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Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Melt in your mouth carnitas simmer in your slow cooker so you barely have to lift a finger to whip together a fantastic taco night at home!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Author Amy Lee Scott


  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2-inch cubes
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive or peanut oil for frying cooked carnitas


  • Sprinkle pork with kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic powder, and cumin. Toss in the slow cooker along with the rest of the ingredients. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, until pork shreds easily, or on high for 4 hours.
  • Remove cooked carnitas from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and use two forks to pull the cubes apart into smaller, bite-sized pieces. (Discard cooking liquid. Though we use the remaining liquid to make posole with any leftover carnitas).
  • Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet (I like to use peanut oil but olive or vegetable would work fine too--if you want to impart an even deeper flavor, use shortening!). Fry shredded carnitas in 1-2 cup batches until golden grown and crispy. Devour in tacos, burritos, arepas, or quesadillas!


This makes a rather large batch. We like to freeze half of the carnitas straight out of the slow cooker. We portion the half into two quart-sized freezer bags. Thaw in the fridge overnight and fry in oil before dinner to make them crispy and delicious!