Easiest Slow Cooker Carnitas

My go-to dinner order at any Mexican restaurant is always the Carnitas. So yummy! But getting to eat my favorite carnitas without even leaving the comfort of my own home? My idea of perfection. I am definitely a homebody. Which is exactly why I love making this slow cooker Carnitas Recipe. It’s so easy, too!

three pork carnitas tacos in flour tortillas with avocado slices on the side

All About Carnitas

Carnitas is a Mexican dish that is traditionally made by slowly simmering pork in lard or oil. However, this recipe makes carnitas by cooking the pork shoulder in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours on low heat in citrus juices. Traditionally, carnitas are made from the pork shoulder which is also called pork butt.

I usually like to serve my crockpot carnitas in soft shell flour tortillas with a variety of toppings. However, the opportunities for ways to serve carnitas are endless. You can use pork carnitas as filling for burritos or quesadillas. Or for a gluten-free option, try eating the pork along with rice and beans in a burrito bowl style meal. No flour tortilla = No gluten!

Tools Needed to Make Pork Carnitas

A list of kitchen tools and gadgets you’ll need to create this recipe:

♥ Small Mixing Bowl

6-quart Crock-Pot Slow Cooker

♥ Cutting Board

♥ Chef’s Knife

♥ Lime Juicer

♥ Orange Juicer

♥ Baking Sheet

Slotted Spoon

Crock-Pot Pork Carnitas Video

Recipe and Instructions

In a small mixing bowl, combine the chili powder, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, and dried oregano.

Place the pork shoulder roast in a 6-quart slow cooker. Sprinkle half of the seasoning mix over the roast and rub into the pork. Flip the roast over and rub the rest of the seasoning mix into the other side.

chopped red onion on a cutting board with small knife

On a cutting board, chop the onion, and smash the garlic cloves. Before peeling the garlic, crush with the side of a knife. The skin will easily peel off.

Place the onion and garlic into the slow cooker with the pork shoulder roast.

two oranges and two limes sliced in half

Juice 2 oranges, and 2 limes.

seasoned pork in slow cooker with onions and crushed garlic

Pour the fresh-squeezed juice into the slow cooker.

Cook pork carnitas in the crockpot

Cook on low for 8 hours.

shredded pork carnitas

Using two forks, pull apart the pork. The pork will be tender and fall apart easily.

To make irresistibly crispy carnitas, finish the pork under the broiler! I like to use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the slow cooker to a baking sheet. Place the pork under the broiler for just 2-3 minutes until nice and crispy. Keep an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!

three pork carnitas tacos in flour tortillas with avocado slices on the side

Serve your slow cooker carnitas in warm tortillas with cilantro, tomato, radish slices, lime wedges, or avocado. OR – skip the tortillas! Serve in a bowl with rice and beans for a gluten-free carnitas dinner. Top with your choice of a variety of toppings! Lettuce. Salsa. Corn. Fajita Veggies. The list goes on and on.

Pork carnitas also tastes excellent with pico de gallo or guacamole! Make your own with my recipes below!

Perfect Side Dishes

A easy-to-make avocado-based dip. Smooth or Chunky? Your choice.
Check out this recipe
Pico de Gallo
Make your own Pico de Gallo with this classic fresh and chunky salsa recipe.
Check out this recipe


Slow Cooker Carnitas

Delicious pork carnitas require minimal prep and cook in the slow cooker to create a scrumptious dinner. Serve in warm tortillas with cilantro, tomato, radish slices, lime wedges, or avocado. Or enjoy in a burrito bowl with rice, beans, and your favorite toppings.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Carnitas, Pork
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Servings 6


  • Slow Cooker


  • 2-3 lbs Pork Shoulder Roast aka Pork Butt
  • 1 tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsps Ground Cumin
  • 2 tsps Dried Oregano
  • 2 tsps Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 5-6 cloves Garlic crushed
  • 1 medium Onion chopped
  • 2 Oranges juiced
  • 2 Limes juiced


  • In a small bowl, mix together the chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and black pepper.
  • Place the pork shoulder (aka pork butt) in a 6-quart slow cooker. Rub the seasoning mixture all over the pork roast.
  • Add in the smashed garlic cloves and chopped onion. Add in the juice of 2 limes and 2 oranges.
  • Cover the slow cooker and cook for 8 hours on low.
  • Using 2 forks, pull apart the pork into small chunks or completely shred.
  • Serve as it is, or for crispy pieces, you can broil. To broil the carnitas, place the meat onto a baking sheet with a slotted spoon. Pour a small amount of the sauce on top. Broil for 2-3 minutes. Keep an eye on the meat while broiling at all times to be sure it doesn't burn.
  • Serve in tortillas with lime wedges, chopped onions, and a generous amount of cilantro. You can also serve with avocado slices, radish slices, lettuce, sour cream, refried beans, fajita veggies, and/or tomatoes.



For a gluten-free dinner, skip the tortillas. Serve the Pork Carnitas in a burrito bowl style meal. Add rice, beans, and all of your favorite toppings. 
Check out our recipes for Pico de Gallo and Gaucamole as the perfect sides to pair with your carnitas. Find them at cookwithginger.com/three-chip-dips/

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