the tantalizing aroma of tender, slow-cooked pork carnitas as they effortlessly simmer in a vibrant blend of spices

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Tantalize your taste buds with these delicious slow cooker pork carnitas.

Preparing this Mexican dish is easy and requires minimal effort. Simply toss the ingredients into your slow cooker and let it do its thing.

The end result is succulent pork that falls apart with every bite.

Whether you’re having a party or just want a hearty meal, these carnitas will satisfy your cravings.


Tracing back to its roots, slow cooker pork carnitas is a staple in Mexican cuisine. Carnitas translates to ‘little meats,’ which aptly describes the succulent shredded pork that lies at the heart of this dish. Slow cooking the pork in its own juices gives carnitas its tender and flavorful texture, which dates back centuries as a way to preserve meat without refrigeration.

Through time, even more spices and flavors were incorporated to further enhance the taste. Nowadays, slow cooker pork carnitas is a much-loved Mexican specialty, enjoyed in Mexico and across the world.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

-2 pounds boneless pork shoulder or butt
-2 tablespoons olive oil
-1 large onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-1 teaspoon dried oregano
-1 teaspoon ground cumin
-1 teaspoon smoked paprika
-1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
-1 teaspoon salt
-1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup orange juice
-1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
-1 bay leaf
-1 teaspoon diced jalapeno
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
-Tortillas, for serving
-Shredded cheese, for serving
-Sour cream, for serving
-Sliced avocado, for serving
-Sliced radishes, for serving


Begin prepping the pork shoulder for the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas. Trim off any unnecessary fat and cut into large chunks. Generously season the pork with salt, pepper, cumin, and oregano.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Brown the pork pieces for around 2 minutes on each side.

Transfer the seared pork to a slow cooker and add in chopped onions, minced garlic, and a bay leaf. Pour in orange juice and chicken broth to cover the meat.

Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.

Before serving the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, remove any excess fat.


Tips for Cooking

Get the best results for your Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas by taking these simple steps.

Season the meat – Before adding the pork to the slow cooker, make sure to season it generously with salt, pepper, and any other desired spices. This will enhance the flavor of the meat as it cooks.

Use a boneless pork shoulder – Opt for a boneless pork shoulder for this recipe. The meat will become tender and easily shredable after slow cooking for several hours.

Sear the meat before slow cooking – For an extra layer of flavor, sear the pork shoulder in a hot skillet before placing it in the slow cooker. This will help develop a delicious crust on the meat.

Final Thoughts

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas can be a delicious addition to any meal. After hours of slow cooking, the pork should be tender and full of flavor.

As you lift the lid off the slow cooker, you’ll be greeted by the mouthwatering aroma of the juicy meat and spices.

To really bring out the flavors, top your carnitas with a squeeze of lime juice and a sprinkle of fresh cilantro.

These carnitas are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed in tacos, burritos, or even on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Can I Store the Leftover Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in the Refrigerator?

You can keep the leftover slow cooker pork carnitas in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. To ensure that it stays fresh and safe to eat, make sure you put it in an airtight container.

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat, Such as Chicken, in This Recipe?

Yes, you can substitute chicken for the meat in this recipe. It will give the dish a different flavor, but it will still taste great. Make sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Can I Adjust the Level of Spiciness in the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas?

Yes, you can customize the level of spiciness in the slow cooker pork carnitas. Simply adjust the amount of spices and peppers to your taste.

What Are Some Recommended Side Dishes or Toppings to Serve With the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas?

For a tasty accompaniment to your Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, try a side dish of Mexican rice, refried beans, or a crunchy corn salad. You can also top them off with chopped cilantro, diced onions, and a squeeze of lime for a zesty touch. Enjoy your meal!

Can I Make the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in Advance and Freeze Them for Later Use?

Yes, it is totally possible to make the pork carnitas ahead of time and freeze them for later. Simply prepare the dish as normal, let it cool off, and then place it in a freezer-safe container.

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