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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are the ultimate in easy comfort food. This Mexican pulled pork is super easy to prep in less than ten minutes and cooks up easily in the Crock Pot!

A close up of carnitas topped with parsley on a white plate

I love slow cooker recipes, they just make life easier, don’t you think? All the better when they are family-friendly and packed with flavor like these Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas!

This is a great recipe for busy weeknights, or for entertaining when you want to free up time before your guests arrive. You can prep it in advance from 4-8 hours then let it cook to perfection while you go about your day. When it’s time to eat you have tender, juicy Mexican slow cooked pork!

Why I love this recipe

This is a fantastic meal to throw together in the crock pot and just forget it.

  • It literally takes 5 minutes to prep and turns out perfectly every time!
  • Packed with flavor
  • You can use them in burrito bowls, tacos, burritos, on salad, etc
  • They are great for meal prep


Slow cooker pork carnitas topped with onion, oranges and limes
  • pork shoulder
  • cumin
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • chili powder
  • oregano
  • yellow onion
  • garlic
  • orange
  • lime

Step by step

  1. Mix spices in a small bowl and rub on all sides of the pork.
  2. Place the pork in a slow cooker, fat side up. Top with onion and garlic.
  3. Squeeze lime and orange over the meat and place fruit on the meat.
  4. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 7-8 hours.
  5. When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to remove the fruit, garlic cloves, and any fatty pieces.
  6. Shred with two forks and serve!
A slow cooker filled with Pork Carnitas garnished with parsley


Can I caramelize this recipe?

If you want to get fancy you can remove the meat to a baking sheet and broil it for 3-4 minutes to caramelize the pork but I find that it’s delicious without the extra step-and I’m all about making things easy in the kitchen-especially when entertaining!

What do I serve with pork carnitas?

There are a ton of options for what to serve with carnitas. We usually set up a Mexican buffet with hard or soft taco shells, Mexican rice, salsa, guacamole, cheese, diced bell peppers, black beans, limes, salsa, pico de gallo, jalapeño, shredded lettuce, charred corn, sour cream, refried beans, really any toppings you like!

Can I make this in an instant pot?

Yes! Prepare as written then cook on high pressure 45 minutes and allow pressure to release naturally. You can see the complete instructions in our Instant Pot Carnitas recipe.

How do I adjust the cooking time for a smaller pork shoulder?

There is no need to adjust the cooking time, even with a smaller piece of meat. It will not overcook.

Can I freeze these carnitas?

The carnitas freeze very well. Portion out in freezer bags and lay flat to freeze for easy stacking. To thaw place in the refrigerator overnight.

How do I reheat the meat?

Reheat these under the broiler for a few minutes or in a skillet for the best results. You can also use leftovers carnitas in a lot of other recipes as well.

Can I use pork loin/tenderloin/bone-in pork shoulder for this recipe?

Pork loin or tenderloin can be used in the recipe as written but bone-in pork shoulder would need an extended cooking time.

For another option, check out these slow cooker carnitas-style chicken!

For a more traditionally flavored pulled pork, check out this recipe for slow cooker pulled pork!

If you’ve tried this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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slow cooker carnitas on flour tortilla

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Author: Melissa Riker
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 5 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: slow cooker
  • Cuisine: mexican


These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are the ultimate in easy comfort food. This Mexican slow cooked pulled pork is super easy to prep in less than ten minutes and cooks up easily in the Crock Pot!


  • 4 lb pork shoulder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 small or 1 large orange
  • 2 limes


  1. Mix cumin, salt, pepper, chili powder and oregano in a small bowl.
  2. Rub the spice mixture on all sides of the pork shoulder and place in a slow cooker with fat rind on top.
  3. Top meat with onion and garlic cloves.
  4. Cut limes and oranges in half, squeeze juice over pork and add fruit to the top of the meat.
  5. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 7-8 hours.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove fruit and garlic and any fatty pieces.
  7. Shred meat with two forks and serve immediately.


  • Serving Size:
  • Calories: 424
  • Sugar: 3.1 g
  • Sodium: 746.6 mg
  • Fat: 9.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 28.2 g
  • Protein: 56.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 136 mg

Keywords: pork carnitas

What are your favorite meals for entertaining a crowd?  I’d love to hear them in the comments!

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