Copycat Del Taco Carnitas Loaded Fries tastes better homemade and can be made whenever the craving hits! Don’t forget the secret sauce!
To this day, my husband fondly describes the summer when he discovered Del Taco’s Carnitas Loaded Fries. For him, it was one of the worst summers he ever had. However, those fries were one of the things that helped him get through the hard times.
My husband also still remembers the devastation when he went to Del Taco after the summer was over, and Del Taco no longer carried his beloved fries. He learned Del Taco only carries Carnitas Loaded Fries for a limited time!
The following summer he anxiously looked forward to the return of the Carnitas Loaded Fries, but they never returned. They didn’t return the summer after that, and the summer after that, and the summer after that! My husband began to wonder if the fries would ever come back. He even reached out to Del Taco on Twitter asking about when they would return, and he received a response that they might never come back.
That’s where I come in. My husband related his history with Del Taco’s Carnitas Loaded Fries to me, and I set out to find what was in them and how to make them.
So, without ever trying Del Taco’s Loaded Carnitas Fries, I developed this recipe my husband and I can make whenever the craving hits!
In the summer of 2018, Del Taco brought back their Loaded Carnitas Fries, and I was finally able to try them. I have to say my version is better than theirs, and my husband agrees!
Del Taco Carnitas Loaded Fries Ingredients
Del Taco’s Carnitas Loaded Fries are made by topping Del Taco’s signature crinkle-cut fries with shredded pork carnitas, grated and melted cheddar cheese, diced onions, chopped cilantro, and a savory secret sauce. They are absolutely delicious!
Easy Pork Carnitas
Since I wasn’t sure what Del Taco’s Carnitas Loaded Fries tasted like, I tried several versions until I found my favorite. Consequently, I use the best tasting version of pork carnitas I have found.
For this recipe, prepare one batch of my Easy Pork Carnitas recipe (meat only). In the morning, throw the pork carnitas into the slow cooker to cook during the day. After the meat is cooked, the rest of the recipe comes together in about 30 minutes.
Since I’m currently cooking for only my husband and me, I pull out two, single-serving, portions of my previously prepped easy pork carnitas from my freezer, and heat them up in them microwave for a minute to a minute and a half. Then, I proceed with the scaled down recipe (for two).
Crinkle-Cut French Fries
For easy fry preparation, I use frozen Ore-Ida Golden Crinkles French Fries. I love the convenience of using frozen french fries. Plus, I love being able to achieve the same texture in the fries that the Del Taco fries have.
Cook the fries according to the packaging directions (deep frying, air frying, or baking). Del Taco prepares their fries with the deep fryer, but use whatever method works for your lifestyle.
If you do not want to purchase frozen french fries, feel free to make your own homemade fries.
Whatever cooking method you choose, be sure to salt and pepper your fries after cooking!
Savory Secret Sauce
Determining what made the “savory secret sauce” was especially tricky because I never tried it before. I practically interrogated my husband to figure out what the sauce tasted like. I finally got some help from my dad who found the secret sauce ingredients on a recipe forum.
Making the savory secret sauce is very simple, and it contains only 3 ingredients: mayonnaise, milk, and lime juice.
Simply, whisk the ingredients together until combined. Next, pour into a squeeze bottle and refrigerate to thicken the sauce and to allow the flavors to meld.
Sometimes, when I make the sauce, the sauce is too thin. So, add the milk gradually until the sauce reaches a consistency that isn’t too thick or thin. Refrigerating the sauce for a longer period of time also helps the sauce to thicken.
Copycat Del Taco Carnitas Loaded Fries would not be complete with the final toppings: cheddar cheese, diced onion, and chopped cilantro.
For the best tasting results and best melting results, grate your own sharp cheddar cheese rather than buying prepacked cheese. It makes such a difference in the final outcome of the dish, and it’s worth the few extra minutes it takes to grate your own.
After melting the cheese the fries and pork carnitas, top the french fries with raw, diced, yellow onion. If you don’t like the taste of raw onion (like I do), green onion can also be substituted for the yellow onion.
Finally, top everything with fresh chopped cilantro to brighten and flavor the dish even more!
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Copycat Del Taco Carnitas Loaded Fries
- 1 recipe Easy Pork Carnitas (Meat only)
- 24 oz Frozen French Fries Ore-Ida
- 2 cups Cheddar Cheese Grated
- 1 small Onion Diced
- 1/2 bunch Cilantro
- Salt and Pepper To Taste
- 1 cup Mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp Milk
- 1 tsbp Lime Juice
- Prepare one batch of Easy Pork Carnitas.
Secret Sauce Preparation
- In a small mixing bowl, combine mayonnaise, milk, and lime juice until ingredients are fully mixed.
- Add sauce to a squeeze bottle, and refrigerate until ready to use.
- Cook fries according to packaged directions (deep frying, air frying, or baking).
- Immediately after cooking fries, season with salt and pepper.
- Chop onion into a fine dice, cut cilantro leaves from the stems, and grate cheddar cheese.
- Preheat the oven on the Broil setting.
- Line a half-sized baking sheet (13 x 18 x 1 inch) with aluminum foil. Layer french fries in a single layer on the baking sheet.
- Evenly, top the fries with the pork carnitas. Sprinkle the cheese on top of the carnitas.
- Broil fries for 5-7 minutes until the pork is heated through and the cheese melts.
- Remove the fries from the oven, and top with diced onion, cilantro, and a drizzle of the secret sauce.
- Serve warm and enjoy!