Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Taco night is one of the best nights at my house, and so are nights we eat Mexican inspired dinners. These slow cooker pork carnitas never disappoint, since it’s one meal that is easy to “set-it-and-forget-it.”

I also like making these as lettuce cups! You can see in my video how to make this one simple recipe three ways:

These slow cooker pork carnitas is one of those diners that when you come home at the end of the day, stop, and take a deep breath -you take another and smile. The entire house fills with comforting aromas that don’t disappoint the taste buds.

What I also love about this recipe is that it can be served in several different ways. Over rice, topping a salad, in lettuce cups, over tostadas, or in my husband’s favorite way: a taco. What can I say, we love handheld food at our house! If you’re eating grain-free but still want that taco flavor, try this recipe with my Paleo Tortillas!

 Image: one taco made with pork carnitas, topped with jalepeno slices, sour cream and pico de gallo

What are Carnitas?

If you’ve wondered about the difference between pork tacos and pork carnitas, you are not alone. What I had to ask a friend of mine to answer this very question.

The main difference is the crunch you get from the crispy edges with carnitas. If you don’t take a minute to pan-fry the pork, they become pork tacos. The extra step adds another dimension to the pork, and it seals in the flavor of the meat.

image: ingredients for pork carnitas on a plate

My family loves it when I make this slow cooker pork carnitas recipe instead of regular beef tacos. Recipes like this one allow me to cook one meal but everyone has the opportunity to customize their toppings.

If you look at our dinner plates, it might look like we each have a different meal, but it’s not. Instead, we have added different things from the table, and our plates look a little different. Same ingredients, various combinations.

Most of the meals in my Family KickStart Program can be served this way. You only have to make one meal, but it can be modified to fit the needs of each person in the family. I’ve found that keeping ingredients everyone loves on the table is a great way to get the whole family on board with eliminating processed foods, even for a whole month at a time!

I mean, who is going to complain when you’re serving up recipes like these epic pork carnitas? No one!

Image: one taco made with pork carnitas, topped with jalepeno slices, sour cream and pico de gallo

Some days, G just wants the pork, no taco or tostada, but maybe a few tortilla chips and cheese on the side. Alex likes his as a pork taco with a few toppings. Sofia is a girl after my own heart and loves the crispy edges of the carnitas and eats them as tacos. My husband and I on the other hand… the more toppings, the merrier. Except lettuce, my husband isn’t big on crunchy things.

Leftovers get turned into an office lunch for lunch the next day. It can also be reinvented into a quick vegetable hash or even a sandwich.

Image: one taco made with pork carnitas, topped with jalepeno slices, sour cream and pico de gallo

How do you like to serve carnitas?

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas: An easy and delicious meal that your slow cooker cooks for you! Plus, it's tacos!

This easy recipe for slow cooker carnitas brings the restaurant favorite home. The pork carnitas can be used in tacos, salads, lettuce cups, burritos, rice bowls, and more.

  • Author: Laura Fuentes
  • Cook Time: 4 – 10 hours
  • Total Time: 4 – 10 hours
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Category: Tacos


  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 1 orange, cut in half
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Fresh corn tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar cheese, taco sauce, salsa, guacamole or avocado slices and sour cream for serving


  1. Rinse and dry the pork shoulder roast with a paper towel. Salt and pepper liberally.
  2. In a small dish, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, and olive oil and rub all over the shoulder roast. Place pork roast in the slow cooker. Toss in onion, garlic, and jalapeño. Squeeze orange halves into the slow cooker and add them in. Cover and cook for 8 to 10 hours on low or 4 to 5 hours on high.
  3. Once the meat is tender, remove from the slow cooker onto a large cutting board and allow meat to cool down slightly prior to pulling apart with two forks.
  4. Assemble tortillas and other toppings.
  5. At this time, you can serve pulled pork roast onto tortillas or heat up vegetable oil in a large pan and sauté carnitas in the oil until some of the edges are crusty. Serve over tortillas and garnish with favorite toppings.


  • Serving Size: 2 tacos
  • Calories: 523
  • Sugar: 8.6g
  • Sodium: 1471.9mg
  • Fat: 26.7g
  • Saturated Fat: 12g
  • Carbohydrates: 37g
  • Fiber: 8.5g
  • Protein: 37.5g
  • Cholesterol: 98.8mg

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