Crockpot Carnitas Recipe | Slow Cooker Carnitas

Crockpot carnitas that are sure to remind you of your favorite take out pork carnitas! This minimum prep carnitas recipe will satisfy the family and frees up your time to enjoy other things besides cooking.


Rgese crockpot carnitas melt in your mouth and make the most amazing tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. They are a staple in our house along with these Crockpot Pinto Beans and Cauliflower Mexican Rice.

Carnitas literal meaning is, “little meats.” It is a traditional Mexican dish where meat, generally pork, is simmered in oil until it is tender. But have you ever tried to make pork carnitas at home? Personally, I have tried to make crockpot carnitas multiple times and although they usually turn out pretty tasty, I always miss the crunchy bits that you find when you order carnitas out. However, after doing some research on carnitas, I stumbled across an amazing trick. All it takes to add that crunchy texture is a quick trip to the oven before serving. Baking or broiling the pork at a high temperature for just a few short minutes will create lots of texture and crispy bits that make these carnitas taste like the real thing.

Now you want to make pork carnitas, right? Well, let me explain this super simple process for making these crockpot carnitas. You’ll want to begin by seasoning the rinsed and dried pork with salt and pepper and then place it in your crockpot. Mix together the spices and add some chipotle pepper for heat. Add soem beer as the cooking liquid to add extra flavor or use chicken broth. Cook this carnitas recipe for 6-8 hours on low or until the pork is fork tender and shreds easily. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and lay the pork out in a single later on a non-stick baking sheet. Roast in the heated oven for 4-5 minutes until the edges become crispy and toasted, just like they should be! Now you have delicious pork carnitas with very little work and without having to leave your home!

Keep in mind:

  • You’ll want to rinse and pat dry the pork, otherwise if you wait for it to dry on its own you will be waiting a while.
  • Be careful to pay attention to your measuring spoons when prepping spices. Getting a tablespoon and teaspoon of a spice confused can lead to a taste you may not like.
  • When removing the pork from the crockpot once it is finished always temp the meat at the thickest part to ensure it has reached a safe cook temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook temperatures are important to kill any potential bacteria or pathogens that could be growing in the food. The best type of thermometer to use is one made for food that can be inserted into the product.

Plan Ahead:

While there may not be a lot of steps in this recipe that can be done ahead of time every bit of time saving steps can help. If you know this recipe is on your menu for the week go on and get the pork washed, dried, and fat trimmed.

Change it up:

Pork carnitas are usually served as a filling for tacos, but can be eating in a wide variety of ways. This carnitas recipe goes well over tortilla chips, rice, or just eaten as a main dish to a traditional meal. Try eating them served with brown rice and avocado, cilantro, and salsa. Squeezing a slice of lime onto the finished product gives is a refreshing taste. You can also change up this recipe by being creative and using spices that you would not usually use on traditional carnitas. You can make ranch flavored carnitas by using a ranch flavor pack, or make them chili lime by throwing in chili powder and a squeeze of lime.

Make it Light:

  • Use center cut pork loin rather than the traditional shoulder or rump roast. Because these locations are not as fatty they can be leaner than even skinless chicken breast. A great way to make recipe lean without losing the pork flavor you love.
  • Throw in an avocado as a side or topping to give some healthy fats to the recipe.
  • Serve as a topping for a salad or over brown rice or quinoa to add extra nutrients and flavor.
The Recipe
Crockpot Carnitas Recipe | Slow Cooker Carnitas

Crockpot Carnitas Recipe | Slow Cooker Carnitas

COOK TIME: 8 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 8 Hours, 5 Min
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  • 2 1/2 lb lean pork tenderloin (or pork shoulder roast, lean only, fat removed )
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tbsp. chipotle peppers with adobo sauce, diced
  • 3/4 cup light beer (or chicken broth )
  • 1 bay leaf

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Season the pork with salt and pepper. Place it in the crockpot.


Mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl and pour over the pork.


Cook for 6-8 hours on low until the pork is fork tender and easily shreds.


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Lay pork out in a single layer on a non-stick baking sheet. Roast for 4-5 minutes until the edges become crispy and toasted.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 2/3 cup (211g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 173
Calories from Fat 29
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 92mg
Sodium 321mg
Total Carbohydrate 3g
Dietary Fiber 1g
Sugars 1g
Protein 30g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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