Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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Slow cooker pork carnitas are an amazingly easy and delicious recipe that is full of flavor and cooks all day to tender and juicy perfection! This is definitely a carnitas recipe that you will make again and again!

Having a solid pork carnitas recipe on hand is a MUST! You can add it to a salad, pasta or some tortillas and you have so many different meals! If you love this pork recipe, you must absolutely try my Sweet and Sour Pork, Kalua Pulled Pork, and Creamy Pork Carnitas Pasta!

Shredded pork in a pan with a lime.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

If you have been following me for a while, then it is no secret that I love my slow cooker! I have so many recipes that use it because let’s face it, the convenience of it is too irresistible! Meals like this pork carnitas recipe take only a few minutes to throw in the slow cooker! Then, I can leave for the day and come back to the juiciest and most tender meat with basically no effort! This pork carnitas recipe is no exception! It will combine all the flavors you love for a meal that your family will be sure to go crazy over!

So, if I haven’t convinced you of why you should use a slow cooker yet, I am here to tell you today that I found one of my all-time favorite tried and true 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. This pork carnitas recipe is a MUST try recipe that is insanely delicious! Add in my homemade tortillas and guacamole with chips and you have yourself a meal to remember!

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: This adds a bit of spice.
  • Cumin: Cumin is a warm spice for a great depth of flavor.
  • Oregano: Make sure not to forget this! It adds an earthy flavors.
  • Salt and Pepper: Sprinkle this on 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 Cook Pork in a Slow Cooker

This pork carnitas recipe 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.
Four pictures of how to prepare pork with a rub in a slow cooker.

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 it with: Homemade tortillas or nachos.
  • Make it a salad: Get your favorite greens and add this to it as your protein!
  • Add it to pasta: Try my Creamy Pork Carnitas Pasta for somethinge new and you will love the result!

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.

  • Refrigerator: Place cooked pork in a shallow air-tight container or wrap tightly in heavy duty aluminum foil or plastic wrap. 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 an airtight container (make sure that you label it with the date!) in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Pork carnitas in a tortilla with toppings.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

5 from 1 vote
Slow cooker pork carnitas are an amazingly easy and delicious recipe that is full of flavor and cooks all day to tender and juicy perfection! This is definitely a carnitas recipe that you will make again and again!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Author Alyssa Rivers
Servings: 12 People

Ingredients
  

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub on the outside of the pork shoulder rub thoroughly.
  • 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.
  • Remove roast from slow cooker and shred. Return to slow cooker and heat for an additional 30 minutes.
  • 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.

Notes

Updated on August 28, 2021
Originally Posted April 20, 2015

Nutrition

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.

Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword pork carnitas, slow cooker carnitas, slow cooker pork carnitas
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic

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.

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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?

    carolyn

  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.

  17. 5 stars
    One of my favorite go-to crockpot recipes. We freeze the leftovers which is a lifesaver for long days when we don’t feel like cooking.

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