These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are cooked low and slow and are fall-apart tender. You will be blown away at how easy it is to make this Mexican Inspired recipe at home. I'll show you how to make make the best crispy slow cooker carnitas complete with all pork carnitas toppings your heart desires.
The easiest way to make pork carnitas is in the slow cooker. You just add the ingredients to the slow cooker and let 'er go for 6-8 hours. Finish the pork carnitas off with a little time in the oven under the broiler and you've got tender and juicy shredded pork on the inside with crispy perfection on the outside.
Serve carnitas leftovers on tacos with all of your favorite toppings, and make yummy quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, soups, and more.
Carnitas translated means "little meats' and is traditionally fried then braised. Our recipe much easier using the slow cooker and the results are just as tasty. You can get that crisp and golden finish without using lard or frying the meat.
This Pork Carnitas Recipe is perfect for Cinco de Mayo, family dinners, or must an easy weeknight meal the whole family will love.
Pork Carnita Tacos Video Tutorial
Crispy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, these Slow Cooker Pork/Crockpot Carnitas are what dreams are made of. We cook our pork roast low and slow until easily shreddable, then broil to get all of the little crispy ends that you crave! This process intensifies the flavor in the pork and gives it a little texture after being slow-cooked.
Our Mexican-style carnitas is seasoned traditionally, using orange juice, cumin, oregano, garlic, bay leaves, and lime juice. Serve on a flour or corn tortilla with just onions and cilantro, or top however you like. We’ve also given you even more ideas for using leftovers in everything from enchiladas, sandwiches, and salads.
For a slightly different flavor profile, here's another one of the best shredded pork recipes to use for carnitas.
Another great thing about this recipe is that it only requires about 20 minutes of prep, including broiling. You can basically just set it and move on with your day! What more could you want?
How to Use Pork Carnitas Leftovers
- Carnitas Toppings. Stuff tortilla full of delicious pork carnitas. Onions and cilantro are the traditional carnitas toppings, but we like to go a little further. Add your favorite salsa, guacamole or pico de gallo, sprinkle on some queso fresco, top with diced tomatoes, sour cream, onions, and fresh cilantro, and serve on your favorite tortillas. Yum!
- More Mexican Favorites. Don’t stop at tacos - your carnitas can be served in enchiladas, quesadillas, burrito bowls, and more!
- Sandwiches. Leftover Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas taste amazing served on a sandwich bun with your favorite BBQ sauce and coleslaw.
- Soups and Salads. Leftover carnitas also works great in place of shredded chicken in your favorite Mexican Inspired soups or salads.
Homemade Mexican Inspired Recipes
- Spanish Rice
- Lime Rice
- Fresh, 5 min Salsa
- Carne Asada
- Cheesy Bean Dip
- Chicken Fajitas
- Steak Fajitas
Ingredients in Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Pork Roast - we like to use bone-in pork shoulder (or pork butt) for Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas.
- Orange Juice - you can use fresh or bottled orange juice.
- Chicken Broth - use homemade or store-bought.
- Onions - white or yellow onions work best for this recipe.
- 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 limes for squeezing over the carnitas just before serving.
How to Make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Add ingredients to the slow cooker. 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. 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).
- 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.
- Serve. Once you have broiled the carnitas, remove and squeeze with fresh lime juice before serving on tacos, salads, burrito bowls, quesadillas, sandwiches, and more. Enjoy!
Pork Carnitas-Slow Cooker FAQ'S
We like to use bone-in pork shoulder (aka pork butt) for any type of slow cooker shredded pork. It holds up great to the long cooking time and stays juicy and tender while holding a ton of flavor. Plus, it’s inexpensive.
You should add enough liquid so that your pork is submerged about ¼ of the way. Orange juice is traditionally used but we also supplement that with a bit of chicken broth.
For the most tender results, we prefer to cook on low heat rather than high. The overall cooking time will depend on the size of your pork roast. For a 3-5 pound pork roast, it will take around 7-8 hours. However, you don’t always have the luxury of time and in those cases, cook on high for around 5 hours.
If you find after cooking that the pork is still difficult to shred, put it back into the crockpot and cook for another 30-60 minutes.
- 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.
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 for serving
- 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 carnitas, remove and squeeze with fresh lime juice before serving on tacos, salads, burrito bowls, quesadillas, sandwiches and more. Enjoy!
Here are some more pork roast recipes that we love!
- Slow Cooker Kalua Pork
- Crockpot Mississippi Pork Roast
- Cafe Rio Sweet Pork
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Roast
- Easy Ham Fried Rice
- Pork Tenderloin and Potatoes
- Baby Back Pork Ribs Slow Cooker
- More Pork Recipes
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This Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe is crispy on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and packed full of flavor. Serve on tacos with all of your favorite toppings, or use leftovers in quesadillas, sandwiches, salads, soups, and more.