Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas on sheet pan with tongs
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Posted On: September 16, 2016
Last updated: April 25th, 2023

Slow cooker carnitas are an easy and delicious way to serve up a tasty dinner and create multiple meals.  We’ve made tacos, quesadillas, pasta dishes and even pizza with this pork carnitas recipe.  We also really love topping it with our homemade spicy salsa verde.  Besides using orange and lime to cook up this tasty meat, I love adding some beer to the slow cooker for an extra tasty liquid.  It’s a very versatile savory meat dish so it can go in multiple directions for meal planning.

Slow Cooker Carnitas over top view with lime and orange
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Slow Cooker Cooking

Who doesn’t love the slow cooker for taking the big hassle out of mealtime chaos?!  I sure do.  Most recipes I post on here are 100% slow cooker cooking.  This slow cooker recipe, I will admit, does require a little broiling afterwards, but it’s so worthwhile!  To get those crispy bits for perfect carnitas you must broil and toss the meat a few times to get that great carnitas texture.

Let’s say you know that you’re short on time the morning of your carnitas dinner, you may actually prep your carnitas with all the ingredients the night before.  Make the recipe as is just as if you’re about to fire up the slow cooker and place the whole slow cooker in the fridge over night.  The next morning before leaving for the day pull it out of the fridge, start the slow cooker and go!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Steps Collage
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Carnitas Tacos & More

My husband is a huge advocate for Taco Tuesday being pretty much every Tuesday in our house.  We only change our Tuesday dinner plans if there are unforeseen circumstances that can’t make it happen.  That being said we get pretty creative with our taco fillings and how we use extra taco filling after that night.

Slow cooker carnitas can be used to replace the meat for pretty much any recipe.  First try it on your tacos, but then use the leftovers to make quesadillas, burritos, chili or even a carnitas pizza!  It pairs very well with salsa verde as well.  Give ours a try!

Slow Cooker Carnitas for Tacos with salsa
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Give this delicious slow cooker carnitas recipe a try a let us know how you like it below!


Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

Slow Cooker Carnitas on sheet pan with tongs
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This slow cooker recipe makes a little over 5 cups of shredded pork carnitas.

  • Author: Katia
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 8 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10 1x
  • Category: Tacos
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Low Calorie


Units Scale
  • 4 lb. boneless pork shoulder/butt, cut into 4-6 large chunks
  • 8 cloves of garlic, peeled &smashed
  • 1 large onion, cut into 8 to 10 wedges
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 lime
  • 1/2 beer (dark ale or ipa best, but if you don’t have that any favorite beer is fine)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin


  1. Add chunks of pork to the slow cooker
  2. Pour the beer into slow cooker over the pork. Cut the orange and lime in half and juice them directly into the slow cooker.  Place the citrus rinds in the cooker with the pork.
  3. In a separate small bowl add salt, pepper, oregano and cumin. Stir to mix well.
  4. Place the cut onion wedges and garlic in the slow cooker, pushing down between the pork chunks.
  5. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over the pork and rub it in a little.
  6. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours or until meat pulls apart easily.
  7. Preheat oven to broil.
  8. Remove the pork and onions from the slow cooker and transfer to a heavy duty aluminum baking sheet, let it cool till you can shred it by hand.  Shred pork on baking sheet removing and discarding large chunks of fat.  Spread the pork out into a single layer on the baking sheet.
  9. Put the baking sheet with the pork under the pre-heated broiler for 10 to 15 minutes or until it reaches your desired crispiness level. You will need to pull it out every 3 or 4 minutes and stir up and redistribute the pork for even browning. (Do not leave the pork unattended)
  10. Once it’s to your crispiness and brownness liking you’re ready to serve it up.


Carnitas is great for tacos, burritos, quesadillas and so much more!


  • Serving Size: 6-8

Keywords: Tacos, Pork, Meat, Mexican,

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Slow Cooker Carnitas Pinterest Collage
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