Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Slow cooked pork carnitas with onion, cilantro, and lime juice over homemade tortillas

Today’s recipe is going to utilize a cooking technique that I don’t use very often: a slow cooker (or crockpot – whatever you prefer to call it). There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a slow cooker, but I typically prefer braising meats in something like a Dutch oven. In fact, this slow cooker pork carnitas recipe is so delicious – not to mention it will have your house smelling like heaven – that I’ve never even considered changing the way that I cook it. Let’s dive in!

Add everything to your slow cooker

This recipe is as simple as add everything to a slow cooker and turn it on. Here’s the ingredients that you’re going to need:

Once all of the ingredients have been added to the slow cooker, make sure to mix everything around and rotate the pork so that all sides are hit with the ingredients.

All of the carnitas ingredients are in the crockpot and ready to be cooked
Everything added to the slow cooker
An added layer of Open Fire Mex'ing It Up rub to turn the flavor up a notch!
Open Fire Mex’ing It Up rub to bring these carnitas to the next level

The longer the cook, the better

One thing that I recommend with this recipe is to cook it for as long as possible. My slow cooker has 6, 8, and 10 hour settings – if I have the time, I will always do 10 hours. There’s something about having the pork slowly cook in the braising liquid for as long as possible that results in tender and flavorful carnitas. If you only have 6 hours to cook, the carnitas will still be delicious, but I always recommend to cook them for as long as possible.

Shred and crisp up the pork

When the pork is done cooking in the slow cooker, remove it from the slow cooker (do not discard of the liquid) and shred it. It should easily shred apart after slowly cooking for so long. Once shredded, add it to a tray with foil, pour some of the braising liquid over it, and broil in the oven until crispy. You can move the pork around so that all sides crisp up if you would like. Just remember to add more liquid when you do that. Once crisped up to your liking, it’s time to compile the tacos.

Pork is crispy and ready to be made into tacos
The crispy pork should look something like this

Easy and delicious

This slow cooker pork carnitas recipe is so easy to pull off that anyone can do it. It’s really as simple as adding everything to a crockpot, turning it on, and then shredding the meat once it’s done. You don’t even need to crisp up the pork after shredding it if you would prefer not to (although I highly recommend it). For the amount of effort that’s needed to make this dish, the flavor is UNBELIEVABLE. You can eat these carnitas as is, in a bowl (think Chipotle bowls), or my favorite way: as a taco. I like my carnitas tacos using our homemade tortillas from our Corn Toritllas recipe, topped with onion, cilantro, and lime juice. It’s absolutely mouthwatering!

Slow cooked pork carnitas with onion, cilantro, and lime juice over homemade tortillas

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Slow cooker pork carnitas are going to be your new easy dinner on rotation! It's as simple as adding everything to a slow cooker, turning it on, and waiting while your house begins to smell like heaven. The pork will become extremely tender and shred apart once done. Once shredded, broil the pork for a few minutes, and you'll be left with crispy and delicious pork carnitas for the entire family to enjoy!
Servings 6 people


  • 3.5-4 lbs Pork shoulder
  • 1 White onion quartered
  • 10 Garlic cloves chopped
  • 2 tsp Open Fire Mex'ing It Up rub
  • 1 tbsp Oregano
  • 1 tbsp Cumin
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Black pepepr to taste
  • 2 Oranges juice only
  • 2 Limes juiced only
  • 20 oz Coke see notes


  • Combine all of the ingredients to a slow cooker. Make sure to rotate the pork in the liquid when you first add it so that all sides are exposed to liquid. Cover and set your slow cooker to longest setting (10 hours) that you have. If you are short on time, a shorter cooking time setting (6-8 hours) will work fine.
  • When the slow cooking time is up, remove the pork from the slow cooker (do not discard the liquid) and shred it. Taste the pork and add more salt, if necessary.
  • Spread the shredded pork on a tray with foil and ladle some of the liquid over it. Broil in the oven until the pork is crispy. You can move the pork around and broil both sides if you would like (I do), but make sure to add more liquid over the pork.
  • When the pork is crisped to your liking, enjoy as is, in a burrito bowl (think Chipotle bowls), or in tacos. Make sure to add more juice over your carnitas – there's tons of flavor in the juice. If enjoying as a taco, top with chopped onion, cilantro, and lime juice.


NOTES: if you can find it, I highly recommend using Mexican coke.  This is made with cane sugar and has a better flavor.  If you only have access to regular coke, it’s completely fine to use that.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
1 Comment
Join The Conversation

You Might Also Like

Made This Recipe?

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

  1. The breadth of knowledge compiled on this website is astounding. Every article is a well-crafted masterpiece brimming with insights. I’m grateful to have discovered such a rich educational resource. You’ve gained a lifelong fan!