Pork Crock Pot Carnitas Recipe – Slow Cooker Carnitas

One of the most versatile meat dishes in the world is a pork slow cooker carnitas. While you can eat it in almost any type of Mexican dish, from quesadillas to plain old tacos, it is good enough to stand alone as a main dish.

Carnita recipe crock pot

In fact, I have a whole collection of pork carnitas recipes, but the key to each is to create the perfect base recipe, the pork carnitas itself. I wonder if it would be good in perogies? I bet it would. It kind of has an international flair, doesn’t it?

Perfect for tacos and burritos

Even though there are so many recipes that use this delectable meat, my very favorite way to it is the main dish, sans all other wrappings and additions….”naked and not afraid,” to be delicious that is.

It’s juicy and almost beautiful, particularly if you love food as I do. However, some of the recipes I found to lack one or two of the elements I need for what I consider perfection.

Carnitas recipe orange juice
Slow cooker carnitas

I have to have those delicious caramelized bits of brown in the juicy meat but don’t want a complicated recipe that takes hours and a lot of pots and pans to make.

I need the flavor just right, delicate enough to blend in with any dish you make, without having a problem with too much salt or other spice, but delicious enough to eat alone.

It also has to be good when reheated, even after it’s frozen.

carnitas recipe crock pot
Carnitas taste good even after reheated

A recipe using a slow cooker/crockpot was my answer. I slow cook this recipe for 8 to 10 hours after I apply the rub. Slow cooking brings out the flavor and retains the moisture.

When I’m ready to use the pork, I heat up the frying pan and brown the meat to get the caramelized bits, making sure to pour the juices I reserved over the meat once I’ve browned it.

If I’m freezing the meat, I don’t brown it, just pour the leftover juice onto it before freezing and then brown it when I’m ready to use it.

This versatile recipe allows me to have pork carnitas ready for use in all types of dishes and still is yummy enough to eat alone as the main dish.

Carnitas in slow cooker brings out the flavor and retains the moisture
carnitas recipe crock pot

Pork Crock Pot Carnitas Recipe

Rate this recipe
42 ratings
Recipe by: Calleigh | TheForkBite.com
Category: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican

The possibilities for this slow cooker carnitas recipe is endless - you can use this for quesadilla, burrito, nachos and a lot more.

carnitas recipe crock pot


8 hours, 15 minutes
566.0 kcal
  1. 5 lbs / 2.5 kg pork shoulder (pork butt), skinless (meaning, skin removed but leaving some of the fat cap on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas)
  2. 1 onion, chopped
  3. 1 jalapeno, deseeded, chopped
  4. 2 1/2 tsp salt
  5. 1 tsp black pepper
  6. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  7. 2 oranges, juice only (or sub with 3/4 cup fresh orange juice)
    For the Rub:
  1. 1 tbsp dried oregano
  2. 2 tsp ground cumin
  3. 1 tbsp olive oil


15 minutes
8 hours
Ready in
8 hours, 15 minutes
  1. Clean and wipe dry the pork shoulder before rubbing with salt and pepper.
  2. Gather the rub ingredients, mix all together and rub them over the pork.
  3. Now, using a slow cooker, put the pork with fat cap up and top with minced garlic, onions, jalapeno and squeeze the orange juice.
  4. Set the slow cooker on low for 8 to 10 hours or set it to high for around 6 hours.
  5. Once it's done, remove from the slow cooker and let it cool before shredding the meat (the meat should be falling off the bone and be tender).
  6. If you have 2 cups of leftover juice, you can reduce the juice in a saucepan (set aside as we'll be using it for reheating.)
    To Serve:
  1. Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large non stick pan over high heat. Place shredded pork into the pan, drizzle over some juices.
  2. Wait until the juices evaporate and the bottom side is golden brown and crusty. Turn and just briefly sear the other side - you don't want to make it brown all over because then it's too crispy, need tender juicy bits.
  3. Repeat in batches don't crowd the pan.
  4. Remove pork from skillet. Drizzle over more juices and serve immediately.
  1. If you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat.
  2. If you are reheating the carnitas, then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. Only make one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.


1.) If you are using defrosted carnitas, this is not applicable as the juices are already on the meat.

2.) If you are reheating the carnitas, then flip and cook the other side briefly just to warm through. Only make one side crusty and leaving the other side juicy and moist.

Adapted from: Recipetineats

Nutrition Facts

Pork Crock Pot Carnitas Recipe


Amount Per Serving
Calories 566.0 kcal
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 42.34 g 65.1%
Saturated Fat 14.37 g 71.9%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 161.03 mg 53.7%
Sodium 608.71 mg 25.4%
Total Carbohydrate 4.23 g 1.4%
Dietary Fiber 0.68 g 2.7%
Sugars 2.08 g
Protein 39.47 g
Vitamin A Vitamin C
Calcium Iron

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.


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16 thoughts on “Pork Crock Pot Carnitas Recipe – Slow Cooker Carnitas”

  1. I have a pork loin – do you have any suggestions for keeping it juicy since the cut of meat is leaner?

  2. Very annoying when people say “it looks great” but have zero feed back, try it then leave a comment. This is delicious!! For people who actually want to know, not what people “think”.

  3. Omg that looks absolutely unbelievable!! I could certainly eat that right now, wow!! I have never considered making this as it always seemed too complicated but you made it look a lot more simple!!

  4. These look and sound DIVINE! And the best part is that the recipe is so easy to follow – I’ll have to give these a try, i love pork, it’s my favourite meat x

  5. How is carnitas different from pitas? I’m assuming that carnitas is the skin thing that you use to wrap those delicious-looking meat in? Gracious, I’m getting hungry just by seeing the pork!

  6. Angela Ricardo Bethea

    Wow!! This pork crockpot carnitas recipe looks really delicious. It makes me feel so hungry right now. I think this is a perfect dish for our dinner. Will give this a try.

  7. I’m latinamerican as well but I think I’ve never had carnitas, this seems to be very traditional mexican dish. I have to try once, although I don’t have a slow cooker 🙁

    Nati | Polished Polyglot

  8. I love pulled pork & slow cooker pulled pork is delicious! I don’t think I’ve had it with orange juice, but that sounds like a yummy twist! I might have to make this soon!

  9. Those carnitas look really tasty – moist, and delicious over all! The fresh veggies on top of meat looks like a great balance between cooked and raw, tantalizing for the taste buds! Love the photos!!

  10. I love Mexican food, the Pork Crock Pot Carnitas look so delicious. The pork looks so juicy and good. I would love to try this recipe. All your pictures have captured the deliciousness and perfection of the carnitas very well 🙂

  11. These look amazing, so tasty! I have never heard or tried Carnita’s before but I love all the ingredients you”ve used – I was expecting there to be double the amount so this certainly seems like something I can do without spending too much/. Yum yum!

  12. Thank you for sharing a great recipe. I am a vegetarian but a big fan of crockpot recipes. I am sure this one will be a pleasure for many people to enjoy.

  13. hi Michelle Leslie,
    I was referring to the skinless pork – meaning, skin removed but leaving some of the fat caps on. The fat adds juiciness to the carnitas.

  14. That sounds so incredibly delicious Calleigh. I’ve never tried putting orange juice on while cooking but I can just imagine what a lovely flavor that must add to the pork. Quick question, in your recipe, under point 1 in the ingredients it refers to Note 3. I can’t seem to find that note.

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About me:

abt me 150x150 Hi there, my name is Calleigh. Glad you’re here, you will find recipes that are easy to make and taste fantastic. You’ll also find some of my personal favorite foods, ones I’ve eaten in restaurants. Thank you for stopping by.

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