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Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas

by Nick Makrides
Published: Last Updated on

Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas is the ultimate slow cooker meat you can prepare ahead of time, stuff into soft shell tacos with Pico De Gallo for an easy and delicious weeknight meal!

Crispy Pork Carnitas - on a pair of tongs

There are so many things to love about this recipe.

  • It’s easy to make
  • Minimal effort
  • Simple ingredients
  • Easy to freeze and re-reheat
  • Can be used in so many ways!

Packed with delicious Mexican flavors, this can be used to fill soft shell tacos with fresh and delicious Pico De Galo. Sprinkle with Coriander and drizzle with smokey chipotle mayo and you’re onto an easy weeknight dinner or special occasion crowd pleasing treat!

What makes Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas so amazing?

These Carnitas are a base recipe, meaning you can use them in a countless number of ways. Essentially Pork Carnitas are a slow cooked pork that is seasoned in traditional Mexican spices and then slow cooked for a long time. You then shred it and crisp it up in a frypan before serving.

Here’s what I love about this recipe!

  • Tasty – this has so many wonderful flavors in it. But it’s not over powering which means you can use it in so many ways.
  • Easy to make – this recipe is low effort. Simply season the meat, slow cook it, shred it and crisp it up!
  • So versatile! – you can use this recipe in so many ways! I’ve got a list below!

How To Serve Crispy Pork Carnitas!

Ok so there are endless amount of ways to serve these Crispy Pork Carnitas! I always have this in my freezer and serve it in these ways:

  • Crisped up with a side salad – quick and easy dinner option
  • In a wrap – really good lunch option
  • In a sandwich – with fresh sliced bread, thinly sliced red onion and lots of salt and pepper. Trust me, it’s incredible!
  • Souvlaki/Gyro! **my favorite way** – I have a great Chicken Gyro recipe here, but replace the chicken with crisped up pork carnitas and you’re onto a winner!
  • Soft Shell tacos **I lied** – this is actually my favorite and most common way of serving this up! I put it in a freshly charged soft shell taco with pico de gallo and a drizzle of chipotle mayo. It’s so good!

Ingredients You Need To Make Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas

Note: the whole recipe, including the ingredient quantities, can be found at the bottom of this page – just scroll down to the bottom, or click the ‘Jump to Recipe’ button at the top of this post.

Jump to Recipe

Crispy Pork Carnitas - ingredients image

  • Pork shoulder – I used pork shoulder for this recipe with no bone and the fat cap trimmed off. A little of it kept on is ok as it adds flavor.
  • Olive oil – I used extra virgin olive oil. You can use canola oil in it’s place for this recipe
  • Salt – I used cooking salt
  • Cumin – I used ground cumin powder.
  • Pepper – I used white pepper because its what I had available.
  • Oregano – I used dried oregano because it has a strong flavor.
  • Orange juice – This helps add a nice sweetness to the meat. You can sub it for coke I’ve heard and seen in other recipes. Although those recipe makers say you need to make sure its Mexican coke (of the soda variety).
  • Lime juice – this helps bring a nice acidity to the meat and tenderizes it.
  • Red onion – you can also use brown onion.
  • Garlic – I sliced the garlic.
  • Bay leaves – this helps add a deeper flavor to the meat.

How to make Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas!

Crispy Pork Carnitas - instructional image 01

  1. Trim the fat cap off the pork.
  2. Season both sides

Crispy Pork Carnitas - instructional image 02

  1. Add to slow cooker
  2. Add additional seasonings and stock

Crispy Pork Carnitas - instructional image 03

  1. Slow cook for 8 hours
  2. Pull apart/shred

Crispy Pork Carnitas - instructional image 04

  1. Crisp up in frypan
  2. Serve any way you like!

Tips and Tricks For Recipe Success!

  • Serve this up in soft shell tacos with pico de galo! Easy weeknight dinner.
  • Season to your liking. I used traditional carnitas seasoning. If you like a particular seasoning, add it in there!
  • Prep this the day before serving to allow plenty of time to cook.
  • This freezes incredibly well! Simply portion into plastic bags and place int eh freezer. Thaw in the microwave and freshly crispen up in a frypan before serving.

Frequently Asked Questions about Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas

What does it taste like?

This is juicy shredded pork with traditional carnitas seasoning. Traditionally though this is cooked in lard. I opted in for chicken stock instead.

How do I store this?

Store this in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days.

How to freeze Pork Carnitas

This is my favorite thing about this recipe other than how delicious it is! Simply portion in freezer bags and freeze. Thaw in the microwave and freshly crispen up in a frypan before serving.

What to serve with Pork Carnitas

SO many things! Soft shell tacos, in a wrap, in a sandwich, in a gyro or served with a side salad!

Can I use another type of meat?

You can use chicken breast or thighs (better flavor than chicken breast) although you would only need to slow cook for 2 hours.

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Crispy Pork Carnitas - pinterest 02

Crispy Pork Carnitas - square

Pork Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)

Slow Cooker Crispy Pork Carnitas is the ultimate slow cooker meat you can prepare ahead of time, stuff into soft shell tacos with Pico De Gallo for an easy and delicious weeknight meal!

Serves 8 people

5 from 1 vote
Author: Nick Makrides
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 8 hrs
Total: 8 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Calories: 536kcal
Author: Nick Makrides

Ingredients

Pork Carnitas

  • 4 pounds (2 kg) pork shoulder, boneless and skinless (see notes)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra to crisp up pork
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin ground
  • 2 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oregano dried
  • 2 oranges juiced
  • 1 lime juiced
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2 bay leaves dried

Learn How To Make it! [VIDEO]


Instructions

Pork Carnitas

  • If your pork has fat on top, use a sharp knife to carefully slice as much of it off as you can. A little left on is ok. Wash your pork under tap water and pat dry with paper towels.
  • Place pork on a chopping board and drizzle with half the oil on one side. Sprinkle with half the salt, cumin, pepper, and oregano. Use clean hands to rub into the meat. Turn the pork shoulder over and repeat on the other side.
  • Place seasoned pork shoulder in the slow cooker. See notes for alternative cooking methods. Pour in orange juice, lime juice, red onion, garlic cloves and bay leaves. Place the lid on top and slow cook for 8 hours on low setting.
  • There will be about 1 1/2 cups of juice. Lift the soft pork out of the slow cooker and place onto a baking tray or chopping board. Use tongs or forks to tear apart into shreds.
  • To crisp up - drizzle 1 tbsp olive oil into a very hot skillet. Add about 1 1/2 cups of shredded pork and use a wooden spoon to stir occasionally, drizzle with some of the juice and continue stirring until the pork crisps up and becomes a dark golden color. Serve in tacos with pico de galo!

Notes

Pork Shoulder - I used pork shoulder for this recipe with no bone and the fat cap trimmed off. A little of it kept on is ok as it adds flavor.
Larger portions - This recipe is suitable for a pork shoulder ranging from 1 - 3kg in weight. If using anything larger than 3kg slow cook for 10-12 hours on low.
Slow Cooker - I used a large slow cooker for this recipe which makes making these carnitas super fuss-free
Stove top option - You can make this on the stove top in a large casserole pot. If using this option, cook on low heat.
Oven option - You can bake this in the oven. Simply place in a high sided roasting pan with an additional 2 cups of water. Cover with aluminum foil and bake on 160C / 325F for 2 hours, then bake for 90 minutes. If using the oven method, there won’t be any need to pan fry it to finish it off as it will develop a brown crust in the oven.
Storage - Carnitas can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge for up to four days. It’s a great make ahead freezer meal and can be wrapped in freezer bag bathes in it’s shredded state for up to two weeks. Simply thaw completely and pan fry to crisp up.
Nutrition - is based on per serving. This serves 8 - 10 people.
A note on measurements - all ingredients in this recipe are offered in Australian cup measurements and weight measurements. Weight measurements are created by me, in my kitchen here in Melbourne Australia. The best way to get recipe success is to measure ingredients by weight, using kitchen scales. To access weight measurements, click on the ‘metric’ button in the recipe card located under the list of ingredients.

Nutrition

Calories : 536kcal
Carbonhydrates: 16g
Protein: 56g
Fat: 27g
Saturated Fat: 8g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g
Monounsaturated Fat : 14g
Cholesterol: 185mg
Sodium: 1960mg
Potassium : 1201mg
Fiber: 4g
Sugar : 8g
Vitamin A: 243IU
Vitamin C: 45mg
Calcium: 141mg
Iron: 6mg
Nutrition Disclosure
Gave this recipe a go?Mention @thescranline or tag #thescranline!

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