There’s a reason we’re rarely ever without a stash of this in the freezer.
These carnitas are made with all natural ingredients and taste alarmingly similar to authentic Pork Carnitas, without being submerged in a gallon of lard. The best part, it’s simple to make in the slow cooker and stores well in the fridge or freezer.
This recipe is one you can feel good about serving your family throughout the week or making in big batches to serve at gatherings. It’s the perfect standby for game-day sliders or when hosting a Taco-Inspired Fiesta.
What’s the best way to serve carnitas?
You can enjoy carnitas in tacos, quesadillas, burritos, carnitas burrito bowls, enchiladas, sliders, taco soup, in a Cuban sandwich, on top of red rice or just serve it up by itself!
Some great toppings: Depending on how you’re serving it, choose a few toppings to complement your carnitas.
- Limes (a MUST)
- Shredded lettuce
- Shredded red cabbage
- Diced onion
- Diced tomatoes
- Sliced avocado, Guacamole or Mashed Avocado Spread
- Finely chopped jalapeños
- Grated cheddar cheese or queso fresco
- Greek yogurt (a wonderful substitute for sour cream)
- Hot sauce (we LOVE to add flavor with an array of hot sauces)
- Black beans
Our absolute FAVORITE way to eat it:
In a fresh homemade tortilla, topped with chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, salsa and a little fresh-squeezed lime juice. YUM!
If you prefer crunchy carnitas:
Don’t skip this step if you want the BEST carnitas outside of Mexico. You can pan-fry or broil your shredded meat until it’s crunchy and browned.
What’s the best way to store leftovers?
If you foresee yourself having leftovers, shred the pork but don’t crisp it in the broiler. Drizzle the meat with juice and refrigerate or keep pork and juice separate and freeze for up to 3 months.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
These carnitas are made with all natural ingredients and taste alarmingly similar to authentic pork carnitas, without being submerged in a gallon of lard. The best part, it's simple to make in the slow cooker and stores well in the fridge or freezer.
Optional (but highly recommended) toppings
Mix dry ingredients (chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt, pepper and cinnamon) in a medium-large bowl.
Place pork butt into the slow cooker and evenly sprinkle the seasoning onto the roast, sit bowl aside and rub seasoning in.
Using the same bowl, add wet ingredients (garlic, OJ, lime and chicken broth. Stir, slowly pour over roast and add bay leaf to slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high heat 5-6 hours), until your meat easily falls apart.
Just before serving, shred meat, drizzle more juices over it and serve hot. (See notes above for serving suggestions.)
In the broiler: Turn broiler on high and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon shredded meat onto the baking sheet (don't crowd the meat) and drizzle a few spoonfuls of the broth over the meat. Place baking sheet on the top rack of the oven and broil for 7-10 minutes, until the juices evaporate and the meat is crispy and brown.
In a pan: Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the pork in the pan and drizzle a few spoonfuls of the broth over the meat. Once the liquid evaporates and the bottom side is brown and crunchy, turn and sear other side. Repeat in batches and serve.