These barbecue jackfruit tacos are smoky and sweet, with a pulled pork texture that might just be mistaken for the real thing. Add your favourite toppings and dig in!
Jackfruit is a large, tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia. The interesting thing about jackfruit is that it can be eaten both ripe or unripe, with different textures and flavours at each stage. Ripe jackfruit is soft, juicy, and has a tropical flavour similar to mango or pineapple.
When unripe, jackfruit has a meaty, fibrous texture that makes it an excellent substitute for pulled pork or chicken in dishes like these jackfruit tacos. And, like tofu, it also takes on the flavors of whatever spices or sauces it is cooked with.
Basically, jackfruit is about to become your new favourite meat substitute!
Why You’ll Love This Jackfruit Tacos Recipe
- Tacos with a twist. While I love tacos with Tex-Mex flavours like my vegan birria tacos and sweet potato and black bean tacos, these jackfruit tacos have a Southern BBQ twist that makes them a great way to jazz up your Taco Tuesday routine!
- Perfect way to use jackfruit. If you’re new to cooking with jackfruit, this easy vegan taco recipe is a great way to get started.
- Quick and easy. These jackfruit tacos take just 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cooking, which means dinner’s on the table lightning fast. If you’re looking for vegan meals for busy weeknights, these tacos are perfect!
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- Unsweetened jackfruit in water – Drain off the liquid before using the jackfruit in this recipe.
- Olive oil
- Onion – Yellow, white, or red onion will all work in these tacos.
- BBQ seasonings – Ground cumin, cinnamon, garlic powder, sweet paprika, and black pepper add depth and flavor; salt is also key, while brown sugar brings just the right amount of sweetness.
- Barbecue sauce – Use your favourite. I love my roasted strawberry barbecue sauce in this recipe.
- Sriracha – You can use more or less, depending on your heat preference.
- Lime juice
- Taco shells or tortillas – You can also use lettuce leaves to make jackfruit taco wraps.
- Toppings – Avocado, cilantro, pickled red onion, and lime wedges.
Where Can I Buy Jackfruit?
Canned jackfruit is popping up at more and more grocery stores! Some stores may also sell it in pouches, which you can also use in this recipe—just make sure it’s unflavoured. If you can’t find jackfruit locally, you can buy it online.
How to Make Jackfruit Tacos
- Prepare. Empty the jackfruit cans into a colander and rinse it well. Separate it into shreds and discard any parts that are hard.
- Cook the aromatics. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 4 minutes, or until it’s softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add the spices and jackfruit. Stir in the spices, followed by the jackfruit. Continue to stir until it’s evenly coated in the spices.
- Simmer. Stir in the barbecue sauce, sriracha, water, and lime juice. Once the mixture comes to a simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Serve. Let the jackfruit cool a bit, then divide it into the taco shells or tortillas and add your desired toppings.
Tips for Success
- Don’t buy fresh jackfruit. It’s likely that it will be ripe, which means it won’t have the same meaty texture and neutral flavour. If you do decide to use fresh, make sure it is labeled as green, young, or unripe.
- Make sure your jackfruit is canned in water. Jackfruit can also be canned in syrup, but this isn’t the kind we want for these jackfruit tacos! It’s sweet and soft, more like a dessert.
- Add more liquid if needed. If, when you’re stirring the jackfruit, you notice that the liquid has mostly cooked off, add 1/4 cup more water. Scrape off any browned bits at the bottom of the pan when you add the water.
More Topping Ideas
- For a creamy element, add some vegan sour cream or cashew cream on top of the tacos.
- Add some healthy coleslaw for added crunch and freshness.
- Top with strawberry salsa or mango salsa for even more flavour.
You can pair these jackfruit tacos with Tex-Mex dishes like black bean avocado and corn salad and grilled Mexican street corn, or with sides that go with Southern barbecue like creamy vegan mac and cheese.
How to Store Leftovers
Leftover jackfruit taco filling can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, simply warm in a skillet over medium heat until heated through or warm in the microwave.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
To freeze jackfruit taco filling, store it in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat according to the instructions above.
More Vegan Taco Recipes
- BBQ Chickpea Tacos with Kale Cabbage Slaw
- Breakfast Tacos with Avocado Pico De Gallo Salsa
- Beer-Battered Fish Tacos with Sriracha Mayo
- The Best Vegan Tacos
- Crispy Cauliflower Tacos with Chipotle Crema
Enjoy friends! If you make this jackfruit tacos recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
- 2 (20-ounce) cans unsweetened jackfruit in water, drained (2 500g cans)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ⅓ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup barbecue sauce, 187g
- 1 teaspoon sriracha
- ½ cup water, 115g
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 10 taco shells or tortillas
- 1 avocado, sliced
- ⅓ cup cilantro leaves
- 1 pickled red onion* , see notes
- 1 lime, quartered
- Place jackfruit into a colander and wash thoroughly under running water. Let it drain.
- Using your hands, separate every piece into shreds and remove any hard parts.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add minced onion and sauté for 4 minutes until onion becomes soft and translucent. Add minced garlic, stir and heat for 30 seconds.
- Add spices and stir to combine.
- Add shredded jackfruit and stir until it’s covered in spices evenly.
- Add barbecue sauce and sriracha along with water and lime juice. Stir and bring to a simmer.
- Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Stir every 5 minutes and check if it’s not too dry and doesn’t stick to the pan. If needed add ¼ cup more water.
- Let it cool slightly before serving.
- Serve in heated taco shells or tortillas, with sliced avocado, cilantro leaves and pickled onions.
- For pickled onions, slice 1 red onion thinly and place into a jar. In a small saucepan, bring to a simmer ⅓ cup water (80g), ½ cup apple cider vinegar (112g), ½ teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon sugar. Pour over the onion and let sit for at least 30 minutes.
- To store: Leftover jackfruit taco filling can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To serve, simply warm in a skillet over medium heat until heated through or warm in the microwave.
- To freeze: Store in a freezer-safe container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and then heat according to the instructions above.
Disclaimer: Although jessicainthekitchen.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, kindly note that these are only estimates. Nutritional information may be affected based on the product type, the brand that was purchased, and in other unforeseeable ways. Jessicainthekitchen.com will not be held liable for any loss or damage resulting for your reliance on nutritional information. If you need to follow a specific caloric regimen, please consult your doctor first.