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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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!

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

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!

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.

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 the night before to save on time. Add all the slow cooker ingredients to your slow cooker dish, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, cook as directed.

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.
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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Author: hello@thespotmediagroup.com
  • Total Time: 4 hrs, 15 min to 8 hr, 15 min
  • Yield: 8 1x


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.



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

Keywords: Pork Carnitas, Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

TAGS: Holiday
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