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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Indulge in the irresistible flavors of Mexico with our Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe. This dish is a true fiesta for your taste buds, offering tender, succulent pork infused with zesty spices and aromatics.

Get ready to savor the essence of Mexican cuisine, with this Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe—one delectable bite at a time.

These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are made with all natural ingredients and taste alarmingly similar to authentic Pork Carnitas, without being submerged in lard. The best part? Your trusty slow cooker does all the hard work for you, simmering the meat to perfection while you go about your day. And, it stores well in the fridge or freezer. Whether you’re planning a festive gathering or simply craving a flavorful family dinner, our Pork Carnitas will transport you to the vibrant streets of Mexico without leaving your kitchen.

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.

Prep ahead

We’re always looking for ways to reduce time in the kitchen and simplify healthy eating, especially throughout the week. While this meal is super simple to toss together, it can be prepped ahead to save on time.

  • Wash, de-stem or chop desired taco toppings in advance.
  • Add all the slow cooker ingredients to your slow cooker dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, cook as directed.
    • Instead of fully preparing your carnitas in the slow cooker, you also have the option to mix all the dry rub ingredients and store them in an airtight container or Ziploc bag on your kitchen counter to quickly and efficiently season the meat in the morning.

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!

Our absolute FAVORITE way to eat carnitas

In a fresh homemade tortilla, topped with chopped onion, cilantro, avocado, salsa and a little fresh-squeezed lime juice, YUM!

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
  • Cilantro
  • Grated cheddar cheese or queso fresco
  • Greek yogurt (a wonderful substitute for sour cream)
  • Salsa
  • Hot sauce (we LOVE to add flavor with an array of hot sauces)
  • Black beans

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.

A few creative ways to reuse your leftovers:

  • As a tasty bagel pizza topping (toast half of a bagel, top it with a tablespoon of tomato sauce, finely chopped onion, carnitas and your favorite cheese).
  • Tossed in scrambled eggs. We’ll throw anything in scrambled eggs. It’s literally one of the BEST ways to mix and match leftovers! (scramble your eggs with some cherry tomatoes, chopped green peppers, spinach and carnitas. Top with avocado slices and BAM! You’ve got yourself an amazing brekki!)
  • Layered in a flavorful Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Casserole.
  • In a bowl with your favorite ingredients.

Did you make this recipe?

If you make this Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Recipe, we would love to hear how it turned out! Leave a comment below sharing what your friends and family thought of it. We love hearing from you and your ideas inspire us all! Don’t forget to tag @fullforlifegal on Instagram so we can admire your masterpiece! 🌟


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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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5 from 2 reviews


Indulge in the irresistible flavors of Mexico with our Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe. This dish is a true fiesta for your taste buds, offering tender, succulent pork infused with zesty spices and aromatics.



Main Ingredients

Rub Ingredients

Optional Topping (but highly recommended)


  1. Mix dry ingredients (chili powder, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper) in a medium-large bowl.
  2. Place pork butt into the slow cooker and evenly sprinkle the seasoning onto the roast, sit bowl aside and rub seasoning in.
  3. Using the same bowl, add wet ingredients (OJ, chicken broth, lime and garlic). Stir, slowly pour over roast and add bay leaf to slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours (or high heat 5-6 hours), until your meat easily falls apart.
  5. Just before serving, shred meat, drizzle more juices over it and serve hot. (See notes above for serving suggestions.)

To Crisp

  1. If crisping under the broiler: Turn broiler on high. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon shredded meat onto the baking sheet (don’t crowd). 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. Turn and sear other side until meat is crispy and brown.
  2. If crisping 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.


Always check for FfL-friendly ingredients.

We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.

  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 4-8 hrs
  • Category: Recipes
  • Method: Prep Now, Cook Later, Slow Cooker, Too Easy
TAGS: Holiday

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  1. Tim Balderston

    Your recipe mentions chicken broth in step 3 s part of the wet ingredients, however, you do not indicate how much to use in your ingredient list. Are you just to add an amount that covers the pork in the slow cooker? Thanks

    • Kalie

      Thank you so much for making us aware of that Tim! We apologize for the delayed response. The amount of chicken broth is 1 cup and should be included in step 3 with the other wet ingredients. It’s since been added into the ingredients. We hope you enjoy the recipe. It’s one of our family’s favorites. Please let us know what you think and have a wonderFULL day!

  2. Erica

    So good! I made this for dinner last night and it was so tender and flavorful! My son and husband loved it too! My husband’s only comment was that it would be good with some rice and beans in burrito form too! Definitely adding this to my rotation!


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