Slow Cooker Carnitas

Carnitas is something I want to have in my back pocket. With a busy week at work and a huge list of things to tackle around the house in the evening we went the slow cooker route tonight.  The Kitchn posted this great article touting the wonders of using the crock pot for carnitas. Didn’t do my usual recipe research for this, but I was still very pleased with the outcome (I mean.. meat cooking in its own juices all day… perfection.)

carnitas 1


  • One 6-8 pound pork shoulder (ours was 7.18)
  • 2 Tablespoons each of salt, cumin, pepper, oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of cayenne
  • 8 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 4 chipotle peppers (canned or dried – we used canned chilis in adobo sauce)
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (14oz)
  • 2-3 cups of liquid (they say stock, orange juice, or beer. We went with stock)


Steps and Notes:

  1. Prepare the spices in a side bowl & mix
  2. Cut any excess fat off of the pork
  3. Place all ingredients into the crock pot
  4. Cook for 9 hours on low
  5. Remove the lid and cool until you can touch it, then move the meat over into a large bowl. (Save the juice)
  6. Use two forks to remove the meat from the bone and then shred the meat.
    • This gives you about 10 cups of meat
  7. Skim the fat from the remaining juice and make a gravy
  8. Pour some of the gravy over the meat, and now you have carnitas for a variety of dishes!


Tonight we went with Tacos topped with red onion, rice and beans (spiced with some of the adobo sauce from the chilis, and some of the meat juice), avocado, and shredded sharp cheddar.

Thoughts for next time:

  • Play around with the ingredients that go into the crock pot. I’m curious what the orange juice would do
  • Add to burritos, enchiladas, or rice and beans
  • Make a breakfast hash with some shaved sweet potatoes topped with a runny egg
  • Cut it small and put on a homemade pizza, with some caramelized onions
  • Add it to a baked potato bar
  • The options are endless!

carnitas 2




  1. Carnitas are da’ bomb! As far as orange juice goes, it should be a supplement to the broth, not all OJ. The second thing is that carnitas (even made in a crock pot) should go on a baking tray in the oven to crisp up after done. But your carnitas look absolutely scrumptious!! I’ve cheated and done them this way too when short on time. It doesn’t make them any less yummiful! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree – they were SO delicious and now I have lots leftover for other yummy treats. Love the idea of crisping them in the oven, I’d seen that suggested on one recipe but decided to skip it because of time. Do you think it would have the same effect if I did that tonight when reheating? Mmmm. Now I’m hungry again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I would think it would!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I just tried your suggestion when making a hash for breakfast with the leftovers. You were SO right on. The carnitas crisped up well which added excellent texture and flavor. Thank you!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh I am SO glad that worked out for you! Yes, the crispy bits are the best! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Slow Cookers are the best ! Whoever invented them is a genius ! Great recipe, sounds really yummy 🙂 Nice thoughts at the end, by the way…this recipe is so versatile 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I agree, there are so many possibilities.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yum – can’t beat slow cooked and shredded pork!


  4. […] home from work today and had a strong urge for some comfort food.  With the end of the leftover carnitas in the fridge I figured it was the perfect day to play around and try making a […]


  5. Lovely! I can just smell them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were SO tasty. Thanks for the note!


  6. […] some dishes that I’ve posted here over the years including hot Italian sausage with lentils, crock pot carnitas, and turkey and black bean chili. […]


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