This tender, juicy, and flavorful Crockpot Pork Carnitas will blow your mind! They're truly incredible and can be used in many dishes!
Crockpot Pork Carnitas are one of my favorite things to cook! The meat is SUPER versatile, SUPER cheap to make, and SUPER delicious! Where we live, this pork shoulder and remaining Crockpot ingredients cost less than $20 and yielded more than 6 meals for the family! We had Pork Carnitas Quesadillas, tacos, taco salads, burritos, Cuban sandwiches, and bbq pork sandwiches.
Traditionally, pork carnitas is a Mexican dish made by slow-cooking pork in lard or oil until it becomes tender and crispy. The pork is typically seasoned with a blend of spices and then cooked until it is falling apart and easy to shred. The result is a flavorful and juicy meat that can be used in a variety of dishes.
This Crockpot meal is a great idea for entertaining. You can have the pork shredded and ready for assembly as tacos or salads along with your favorite pork carnitas toppings! It's incredibly tender, full of amazing flavors, and absolutely delicious!
Table of Contents
What You’ll Need
Ingredient Amounts Listed in the Recipe Card Below
- Pork Shoulder Butt Roast, Bone-In or Boneless
- Dried Seasonings: Chipotle Powder, Oregano, Cumin, Garlic Chili Powder, Cinnamon, Salt, Pepper
- Orange Juice and Zest
- Lime Juice and Zest
- Yellow Onion
Tools You’ll Need
Why You’ll like this Recipe
Crockpot Pork Carnitas is an affordable and practical dish that uses budget-friendly cuts of pork, making it a great choice for those who are looking for a delicious meal without breaking the bank. The versatility of pork allows it to be transformed into a variety of mouth-watering dishes, and this recipe is no exception. With its unbeatable combination of flavor and tenderness, Crockpot Pork Carnitas is sure to be a hit with anyone who tries it. This recipe is also perfect for feeding a large group of people, making it an excellent choice for gatherings and parties.
How to Make This Recipe
- Sear pork on all sides in a large skillet in oil until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer into a 6 quart or larger Crockpot.
- Whisk together dry herbs and zest of the orange and lime. Sprinkle and pat herb/zest mix on the top and sides of the pork.
- Carefully pour ½ cup water and orange and lime juices around the pork. Top with onion and jalapeño.
- Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 or until pork easily shreds with a fork.
- Carefully transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board. Shred and remove the bone and any excess fat. Return the meat to the Crockpot, toss with juices, and cook on low for 15 minutes.
- Optional Step: Preheat oven to 450°F. To a sheet pan, add the desired amount of shredded pork in an even layer. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the Crockpot juices, and bake for 15 minutes. Broil for 1-3 minutes, or to desired crispness.
- For tacos, toast tortillas on a griddle or skillet on one side, flip, and add shredded cheese and pork. Fold into a taco and toast on both sides.
Tips and Substitutions
- The seasonings can be adjusted to personal preference. Pork carnitas get their delicious flavor from a combination of spices, so be sure to season the meat generously.
- Before slow-cooking the pork, searing first is optional. However, it adds flavor, and color and helps to lock in the juices.
- This recipe can be cooked on high or low as noted in the recipe. From personal experience, the pork yields its ideal tenderness and flavor from the low and slow method.
- There are MANY ways to use pork carnitas!
- To refrigerate pork carnitas, let the meat cool down to room temperature before transferring it to an airtight container. Pork carnitas can be refrigerated for up to 4 days.
- To freeze pork carnitas, let the meat cool down to room temperature before transferring it to a freezer-safe container or a resealable freezer bag. Pork carnitas can be frozen for up to 3 months.
- When you're ready to eat the pork carnitas, let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight. You can reheat the meat in a skillet over medium heat until heated through or in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes. It's important to make sure the meat reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
The best cuts of pork for carnitas are those with a good balance of meat and fat. This makes the meat tender and juicy while also allowing it to crisp up nicely when cooked. Some of the best cuts of pork for carnitas include pork shoulder (also known as pork butt), pork loin, and pork belly.
There are many traditional toppings for pork carnitas tacos, but here are a few of the most common ones:
Salsa or Fresh Pico de Gallo
Shredded lettuce or cabbage
Avocado or guacamole
Queso fresco or cotija cheese
Hot sauce or chili flakes
This recipe doesn't yield a spicy end result. If you'd like to add spice, you can add it through spicier seasoning additions or spicy toppings.
Yes, the ingredients in this recipe are gluten-free.
As this dish contains citrus, if you slow cook the pork for too long, the meat will become mushy.
Both are delicious, slow-cooked dishes, but carnitas are browned in the oven after cooking in the crockpot. Carnitas have a crispy finish, whereas pulled pork is softer.
More Recipes Like This
- Copycat Costa Vida Sweet Pork
- Amazing Pulled Pork
- Asian Pulled Pork Sliders with Crispy Cucumber Slaw
- Sweet Pork Sliders
Crockpot Pork Carnitas
- 7-8 lb bone-in pork shoulder butt roast (4-5lb boneless)
- 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 teaspoon ground cumin
- garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 cup orange juice
- zest of 1 orange
- 1 lime zested and juiced
- 1 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1 jalapeño sliced
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat in a large skillet. Sear pork on all sides until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer into a 5 quart or larger Crockpot. Whisk together dry herbs and zest of the orange and lime. Sprinkle and pat herb/zest mix on the top and sides of the pork. Carefully pour ½ cup water and orange and lime juices around the pork. Top with onion, garlic and jalapeno. Cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 5-6 or until pork easily shreds with a fork.
- Carefully transfer the cooked pork to a cutting board. Shred and remove the bone and any excess fat. Return the meat to the Crockpot, toss with juices and cook on low for 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 450°F. To a sheet pan, add desired amount of shredded pork in an even layer. Drizzle with ¼ cup of the Crockpot juices juices, and bake for 15 minutes. Broil 1-3 minutes, or to desired crispness. For tacos, toast tortillas on a griddle or skillet on one side, flip, add shredded cheese and pork. Fold into a taco and toast on both sides.