Home » Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas

by Dana Bean, RD
Published: Updated:

Tender and juicy, this slow cooker carnitas recipe is sure give your taste buds the flavor they’ve been looking for!

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Tender slow cooked pork with just the right amount of tang and spice!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time5 hours
Course: dinner
Keyword: pork


  • 3-4 lb pork shoulder or butt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp ground oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 onions chopped into chunks
  • 1/3 cup orange juice fresh or bottled
  • 1/3 cup lime juice fresh or bottled
  • 1-3 Tbsp hot sauce


  • Cut pork into 2-3 sections and rub oil into pork
  • Mix seasonings in small bowl and rub into pork on all sides
  • Place seasoned pork, garlic, onions, orange juice, and lime juice in slow cooker
  • Cover and cook for 8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high
  • Optional: Preheat oven to broil and shred pork. Place on baking sheet and broil for about 3 minutes or until just slightly crisped on the ends
  • Optional: Drizzle hot sauce on top as desired

The seasoning rub, citrus, and hot sauce give this pork LIFE! Don’t worry, you can use as much or as little hot sauce as you’d like. I recommend using a hot sauce like Valentina or Tapatio, though any could work. And you better believe I’m adding some extra fresh lime right before eating. Yum!

slow cooker carnitas lettuce wrap on white plate with gray towel under.

As you can see, broiling is an optional last step, though I totally recommend it. It adds that nice slight crisp to the outside that is absolutely delicious. If you prefer to keep it as soft and tender as possible though, feel free to skip! The trick is to not overdo it. Really it just takes 2-3 minutes in most ovens.

They’re great for throwing it in, forgetting about it, and ending up with a completely delicious dinner. One less thing to worry about in the evening rush! Slow cookers are one of my favorite ways to cook meat too. Since we’re using a moisture cooking method, the tenderness is off the charts.

slow cooker carnitas with hot sauce

Slow cooker carnitas is a delicious main, but what do we pair it with? I have ideas!

Pair the pork with this Cilantro Lime Rice recipe, add some tomatoes, avocado, salsa, sour cream and you’ve got one of the most flavorful combos!

This classic never gets old. Pair with some corn tortillas, chopped cabbage and salsa!

Wash some romaine, add that Cilantro Lime Rice, and other toppings of choice, don’t forget our pork, and that’s a dang good lettuce wrap.

slow cooker carnitas lettuce wrap

I’m glad you asked! I know it can get overwhelming to be excited about a recipe, then have to scroll through a seemingly never-ending life story before finally finding the recipe. I started to notice it becoming a difficulty for some of my nutrition counseling clients. So that’s why I’ve created No Guilt Nutrition Recipes – a place where finding the actual recipe isn’t so difficult or cumbersome. Usually the recipe is hidden in a blog post or you have to pay a subscription to see the recipe quickly, but here you’ll find it first on the page!

No Guilt Nutrition recipes are definitely not the only thing you can eat if you are eating intuitively (really, you can eat anything that you want/feels good to your body!), but I noticed there are way too many diet culture entrenched recipes out there. These recipes give you good food without potentially triggering numbers or diet talk. They also provide a gentle nutrition approach by encouraging balance in your meals without having strict requirements for what that may look like for you as an individual.

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