Al Pastor Recipe: Perfect for Tacos Al Pastor

Three plates featuring delicious Tacos Al Pastor served on corn tortillas and topped with charred pineapple and cotija cheese.

Taco Al Pastor Recipe: Pineapple, Pork, & Peppers

Hey food adventurers! Time to hit the road again and grab bite of the tasty tacos al pastor from Mexico City popularized throughout the states. Parents are we wanting something that packs all the flavor, but also healthy enough to feed your kids for Taco Tuesday? Although al pastor recipes can generally get pretty spicy there are few tricks to tame the heat when cooking with kids. This dish is a quick and easy recipe as long as you plan ahead for marinading time and has plenty of foodie tips and tricks for kids learning to cook.

Firstly, this dish is is perfect for teaching kids cooking skills like layering flavors, marinading, and about the culture of Mexican cuisine. Secondly, this dish is bright, colorful, and sweet consisting of pineapple, pork, and vibrant peppers! Finally, with a few adjustment the spicy heat level can be adjusted on this taco al pastor recipe for any littles tastebuds. Although, when making this with our littles we probably should have tamed it more the first time.

Colorful layout of the ingredients that comprise this kid-friendly recipe of Al Pastor tacos.

Al Pastor Tacos are Middle Eastern?

Tacos al Pastor delivers across the board in flavors originating in Mexico as they originate in Mexico City around the 1920s. Although, the tradition of cooking on a vertical spit comes from the Middle East it was adopted for cooking Pastor! Additionally, substituting the pita and replacing it with a tasty corn tortilla was no stretch either. Initially named Tacos Arabes a nod to Arab roots Al Pastor is a very popular Mexican street foods!

Though the origins of Al Pastor is Mexican street food, our house was inspired by Pancho’s Taqueria & Mexican Cafe. Pancho’s has instilled taste for Mexican food and also a love for the traditionally vibrant colors associated with the culture. Since many aren’t in Gus’ neck of the Minnesota woods this quick and easy pastor recipe brings it to you!

Your Attractive Heading

Cooking Gourmet Gus’ Al Pastor Recipe with Kids: Steps to teach kids to cook

Both pineapple and marinading pork grilling for these delicious tacos al pastor.

Attention Parents Cooking with Kids!

Parents should use their own discretion in which steps their kids perform and should always prioritize kitchen safety!
Soaking the ancho and guajillo chilies in hot water (Kid Effort 1 out of 5)
Placing ingredients in the blender and blending. As always with adult supervision. (Kid Effort 2 out of 5)
Older kid cooks can assist in thinly slicing the pork shoulder (Kid Effort 4 out of 5)
Peeling & Slicing the pineapple, though peeling can be difficult for the kid safe knives (Kid Effort 3 out of 5)
Coring pineapple slices using a small circular cookie cutter (Kid Effort 1 out of 5)
Assembling the tacos, which is the fun part! (Kid Effort 1 out of 5)

Make ahead notice!

Although active cook and prep times here are short at only 45 minutes combined. Marinades take time and need at least 4 hours!
These delicious Al Pastor tacos are plated and served alongside guacamole in a molcajete.

Tacos Al Pastor

Al pastor is a traditional Mexican dish that is typically made by marinating pork in a blend of chilies, spices, and pineapple. The marinated meat is then cooked on a vertical spit, similar to a shawarma, and sliced thinly for serving.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Marinade Time 4 hours
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican, TexMex
Servings 4 people
Calories 400 kcal


  • 1 Grill
  • 1 Blender / Food Processor
  • 1 Tongs (Make sure to click 3 time before grilling)


  • 2 Lbs Pork Shoulder, thinly sliced (Pork loin works in a pinch)
  • 3 Each Guajillo Chiles (Use 2 for Medium & 1 for Mild Spicy Heat)
  • 3 Each Ancho Chiles
  • 1 Each Chipotle Chile in Adobo Sauce (Remove Seeds & Veins for Medium heat & Omit completely for mild)
  • 1/2 Cup Pineapple Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/4 Cup Achiote Paste
  • 4 Cloves Garlic
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 Each Fresh Pineapple Sliced & Cored
  • Corn Tortillas for serving
  • 1 Tbsp Honey (Optional to reduce heat)


  • Begin by soaking the dried guajillo and ancho chilies in hot water for about 20 minutes, or until they are soft.
  • Once the chilies are soft, remove the stems and seeds and place them in a blender along with the chipotle chili, pineapple juice, apple cider vinegar, achiote paste, garlic, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper. Blend until smooth.
  • Place the thinly sliced pork shoulder in a large bowl and pour the marinade over the meat, making sure it is well coated. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Preheat your grill or oven to 400 °F
  • Place the sliced pineapple on the grill or in the oven and cook until lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the pineapple from the grill or oven and set it aside.
  • Place the marinated pork on the grill cooking 3-4 or longer depending on thickness of cuts. Use a quick read thermometer to ensure internal temperature is 145°F­ before removing from grill.
  • To serve, thinly slice the al pastor meat into strips and serve with warm corn tortillas and the charred pineapple slices. Enjoy!


We understand that spicy doesn’t necessarily agree with all kids, while others can tolerate different levels.
Medium Spicy Heat Adjustments
  • Use 2 instead of 3 guajillo peppers
  • Deseed and devein the Chipotle chili (The white veins inside the chili & the seeds are where the capsaicin oil and the heat live)
  • Add 1 Tbsp of Honey to balance the heat
  • Serve with Avocado or Sour Cream to cook down the spice
Mild Spicy Heat Adjustments
  • Use 1 instead of 3 guajillo peppers
  • Omit the Chipotle Chile
  • Add 1 Tbsp of Honey to balance the heat
  • Serve with Avocado or Sour Cream to cook down the spice
Keyword Cooking with Kids, Creative Recipes for Kids, Easy Weeknight Dinner, Family-Friendly Recipe, Fun and Easy Family Recipe, Kid-Friendly Recipe

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

Scroll to Top