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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are fall-apart tender and easy enough for a weeknight dinner. This recipe makes enough to have leftovers and you’ll love the serving options for this flavorful meat.

If you know anything about me and A Reinvented Mom you know we love good Mexican food. And anytime we can squeeze in tacos, we do! Technically these aren’t tacos, but they are in the same family, so it works for us.

pork carnitas on a blue plate topped with a lime wedge with text overlay

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Speaking of tacos, these are some of my favorites you may want to try:

What Are Pork Carnitas? 

Carnitas are the Mexican version of pulled pork. Typically you use the pork shoulder cut. You can also use the pork butt, it’s a little fattier than the shoulder cut.

Why We Love Carnitas 

  • First, the flavors remind us of tacos (shocking, right?!). 
  • Pork shoulder is a budget-friendly cut of meat and can go a long way for larger families and crowds.
  • They make great leftovers.
  • There are so many ways to eat them. 
  • Carnitas are freezer friendly too.
ingredients labeled with text for slow cooker pork carnitas

What You Need to Make Carnitas in the Crockpot


Pork shoulder – you may need to trim off excess fat or cut into pieces so it will fit in your slow cooker.

Spices: dried oregano, ground cumin, salt, black pepper, minced garlic

Onion – yellow or white

Orange juice – you can use store-bought or squeeze your own for a fresher flavor

Orange zest 

Lime juice – store-bought or fresh squeezed will work 

Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce

Oil – vegetable or canola 

For Serving: 



Lettuce Wraps 

Kitchen Gadgets Needed:


Small mixing bowl

Cutting Board

How To Make Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker 

Combine your spices in a small bowl and mix. Rub the spices into the pork shoulder until it’s evenly covered. Note: if you rinsed your pork first, be sure to pat it dry with paper towels before seasoning. 

Add the diced onion, minced garlic, orange juice and peel, lime juice, and chipotle pepper to the slow cooker. Place the pork shoulder on top.

Cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4-5 hours. 

2 image collage showing pork being shredded and crisped in a skillet

Shred the pork shoulder on a cutting board with meat claws or use two forks. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the pork. Pour in some of the juice from the slow cooker. Cook until brown and crispy. 

Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to brown the pork in batches.

If you don’t want to use a skillet you can place the shredded pork on a baking sheet and broil for about 5 minutes.

Serve and Enjoy! 

top show of mexican pulled pork with a silver fork and lime wedges

How To Serve Leftover Pork Carnitas 

We never let carnitas go to waste! These are some of our favorite ways to use the leftovers: 

  • Topping for nachos
  • Over a salad 
  • With veggies in a stir fry
  • In tortillas
  • Quesadillas
  • As a wrap 
  • On a bun 
  • Filling for egg rolls
  • Over rice (or cauliflower rice for a lighter option) 

Storing Leftovers 

You can store cooked carnitas in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. Pork shoulder freezes well – simply let it cool and store in portions to make thawing and reheating easy. 

More Crockpot Recipes Your Family Will Love: 

*****Pin the Recipe for Later*****

pork carnitas after being cooked in the crockpot with topped with a lime wedge
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pork carnitas on a blue plate topped with a lime wedge with text overlay

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are fall-apart tender and easy enough for a weeknight dinner. This recipe makes enough to have leftovers and you'll love the many serving options for this flavorful meat.
5 from 3 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Calories: 188kcal
Author: Lori @ A Reinvented Mom


  • 3-4 pound pork shoulder, trimmed slightly
  • 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • cup lime juice
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 1-2 tablespoons oil – vegetable or canola

Optional for Serving

  • Tortillas and toppings
  • Buns
  • Lettuce wraps


  • In a small bowl, whisk together the oregano, cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Rub seasoning mixture onto all sides of the pork shoulder.
  • Add onion, garlic, orange juice and zest, lime juice and chipotle pepper to slow cooker. Place pork on top.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or HIGH for 4-6 hours, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees F.
  • Move pork from slow cooker to a cutting board, allowing to cool slightly. Shred pork with meat claws or two forks.
  • Heat oil in skillet on stove top. Add pork and some of the juice from the slow cooker.
  • Turn meat often to brown the pork. Heat until juices have evaporated and the pork is nicely browned and crispy.
  • Serve immediately with preferred serving options.
  • Refrigerate leftovers.


  • Meat can be crisped in the oven. Place shredded pork on a baking sheet. Cook under the broiler until crispy (about 5 minutes).
  • Serving options: tacos, nachos, quesadillas, on a salad, with lettuce wraps, over cooked rice or cauliflower rice.
  • Cooked meat can be frozen up to 3 months.
Tried this recipe?Mention @AReinventedMom or tag #areinventedmom

Nutritional Estimate

Calories: 188kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 21g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 70mg | Sodium: 686mg | Potassium: 425mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 139IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is provided as a reference, using an online calculator. We recommend verifying the information independently for accuracy.

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