A small black frying pan filled with shredded redish-orange pork, with lime wedges in a bowl in the background

Cochinita pibil

  • serves 4
  • Easy

Slow-cooked until meltingly tender, this pork dish originates from Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula – serve with tortillas and lime for a sharing-style feast. This recipe comes from Soho’s El Pastor restaurant


Try this recipe for cochinita pibil (slow-cooked pork) from Soho’s El Pastor. Serve it as part of a Mexican-style feast along with tacos al pastoresquites (Mexican corn salad) and spicy Mexican rice, plus check out more of our Mexican-inspired recipes.




  • garlic 2 cloves, peeled
  • cloves 7
  • whole black peppercorns 15
  • cumin seeds 1 tsp
  • vegetable oil 1 tbsp
  • achiote paste 15g
  • oregano 4 sprigs, leaves only
  • ground cinnamon ¼ tsp
  • orange ½, zest pared into strips with a peeler
  • orange juice 3 tbsp
  • white wine vinegar 4 tsp
  • soy sauce ½ tsp


  • pork collar or shoulder 650g
  • plum tomato ½, sliced
  • onion ½ small, sliced
  • red pepper ¼, sliced
  • bay leaf 1
  • banana leaves 15g, (optional)


  • olive oil 2 tsp
  • red onions 500g, finely chopped
  • habanero or scotch bonnet chillies 3-4, deseeded and chopped
  • oregano 4 sprigs, leaves only
  • ground allspice ½ tsp
  • apple cider vinegar 100ml


  • halloumi 30g, grated
  • lime 1, cut into 8 wedges
  • corn tortillas 12


  • Step 1

    To make the marinade, heat a small frying pan, and toast the garlic, cloves, peppercorns and cumin seeds for 3-4 minutes to release the flavour of the spices. Put all the other marinade ingredients in a blender with ½ tsp of fine sea salt and whizz until smooth. Tip into a large bowl and mix in the toasted spices.

  • Step 2

    Add the pork to the bowl with the marinade, with 1 tsp of salt, the tomato, onion, red pepper and bay leaf, and leave to marinate for at least 3 hours, or up to 6 hours.

  • Step 3

    Meanwhile, to make the pickled habanero, heat the olive oil in a pan over a medium heat. When hot, cook the onions with a pinch of salt for 10 minutes until soft, then add the chillies and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the oregano, allspice and vinegar, and season to taste. Mix well and leave to cool, then keep in the fridge until you are ready to serve. This will make more than you’ll need but will keep in the fridge for a week.

  • Step 4

    Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Use half of the banana leaves (if using) to cover the base of a deep baking tray. Add the pork, spread out evenly and pour in any remaining marinade, then cover with the rest of the banana leaves, or with baking paper instead. Cover with foil or a lid and put in the oven for 2 hours. Once cooked, transfer the contents of the parcel to a large bowl, including the liquid, and shred using two forks.

  • Step 5

    To serve, put the warm cochinita in a serving bowl. Put the pickled habanero, halloumi and limes in separate small bowls. Wrap the tortillas in foil, and heat them through in the oven. When you are ready to serve, remove them from the oven but leave them wrapped in the foil so that they do not dry out before serving. Fill each tortilla with some of the cochinita and top with the pickled habanero, halloumi and a squeeze of lime.

Create a feast with more Mexican-style recipes

Tacos Al Pastor Recipe

Nutritional Information

  • Kcals 667
  • Fat 37g
  • Saturates 10.7g
  • Carbs 41.3g
  • Sugars 9.6g
  • Fibre 8.7g
  • Protein 37.8g
  • Salt 2.8g