Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

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Cafe Rio Sweet Pork recipe is full of delicious sweet flavor. It goes perfectly in burritos, tacos, salads and so much more!

Sweet Pork

I already know what you’re thinking. Does the food blog world really need another Café Rio recipe? Well, my answer is YES. A big fat huge YES because this Cafe Rio Sweet Pork recipe is phenomenal, and I don’t throw that word around too much. 🙂

My hubby is the biggest sweet pork fan. Every single time we eat at Café Rio, he orders the sweet pork salad. He just loves it. I usually order the fire-grilled chicken, but I always seem to ask Kale if I can have a bite of his! haha.

About 2 years ago I started making the sweet pork at home, and it just never tasted right. So I’ve been experimenting with different versions and this one is the one we feel tastes closest to the real thing. It is so sweet, so delicious. It literally melts in your mouth. There’s no need to marinate the pork, like other recipes. I skipped out on doing it this time, and I could not tell a difference at all.

This pork is SO flavorful! It’s perfect in burritos, tacos and salads. We love to place a tortilla on a plate, then top it with black beans, rice and the sweet pork, just like Café Rio does. Try this Creamy Cilantro Dressing to pour over the top. It is heaven!

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5 from 14 votes

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

Sweet and tender shredded pork just like the one from Café Rio. Perfect for burritos, salads and tacos!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 8
Author Life in the Lofthouse


  • 3 pound pork shoulder/butt roast
  • 16 ounces Coca-Cola soda, divided (do not use diet soda. You need the regular soda for the sugar in it)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can (4 ounces) diced green chilies
  • 1 can (10 ounces) red enchilada sauce
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar


  • Spray inside of a large crock pot with cooking spray. Place pork roast inside. Pour 8 ounces of Coca-Cola ( I used a measuring cup) and water around pork. (It does not need to cover roast) Sprinkle evenly with garlic salt, salt and pepper. Cover with lid and cook on high heat for 6 hours OR cook on low heat for 8 hours.
  • Remove pork from crock pot and transfer to cutting board. Discard liquid from crock pot. Shred pork with two forks, and remove any fat.
  • In a blender or food processor, blend the remaining 8 ounces Coca-Cola, diced green chilies, enchilada sauce and brown sugar. Blend until smooth.
  • Place shredded pork back in crock pot. Pour enchilada sauce mixture over the shredded pork. Cover crock pot with lid and cook another 1 to 2 hours on low heat.
  • Serve pork in burritos, salads and tacos!



Crock Pot Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
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Recipe Rating

57 thoughts on “Cafe Rio Sweet Pork

  1. Wow!!!! I made this for my daughter and I for a twist on regular tacos…. I could’ve eaten the meat alone with a fork and left all the toppings!!! This is the perfect mix of savory sweet and will find its way into our regular “taco Tuesday” rotation.

  2. Soooo good. We’re not really Coke people, so we used root beer instead. Turned out fabulous.

  3. This was a hit in my house! Served ot with spanish yellow rice and black beans. Only thing I think we were missing was a little heat, will use hot chiles and enchilada sauce next time. Cannot wait to use leftovers in tacos and a salad. Thanks for sharing a keeper

    1. I have made this recipe – all the same prep steps and ingredients with a few tweaks to use an instant pot : 3 lbs of pork tenderloin cut into chunks for 55 minutes on manual (with the grate that lifts the meat mostly off the bottom of the pot. Once it finishes and steam is released I drain liquid, shred with two forks, then add the enchilada sauce mixture and just incorporate together until hot. i didn’t continue to cook with sauce mixture but I’m sure it would make the flavor more deep and perhaps a little thicker maybe? But turns out fabulous. This is my favorite cafe rio pork recipe.

  4. I realized after I made this and then ate at Cafe Rio that this recipe tastes better than the actual Cafe Rio sweet Pork Burittos! You could open a restaurant. Good job!

  5. Thank you for sharing!! I’ve tried another Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe, and yours definitely tastes more like the real deal!! Made it today. and it was a huge hit! Thanks again!

  6. Have you ever tried adding chipotles in adobo sauce? They’re smoked jalapeños, but the adobo sauce they come canned in is the magical part. I’m constantly tweaking this recipe too!Tandie

  7. 5 stars
    I moved out of the area where my local cafe rio was. Their sweet pulled pork was the absolute sizzle and now that I’ve found this recipe I can have it whenever I want. Made the recipe as directed, rolled it up into a burrito, covered it with some salsa verse and cheese…bam.

    1. The regular Coke does add a sweetness to it that makes this pork so amazing. I have never tried it with Diet coke. I’m not sure it would be that good.

  8. 5 stars
    Absolutely delicious!! We recently moved ro an area where we no longer have quick access to cafe rio (our fave). This hot thw spot, so easy and incredibly yummy! This will definitely be a staple meal in out home!

    1. I have not tried this recipe using chicken, but if I were to try it, I would use the same amount of chicken as pork (3 lbs) but cook it for about 6 hours. Chicken breast cooks a lot faster than the pork, so you don’t want to over cook it.

  9. Just Clarification, do you cook it for 6 hours or 8-9 hours and then an additional 2 hours after adding the remaining ingredients? Or do you with 2 hours remaining add in the remaining ingredients? Can’t wait to try it!

  10. 5 stars
    I made this after reading all of the reviews and it was a hit. My family said it tasted just like cafe rio. Thank you!

  11. 5 stars
    I used this recipe to make about 40 pounds of the sweet pork for a graduation party and it was a hit. Everyone says it tastes just like Cafe Rio. So delicious- this recipe is a keeper!

  12. I’ve made this recipe now as it’s written, and with keto substitutes, and they were both divine!! For keto I subbed Dr. Pepper Zero for the coke, and Monkfruit brown sugar for the regular brown sugar. I’m eating it right now for the third day in a row, still in awe at how delicious it is. Who says eating healthier means you have to give up everything?!

  13. 5 stars
    This is by far the best sweet pork recipe! I have made many other recipes for Sweet Pork, but they lack flavor. This is my go to sweet pork recipe. My family loves it!

  14. 5 stars
    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this recipe it’s fabulous I live down the street from the Cafe Rio and I eat there all the time. Your pork is incredible. we’ll be making it all the time for my family hope to find more good recipes with you. I researched a lot of different recipes on the internet and I’m glad I went with yours turns out it’s the best thanks again

  15. 5 stars
    I’ve made this once before and my husband and I absolutely loved it! I’M planning on tripling it for a birthday PARTy. Should I triple the amount of soda while cooking? Any other tips are appreciated!

    1. Hi Tara! If you are wanting to triple the recipe, yes you would triple the amount of soda. Not sure if tripling it will fit in one crock pot, so I would just use two separate crock pots/ slow cookers. Double one of the recipes and the make one single recipe in the other.

  16. 5 stars
    I made this 2 weeks ago and my 9 year old who loves Cafe rio said it was way better then the restaurant!!! I m making it again today.

  17. 5 stars
    My husband and i moved and miss cafe rio/costa vida so much. This recipe is the most spot on i have ever found. Makes for amazing salads, burritos, tacos and quesadillas! i use a boston butt cut and found it works perfectly.

  18. In the recipe, It states to place the shredded the pork with the sauce and additional 2 hours on the crock pot. If I don’t have 2 hours once I’m home from work, what else can I do?

    1. Hi Judene! That extra 1 to 2 hours after shredding the pork and pouring in the remaining ingredients is just meant to heat it all up together. If you turn the crock pot on high and heat it for another 30 to 45 minutes it should be good to go! OR you can place the shredded pork, and the remaining ingredients in a large pot on the stove top and heat it until it’s all warmed through. Hope this helps 🙂

  19. I do love this recipe. it is super yummy. However, in my experience coke zero and light brown sugar work really well in this recipe. ITs still really sweet and delicious. just a thought for those trying to watch their sugar intake.

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