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Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale; you need that lengthy slow and low cooking time to help keep this cut of meat tender.

Since this easy Crock-Pot pork carnitas recipe hangs out doing its own thing in the slow cooker for up to ten hours, it’s also a good choice to throw into your Crock-Pot before you leave the house for the day — you’ll just need to devote about 20 minutes when you come home to shredding and crisping up the meat, which gives you enough time to get the rest of your taco fixings together while you’re waiting for it to finish.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

My favorite thing about a big batch of carnitas, though? Everything you can make with the leftovers, of course! That’s what really makes these easy Crock-Pot carnitas a perfect for for this week’s Sunday Scratchups (your weekly recipe from scratch around grocery sales & affordable ingredients): One batch of carnitas can feed your family for several meals, in several different forms.

Here’s what I threw together with my own leftover carnitas this time around: Leftover Carnitas Naan Pizza, and Comforting Carnitas Stew. You can also always add some leftover carnitas meat into your next batch of quesadillas or grilled cheese sandwiches, or check out a couple of earlier recipes for carnitas hash and salsa pork naan pizza to get your creative juices flowing further. 🙂

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Ingredients

5-6 lb boneless pork butt (shoulder), remove string if present
2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
1 cup beef broth
1.5 tsp Kosher salt
Black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp olive oil
3 small limes
Juice from 1 orange (or 1/4-1/2 cup of prepared orange juice), optional
1.5 tsp cumin
2 tsp paprika
1 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit, if sensitive to spice)
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp oregano
10 cloves garlic, minced
4 chipotles in adobo + 1 tsp adobo sauce, minced (cut down to 2-3 peppers, if sensitive to spice)
2 bay leaves

Fixings of choice: Tortillas, guacamole, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, avocado slices, tangy cabbage slaw, lime wedges, jalapeños…

Directions

Pork roast in Crock-Pot. Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

Add the onions and broth to the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the pork roast on top. Season the roast with Kosher salt and black pepper.

In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice (if using), cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and oregano, then toss the squeezed lime halves into your Crock-Pot around the roast.

Seasoned pork roast. Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

Pour the olive oil/spice mixture over the entire roast, then top it with the minced garlic, chipotles, and bay leaves. (With the garlic and chipotles, it’s a huge time saver just to mince them together in a little food chopper!) Cook the carnitas on low for 8-10 hours.

Remove pork from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and shred it into a metal roasting pan, discarding any large pieces of fat, the bay leaves, and the lime halves. (Shred some of the cooked onions right on in there with the pork, too — the meat should be soft enough at this point that it’s basically falling apart.)

Crisped carnitas. Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

Broil the pan of carnitas on high for 8 minutes, or until the meat is nicely browned and crisped up on top. Remove from oven and stir, then broil for another 5 minutes to crisp up more of the meat.

Serve with fixings of your choice!

Note: I left the orange juice out of mine for tangier carnitas. To cut the tang and add a bit of sweetness, however, you can either add the juice of one navel orange (throw the squeezed orange in there with the lime halves, too) or a little OJ into your slow cooker along with the lime juice. Sometimes I also make these with a can of mild diced green chiles rather than the chipotles in adobo — it’s hard to go wrong either way; you just need some kind of mild peppers to add the underlying heat & flavor to this recipe.

Carnitas for days…

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas are a great way to make use of one of those big pork roasts that often go on sale. Throw this easy carnitas recipe into your Crock-Pot for up to ten hours before you leave for the day, and it takes just 20 minutes to shred and crisp up when you get home. Naturally gluten free (served on corn tortillas).

What sets carnitas apart from plain old slow cooked pork tacos is the beautifully crispy bits you’ll find mixed in with the softer pulled pork. With these slow cooker pork carnitas, I just broil up the whole pan of meat at the end to avoid having to crisp up multiple batches in lard or oil — it’s less traditional, but you still get that crispy texture.

Slow cooker pork carnitas are best served with a little creamy cheese, avocado, and/or sour cream to help heighten the contrasting textures and balance out the tangy meat, but also pair quite nicely with a crunchy slaw. Serve your Crock-Pot pork carnitas on corn tortillas, and you can easily keep the whole recipe gluten free, too.

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas, printable recipe

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5 from 1 vote

Easy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Since this easy Crock-Pot pork carnitas recipe hangs out doing its thing in the slow cooker for up to ten hours, it's a great choice to throw into the slow cooker before you leave the house for the day.
Course dinner
Total Time 10 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 5-6 lb boneless pork butt (shoulder), remove string if present
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1.5 tsp Kosher salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 small limes
  • Juice from 1 orange, or 1/4-1/2 cup of prepared orange juice, optional
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit, if sensitive to spice)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 chipotles in adobo + 1 tsp adobo sauce (minced (cut down to 2-3 peppers, if sensitive to spice)
  • 2 bay leaves

Instructions

  • Add the onions and broth to the bottom of your slow cooker, then place the pork roast on top. Season the roast with Kosher salt and black pepper.
  • In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, orange juice (if using), cumin, paprika, chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and oregano, then toss the squeezed lime halves into your Crock-Pot around the roast.
  • Pour the olive oil/spice mixture over the entire roast, then top it with the minced garlic, chipotles, and bay leaves. (With the garlic and chipotles, it's a huge time saver just to mince them together in a little food chopper!) Cook the carnitas on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Remove pork from slow cooker with a slotted spoon and shred it into a metal roasting pan, discarding any large pieces of fat, the bay leaves, and the lime halves. (Shred some of the cooked onions right on in there with the pork, too -- the meat should be soft enough at this point that it's basically falling apart.)
  • Broil the pan of carnitas on high for 8 minutes, or until the meat is nicely browned and crisped up on top. Remove from oven and stir, then broil for another 5 minutes to crisp up more of the meat.
  • Serve with fixings of your choice!

Notes

I left the orange juice out of mine for tangier carnitas. To cut the tang and add a bit of sweetness, however, you can either add the juice of one navel orange (throw the squeezed orange in there with the lime halves, too) or a little OJ into your slow cooker along with the lime juice. Sometimes I also make these with a can of mild diced green chiles rather than the chipotles in adobo -- it's hard to go wrong either way; you just need some kind of mild peppers to add the underlying heat & flavor to this recipe.

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Recipe Rating




Liz

Wednesday 12th of June 2019

I'm so glad I found your site! Most of my friends these days have an instant pot instead of a slow cooker. Would you ever consider adding some alternate instructions for recipes like this to be pressure cooked instead? Most recipes for one can be converted for the other. It would be helpful!

We ate your food every night last week and everyone loved every plate. Thank you so much.

Lindsay

Tuesday 6th of March 2018

I assume this is probably okay to freeze, right? I love the recipes to use it all up, but with just two adults eating that might be a lot for one week with leftovers even haha.

rachel

Tuesday 6th of March 2018

Oh yeah, carnitas freeze really well. I just put the cooked meat in a freezer bag and press it flat.

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