The Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas - dinner

The Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Author: Julia
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Cuisine: Pork, Slow Cooker


Mix up taco night with these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas. The flavors are rich and the perfect addition to your next meal. This shredded pork also works great in quesadillas, on salads or in rice bowls. 



  • 4 to 5 pounds boneless pork butt {or pork shoulder}
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne red pepper {optional for spice}
  • 1 cup stock {vegetable, chicken or beef stock works}
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large oranges, juiced {cut in half and juice or use 1/4 cup orange juice}
  • 2 limes, juiced {approximately 1/4 cup of lime juice}
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, chopped {optional for spice}
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo, chopped {optional for a little extra spice and smokey flavor}
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil


  • Fresh cilantro


  1. Trim the excess fat from the pork and discard. In a small bowl mix the salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, oregano, cumin and cayenne red pepper. Use your hands to rub the spice mixture on both sides of the  pork.
  2. Place the pork in a slow cooker and top with the stock, onion, garlic, jalapeño and chipotle peppers. Squeeze the orange juice and lime juice over the pork.
  3. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4 hours, or an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees F to make sure the meat is tender.
  4. Once the meat is tender and done cooking, remove from the crockpot and let cool slightly so you can handle it. Use two forks to pull apart the meat and set aside in a large bowl.
  5. In a large pan heat the vegetable oil over high heat. Using a wooden spoon or spatula press the carnitas into the vegetable oil and fry until crusty on one side. Serve warm on tortillas for tacos with freshly chopped cilantro and toppings of your choice.


The USDA‘s recommended minimum temperature for pork is 145°F  but the connective tissue needs to be heated to at least 160-170°F to dissolve properly.


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