Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)

Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork)

Carnitas, translating to “little meats” in Spanish, is a classic Mexican dish known for its flavorful, tender, and juicy pulled pork. Traditionally cooked slowly, this dish has roots deep in Mexican culinary history, often enjoyed in tacos, burritos, or simply on its own. The slow cooker method brings convenience to this delicious meal, allowing the pork to simmer in a blend of spices and citrus, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth perfection. Here’s how you can make authentic and delectable Carnitas right at home.


  • 4 lbs pork shoulder (boneless)
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup orange juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Prepare the Pork: Cut the pork shoulder into large chunks and place them in the slow cooker.
  2. Seasoning: In a small bowl, combine salt, black pepper, ground cumin, dried oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, and cinnamon. Rub the spice mixture all over the pork pieces.
  3. Add Ingredients: Add the minced garlic, onion, orange juice, lime juice, and chicken broth to the slow cooker. Toss in the bay leaf.
  4. Slow Cook: Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or on high for 4-6 hours, until the pork is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
  5. Shred the Pork: Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks. Discard any excess fat. Return the shredded pork to the slow cooker and mix with the juices.
  6. Crisp the Carnitas (Optional): For crispy edges, spread the shredded pork on a baking sheet and broil for 5-10 minutes until the edges are browned and crispy.
  7. Serve: Enjoy your Carnitas in tacos, burritos, or on a plate with your favorite sides.


  • For extra flavor, you can marinate the pork in the spice mixture and citrus juices overnight before slow cooking.
  • Adjust the spice levels to your preference by adding more or less chili powder.

Carnitas is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste. Whether for a family dinner or a gathering with friends, this Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork is sure to be a hit.

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