Jackfruit carnitas tacos are packed with delicious flavor & texture you can really sink your teeth into.
They’re infused with red wine and spices. Finish with your preferred toppings.
They are destined to become a dinner favorite!
If you love savory tacos that are loaded with flavor, then you’re going to be all over these vegan jackfruit tacos.
Shredded jackfruit has a wonderful piece-y quality that’s downright addictive.
Jackfruit carnitas are infused with wine and spices like ancho chili powder and cumin.
They’re finished with a drizzle of tahini, which gives a succulent mouth feel. It also amps up the bite, protein & satiating quality.
Where to buy jackfruit
For this jackfruit tacos recipe, you’ll need green or young jackfruit that’s canned in water or brine.
(Ripe fresh jackfruit won’t work. It’s too sweet.)
Jackfruit is becoming more widely available. Look for it in Asian markets, natural grocery stores, or Trader Joe’s.
(It’s one of my favorite vegan Trader Joe’s products.)
And of course, you can also find canned jackfruit online.
What kind of wine should I use?
Jackfruit carnitas get wonderful round, umami flavor, thanks to the addition of red wine.
For this jackfruit carnitas recipe, I recommend something dry like Carmenere, Garnacha, Malbec, or Tempranillo.
Because of how it’s filtered not all wines are vegan.
Look for a vegan label on the bottle. Or check Barnivore to see a wine’s vegan status.
Step by step instructions
Here’s how to make this recipe at a glance. For complete ingredient amounts & instructions, keep scrolling to the recipe card below.
1. Drain and rinse the jackfruit.
2. Put it on a clean kitchen towel to blot dry.
3. Wrap the jackfruit in the towel like a Tootsie Roll. Twist it and wring it dry, until all of the water/brine is out.
(Dry jackfruit means better flavor & browning.)
4. Move the jackfruit to a food processor with an S-blade. Pulse 5 or 6 times to shred it.
(No food processor? Just chop it with a knife. Or break it up in the skillet with a spatula.)
5. Put the jackfruit in an oiled skillet on a medium heat.
6. Brown both sides.
Then scoot the browned jackfruit to one side of the pan.
On the empty side, add more oil, onions, and garlic. Sauté & then incorporate with the jackfruit.
7. Add the following:
- Red wine
- Better Than Bouillon, no beef base
- Ancho chili powder
- Tamari soy sauce
Simmer & cook down until mostly dry.
8. Turn off the heat. Add tahini & fully combine it with the jackfruit.
Add more salt and/or hot sauce, to taste.
9. Put the jackfruit taco meat into warmed shells. And finish with your preferred toppings.
Load up your vegan jackfruit tacos with any or all of the following:
- Shredded cabbage mix
- Pickled red onions
- Quick pickled jalapeños
- Vegan sour cream
- Shredded non-dairy cheese
Make a meal out of shredded jackfruit tacos with any of these delicious appetizers or side dishes.
How to store & reheat leftovers
Store any leftover jackfruit taco filling in a covered container in the refrigerator.
It will keep for 3 or 4 days.
It can also be frozen in a freezer proof container for up to 3 months.
Thaw in the refrigerator when you’re ready to use it.
Reheat in a skillet or microwave until warmed.
In addition to using leftovers in tacos, they’re also wonderful rolled into vegan taquitos, added to a burrito bowl, or used as taco meat in taco salad.
More jackfruit recipes
Keep the love going with any of these enticing jackfruit recipes.
Jackfruit carnitas tacos
For the jackfruit carnitas
- 20 ounces young green jackfruit canned in water or brine, not syrup
- 2 teaspoons organic canola oil divided (or your preferred oil)
- ½ cup chopped onions
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 cup water
- 1 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon no-beef base
- ¼ dry red wine I especially like Carmenere, Garnacha, or Tempranillo
- 1 teaspoon low-sodium tamari
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon ancho chili powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon tahini
- A few dashes of hot sauce optional
For the tacos
- 6 hard corn shells or the tortillas of your choice
- 1 cup green leaf lettuce roughly chopped
- ½ cup chopped tomatoes
- 1 batch easy guacamole
- ½ cup shredded non-dairy cheese
To make the jackfruit carnitas
- Drain and rinse the jackfruit in a colander. Then move the pieces to a clean kitchen towel. Twist the jackfruit in the towel like a Tootsie Roll & wring dry over the sink.(Any extra water/brine in the jackfruit makes it harder to brown & absorb flavors.)
- Move the jackfruit pieces to a food processor. Pulse the food processor a few times, until it is broken up into shredded pieces. (Don't do it so many times that you end up with jackfruit hummus. Just 5 or 6 pulses should be good.)
- Bring a large, non-stick skillet to a medium high heat with a teaspoon of oil. Put an even layer of shredded jackfruit in the skillet. Don't move it for a few minutes. Allow it to get fully brown on one side, then flip the jackfruit shreds and allow it to brown more.
- Once the jackfruit is nice and brown, move it to one side of the skillet. Put the remaining teaspoon of oil in the skillet, and put the chopped onions and minced garlic on it. The skillet will be pretty hot at this point. If it looks like the garlic will burn, lower the heat. Saute the onions and garlic for a minute or two. Then incorporate them with the browned jackfruit.
- Pour the cup of water, Better Than Bouillon no beef base, red wine, tamari, cumin, coriander, ancho chili powder, paprika, and salt into the skillet. Fully combine it with the jackfruit. You want the liquid to be at a simmer, so adjust your heat accordingly. Allow it to simmer in the liquid for ten to twelve minutes, until all of the liquid has cooked off.
- Turn off the heat and put the tahini on top of the jackfruit. Use your spatula to fully incorporate everything with the tahini, making sure it's evenly combined.
- Taste for salt & heat. If necessary, add more salt and/or a few dashes of hot sauce. Then fully combine everything with a spatula.
To make the tacos
- Now it's time to make the tacos. Heat 6 hard corn shells according to package instructions. If you'd like to use the air fryer to heat the corn shells, put them tucked inside of each other into the air fryer basket. Heat at 370 degrees for 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful removing them from the air fryer basket. They will be hot.
- Fill each taco shell with several spoonfuls of jackfruit carnitas. Then top them with pinches of green leaf lettuce, and chopped tomatoes. Add a dollop of guacamole to each, and a sprinkling of non-dairy cheese. If you'd like, add any optional toppings to the tacos like cilantro, jalapeño pepper slices, and dashes of hot sauce.
Is red onion best in this one you think? making later today!! TIA!!!
Awesome! I usually use yellow or white onions in this, but red would work too. Whatever you have on hand! Let me know how it goes!
thanks for the note!! will come back and tell you how I did!!
I made these for cinco de Mayo. Using tahini is genius! I wish I had doubled the recipe…they were sooooo good.
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the jackfruit tacos!
I made these for my non-vegan family last night and they were fantastic. I followed the recipe exactly, except we used whole wheat flour tortillas, as my mother doesn’t like corn. Tonight we had the leftovers and they were even better (I had doubled the recipe). This is restaurant worthy, we all absolutely loved it! Thank you!
That warms my heart so much, Kathleen! I’m delighted that you and your family enjoyed them. Thank you for letting me know!
Do you think white wine would be okay? I know they are different, but I am wondering if I could use what I have on hand instead of buying another bottle?! Thanks!
I think that would be fine. Like you intimated, the flavor of white wine is a little different & not quite as robust. But there are a lot of other flavors going on here. So I think it would still be good. Let me know how it goes, Holly!
I have made this so many times!! I love making it for non-vegans and they love it.
Made the carnitas for dinner last night—my first try cooking jackfruit. So tasty! Nice with a fresh peach salsa avocado, and black beans on soft corn tortillas.
I love the seasoning combo you use, but I forgot to pick up the wine! I added a swig of the tamarind soda we were going to have with dinner and a little dribble of balsamic. Sounds weird but it seemed to work well! I will definitely make this again (and remember the wine this time!).
That’s great, Lucy! I’m so glad that you enjoyed the carnitas, and that your workaround for the forgotten wine was a success! I like the idea of serving it with peach salsa and black beans. Sounds so fresh!
I had no idea one could buy canned jackfruit. I’ve never tried it myself, but have seen it used like pulled pork over the years. Is there anywhere in Iowa to buy Herbvorious Butcher items?
Yes, there are a few places in Iowa that have Herbivorous Butcher products. All three New Pioneer Co-op locations have it in Iowa City, Coralville, and Cedar Rapids.
I love the idea of using a food processor on the jackfruit. I do mine by hand and this will save tons of time!
Oh, yes, the food processor is very handy for that. I used to always do it by hand too, but you can’t beat the convenience & even sizing with the food processor.
CADRY! These are so good, and using wine in the mix was a great idea. I love a boozy taco!
I’m so glad to hear that you liked them, Becky! Boozy tacos FTW!
I love your jackfruit tips! I normally shred it/moosh it by hand or with a fork, but I think a food processor will be much better at getting nicer sized bits. Plus adding tahini, genius!
Thanks, Susan! I’ve used my hands and a fork in the past too. It’s so much faster and more seamless with a food processor, and the pieces are a lot more even. Let me know if you try tahini with your jackfruit in the future!
I just happened to have bought a can of jackfruit at Trader Joe’s today with no plan for it mind. And then you posted this recipe, so I guess you knew I needed a yummy new recipe. I love the addition of the tahini! I’m looking forward to trying it!
How fortuitous! It was meant to be. I think you’re going to love the addition of tahini to jackfruit. Let me know how it goes!
As Billy Joel once said – “Only the Good Jackfruit Die Young”, but it’s totally worth it to make these delicious tacos! I can attest to the fact that these are really, really good. 🙂
I had no idea that’s what Billy Joel was singing about. But now that you say it, it makes a lot of sense. I’ve learned something here today. Also, I’m glad you loved the tacos!