Tacos de Adobada Easy Recipe

Tacos de adobada are the perfect street tacos made with juicy, fragrant, and delicious meat marinated in adobo sauce. Get the authentic experience of eating tacos just as in Mexico!

Tacos de adobada in a plate with garnishes on the side.

What is Adobada Tacos?

Tacos de adobada (as in Spanish) is one of the most popular kinds of street tacos in Mexico and they are beyond delicious. The dish consists of a taco made with soft corn tortilla, filled with pan-fried marinated pork, and served with various toppings. 

The pork meat for these tacos is marinated in adobo sauce, a staple recipe from Mexican cuisine consisting of a thick sauce made of spices, various chilies, and vinegar.

Recipe: How To Make Adobo Sauce.

The meat is marinated for several hours or preferably overnight, so it soaks up all the flavor from the sauce before cooking it in a pan. Trust me, it’s worth the wait! Just look at that juicy taco meat in the photo below…

Closeup on the juicy meat of adobada tacos.

Adobada vs. Al Pastor

The terms tacos de adobada and tacos al pastor are often used interchangeably because the marinade is similar, but they are different and it’s important to know that.

For one, tacos de adobada don’t contain achiote or annatto, an orange-red condiment that gives the meat a reddish color. And doesn’t include pineapple as an ingredient.

Another big difference would be the way the meat is cooked. For adobada tacos, the meat can be cooked in a pan or griddle, while the meat for tacos al pastor is cooked over a direct fire on a roaster. Similar to kebab meat. 

If you’d like to know more about tacos al pastor, you can check out my recipe and get a little more insight into what makes them so special. 

What Type of Meat to Use?

The traditional recipe for tacos de adobada calls for a cut of pork, specifically boneless pork shoulder. This cut has a nice amount of fat, which means it will have a more intense flavor.

However, if you’re watching your calorie intake, you can use lean pork meat and it will still be delicious. It is possible to use boneless cut beef for the recipe, but the real deal is made with pork. 

Is Adobada Spicy?

Traditional adobada contains guajillo chili and ancho chili, both of which are mild. That means that the tacos will be mild as well, so they’re perfect if you can’t handle too much spicy food. 

Guajillo chili is slightly less spicy than a jalapeno, and they have a sweet, tangy, and smoky flavor. Ancho chili is even less spicy than guajillo and it also has a smoky, slightly fruity flavor. However, do keep in mind that the spice level of the chiles may vary, so it’s difficult to predict.

Overall, your adobada tacos won’t make you shoot smoke out of your ears. That’s why some recipes add chipotle chili; Mexicans do love spicy food!

Cooked meat for tacos de adobada in a pan.

However, it’s up to you whether you want to add more of a kick to the marinade or not. The recipe will still be crazy good! 

How To Make Tacos de Adobada

Remove the stem on chilies, then with kitchen shears cut the chiles lengthwise and discard the seeds and veins.

Wash the chilies and put them in a bowl. Cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 15 minutes or until they are soft.

Guajillo chilies soaking in hot water.

In a blender put the chilies, garlic, cumin, peppercorns, oregano, and bay leaf. Add two teaspoons of salt, vinegar, and half a cup of water. Blend until you will have a velvety sauce and then transfer to a large dish.

Adobada sauce for tacos in a large dish.

Allow adobada sauce to cool down (if it’s still hot) then add to the dish the meat and turn over until all pieces are fully coated.

The pork meat coated with adoada sauce on a dish.

Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge. Leave it to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.

The next day, prep your toppings. Chop onions, cilantro, cut some limes, make the salsa you’d like to serve (below I’ll leave you some recipe options). And then cook the spring onions if you serving some.

Various toppings for adobada tacos.

To cook the spring onions, wash them, peel them, and cut most of the green side. Sautéed them in a tablespoon of oil with a pinch of salt until lightly browned, then cover them and cook them over low heat until soft shaking the pan from time to time.

Sautéed spring onions in a pan.

Back to tacos. Heat 2 tablespoons of pork lard or oil in a large pan. Add the meat in a single layer making sure to not overcrowd the pan.

Cooking adobada meat in a pan.

Cook until the meat is nicely browned on both sides. The oil will splash a bit, so use large cooking tongs to flip the meat.

Meat for tacos de adobada cooked in a pan.

Place cooked meat on a plate and cover with foil to prevent it from drying out. Keep cooking the pork slices until all are done.

Once all meat is cooked chop it into small bites with a sharp knife. You need to do this step while the meat is still hot, so use tongs or a fork if needed.

Chopping the adobada meat in a cutting board.

Once all meat is chopped, keep it covered with foil so it will stay juicy and warm.

In a heavy pan or comal heat a little bit of lard or oil over medium heat. Working on batches, heat the tortillas on both sides until soft. 

Small tortillas heating on a griddle.

PRO TIP: You can also coat lightly the tortillas on the fat where you cooked the meat!

Serve and enjoy!

Place tortillas piled in couples to make 5 tacos on each serving plate, top with chopped adobada meat, add onion and cilantro on each taco and place some fried spring onions and radishes on the side.

Serve your tacos de adobada and enjoy with your favorite salsa and a squeeze of lime.

Tacos de adobada (adobada tacos) in a plate with spring onions, radishes, lime wedges, and guacamole salsa on the side.

Useful Notes & Tips

  • For a smoky flavor, add one or two chipotle chiles to the sauce, it adds also some spiciness.
  • Make sure the chili sauce is cold before adding to meat. Otherwise it will slightly cook and create bacteria while resting, even if it’s in the fridge.
  • Get some help. Tacos are delicious but they can be a little bit overwhelming to prepare, ask someone to heat the tortillas while you finish to cook the meat, this way you’ll have everything warm and ready to dig in in less time!
  • Be ready for some mess. When cooking the meat, there will be some oil splashing everywhere, just like when you fry something saucy, so be ready and have kitchen towels on hand to clean up.
  • About the tortillas. Those tacos de adobada are made just as in Mexico, with two small 4,5-inch tortillas. If you can’t find store-bought tortillas in that size, make them with regular sized tortillas or prepare your own with our tortilla recipe.

Best salsas for soft tacos

  • Fake guacamole. No avocados but lots of flavor, this sauce is made of zucchini, cilantro, and green chiles.
  • Tomatillo red salsa. Made with tomatillos and red dried chilies.
  • Salsa verde. The most famous Mexican green sauce with tomatillos and fresh chilies.
  • Chile de árbol salsa. Spicy, hearty, and delicious, this salsa is made of tomatoes and dried arbol chilies.

How To Make Ahead & Reheat

You can prep ahead this recipe by cooking and chopping the meat up to 3 days ahead. Keep it stored in an airtight container inside the refrigerator. Then when needed, just reheat in a pan with a bit of oil and a dash of water.

Toppings like chopped onions, cilantro, and radishes can also be prepared the day before and keep them in containers in the fridge. While salsas can be made and even freeze! Refer to each recipe for accurate instructions.

Tacos de adobada recipe.

Tacos de Adobada

author Maricruz
Prepare those scrumptious tacos with adobada marinated pork meat and serve with onions, cilantro, and salsa.
prep 30 minutes
cook 20 minutes
Adobada resting time 12 hours
total 12 hours 50 minutes
serving 20 tacos

Ingredients 

  • 40 small corn tortillas (read notes)
  • 2 lb pork shoulder (cut into slices)
  • pork lard (or oil)

For adobada sauce

  • 6 guajillo chilies (stem and seeds removed)
  • 1 ancho chile (stem and seeds removed)
  • 3 Tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt (to taste)

For garnish

  • 1 ½ cup onions (chopped)
  • cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 10 radishes (sliced)
  • 1 bunch spring onions (or as many as you want)
  • lime wedges
  • salsa (check up post for recipes)

Instructions
 

  • Wash the chilies and put them in a bowl.
  • Cover them with boiling water and let them soak for 15 minutes or until they are soft.
  • Place the chilies, garlic, cumin, peppercorns, oregano, and bay leaf in a blender.
  • Add two teaspoons of salt, vinegar, and half a cup of water.
  • Blend until smooth then transfer the sauce to a large dish.
  • Allow the sauce to cool down completely then add to the dish the meat and turn over until all pieces are fully coated.
  • Cover the bowl with cling film and place it in the fridge. Leave it to marinate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
  • Sauté the spring onions in a tablespoon of oil with a pinch of salt until lightly browned.
  • Cover the pan and cook over low heat until soft.

Make tacos de adobada

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of pork lard or olive oil in a large pan.
  • Add the meat in a single layer making sure to not overcrowd the pan.
  • Cook until the meat is nicely browned on both sides.
  • Place cooked meat on a plate and cover with foil to prevent it from drying out.
  • Keep cooking the pork slices until all are gone.
  • Once all meat is cooked, chop it into small bites with a sharp knife.
  • Return chopped meat to the plate and keep it covered with foil so it will stay juicy and warm.
  • In a heavy pan or comal heat a little bit of lard or oil over medium heat.
  • Working on batches, heat the tortillas on both sides until soft.
  • Assemble tacos using two tortillas piled for each, top with onions and cilantro.
  • Serve with spring onions and radishes on the side, lime wedges, and your favorite salsa.

Notes

  • About the tortillas. Those tacos de adobada are made with two small 4,5-inch tortillas each. If you can’t find store-bought tortillas in that size, make them with regular-sized tortillas or prepare your own with our tortilla recipe.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 19mg | Sodium: 406mg | Potassium: 197mg | Fiber: 11g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 983IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 15mg | Iron: 1mg
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Recipe Rating




6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made those tacos yesterday and they were a BIG HIT! the marinade was just perfect and the meat was tender, aromatic, delicious. I served them with store-bought salsa and now I think I should have made a salsa too. Well, I’ll do next time.

    1. Thank you Rita! feel free to browse around, we have plenty of easy homemade salsas for you to try :)

  2. 5 stars
    I prepared this taco meat yesterday for a party and it was a hit!!! Everyone wanted the recipe. I did the math and marinated 16 lbs. Instead of frying it, because of the large quantity, I cooked it in the oven. It was delicious! I just found your blog and it is already one of my favorites. Saludos desde Tejas.

    1. Oh wow! 16 lbs :O that’s a lot of tacos! yum :) thank you for stopping by and your kind words :)

  3. 5 stars
    Fabulous recipe! I’m about to make it for the 3rd time in a month. I’m adding a jalapeno this time, to maybe give it a little heat. My son says next time we want Mexican food we just need to go to the grocery store. He right! It’s better than any of the many restaurants we’ve tried since moving across country 10 months ago.

    1. Hi Suzannah that’s so nice to hear! You can also add a few chile de árbol to the adobo sauce for more heat :) just soak them along with the guajillo chilies so they will be easier to blend. Thank you for stopping by!