegetarian “meat” substitute in curries, stews, tacos, or stir-fries! The most popular way to use jackfruit is to bathe it in BBQ sauce and use it in sandwiches!

Can jackfruit taste like meat?

Yes! Give it umami spices and flavors to add depth and earthiness and it can very much mimic the flavor of meat.

How to make Jackfruit Carnitas

Step One– Make sure to strain the brine from the jackfruit and cut it into thin smaller pieces, cutting through the tougher core.

Step Two– Wring out all the water using a kitchen towel. This is KEY!!! You want it as dry as possible to get it crispy! Give it a good wring and unwrap. (Try this with other recipes too, wringing it out gives it a better texture.)

Step Three– Saute onion, garlic, and jalapenos in a large skillet until fragrant and golden. Add the jackfruit shreds and salt and spice blend. Cook until tender, crispy and deep in color. Squeeze with lime juice.

Use the Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, and bowls or refrigerate for the leftover jackfruit for the workweek to come.

5 Reasons To Add Jackfruit To Your Diet

  1. Nutrient-rich: Jackfruit is packed with essential vitamins and minerals. It is a good source of vitamin C, which supports immune function and collagen production. It also contains vitamin A, potassium, and magnesium, which are important for overall health.
  2. High in fiber: Jackfruit is high in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full. A diet rich in fiber can also promote healthy gut function and help prevent constipation.
  3. Low in calories: If you’re watching your calorie intake, jackfruit is a great choice. It is relatively low in calories compared to other fruits and can be a satisfying addition to your meals without adding excessive calories.
  4. Natural antioxidants: Jackfruit contains antioxidants like flavonoids and phytonutrients that help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body. Antioxidants play a vital role in reducing inflammation, which is linked to various chronic diseases.
  5. May have anti-cancer properties: Some studies suggest that certain compounds found in jackfruit, such as phytonutrients and antioxidants, may have anti-cancer properties. While more research is needed, including jackfruit in a balanced diet can contribute to overall health and well-being.

Ways to serve Jackfruit Carnitas!

Add to tacos, soups, and bowls! Tuck into enchiladas, quesadillas, and burritos!

Serve with:

Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas - a simple vegan Mexican-inspired filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep! #jackfruit #carnitas #vegantacomeat #tacos #jackfruittacos #vegantacos #plantbased

I’m so excited for you try the jackfruit carnitas… and also very curious about what you will think about it!

Hope you are having a fabulous week.

xoxo

Love this recipe? Please let us know in the comments and leave a 5-star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating below the recipe card.

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Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas - a simple vegan Mexican-inspired filling for tacos, enchiladas, burritos and quesadillas and bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep! #jackfruit #carnitas #vegantacomeat #tacos #jackfruittacos #vegantacos #plantbased

Jackfruit Carnitas Recipe

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 4.6 from 41 reviews
  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 cups 1x
  • Category: Vegan, meal prep
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Description

Crispy Jackfruit Carnitas a Mexican-inspired vegan recipe that can be used as a meat substitute in tacos, enchiladas, burritos or burrito bowls. Perfect for Sunday meal prep- this lasts 4 days in the fridge.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 20 ounce can of Jackfruit, (packed in WATER not syrup), drained.
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil ( divided )
  • 1/2 a red onion, diced (one cup) or one fat shallot
  • 4 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 a jalapeno, finely diced (add more or less depending on spice preference- this is medium spicy)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Braggs liquid amino acid
  • —–
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin ( whole seeds are nice too)
  • 1 teaspoon dry Mexican Oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika, more for smokier
  • 1 /2 teaspoon sugar ( to help caramelize)

Instructions

  1. Drain the jackfruit and cut into very thin slices, slicing through the core, see photo.
  2. Place it in the middle of a kitchen towel, roll it up and wring it out very very firmly. Squeeze out as much water as you can. You should see quite a bit of liquid release.
  3. Heat 1 tablespoon oil (save the other tablespoon for later) and saute the onion, garlic and jalapeno over medium heat until deeply golden and fragrant, about 5-6 minutes stirring often. Be patient here, this is where  the flavor is. 🙂
  4. Add the jackfruit, and soy sauce and stir well and lower heat. This is where you’ll let the moisture cook-off even more- you want to get this fairly dry but without burning. So low heat, stirring occasionally, uncovered, 3-5 minutes.
  5. When it seems good and dry, add the salt, sugar, and spices- chili powder, cumin, oregano smoked paprika, and add 1 tablespoon olive oil – stir-frying the spices and jackfruit a bit until jackfruit begins to caramelize crisp and deepen in color. It should smell amazing!
  6. Taste, and adjust salt and spice level ( feel free to add cayenne, ground chipotle or more smoked paprika). For more tang, squeeze with lime, keeping in mind jackfruit has a natural tanginess, so taste it first.
  7. Use Jackfruit Carnitas in tacos, enchiladas, burritos or burrito bowls, and breakfast bowls.

Notes

This will keep four days in the fridge.

Be sure to rinse and drain the jackfruit well.

Wringing out the jackfruit is essential here. Really try to get the water out so it crisps up nicely.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: ½ cup
  • Calories: 169
  • Sugar: 18.2 g
  • Sodium: 566.3 mg
  • Fat: 7.8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 25.5 g
  • Fiber: 2.5 g
  • Protein: 2.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

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Comments

  1. Jackfruit is plenty in our homestate Kerala in the South of India. Is the jackfruit raw or ripe in your recipe.We saute the green jack with red dry chillies, onions and garlic to make a dry dish, with coconut to make a foogath or into thin strips for chips. As a green raw fruit it has multiple uses . It’s full of fibre and good in controlling blood sugar. However when ripe it’s not good for diabetics but again it can be made into many dishes .

    1. Thank you Asha for sharing this! We mostly find it canned here in the green unripe form. Your dishes sound amazing, I would love to try them all!

  2. This looks so good. I went to Trader Joe’s today to get the canned Jackfruit and was told they now longer carry it. DANG —now on the hunt in downtown Seattle. Help!

      1. I found it at District H on Terry in Seattle. Great price too. They didn’t have it at Whole Foods.

    1. Interesting. I saw a large display of it at Trader Joes not long ago here in Nashville. Wonder if all the TJ’s are getting rid of it.

  3. I have made this about 3 times. The flavor is amazing. Ate it with homemade corn tortillas. Thank you for this recipe.






  4. Love this! Used fresh jackfruit, as I have a tree. Since the fruit was on the dry side, I soaked it in water and fruit fresh for a few hours. Used Peruvian Aji peppers also from my garden.






  5. We did a taco bar for 28 for my daughter’s birthday. I made a few vegan options and this one was, by far, the biggest hit. The taste and texture were perfect!






  6. This looks amazing! When I used to make carnitas I’d follow the Serious Eats recipe (https://www.seriouseats.com/no-waste-tacos-de-carnitas-with-salsa-verde-recipe) which adds loads of flavour – particularly adding oranges worked really well for me. Do you think adding in orange or OJ would work here or might it interact poorly with the jackfruit?

  7. I make these regularly and love them!!! Do you think I could swap out the jackfruit for seitan? I just made some seitan and thought of trying it in the recipe….

      1. Tried the recipe with seitan. Kept everything the same except substituted Jackfruit with the shredded seitan. It was amazing!!

    1. Hi Maggie- I think they should freeze pretty well- but may lose their crispy texture. Flavors will still be there though. 😉

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