These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos are the perfect way to highlight our tender but crispy shredded pork. We serve this Mexican favorite with a homemade spicy slaw, cotija cheese and fresh cilantro for a simple and out of this world taco fiesta the whole family will love.
Pork Carnitas Tacos with Spicy Slaw
This recipe will show you how to make perfectly juicy on the inside, crispy on the outside Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos that will rival the ones at your favorite Mexican restaurant.
Made by cooking either pork shoulder or pork loin carnitas in the slow cooker, they are not only delicious but super simple. In fact, they are mostly hands-off - the slow cooker does most of the work for you.
As far as toppings, we haven’t strayed too far from the traditional onions and cilantro. We did, however, add a spicy ranch slaw as well as a sprinkle of salty cojita cheese to perfectly compliment the flavorful pork and fresh cilantro. Serve on either corn or flour tortillas with a side of Spanish Rice or Green Chile Casserole and you’ll be in heaven.
If you're looking for ways to use up your leftover pork, be sure to try these Carnitas Tacos and Carnitas Nachos. And for a slightly different flavor profile, here's another one of the best shredded pork recipes to use for these tacos.
Ingredients in this Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Recipe
- Pork Roast - we like to use either pork loin or bone-in pork shoulder (or pork butt) for pork carnitas.
- Orange Juice - you can use fresh or bottled orange juice.
- Chicken Broth - use homemade or store-bought.
- Onions - white or yellow onions are what we typically use for this recipe, but red onions will work.
- Jalapeño - fresh jalapeños add the best flavor to this dish.
- Garlic - we use fresh minced garlic. You could add a touch of garlic powder, too, if you want.
- Cumin - this is a key ingredient in many Mexican dishes.
- Dried Oregano - either Mexican or Italian dried oregano will work great.
- Bay Leaves - you can use fresh or dried, although fresh have a stronger flavor.
- Salt and Pepper
- Limes - use fresh lime juice for squeezing over the carnitas just before serving.
Ingredients in Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Ranch Dressing - use store bought or homemade.
- Jalapeños - you can use fresh jalapeños if you like it a bit more spicy, or canned diced jalapeños if you want to keep the slaw a bit more mild.
- Shredded Cabbage - either Napa or red cabbage tastes great.
- Tortillas - corn tortillas are more traditional (and gluten-free!) but flour tortillas would work just as well.
- Cotija Cheese - this salty, crumbly Mexican cheese is made from cow’s milk and is often used to finish tacos, tostadas, salads and more. It doesn’t melt so it’s generally added at the end as a garnish. Similar cheeses to substitute would be feta or Parmesan cheese.
- Cilantro - this is optional but so tasty. Feel free to skip if you aren’t a cilantro fan.
- Other topping ideas: sour cream, chopped red onion, salsa, guacamole or pico de gallo.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
- Add ingredients to the slow cooker. Spray your crock pot with non-stick cooking spray, then add the pork roast, orange juice, chicken stock, onion, jalapeño, and garlic. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and top with bay leaves.
- Cook. Cover and cook on high heat for 5 hours or on low heat for 7-8 hours, until you can easily shred the roast with two forks. (Note: if the roast is difficult to shred, put the lid back on and cook for 30-60 more minutes, or until it’s easily shreddable. The slow cooking time will vary depending on the slow cooker and how full it is).
- Shred the meat. Remove roast from slow cooker and shred, removing any excess fat or gristle, and place on a baking sheet. Use any remaining juices from the slow cooker to moisten the shredded pork.
- Broil. Broil on low for 2 minutes and turn with tongs. Repeat 3-4 times, or until about 20 percent of the edges of the pork are a little crispy. Continue to add drippings from the slow cooker to keep the meat moistened.
- Build the tacos and serve. In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing, diced jalapeños, and shredded cabbage. Pre-heat a griddle, then lightly toast the corn tortillas on both sides. To each warmed tortilla, add the shredded pork, a couple tablespoons of the ranch coleslaw, a sprinkle of cotija cheese and a teaspoon of chopped cilantro. Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!
What Can I Make with Carnitas Besides Tacos?
You can use this carnitas recipe to make other Mexican food favorites such as enchiladas, quesadillas, burritos, tamales and tostadas.
Or, you can serve this Mexican shredded pork wherever you might serve shredded pork or chicken. Some ideas include:
- Serve on a sandwich bun with BBQ sauce and coleslaw
- Add to your favorite soup or salad
- Make a breakfast burrito
- Use as a topping for nachos or pizza
More Toppings for Pork Tacos:
- Refrigerator: store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- Freezer: store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you are ready to use, you can thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Reheating: reheat either in the microwave or in a pot or pan with a bit of extra chicken broth.
Recipe: Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Recipe
- 3-5 lb Pork Roast
- ½ cup Orange Juice
- 1 cup Chicken Broth
- 1 large Onion yellow, white, or red onion minced
- 1 med Jalapeño minced
- 4 large cloves Garlic or about 4 tsp
- 2 teaspoon Cumin or chili powder
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 large Bay Leaves
- 2 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 2 large Limes juiced, add before serving
Jalapeno Ranch Coleslaw for Tacos
- ⅓ cup Ranch Dressing
- 2 tablespoons Jalapenos diced small
- 2 cups Shredded Cabbage Napa or red
- 12 small Corn Tortillas
- ½ cup Cotija Cheese
- 1 bunch Cilantro fresh, coarsely chopped
How to Make Shredded Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Spray your crockpot with non-stick cooking spray, then add the pork roast, orange juice, chicken stock, onion, jalapeño and garlic. Season with cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and top with bay leaves.
- Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours, until you can easily shred the roast with two forks. (Note: if the roast is difficult to shred, put the lid back on and cook for 30-60 more minutes, or until it’s easily shreddable).
- Preheat oven to a low broil.
- Remove roast from slow cooker and shred, removing any excess fat or gristle, and place on a baking sheet. Use any remaining juices from the slow cooker to moisten the shredded pork.
- Broil on low for 2 minutes and turn with tongs. Repeat 3-4 times, or until about 20 percent of the edges of the pork are a little crispy. Continue to add drippings (about ¼ cup at a time) from the slow cooker to keep the meat moistened.
- Once you have broiled the shredded pork carnitas, remove and squeeze with fresh lime juice.
How to Assemble The Tacos
- In a small bowl, combine the ranch dressing, diced jalapeños, and shredded cabbage.
- Pre-heat a griddle, then lightly toast the corn tortillas on both sides.
- To each warmed tortilla, add the shredded pork, a couple tablespoons of the ranch coleslaw, a sprinkle of cotija cheese and a teaspoon of chopped cilantro. Drizzle with your favorite hot sauce and enjoy!
Here are some more of our favorite Mexican-inspired recipes:
- Best Chicken Tacos Recipe
- Slow Cooker Chicken Burrito Bowls
- Cheesy Bean Dip
- Chipotle Chicken Burrito
- Green Chicken Enchiladas
- Homemade Taco Pizza
- 7 Layer Bean Dip
- Steak Fajitas
- Crockpot Chicken Fajitas
- Chicken Tacos
- More Tex Mex Recipes
- More Pork Recipes
- More Dinner Recipes
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Our Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Tacos are sure to rival the ones at your favorite Mexican restaurant. They are slow-cooked to perfection and topped with homemade spicy slaw, cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro.