Pork Carnitas (Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork)

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe to stuff it into a tortilla, taco shell or turn it into a burrito bowl!

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!
Pork Carnitas

These pork carnitas are loaded with garlic, seasoned with chipotle, cumin, adobo, sazon, oregano and slow cooked until fork tender. I know a lot of you share my love for Mexican food, so I think you will agree this is the most amazing pork carnitas recipe for the crock pot. Coming home from work and smelling this when you walk in the door is heavenly. Only 15 minutes to prep, if you set it at night you can wake up to this dish ready for the next day! If you prefer using the Instant Pot see this Instant Pot Pork Carnitas recipe.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!

Is there anything better than coming home to juicy and tender pork carnitas made in the slow cooker? This is always on rotation in my house because it makes enough for several meals making this great for meal prep.

What to with Serve Carnitas – Best side dishes

My family loves this so many ways, and since this recipe makes a lot, leftovers are great! Here’s a few suggestions:

  1. Served with charred corn tortillas to make pork carnitas tacos topping with avocado and pico de gallo.
  2. Use a large flour tortilla and make a carnitas burrito, with rice, guacamole, black beans and salsa.
  3. Cilantro lime rice – Make a pork carnitas burrito bowl serving the carnitas over cilantro lime rice. Top it with chopped lettuce, corn salsa, guacamole, and cheese.
  4. Mexican Rice – you can make it with brown rice or even cauliflower rice

What is Carnitas?

If you go to any Mexican restaurant you’ll be sure to find carnitas on the menu. All throughout Mexico you’ll find lots of hole-in-the-wall restaurants that make the best authentic carnitas. They slow cook the pork in lard, like a confit which makes the pork fork tender. Luckily you can easily make them from scratch without all the lard and excess calories with delicious results in the slow cooker!

Tips for Perfect Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker

  • Always brown the meat! Browning the pork first is essential so don’t skip this step. Pork shoulder is very inexpensive and you can make a few meals out of this.
  • Easy Prep! To make mornings easier, prep this in the evening, it only takes about 15 minutes the night before. Get it ready and refrigerate it so you simply take it out and plug it in when you get up.

This recipe makes a lot! A whole roast will make enough pork for more that one meal. Leftovers can be refrigerated 4 to 5 days, and reheated to be used in sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, etc. Or freeze it up to 3 months.

How To Make Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas

  1. Season the pork with salt and pepper.
  2. Let it cool, then using a sharp pairing knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers all the way in so you no longer see them.
  3. Then brown in a skillet over high heat on all sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
  4. Season pork generously with cumin, adobo, sazon, oregano all over and transfer to the slow cooker.
  5. Add chicken broth, bay leaves and chipotle peppers.
  6. Cook low for 8 hours, or until the pork easily shreds apart.
  7. Shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom.
  8. Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin as needed. Let it slow cook another 15-30 minutes.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!

More Slow Cooker Recipes

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!
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4.93 from 53 votes
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Pork Carnitas (Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork)

4
160 Cals 20 Protein 1 Carbs 7 Fats
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 8 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 8 hrs 40 mins
Yield: 11 servings
COURSE: Dinner
CUISINE: Mexican
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas or Mexican Pulled Pork is the best Mexican pork recipe whether you stuff it into a tortilla, taco or turn it into a burrito bowl!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder blade roast, trimmed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sazon, homemade or packaged
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry adobo seasoning, I used Goya
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
  • 3/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

Season and brown the pork

  • Season the pork on both sides with salt and black pepper.
  • Using a sharp knife, insert blade into pork, cutting small holes and insert garlic slivers all the way in so you no longer see them.
  • In a large skillet on high heat, brown pork on all sides for about 5 to 7 minutes.

Add pork to slow cooker

  • Place pork in slow cooker, and season generously with cumin, adobo, sazon, oregano on all sides.
  • Pour chicken broth in the slow cooker, add the bay leaves and chipotle peppers to the broth.
  • Cover and cook low for 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, shred pork using two forks and combine well with the juices that accumulated at the bottom.
  • Remove bay leaves and adjust salt and cumin to taste, as needed.
  • Let it cook low for another 15-30 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Video

Notes

If you want to crisp up your carnitas, you can spray a skillet and add the shredded pork and brown them a bit before eating.
Leftovers can be refrigerated 4 to 5 days, and reheated to be used in sandwiches, tacos, enchiladas, etc. Or freeze it up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/2 cup, Calories: 160kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 20g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 69mg, Sodium: 397mg
WW Points Plus: 4
Keywords: Carnitas, Crock Pot Pork Carnitas, Pork Carnitas, Pork Carnitas recipe, Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker

Photo credit: Jess Larson

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497 comments

  1. This looks delicious! Have you ever made the pork in an Instant Pot? If so, will you please share the time and setting? 

  2. Phenomenal. I cooked them on high for a little over four hours. I toasted my tortillas on the burner, added cilantro, red onion and avocado. 

    I used spices I’ve never heard of and I was scared. It was not crazy. My husband said it was the best meat ever and wanted to just go at it with a fork. My picky daughter said the meat was amazing. Definitely will be making again! 

  3. The flavor of the meat is wonderful. It is not crispy like regular carnitas, but you can crisp it up in the skillet. I listened to other reviews and left out the salt. I found I did need to add some salt when serving. But I’d rather have not enough salt than too much. We will make this again. Loved the Chipotle in Adobo in this…..we used 5 instead of 2. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. Recipe for homemade Sazon?

  5. I’ve never made carnitas before. These were delicious.

  6. This is in the rotation regularly. So easy. So good! So moist. The family loves it. We often throw in a burritos for a change or leftovers get added to chilaquiles. Great compromise as we have those trying to slim down and others who are in good shape. 

  7. Just made this last night. It was fabulous! Not too spicy for us. Thank you for the recipe!

  8. Made this recently and it was delicious.  A little too spicy for the kids.  how can i cut down on the spice next time? It was my first time using salon or adobo seasoning.  

  9. this looks delicious! Has anyone made this in the instant pot? Curious about instant pot cooking time..

  10. How much Adobo seasoning I need to add to the recipe? I couldn’t find it:(

  11. I made this tonight and for some reason it was sooooo salty we almost couldn’t eat it. I can see how it would be delicious if it wasn’t all salt. Next time I’m not going to rub any salt onto the pork itself when I sear it. I think between the adobo seasoning (with salt), the sazon (with salt), the low sodium chicken broth (which has some amount of salt) and rubbing salt onto the pork itself it came out as too much. I honestly can’t figure out why it was so salty (we aren’t super sensitive to salt in our house) but next time I’ll skip putting salt on the pork and see if that’s better. I definitely want to make it again just need to think through the sodium issue! 

  12. What brand of tortillas do you use? Yours always look so much thicker and tasty than the ones I seem to find. 

  13. Hi!!
    What is the difference in taste from this recipe and the one in your “The SkinnyTaste Cookbook.” Looking to make it this week and wasn’t sure which one to use!!

  14. Skinnytaste is my absolute favorite source for recipes. I had put off trying these carnitas because we love one of the other slower cooker ST pork recipes, but I’m so glad I finally tried them. The flavor is unbelievable and yet the process is so simple. Thank you so much!

  15. We subbed chicken thighs for the pork and it still came out great! 15 mins on high pressure for 1.5 lbs of chicken thighs, with between 3/4 – 1 cup of chicken stock worked well. Tasty!!

  16. Maybe my all time fave ST recipe. I know you’re supposed to brown it first, but to save time and dishes I almost never do and it’s SO GOOD. 

  17. I’ve made the slow cooker carnitas recipe and the instant pot carnitas recipe many times as they are my family’s favorite. If I had to compare the two methods, we find the slow cooker method to be more tender and juicy. Do not skip the browning of the meat or you’ll lose that caramelized flavor from the outside of the meat. Deliciousness!!

  18. Great recipe!!! I cooked your carnitas yesterday and they were delicious.