Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos
These slow cooker Korean-inspired pork tacos are a little sweet and savory (with a hint of heat), totally delicious, and so easy to make!
Inspired by flavors often used in Korean cooking, these fusion tacos are a fun way to bring food truck eats into your home kitchen. They’re the latest recipe added to our menu rotation and we all love them!
The pulled pork cooks slowly with brown sugar, soy sauce, red onion, jalapeño, ginger, garlic, rice vinegar and sesame oil until tender and full of so much flavor. It has a subtle sweetness and hint of heat, and the crunchy lime cabbage slaw topping is the perfect contrast. The combination of savory flavors and fresh textures is what makes these tacos so delicious!
How to make slow cooker Korean pork tacos
Don’t be intimidated by the ingredient list. It all comes together pretty quickly, and using the slow cooker makes this meal so easy! And everything can be prepped ahead of time so dinner is even simpler.
- Combine pork marinade. Stir together brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chopped red onion and jalapeño, ginger and sesame seeds together.
- Sear pork for more flavor. Season pork tenderloin or roast with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides in a hot skillet over medium high heat (a few minutes per side).
- Cook in slow cooker. Add pork to the slow cooker and top with soy sauce mixture and add garlic cloves. Cover and cook for about 7 hours on low heat, or 4 hours on high heat, until tender.
- Shred pork. Shred pork and return it to the slow cooker and cook uncovered for another 30 minutes.
- Make slaw and prep other taco ingredients. Combine brown sugar, sesame oil, olive oil, ginger and salt. Toss with the shredded cabbage, scallions and cilantro.
- Assemble tacos. Add shredded pork to small corn or flour tortillas and top with slaw.
Why you should sear meat before slow cooking
Searing your meat before sticking it into the slow cooker is a completely optional step, but I always make the time for it. “Searing” simply means that the surface of the meat is cooked at a high temperature over dry heat until a brown caramelized crust forms. Brown food = more flavorful food and searing meat first injects more flavor into the dish than there would be otherwise.
A cast iron skillet is my favorite pan for searing meat, but a slow cooker that also has a sauté feature is also a great option (such as a Instant Pot that also has a slow cooker AND sauté function). Less dishes to clean!
More ways to enjoy this recipe!
This recipe actually makes a big batch of pulled pork, which is perfect for enjoying tacos one night and freezing some for another night.
But if you’d like to make something other than tacos with the pulled pork, here are a few ideas:
- Pork grain bowls with rice or other grain. Top with cabbage slaw, avocado and extra cilantro.
- Pork sliders with cabbage slaw on soft sandwich buns.
More slow cooker meals
- Slow Cooker Pot Roast
- Slow Cooker Rosemary Balsamic Pork Roast
- Spaghetti and Meatballs (with a slow cooker options)
- Easy Shredded Cooked Chicken (Slow Cooker, Instant Pot and Stovetop)
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Slow Cooker Korean Pork Tacos
- ½ cup light or dark brown sugar
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 2 jalapeno peppers , finely chopped
- 2 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 lbs pork tenderloin or pork butt/shoulder roast
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- 5 whole garlic cloves
- 1 tablespoon light or dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice of half a lime
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 cups shredded green cabbage
- 2 cups shredded red cabbage
- 4 scallions , chopped
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro
- Corn or flour tortillas
- Shredded pulled pork
- Cilantro , optional
- Lime wedges , optional
To make the pork:
- Combine the brown sugar, soy sauce, red onion, jalepeno, ginger, rice vinegar, and sesame seeds in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- (Optional step) Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper and brown in a large pan set over medium high heat. Brown all or most sides, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- Place pork in a slow cooker. Pour soy sauce mixture over the top. Add the garlic cloves.
- Cover with lid and cook on low for 7 hours, on high for 4 hours.
- Shred pork slightly into large pieces and continue to cook uncovered for an additional 30 minutes.
- Shred pork completely and use immediately or store in the fridge for up to 1 week in the freezer for up to 3 months.
To make the slaw:
- Combine the brown sugar, sesame oil, olive oil, ginger and salt in a bowl and whisk until smooth.
- In a bowl toss the green and red cabbage, scallions and cilantro together. Pour dressing over the top and toss until combined.
- Use immediately, the slaw won't keep for very long.
To serve the tacos:
- If desired, toast tortillas in a dry skillet over medium heat.
- Top tortillas with pork, slaw, cilantro and a squeeze of a lime wedge.
- This recipe makes a lot of pulled pork. Stash half in the freezer for a quick meal another night.
- Depending on the jalepenos, this makes for mild-medium heat pulled pork. If you'd like to make it spicier, add 1-2 tablespoons of sriracha to the soy sauce mixture before cooking meat.