These easy Pork Carnitas Empanadas are made in less than 20 minutes in the air fryer using slow cooker pork carnitas, fried onions, and a little bit of cilantro! This post is sponsored by Smithfield®.
I’m all about saving time in the kitchen and I love using the slow cooker while I’m out or busy with work. We use 100% fresh pork with no artificial ingredients, which is why Smithfield is a go-to for our family. I found the Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas at my local ShopRite and you may find it at your local Food Lion, Publix, Albertsons/Safeway, Save a Lot, or Walmart.
You can also find Smithfield Marinated Fresh Pork in more flavors like Roasted Garlic & Herb, Applewood Smoked Bacon, Sweet Teriyaki, and Slow Smoked Mesquite. The Marinated Fresh Pork products are available in a variety of cuts like pork roasts, loin filets, chops, ribs, sirloins, and tenderloins, all of which can be sliced or cubed for even faster cooking.
Prep ahead using your slow cooker
Let the slow cooker do all of the work! Place your Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas in the slow cooker and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours.
The pork shoulder is fully seasoned and I only add a little bit of water and orange juice to give it a little cooking liquid. Once the carnitas is fully cooked, we typically enjoy some soft carnitas tacos with fresh pico de gallo and avocado, but after the same-old tacos recipes, we were craving something different.
You can enjoy it as soft tacos, hard tacos, a burrito bowl, and of course, stuff into empanada dough!
How to make Pork Carnitas Empanadas
Use fresh or leftover Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas and add some fried onions and cilantro. Give it a good mix and then place spoonful amounts into store-bought or homemade empanada discs.
Seal the pork empanadas by using a fork at the edges or pressing it together with your fingers.
Brush the empanada dough with a beaten egg and then place in the air fryer for about 5-7 minutes per side. When you flip the empanada, brush the other side with the egg wash.
The egg wash is optional, it gives the empanadas a shiny exterior and gorgeous brown color. Otherwise, it would be a bit pale.
Air Fryer Empanadas
We love using the air fryer to make empanadas. They get crispy without frying, plus it’s quicker than baking.
Enjoy with your favorite Mexican salsas, dips, and sides.
Find more recipes on Smithfield.com
Enter Smithfield’s “Shake It Up” Contest!
Smithfield is helping home cooks get creative in the kitchen by reimagining mealtime with Smithfield Fresh Pork.
From now through April 26th, visit Smithfield.com/ShakeItUp to submit a photo of your own original dish with a brief description on how you “shake it up” with Smithfield Fresh Pork instead of chicken or beef.
What’s the prize?
- Twenty finalists will win a $100 gift card
- One Grand Prize winner will take home $5,000!
more pork recipes
- Baked Pork Chops and Rice
- Air Fryer Pork Chops
- Slow Cooker Pork Chops and Potatoes
- Smothered Pork Chops
- BBQ Pulled Pork
- Parmesan Crusted Pork Chops
- Brown Sugar Pork Chops
Pork Carnitas Empanadas
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- 2 cups Slow Cooked Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas
- 1/3 cup sautéed onions chopped
- 1/4 cup cilantro chopped
- 12 empanada discs
- 1 egg
- To make the slow cooker pork add the Smithfield Boneless Pork Shoulder Seasoned Carnitas to a slow cooker along with 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of orange juice and 1/2 cup of water.
Cook the pork for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Once it's fully cooked pull apart with two forks to shred.
- In a bowl mix the slow cooker pork carnitas with the onions and cilantro.
- Put a spoon full of the carnitas mixture into the empanada disc.
- Seal the pork empanadas by using a fork at the edges or pressing it together with your fingers.
- Brush the empanada dough with a beaten egg and then place in the air fryer for about 5-7 minutes per side. (When you flip the empanada brush the other side with the egg wash.)
- Set your air fryer to 350-375 F. (350 if it cooks hot, or 375 if it's average)
- Enjoy with your favorite Mexican salsas, dips, and sides.
The nutritional information is automatically calculated and can vary based ingredients and products used. If the nutrition numbers are important for you we recommend calculating them yourself.
These look amazing, Courtney! I have to make these!
Thank you, Julie! They’re so good!! We hope you like them 🙂