I am now epically, exhaustingly, and grammatically acquainted with the term, “fall.” It’s in the crispness of the air, the chill of the autumn breeze, and in the flavor of these Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos.
It’s also really really in the 140 bags of leaves that Ben and I raked this weekend.
I grew up raking leaves with my dad watching my dad rake leaves, then jumping into them. It seemed like a romantic outdoor activity, at least to my eight-year-old self.
Let me tell you, shredding the equivalent of 140 bags of leaves, stuffing those leaves into yard bags, then cramming them into your garage because the dump isn’t open until Tuesday is not romantic.
For the romance of fall, I’ll leave it to these slow cooker butternut squash pulled pork tacos (or one of these other trusty fall recipes).
5 Star Review
“This was super delicious and had just the right amount of heat with two of the chilis! I will definitely be making this one again.”— Allison —
Raking leaves for hours gives a girl an appetite!
Fortunately, I can envision no happier end to a long day than exactly how I finished mine: an enormous plate of slow cooker pork tacos topped with butternut squash (versatile Chile Verde Pork or Slow Cooker Carnitas would have also sufficed) and an ice-cold cerveza.
This shredded pork taco recipe is my favorite kind of slow cooker recipe: dump, ignore, eat.
- No browning of the meat.
- No reduction of the sauce is required.
- Easy prep AND easy clean-up.
- Totally delish!
How to Make Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos
These easy pulled pork tacos with butternut squash combine citrus and chipotle spices for an insanely delicious south-of-the-border dinner. Make it a meal with this Grilled Corn Salad and a Jalapeño Margarita!
- Butternut Squash. Tender, mild, and sweet. It’s the perfect balance to the rich pork and spicy chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. (If you’re a member of club butternut, you’ll also love this Crockpot Butternut Squash Soup).
- Pork Loin Roast. I find this to be the leanest cut of pork that can hold up to slow cooking without becoming tough and dry. (Try this Crockpot Pork Roast)
- Orange Juice. Keeps the meat moist and adds brightness
- Chipotle Chilis. These smoky peppers are the perfect contrast to the sweet butternut squash.
- Red Wine Vinegar. Just a splash for a little extra kick of acidity.
- Tortillas. Nestle the vibrant filling inside a warm corn tortilla (or flour if you prefer).
- Toppings. My go-to toppings for these tacos are simple. A little lime juice, cilantro, and queso fresco (of even feta) are all you need to enjoy these fall-inspired tacos.
- Add squash to slow cooker and sprinkle with salt.
- Season pork with salt, pepper, spices, chilis, and olive oil. Then add it to the crockpot.
- Top with remaining ingredients, cover, and cook until tender.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker, shred, then return to the crockpot, and stir to combine.
- Serve with warm the tortillas and desired toppings. ENJOY!
- To Store. Leftovers may be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- To Freeze. Leftover butternut squash pulled pork tacos may be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. Note that the texture of the squash will change once frozen and thawed.
- To Reheat. Warm in the microwave until steaming and serve with tortillas and toppings. You may also warm in a crockpot or on the stovetop with a bit of chicken stock to keep the pork moist.
So, any friends looking to take a little field trip to the dump? SUV preferred, and slow cooker pork tacos offered in exchange!
Frequently Asked Questions
Pork shoulder (aka port butt) is another great option for Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. Just keep in mind that it is not a lean as pork loin.
NO! Unless you LOVE insanely spicy food, please do not make this recipe with one (or several) whole cans of chipotle chili peppers in adobo. I recommend 2-3 individual peppers to give this recipe a satisfying kick. If you are sensitive to spicy food, opt for a single pepper, or omit it entirely.
I have only ever made this recipe with pork, but I imagine it would be delicious with chicken also. It would, however, be an experiment. I would recommend swapping the pork for an equal amount of boneless, skinless chicken breasts that a fully thawed. Note that the cooking time will likely need to be adjusted. See my post on Crock Pot Shredded Chicken for tips.
Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos
For the Pork and Butternut Squash:
- 3 pounds butternut squash peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
- 2 pounds boneless pork loin roast
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt divided
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2-3 chipotle peppers packed in adobo coarsely chopped (individual peppers, not full cans!)
- 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chiles (add more for extra heat)
- 1 onion coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 4 cloves
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar or substitute additional orange juice
- For Serving: corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and feta cheese or queso fresco
- Arrange the squash around the edges of a 4-quart or similar slow cooker. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
- Season the pork with the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, cinnamon, olive oil, chipotle chiles, and adobo sauce to form a paste. Rub all over the pork. Place the pork in the center of the slow cooker (it may overlap slightly with the squash).
- Top with the onion and garlic, then pour the orange juice and red wine vinegar over the top. Cover and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours (the actual cook time may vary based on your slow cooker).
- Once the meat is tender and cooked through, remove from the slow cooker and transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Shred the pork, then transfer to a large bowl, along with any of the rub that may have come off during shredding. With a slotted spoon, remove the squash and onions from the slow cooker and place in the bowl with the pork. Toss to combine.
- To serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave (I like to cover mine with a lightly damp paper towel to prevent them from drying out), fill with pork and squash, and garnish with desired toppings.
- TO STORE: Leftovers may be kept in the fridge for up to 5 days.
- TO FREEZE: Leftover butternut squash pulled pork tacos may be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating. Note that the texture of the squash will change once frozen and thawed.
- TO REHEAT: Warm in the microwave until steaming and serve with tortillas and toppings. You may also warm in a crockpot or on the stovetop with a bit of chicken stock to keep the pork moist.
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Erin, can you double this recipe in the same pot? I have a large crowd I’m planning on serving this to. Can’t wait to eat them!
Hi Maggie! I’ve never tried doubling it, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Just make sure you have a very large crockpot, and the cooking time may need to be adjusted too. I hope you all absolutely love it!
I made these yesterday on my day off for tonight’s dinner… BIG hit with everyone- even the picky one. Good thing I put in extra time at the gym today!
Thanks for the great recipes!
Jana, I’m beyond excited to hear that you and your family enjoyed these tacos! Thanks so much for taking time to let me know. It means so much!
This dish looks delicious. Is it very spicy as is? I’d like to also give it to my 14 month old as she’s eating a lot of what we eat these days. Thanks!
Marissa, I love that your daughter is eating what you eat! It’s not super spicy, but if you are concerned, I’d suggest lowering the quantity of adobos and adobo sauce, just to be safe.
I plan on making these tomorrow! I was curious, is it possible to freeze the leftover shredded pork to reheat later?
Hi Erika! You can absolutely freeze the leftovers. Just let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat them slowly with a little chicken stock to keep the meat from drying out. I hope you love the recipe!
Do you think you could prep all of this in a freezer bag for a freezer meal and then pop in the crockpot?
Hi Kelly! To be honest, I’m not sure. I’ve frozen the filling after it’s cooked and thawed it with fairly good results (the squash got kind of mushy but still tasted great reheated).I wish I could help, but I can’t say for certain, since I haven’t tried freezing the ingredients first.
Is bottled juice or fresh better for this recipe?
Hi Belle! I always recommend using fresh juice whenever you can. It definitely has the bet flavor!
awesome recipe, we very much enjoyed our night, thanks to you.
YAY!!! So happy to hear that Jen. Thanks so much for your kind review!
Wow!! A must make
Thanks so much!
I’m not a fan of pork, I would like to use ground turkey, any suggestions on how long to cook it for how much turkey and NO hot stuff, I can’t take the heat! I do love Taco’s and crock pots! When you reply, I will tell you how many trees I have on my half acre lot, the leaves are unbelievable but we use a mulching riding lawn mower, I refuse to rake all those leaves! My yard gets mowed every 2 weeks to keep up with the falling leaves. I haven’t made the recipe yet, waiting for your reply. Thanks, I bet it will be yummy!
Hi Pamela, ground turkey will probably take less time to cook. I’d recommend looking up slow cooker recipes for ground turkey and use that as a guideline! Make sure you leave out the chipotle peppers and adobo if you’re looking to avoid spice. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Thank you for your response, I will definitely do that (I had already eliminated the spicy stuff) but thanks for the input.
I made these last night and they are delicious! I found I am not the biggest fan of soft corn tortillas so subed for flour at lunch today. YUM! I’ve been on the hunt for new healthy crockpot recipes instead of adding cream of whatever. These fit the bill! Oh and the big plus is my husband liked them, too! Thanks for sharing!
Yay Jess, I’m happy to hear this recipe was a hit! Thanks for giving it a try and reporting back!
Tried this today and it was surprisingly delicious! I was a bit hesitant about the squash with pork but holy cow do the flavors go well together. I accidentally used TWO CANS of Chipotle peppers but the cilantro helped to tame the spice (we love spicy food though). I recommend adding another onion to the mix. We topped with homemade salsa, cilantro, roasted jalapenos, and lime. Definitely a keeper! So so glad I found this recipe!
Hi Barbara, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed this, even with the extra chipotle peppers! Thanks for taking the time to give this recipe a try and share this great review!
I LOVE these and have been making them for me and my family (and others) for months now. They are just fabulous!!! I can’t get enough of them (although I usually eat them on lettuce wraps).
I just got an Instant Pot – can you make them in the Instant Pot? If so, any recommendations on cooking time and temperature, etc?
Hi Rebecca, I’m so glad to hear you enjoy the recipe! I haven’t tested this recipe in the Instant Pot, so I’d go by guidelines for a similar cut of meat as far as timing goes. (In a quick internet search, I was seeing ranges around 45 minutes.) The squash may also turn out softer too.
This is an awesome recipe!!
I’m so glad you enjoyed it, Kara! Thanks for taking the time to leave this review!
This was super delicious and had just the right amount of heat with two of the chilis! I will definitely be making this one again.
YAY!! So happy to hear that Allison, THANK YOU!
Hi, any guidance for adjusting cooking times (if necessary) for pork loin chops instead of a full roast? Same total weight as called for.
Hi Alexandra! I’ve only tested this recipe with a full roast. The chops are much different, even with it being the same total weight. If you decide to experiment, let me know how it goes.