Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita pibil or cochinita con achiote is a traditional Mexican dish made out of banana leaf wrapped slow roasted pork marinated in citrus juice seasoned with annatto seeds. It’s one of the Mexican dishes with the Mayan origin, originating in the Yucatán Peninsula this dish was traditionally made with suckling pigs, hence the name Cochinita which means “baby pigs” cooked while buried in a fire pit.

Preparing this nowadays does not require a whole suckling pig but a big chunk of pork loin will do, use of Seville or bitter oranges is also the key to get the original flavour as possible but if you can’t find those oranges the normal ones are good enough like the ones I used in our recipe for today. The citric content on the marinade helps in tenderizing the meat further allowing tougher parts like pork line to be used. One thing not to miss as well is the use of annatto as it gives that bright orange colour as well as imparting some subtle flavours of bitterness as well as earthiness. Once cooked the meat can then be enjoyed with your tortilla of choice alongside condiments like red picked onions, refried black beans and some chilies.

It’s one of the many fillings you can enjoy with a tortilla and I guess this is one of my favourite together with the Pork Carnitas, and like any Mexican dish an ice cold Corona or Sol would be the perfect accompaniment to mellow down that heat from the chillies.

Cochinita Pibil
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 6-8
  • 1.5 kg boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 large banana leaf
  • 3 white onions, quartered
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tbsp achiote paste (Recado rojo)
  • ⅓ cup sour orange juice
  • ⅔ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 pcs red hot chilli peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  1. In a bowl combine all marinade ingredients until well blended.
  2. Season pork generously with salt and freshly ground black pepper
  3. In a large heavy duty zip lock bag place the pork then the marinade making sure the spice juice completely covers the pork. Place in the refrigerator and let it marinate for 24 hours.
  4. Before cooking remove pork from the refrigerator and let it come down to room temperature before roasting.
  5. Clean you banana leaves then completely wrap the pork with the leaves together with its spices, the more layers you can put the better.
  6. Using a large Dutch oven that you can close place the quartered onions along with the water, place wrapped pork on top then roast it in a 150C preheated oven for 3.5 to 4 hrs until pork is fork tender.
  7. Remove pork from the oven, Open the banana wraps then discard, pull the meat apart combining it with the juices from the pan and the cooked onions then serve it with pickled Red Onions, warm corn tortillas and salsa.
If you can’t find Recado rojo from where you are you can use the Ground Annatto powder instead.


Cochinita Pibil Wide


2 Responses

  1. What a gorgeous dish! I have never had it but I will have to give it a try. I am glad that the modern preparation is much more simple than the traditional one.

  2. suituapui says:

    Oh my!!! That is absolutely gorgeous!!! Anything wrapped in banana leaf is nice, it will bring the taste up to a whole new level.

Leave a Reply, your comments are my inspiration

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: