This super-easy homemade pork carnitas recipe will be a family favorite all year long!

This pork carnitas slow cooker recipe makes juicy, flavorful carnitas in a marinade of seasonings and spices. They are tender and juicy in their own carnitas sauce. Everyone will just love them! Start with a queso appetizer, and dish these up with a crisp salad. How about some baked churros with spicy chocolate sauce for dessert?

Pork Carnitas on a white plate


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What are Carnitas?

Carnitas is a seasoned pork shoulder that has been slow-cooked with citrus fruits like oranges and limes to tenderize the meat.

Pork Carnitas on a white plate with tray of carnitas meat in the background

Since pork shoulder is an inexpensive and meaty cut, it is perfect for feeding a crowd. When choosing the best pork shoulder for this recipe, pick one with lots of marbling for lots of flavors!

While there are plenty of carnitas taco recipes, this is the best recipe to keep on hand! With a little bit of prep, it is ready to slow cook all day long. Before serving, just pop it in the oven to crisp it up and caramelize the marinade.

Low and slow is the way to go for this carnitas Asada recipe!

slow cooker with pork carnita ingredients

How to Make Carnitas

Easily made in a slow cooker (or dutch oven), this recipe for pork carnitas has so many culinary applications! 

  1. Season pork sections with salt and pepper. Brown in oil and then place in a slow cooker.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on high 4 – 5 hours or on low for 7 to 8 hours.
  3. Remove bay leaf. Shred meat, place on a baking tray and broil until meat is lightly browned and crisp.

Pork Carnita meat on a baking sheet with tin foil

Serve tucked into corn or flour tortillas or piled high on a slice of whole-wheat bread. Prep into enchiladas or serve as a carnitas bowl over rice or a bed of lettuce with a tangy Italian dressing!

What to Serve with Carnitas?

Carnitas are so-called “street food” because, with just a few ingredients,  they pack a vibrant flavor! Even shredded chicken or ground beef can be used.

Pork Carnitas on a white plate with radishes and lettuce

To serve, keep it simple or make a carnitas bar and let everyone build their own! 

VEGGIES: Jalapenos, black olives, tomatoes, lettuce, or avocado 

CHEESE: Monterey Jack, Mexican cotija, cheddar, or mozzarella

TOPPINGS: Sour cream, salsa, guacamole, cilantro, lime juice

Any way you choose to serve it up, Crockpot carnitas are a tasty timesaver!

Leftover Carnitas

What can be done with leftover carnitas meat? Almost everything!

Use leftover slow cooker carnitas in a soup or stew, in quesadillas, enchiladas, or even mixed with eggs and put into a breakfast wrap on the go! Freeze them up in a Stasher Bag for easy convenience of reheating.

Pork Carnitas on a white plate
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Pork Carnitas

These Pork Carnitas are tender, juicy, and full of Mexican-inspired flavor!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Total Time 4 hours 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Author Candace


  • 3-4 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 navel oranges
  • 1 lime
  • 1 onion cut into chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf


  • Cut pork into large pieces (about 3”). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • In a large skillet, heat oil and brown pork in batches and add to slow cooker.
  • Sprinkle pork with chili powder, cumin, and oregano.
  • Peel the rind off and juice the oranges and lime. Add rinds and juices to slow cooker along with onion, garlic, broth, and bay leaf.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours or low for 8 hours, or until the pork is tender. Once complete, discard bay leaf.
  • Preheat oven to broil. Line a baking tray with foil.
  • Shred pork using shredding tongs (or two forks, or a mixer).
  • Spread pork evenly on the baking tray and add some juice from the slow cooker. Broil 4-5 minutes, mix and add more broth. Broil 4-5 more minutes.*
  • Once removed from the oven, add more juice from the slow cooker, stir, and serve in tortillas with desired toppings.


*Instead of broiling, crisp pork in a pan with olive oil (no stirring!), or air fryer for 4-6 minutes if desired. 
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 217 | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 493mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 383IU | Vitamin C: 27mg | Calcium: 49mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information does not include optional ingredients or garnish and is an estimate. It may change based on actual ingredients and cooking methods used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican

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Recipe slightly adapted from Spend With Pennies



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About the author

I am a wife, mother of two, and professional accountant. I love fantastic food, and it is so often the center of our lives, from everyday dinner, to family gatherings, and special evenings at fabulous restaurants. I have always loved cooking and baking, with my mom and grandma, and now, with my daughter and son. I love trying new recipes while enjoying my favorites too. I’m so happy to share them with you.
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