Cochinita Pibil


I know everybody has its own cochinita pibil recipe and everybody claims that theirs is the best! Well, I’m not going to say that mine is the best ever, but it is good! We have done cochinita pibil this way in my family since forever, it is not the traditional way, but it works for us and it never fails to impress our guests.

Cochinita pibil or Pork Pibil is a dish from the Yucatan peninsula of Mayan origins. Traditionally the pork meat is marinated in annatto paste or achiote, naranja agria juice, vinegar and spices, wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit for a few hours, that is where the name pibil comes from, because the word “pibil” in Mayan means “underground”.
It is a simple recipe, but it takes a lot of time to get it right, the meat needs to marinate for 2 hours minimum or preferably over night and then it needs to be cook for around 2 hours at least, depending on the amount of meat. When the meat is cooked, it is shredded, then garnished with pickle onion and an habanero salsa and eaten in tacos.

Remember to leave a comment if you like the recipe. Your feedback is very important to me.


Karlita X

Cochinita Pibil

Servings 6 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 30 mins


  • Dutch oven


  • 1 Kg Pork shoulder a large piece or cut in big chunks
  • 20 g achiote paste
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • ½ white onion shredded
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 large banana leaf fresh, optional
  • ¼ cup water

To serve

  • corn tortillas taqueras small corn tortillas
  • 1 cup pickled onion
  • 1 cup habanero spicy salsa

To make pickled red onion

  • 1 large red onion peeled and finely dice
  • 1 tsbp salt
  • 3 limes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano

To make habanero salsa

  • 1 large habanero or scotch bonnet
  • 2 tomatoes
  • ½ white onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ tsp salt


To make Cochinita Pibil

  • Get the juice out of the oranges and lemon. Put them together in a bowl and add the achiote paste. Then using a nutri bullet or hand blender, blend the achiote paste with the orange and lemon juice until all the achiote has dissolved.
  • Place the pork meat in a large bowl and add the achiote marinade. Marinate over night or at least 2 hrs before cooking.
  • To use the banana leaf, turn on a hob burner and pass the banana leaf over the fire, making sure not to burn it. It will go shiny and flexible. Place it in a dutch over (cast iron casserole) and add the pork with the achiote marinade, the ¼ cup of water, the onion, salt, garlic, dried oregno and wrap it very well. Put the lid on and place in the oven to 160° C.
  • Cook for 1 hr and take it out to check if it needs more seasoning. Place the casserole back in the oven and cook for one more hour or until the pork is very tender that it falls apart.

To make the pickled red onion

  • Dice a red onion. Add the salt and leave on the side for 10 minutes.
  • Then rinse the onion to remove the salt excess and then add the juice of the three limes and the dried oregano. Mix and leave on the side until the onion has turn pink.

To make the habanero salsa

  • Add all the habanero, tomatoes, onion and garlic in a sauce pan and add the water. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer for 10 minutes and set aside to cool down.
  • Once cool down, blend until smooth and add salt.
  • When everything is ready, just heat the corn tortillas. Shred the pork and serve over a corn tortilla, add some pickled red onion and some spicy habanero salcita. Enjoy this lovely cochinita with family and friends with some very cold cervecitas (beers).
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: mexican food, tacos, cochinita pibil, achiote

I would love to hear if you liked this recipe, tag me on social media #mexicanfoodmemories to see your creations. And if you want to learn to make this recipe and more, join me in one of my Mexican Cooking Classes.



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