Mandarin Chipotle Pork Tacos
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Mandarin Chipotle Pork Tacos

A quick, sweet-and-spicy marinade takes pork tenderloin to the next level, just in time to celebrate National Taco Day!

This was one of those meals that I put together out of odds and ends hanging around my kitchen that turned out so fabulously!

It all started with a piece of pork tenderloin that I found in the freezer. I put it in the fridge to thaw overnight, and the next afternoon, I had to figure out just what exactly to do with it.

And whenever there’s a question about what to do with some random ingredients, the answer is almost always TACOS.

Mandarin Chipotle Pork Tacos

I’ve been on a big cast iron kick lately, so I knew I wanted to get the ingredients nice and caramelized in there – the way we do with chicken fajitas.

I love sweet and sour pork, so I knew that pork and pineapple would be a good match. But I had a can of mandarin oranges in the pantry that needed to be used, so I figured why not? It sounded a little crazy, but it totally worked!

I used some of the juice from the can in the marinade, and then put a few orange segments on the tacos at the end for garnish. My husband definitely gave me the side-eye and asked if I was suuuuuure I wanted him to put both Greek yogurt and mandarin oranges on his taco before eating it. I promised him it was going to be good, and he was very pleasantly surprised!

The spiciness from the adobo sauce and the sweet peppers and oranges worked beautifully together. The quick spice mix that went into the marinade really deepened the flavor of the pork.

Mandarin Chipotle Pork Tacos

Apparently today is National Taco Day. I don’t need an excuse to make and/or eat tacos, but I figured today would be the perfect day to share these beauties. They’re unique and delicious and will definitely be repeated in my tiny kitchen!

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Mandarin Chipotle Pork Tacos

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 Tacos 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican


A quick, sweet-and-spicy marinade takes pork tenderloin to the next level, just in time to celebrate National Taco Day!


Units Scale
  • 1 pound pork tenderloin, trimmed and sliced into 1/2-inch by 1-inch pieces
  • 11 ounce can mandarin oranges in light syrup, drained (reserve 2 tablespoons of juice for marinade)
  • 2 tablespoons sauce from canned chipotle in adobo
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 34 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 12 baby bell peppers, sliced into rings, seeds and stems removed
  • Flour tortillas, for serving (I used taco boats)
  • Greek yogurt or sour cream, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


  1. Place pork in a bowl or zip-top bag. Add syrup from mandarin oranges, adobo sauce, cumin, garlic powder, coriander, 1/4 teaspoon salt and oregano and toss well to coat. Cover (or close the bag) and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Take it out of the refrigerator when you’re ready to start cooking the veggies, to take the chill off.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons peanut oil in a large skillet (preferably cast iron) over medium-high heat. Add onions and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to brown, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and continue cooking until softened. Remove to a plate.
  3. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in the same skillet and add pork. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is nicely browned and cooked through. Add the cooked peppers and onions back in and allow to heat through.
  4. To serve, pile pork mixture into tortillas or taco boats, garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt or sour cream and a few mandarin orange segments. A few lime wedges on the side are a great addition as well. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 214
  • Sugar: 10.5 g
  • Sodium: 296.3 mg
  • Fat: 8.9 g
  • Saturated Fat: 1.7 g
  • Carbohydrates: 15.1 g
  • Fiber: 3.6 g
  • Protein: 18.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 49.1 mg

Keywords: pork tacos, mandarin oranges, marinated steak, mini peppers

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Ashley Covelli is a food photographer, recipe developer, and culinary instructor based in Ossining, New York. She loves helping people become enthusiastic and adventurous in the kitchen so that they can build skills and confidence to cook for themselves and their loved ones. She can almost always be found with at least 3 different beverages within arm's reach.


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