Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Authentic Recipe)

The Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, have tender, seasoned pork slow-cooked to perfection, then shredded and pan-fried to a golden crisp. They are so delicious, juicy and crispy, as well as being so easy to make with just 5 minutes prep time. Get ready to indulge in a fiesta of flavors with this authentic pork carnitas recipe that the whole family will love!


Want to save this recipe?

Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox. Plus you’ll get great new recipes from us every week!

Save Recipe

What are carnitas?

Carnitas is a traditional Mexican dish made from pork that is slowly cooked until tender and then typically shredded or chopped. The name “carnitas” translates to “little meats” in Spanish, referring to the small, flavorful pieces of pork.

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Level up your Taco nights with these crispy Mexican pulled pork carnitas! We love all Mexican cuisine and never drive by a Mexican restaurant without someone suggesting that we eat there.

Pork carnitas tacos on a white plate.

The crockpot makes this recipes super easy and the meat is fall-apart tender after slow-cooking. The best part is that you’ll likely have leftovers for the next day when you make this easy recipe.

My favorite way to serve leftover carnitas is in a taco, bowl or burritos. If you love this recipe you might enjoy my beef enchilada casserole, chicken enchilada casserole and these easy baked chicken tacos!!

Why you’ll love this recipe

  • Authentic Mexican food is easy and fun to make
  • 5 minutes of prep time using simple ingredients
  • Slow-cooking pork is one of the best ways as it cooks to perfection
  • Delicious pork tacos the whole family will love
  • Perfect for meal planning and to make ahead

Ingredients

Ingredients for slow cooker pork carnitas in snall glass bowls and plates.
  • Boneless Pork Butt or Pork Shoulder – are the best cut of pork for this pork carnitas recipe
  • Chicken Broth – the chicken broth, lime juice and the orange juice all combine to give moisture and flavor to the pork as it slow cooks
  • Lime Juice
  • Orange Juice – provides acidity to tenderize the pork
  • Pork Carnitas Seasonings:
  • Chili Powder – for more Tex-Mex flavor
  • Ground Cumin – adds a smoky savory flavor for more added depth
  • Fresh Garlic Clovesdo not skip the fresh garlic! It’s a key ingredient for the depth of flavor in this recipe!
  • Oregano – enhances the overall taste of the dish
  • Salt – Kosher salt for more seasoning
  • Black Pepper – for added seasoning

Can this be made with other types of pork?

While it is possible to make pork tenderloin carnitas, I prefer the pork butt or shoulder because it’s not as likely to dry out.

Pork carnitas toppings and sides

Close up image of pork carnitas on a white plate.

Step by step instructions for how to make pork carnitas

You can find a full printable recipe card at the bottom of this page. If this is your first time making carnitas in a crockpot, you’ll be pleased with how quickly they come together.

Spices for Mexican carnitas on marble board.

STEP 1 – In a small bow, mix the salt, chili, powder, pepper, cumin and oregano.

Spiced pork in slow cooker with liquid.

STEP 2 – In a small bowl, mix the salt, chili, powder, pepper, cumin and oregano.

STEP 3 – Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with the spice mixture.

STEP 4 – Place the pork, chicken broth, lime juice, orange juice and garlic in the slow cooker.

STEP 5 – Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high until the pork falls apart.

Cooked pork carnitas on wooden board with two forks.

STEP 6 – Remove the meat from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. Use two forks to spread the pork apart.

Cooked pork on baking sheet from the oven.

STEP 7 – Transfer meat to a sheet pan and place it under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes until the meat starts to get crispy.

Sandra’s top tips for making the best pork carnitas recipe

  • Select the right cut of pork being either pork butt or pork shoulder that is well marbled
  • Use good quality fresh spices that have not been sitting in your cupboard for while
  • Shred the meat properly removing any large pieces of fat and shred gently with two forks
  • We prefer to do the low and slow slow cooking method by cooking on low for the best tender, delicious meat
Carnitos tacos on a white plate.

Can I crispy up the meat in a frying pan instead of with the broiler?

Yes you can! If you’d like to crisp up your meat with a pan, you’ll need to add a tablespoon of oil to a large skillet and add about half of the meat at a time to the pan and cook over medium heat until the edges start to get crispy.

Do I have to put the carnitas under the broiler after it’s done cooking?

This step is completely optional. It adds great texture to the carnitas, but you can enjoy it straight from the slow cooker, pulled apart.

Storage and freezing instructions

You can store the cooled pork in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. This is great helping with meal planning by making these ahead of time!!

You can also freeze any leftovers for up to to three months in a freezer-safe container.

You might also enjoy these recipes

I would love it if you left a comment about this recipe below! Subscribe to join the community and receive regular updates straight to your inbox! Let’s connect via Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest!

Print
clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Pork carnitas on baking sheet.

Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas (Authentic Recipe)


5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: Sandra Flegg
  • Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings

Description

The Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, have tender, seasoned pork slow-cooked to perfection, then shredded and pan-fried to a golden crisp. They are so delicious, juicy and crispy, as well as being so easy to make with just 5 minutes prep time. Get ready to indulge in a fiesta of flavors with this authentic pork carnitas recipe that the whole family will love!


Ingredients

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon chili powder

1 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon dried oregano

4 to 5 pounds boneless butt or pork shoulder, cut into large chunks

64 ounces chicken broth

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

4 garlic cloves, minced


Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the salt, chili, powder, pepper, cumin and oregano.
  2. Pat the pork dry with paper towels and season with the spice mixture.
  3. Place the pork, chicken broth, lime juice, orange juice and garlic in the slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 hours on low, or 4 hours on high until the pork falls apart.
  5. Remove the meat from the slow cooker to a cutting board.  Use two forks to spread the pork apart.
  6. Transfer meat to a sheet pan and place it under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes until the meat starts to get crispy.
  7. Serve as desired. (tacos pictured)

Notes

Storage & freezing instructions:

You can store the cooled pork in an airtight container for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. This is great helping with meal planning by making these ahead of time!!

You can also freeze any leftovers for up to to three months in an airtight container.

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Category: Dinner Recipe
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star