I am now epically, exhaustingly, and grammatically acquainted with the term, “fall.” It’s in the crispness of the air, the flavor of these Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos, and it’s really really in the 140 bags of leaves that Ben and I raked this weekend.

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with butternut squash served in a cast iron skillet

When we bought Ben’s childhood home from his parents, I vaguely recall a bit of commentary about the leaves. A few neighbors advised me to, “get ready.” Ben’s mom (who, God bless her, came over to help us rake all day Sunday, along with Ben’s dad) gifted me a pair of gardening gloves. I grew up raking leaves with my dad watching my dad rake leaves, then jumping into them, and 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. I imagine the dumping process (which involves two trips and a borrowed SUV) won’t be especially romantic either. The semi-disheartening/totally insane part? Not even a quarter of our leaves have fallen. We have to do this again! And again! Then one or six more times! I’m going to have some serious calluses character by the time fall ends.

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos

skillet of Butternut Squash and Pulled Pork Tacos made in a slow cookerI will also be eating serious amounts of slow cooker pork tacos. Hours of raking 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 and an ice cold cerveza (or maybe one of Lisa’s Mexican mimosa cocktails). Say it with me now, “ahhhh.”

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Pulled Pork Tacos

Dump and Go Dinner Favorite: Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

This shredded pork taco recipe is my favorite kind of slow cooker recipe: dump, ignore, eat.

  • No browning of the meat
  • No reducing of the sauce required here
  • Easy prep AND easy clean up (if you’ve never used slow cooker liners before, you’ll fall in love!)

These easy shredded pork tacos are also rocking my new favorite southwest flavor combination: citrus and chipotle.

Orange juice keeps the meat moist and adds brightness, and the smoky chipotle chilis are the perfect contrast to the sweet butternut squash. I also added a splash of Pompeian Jalapeño-Infused Red Wine Vinegar for an extra kick. Nestle the vibrant filling inside a warm corn tortilla, sprinkle with cilantro and feta, and you’re all set to fall in love, taco-style.

About the Easy Pork Tacos Ingredients

  • For the pork, I used a pork loin roast, which I find is the leanest cut that can hold up to slow-cooking without becoming tough and dry.
  • For the cheese, I imagine that queso fresco would be equally delectable as feta (perhaps even more so)—I simply couldn’t find it within a 10-mile radius of my house.

More Stellar Slow Cooker Meals

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash and Pulled Pork TacosSo, any friends looking to take a little field trip to the dump? SUV preferred, and slow cooker pork tacos offered in exchange!

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with butternut squash served in a cast iron skillet

Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Pulled Pork Tacos

4.5 from 6 votes
Easy slow cooker butternut squash pulled pork tacos made with smoky chipotle chiles and bright orange juice. Your entire family will love this fresh, healthy meal!

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 7 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 40 mins

Servings: 6 servings

Ingredients
  

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 (individual peppers, not full cans!) coarsely chopped* (add more for more heat)
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce from the canned chiles
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic about 4 cloves
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons Pompeian Jalapeño Red Wine Vinegar or substitute regular red wine vinegar or additional orange juice

To Serve

  • Corn tortillas fresh cilantro, lime wedges, and feta cheese or queso fresco

Instructions
 

  • 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. 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, then garnish with cilantro, fresh lime juice, and cheese.

Notes

  • *Ingredient note: Look for chipotle chiles in adobo in the Hispanic food section of most major grocery stores
  • **Leftover adobo sauce? Make my Chipotle Grapefruit Margaritas!

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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84 Comments

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  1. Erin,
    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!

    1. 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!

  2. 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! 

    1. 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.

  3. I plan on making these tomorrow! I was curious, is it possible to freeze the leftover shredded pork to reheat later?

    1. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. Hi Jeanny! Regarding nutritional info, this is something that I’ve actually started adding to all of my new recipes, effective January 2016 (you’ll see it in the recipe box at the bottom). Unfortunately, it’s pretty time consuming, so I’m unable to go back and add it to past recipes. If you’d like the nutritional info for any of my older recipes (or really any other recipe or food), you can actually calculate it yourself for free at myfitnesspal.com (this is how I calculate the new recipes on my blog). I’m sorry I can’t give you the information for this exact recipe, but I hope that My Fitness Pal will be a helpful resource for you.

  4. I see how these are really amazing; except, I used 2 CANS of chipotle chilies in adobe sauce instead of 2-3 canned chipotles in adobe sauce. Don’t make my mistake. Read directions carefully. I’ll be trying these again next month, as I love the combination. 

    1. WOW, talk about spicy!! I’m glad to hear you still want to give the tacos another try with just a few individual chiles. :) I hope you enjoy them!

    1. Karen, I’m sorry to hear you didn’t love this! Spice can definitely be personal preference, but the tacos certainly shouldn’t have burned your mouth. Just to confirm, you only used two or three chipotle chiles correct? Not the whole can? It’s an easy mistake to make and that would definitely impact the final result. If you try again, I would suggest cutting back on the spice and maybe even omitting the chiles entirely.

      1. This is exactly what happened to us. We thought 2-3 cans seemed like a lot, but looking at the recipe again, we see how easily the wording confused us. Maybe something like “2-3 chipotle chilies in adobo sauce from a can” would help alleviate any confusion. I felt bad, but my family took a bite, and we had to through out the entire meal. Maybe we’ll try it again correctly next time.

  5. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. Thank you for your response, I will definitely do that (I had already eliminated the spicy stuff) but thanks for the input.

  6. 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!4 stars

  7. 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!5 stars

    1. 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!

  8. 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?  5 stars

    1. 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.

  9. 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. 5 stars

  10. Flavor was good, however, pork shoulder is an optimum cut for slow roasting and shredding. Also, you NEED to pull the butternut squash out after just 2 hours on low, otherwise it turns to mush by the time the pork is done. A few tweaks and it was really good!3 stars

    1. Hi Sarah, I’m glad to hear you figured out how to tweak the recipe to your taste! Thanks so much for giving it a try.

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