Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

This is the easiest slow cooker pork carnitas recipe that is full of flavor and cooks all day to tender and juicy perfection! A carnitas recipe that you will make again and again!

Use this amazing pork in my Creamy Pork Carnitas Pasta recipe. It will combine all the flavors you love in this easy slow cooker pork with a creamy pasta for a complete meal your family will love!
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in soft taco shells.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

If you have been following the blog then it is no secret that I love my slow cooker. Most of my favorite recipes here on the blog are cooked in the slow cooker. It is so nice as a busy mom to just throw something in the slow cooker and let it do its thing. Then when dinner time rolls around you have an amazing meal ready.

Well I am here to tell you today that I found one of my favorite slow cooker pork recipes.  It slow cooks for eight hours in a spice rub and a citrus marinade and the flavor is out of this world! The outside edges get crisp and the inside is melt in your mouth tender.  It is a must try recipe that is insanely delicious!

What’s In Pork Carnitas?

These ingredients come together to make a perfect rub for the pork and a great marinade for it to soak in all day while it cooks.  The flavors are incredible and you will be shocked by how easy it is and how amazing your kitchen smells while it is cooking!

  • Pork Shoulder: Ask your butcher to help you choose a high quality meat since it will be the star of this recipe and you want a great cut.
  • Chili Powder: Adds a bit of spice.
  • Cumin: Warm spice for a great depth of flavor.
  • Oregano: Adds earthy and a hint of earthy flavors.
  • Salt and Pepper: To taste.
  • Orange and Lime juice: You won’t specifically taste the orange or lime juice.  They will just add a hint of brightness to the flavor.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic adds rich flavor.
  • Onion: Quartered onion will add deep flavor and moistness.

How to Slow Cook Pork:

The pork comes out of the slow cooker and just falls apart it is so tender. You can either eat the pork right out of the slow cooker or broil it in the oven to give it a crisp edge.

  1. Combine seasonings and coat pork: In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub on the outside of the pork shoulder rub thoroughly.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in slow cooker: Combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic and onion in the slow cooker, then place pork on the top. Finally, cook on low for 8 hours or high 4-5 hours.
  3. Shred Pork: Remove roast from slow cooker and shred. Next, return to slow cooker and heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Broil: Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 3-4 minutes to brown the edges of the pork.

Slow cooker pork piled up on a black pan.

What Goes with Pork Carnitas?

This slow cooker pork is so versatile and can be used in tacos, burritos, quesadillas, you name it.  It will add delicious flavor and taste to whatever you use it for.  Soon, this recipe will become a family favorite and you will use it again and again!  Here are a few more ideas to help you finish off these delicious slow cooker pork carnitas.

  • Toppings: Sprinkle generously with fresh cilantro, onion, lime juice, shredded cheese, guacamole, or pico de gallo.
  • Serve with: Homemade tortillas or nachos.

Storing your Cooked Pork:

This recipe makes a huge amount of meat!  So, you will want to store what you don’t use right away to use all week in your tacos, nachos or with a fresh salad.  Here are my tips for how to properly store your pork so it will last as long as possible.

  • To Store: Place cooked pork in a shallow air-tight container or wrap tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerator: When properly stored, your pork will last 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezer: If you can’t use up all this juicy meet in 5 days, place it in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Slow cooker pork piled up in a black pan.

More Slow Cooker Pork Recipes:

Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings 12 People
The easiest slow cooker pork carnitas recipe that is full of flavor and cooks all day to tender and juicy perfection! A recipe that you will make again and again!
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword slow cooker carnitas, slow cooker carnitas recipe


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3/4 cup orange juice 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup lime juice 2 limes
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 onion quartered


  1. In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub on the outside of the pork shoulder rub thoroughly.
  2. In the slow cooker, combine orange juice, lime juice, garlic and onion. Place pork on the top. Cook on low for 8 hours or high 4-5 hours.

  3. Remove roast from slow cooker and shred. Return to slow cooker and heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and place on a baking sheet. Broil in the oven for 3-4 minutes to brown the edges of the pork.

Recipe Notes

Updated on June 29, 2020

Originally Posted April 20, 2015

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12

Calories153kcal (8%)Carbohydrates4g (1%)Protein18g (36%)Fat7g (11%)Saturated Fat2g (10%)Cholesterol62mg (21%)Sodium276mg (12%)Potassium385mg (11%)Fiber1g (4%)Sugar2g (2%)Vitamin A234IU (5%)Vitamin C11mg (13%)Calcium25mg (3%)Iron1mg (6%)

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods and portion sizes per household.

Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!

Slow cooker pork carnitas with lime garnish.

Alyssa Rivers

I am Alyssa and the blogger behind The Recipe Critic. I started my blog in June of 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family.

Read More Posts by Alyssa

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  1. This recipe sounds wonderful! I just wanted to let you know that the entire recipe does not come up when I click on the print button. I was able to highlight and print though. Thank you for all of your wonderful recipes!

  2. made it tonight! Amazing! Broiling at the end was key!! Amazing flavor. Server with charred corn tortillas, queso alfresco, cilantro, avocado, and and lime. Perfect!!

  3. is this really orange tasting? i’m not a huge fan of orange juice but this recipe sounds amazing. or do you have a recommendation for a substitution?

    1. No it doesn’t have a strong orange taste. It helps to cook the pork very tender and with all of the spices combined I don’t think you will notice. 🙂

    1. It wasn’t too spicy at all. It slow cooks all day in the juices and I feel like all of the spices are needed to maintain the flavor.

      1. This is delicious! There use to be a Mexican food truck about 5 miles from our home. Sadly it is no longer. But this tastes just like their carnitas. Serving on corn tortillas, chopped red onion, cilantro & a squeeze of lime. Looking forward to leftovers (if there are any)!

  4. I know it wouldn’t be as authentic but could you substitute the lime with lemon juice? do you think it would effect the taste in a negative way?


  5. This was delicious! Everyone in our family enjoyed it.

    It isn’t spicy – in fact, I think I’m going to kick up the spice level next time! And great call on the broiler. My husband is already looking forward to leftovers. 🙂

  6. This is remarkably close to what is served at our favorite (authentic) Mexican restaurant. The seasonings are subtle but really yummy. And the final step of broiling the meat shouldn’t be skipped. Awesome!!

  7. Great recipe but not close to authentic tasting. Adjusted the spices and got it a little bit closer. After shredding, we tasted and that’s when the spices were adjusted. Added a little bit more OJ, Cumin and the extras we added were a few dashes of Cayenne and Chipotle Chili Pepper powder. Now we’re talkin’! 🙂 Thanks for a great new recipe! Served with toasted corn tortillas, pico de gallo, roasted tomatillo sauce and shredded cabbage.

    1. I broiled on high for no longer than 2-3 minutes. When the edges start to turn brown I remove it so that it doesn’t dry out. 🙂

  8. It’s in my crockpot right now!! After I quartered the onion, I pulled apart the onion, so the meat is sitting on top of the onions. Is that okay? Or should it be sitting in the juice? Thanks for the recipe!!

  9. This was so delicious, made it a few weeks ago and making it again right now! Can’t wait to eat it again. The flavors are so good with corn tortillas and I made a nice little cabbage slaw to top it as well.

  10. Could you substitute broth or clementine juice for the OJ? I am allergic to Oranges, but this recipe sounds delicious.

  11. I have pork chops in the freezer….do you think it would be okay to use those instead of a roast? I’m new to using a slow cooker, if O use them would I adjust the cook time?

  12. So my fiance and I are planning on serving pork carnitas at our reception/ party weekend on the lake. I’ve never made carnitas before. We’re planning on making them ahead so would you recommend that we do all steps including broil and freeze vs. freeze after crock pot, and broil the day of reception and throw back in crock pot?
    Thank you! Anxious to try!

  13. I love this recipe! We like it for a snack/appetizer, a less messy way than tacos. I cook it for only about six hours, let it cool a bit, then cut it into cubes. Put the cubes on a cookie sheet, pour some of the leftover sauce over them, then broil, giving them a turn or several, adding more sauce if you like. This carmelizes the sauce and gives the meat lots of crispy edges. The resulting cubes are outstanding served on a toothpick to just grab and nosh with your beverage of choice, or you can still put them in a tortilla, smother them with guac and add some lettuce or slaw-kind-of-thing. 😉

  14. My family loved this meal!!! My teenage son actually didn’t get up and leave right after he ate. He stayed and continue to eat more after every else was done!! I don’t eat pork, but was wondering if this recipe can be used with chicken?

  15. I have to give credit where credit is due- I already commented on how my son loved these carnitas. This weekend I made them again for my party of 30. I made 25 lbs of meat. ( I borrowed friend’s crockpots) Everyone couldn’t stop raving about it. My friend’s husbands were asking if they can take some home! I didn’t want to share your recipe, but I did. Now everyone will be making it:) thanks again for the great recipe!

  16. We doubled this recipe for a potluck and it was a huge success! I was concerned it would dry out because it was going to be sitting out, so after putting the meat in the oven I reduced the liquid from the crockpot instead of throwing it away. After skimming the fat off the top, we chopped up the onions in the broth and mixed the onions and some of the broth into the pork. This kept the meat beautifully moist and tender! We also mixed in some chipotle chili powder to add just a bit of smoky heat to the flavor profile– 1 teaspoon to the doubled recipe added just enough without overpowering the citrus. I’ve already shared the website with everyone. Thanks! PS I cooked rice and beans and added the final bit of crockpot liquid to it, AWESOME.

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