How To Make Pork Carnitas

Tender Mexican pulled pork is slow cooked in orange juice, chicken stock, chili powder, cumin, and other spices to make pork carnitas.

We’ve already made Pot Roast with Potatoes and Carrots, and now you can make the authentic pork dish. This Mexican Slow Cooked Pulled Pork recipe is the perfect Beef Tips with Mushroom Gravy that the whole family is sure to love

Pork Carnitas

Without having to spend all day at the stove, slow cooking this carnitas dish in the crockpot is a terrific way to obtain soft and tasty meat. The pork shoulder is cooked in the crockpot for a long period of time with minimum preparation. For the juiciest pork ever, the flesh absorbs the savory liquid and seasonings around it as it cooks.

The shredded pork is moved to a baking sheet to continue roasting in the oven after the slow cooker period. Carnitas that are made using a slow cooker and oven roasting are wonderfully crunchy and yet have plenty of juicy flavor.

Pork Carnitas

What are Carnitas?

The Mexican state of Michoacán is where carnitas, which translates to “little meats,” originated. pig butt bits are traditionally braised gently in fat or oil, similar to a confit, to make pig carnitas. The Carnitas are shred and crisped up with high heat to produce a fantastic texture and delectable tastes after the pig is lovely and soft. With the help of chicken broth and orange juice, this recipe braise the meat until it is perfectly moist and tender while preventing it from becoming greasy or oily.

How to Make Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Sear: In order to sear, add oil to a big dutch oven and heat it up over medium-high. Salt the meat after slicing it into big chunks and serving. Brown the pork shoulder all over in the Dutch oven after adding it. Each side has to cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Crockpot: Transfer the meat to the slow cooker as the next step. Orange juice, orange zest, and chicken broth should all be combined in a big dish. The spices are then whisked in. Over the roast in the crockpot, pour the liquid ingredients. Mix in the onions and garlic cloves after adding them. Cook the pork on low for 8 to 9 hours, or until it is tender to the fork.
  • Cooking time: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray vegetable oil on a rimmed baking sheet. From the crockpot, remove the slow-cooked pork. After shredding the pork with a fork, add 12 cup of the cooking liquid to the dish. For 15 minutes, roast. Give the meat another 15 minutes to roast after adding a further 1/4 cup of cooking liquid. Enjoy! Serve with cilantro and yellow onion.
Pork Carnitas

Key Ingredients in Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • hog Shoulder: For braising this delectable Slow Cooker Carnitas dish, hog shoulder or pig butt provide the ideal meat. Look for a pink, boneless cut with a great fat cap and some marbling all around. It will be simpler to chop into chunks and sear before adding to the slow cooker if you start with boneless meat.
  • Seasonings: To give your carnitas a delicious, rich taste, season the slow cooker juices with orange zest, chili powder, coriander, oregano, and cumin in addition to seasoning the pork meat with salt and pepper. This genuine Carnitas seasoning has a wonderful citrus and spice combination.
  • Aromatics: To enhance the tastes of delicious meat, don’t forget the power of onions and garlic. The aromatics contribute to the taste and tenderness of the pork carnitas.
  • Liquid: Orange juice and chicken broth mix to create a sweet and delicious foundation, which is then heightened by the spices’ tastes to flavor the meat. This fragrant braising liquid will be used to boil the pig, giving you tasty, soft meat.

Oven Baked Pork Carnitas

  • Chunks of pork shoulder should be seasoned with salt and pepper before being seared on both sides in a dutch oven over medium-high heat to produce oven-baked pork carnitas.
  • Pour over the meat the mixture of chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, chili powder, coarse powdered black pepper, oregano, and cumin.
  • Stir in the garlic and onions. 3–4 hours under cover, or until fork tender.
  • Pour 12 cup of the cooking liquid over the shredded pork after spreading it out on a baking sheet with a rim. For fifteen minutes, roast at 400 degrees.
  • Before serving, roast for a further 15 minutes with an extra 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.
Pork Carnitas

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas

  • Pork shoulder pieces are seasoned with salt and pepper, then seared on both sides in an Instant Pot using the sauté function.
  • Use 1 cup of the chicken stock to deglaze the saucepan. Seal the cover on the Instant Pot after adding the last ingredients.
  • Cook for 45 minutes on manual high pressure, followed by 15 minutes of natural release.
  • Pour 12 cup of the cooking liquid over the shredded pork after spreading it out on a baking sheet with a rim. For fifteen minutes, roast at 400 degrees.
  • Before serving, roast for a further 15 minutes with an extra 1/4 cup of cooking liquid.

Variations on Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Spices with flavor: By adding a few extra ingredients to the spice combination, you may add a range of various tastes to the recipe. Consider adding some paprika, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, or red pepper flakes.
  • Spicy Carnitas: You may add some Chipotle peppers in adobo, fresh jalapenos, or a dash of hot sauce to this carnitas dish to make it spicier.
  • Lime Carnitas: Try adding some fresh lime juice to the carnitas dish for a tangy and zesty flavor. A few teaspoons of lime juice may be added to the cooking liquid and will complement the orange juice and zest well. Lime wedges may also be used as a garnish for the Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas.


  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 pounds pork shoulder , cut into several large pieces
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 yellow onion , chopped
  • 5 clove garlic , minced


  • Add oil to a large dutch oven on medium-high heat.
  • Season pork with salt and sear on all sides until browned well, about 6-8 minutes on each side.
  • Add pork to a slow cooker.
  • Whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, orange zest, chili powder, coriander, coarse ground black pepper, oregano, and cumin together.
  • Pour over the roast.
  • Add in the onions and garlic and stir.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 8-9 hours or until pork is fork-tender.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil spray.
  • Remove pork from slow cooker, shred apart in small chunks.
  • Put pork onto a baking sheet, pour about ½ cup of cooking liquid evenly over the pork, and roast for 15 minutes.
  • Add ¼ cup of cooking liquid and roast 15 minutes.
  • Serve with fresh yellow onion and cilantro.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 1425mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 334IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg

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