A good rice bowl is hard to beat, and it's one of our favorite ways to stretch some meat. Make this copycat Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe for your next bowl or burrito. You can thank us later!

Cafe Rio sweet pork rice bowl on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Ah, Cafe Rio. If you live in Utah, then you probably already know about this gem of a restaurant. While others are lucky enough to have it in their state as well, there are plenty who miss it on the daily. Why? Because their sweet pork is the bomb.com, that's why!

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Whether you've had it before or this is your first time to try it, you will not be sorry!! Make our favorite copycat Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe and watch the amazement on your family's faces while they gobble it up. It's great in a rice bowl, burrito, taco, salad, and even nachos.

The recipe makes enough so you can have it for a few meals during the week or freeze some for later. Regardless, your family will be singing your praises while they're eating it…and probably licking their plates clean!


This recipe is pretty much the easiest one, ever! Grab your slow cooker, put a liner in it (the best way to make clean up easy), throw the ingredients in, and let your cooker do all the work. You really can't mess this up!

You can use whatever cut of pork you have, but the cheaper the meat, the better the carnitas it will make! We recommend a pork shoulder, butt, or roast. This copycat Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe freezes really well, so feel free to get a larger cut of meat and double or triple the recipe. As long as it fits in your slow cooker, you're good to go.


sweet pork rice bowl with forks, from Shelf Cooking

As we mentioned, you can easily add this delicious sweet pork to any Mexican-type dish. Our absolute favorite is a rice bowl since it helps stretch the meat a lot further. Try out some of these add-ins to go along with the best copycat Cafe Rio sweet pork recipe and see what your family likes best. Skip the store and use whatever you have in your kitchen. You really can't go wrong!

  • Pork – As we said, you can really use any cut of pork. But the cheaper cuts with some fat on them make the most tender and juicy sweet pork that you could ask for.
  • Rice – White or brown rice are obvious choices, as well as quinoa. If you really want it to taste like Cafe Rio, then whip up some cilantro lime rice. If you're completely out of rice or you have someone in your family who can't eat it, then turn it into a salad instead and put it over some lettuce!
  • Veggies – Beans are always a good first choice! Black beans and pinto beans are our favorites to add to this yummy pork rice bowl. They'll help to give some added protein and stretch the meal further. You can also add in corn, tomatoes, onions, and bell peppers.
  • Additional Toppings – Here are a few other toppings that you can't go wrong with: cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo, salsa, avocado, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, lime, and jalapeños.

Starting to see just how easy this pork rice bowl is to put together? You won't be disappointed!


Alright, alright, enough talking already! Let's get to the world's best copycat pork. (Recipe adapted from Your Homebased Mom)

Cafe Rio sweet pork rice bowl on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

Cafe Rio Sweet Pork Recipe and Rice Bowl

This wonderfully delicious copycat recipe is sure to be a family favorite!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 servings



  • 3 lbs boneless pork (shoulder, butt or roast)
  • 12 oz Coke
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 10 oz enchilada sauce
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 oz diced green chilies
  • ¾ cup brown sugar


  • 2 cups white rice, cooked
  • 1 can black beans, cooked and drained
  • 1 can corn, cooked
  • Diced tomatoes, to taste
  • Shredded cheese, to taste
  • Sliced avocado, to taste
  • Cilantro, to taste



  • Marinate pork for at least 2 hours (or preferably overnight for an even better flavor) in Coke and ¼ cup brown sugar.
  • Put pork and marinade liquid into a lined slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
  • Remove meat and shred. Discard the liquid from the slow cooker.
  • Put meat back in the slow cooker and add enchilada sauce, garlic, green chilies, and ¾ cup brown sugar.
  • Cook for 30-60 more minutes. Drain some excess liquid off before serving.


  • Add rice, pork, beans, corn, tomatoes, cheese, avocado and cilantro to a bowl. Enjoy!


The leftovers are so good! Store in an airtight container in the fridge and eat in 4-5 days. 
To freeze, store meal-sized portions in a freezer bag in the freezer. Thaw overnight in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave in 30-second increments until it's warmed to your liking.
Keyword Cafe Rio Copycat, Sweet Pork, Sweet Pork Rice Bowl

So. stinking. tasty. You won't be sorry that you tried this recipe out! When you do, let us know what your favorite way to eat it is – in a bowl, burrito, or some other creative way. Enjoy!

Let us know how much you love this copycat recipe in the comments!

Image with text that reads "copycat sweet pork recipe" from Shelf Cooking

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