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The best crockpot carnitas you’ll ever have! Killer Crockpot Pork Carnitas are made in your slow cooker, so it couldn’t be easier!

Crockpot carnitas in tacos

Do you remember the show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives? They showed a Mexican restaurant that people lined up out the door for. Apparently they had killer carnitas which they then “showed you how to make.” If you’ve ever seen the show you know that means they just listed off the ingredients and showed it start to finish in about 10 seconds. They made theirs in huge batches, but after watching it over and over again, we figured out the proportions of ingredients. After a few experimental tries, and several years of making them, we consider these pork carnitas mastered! This meat is as good as it comes and makes one killer taco. If you are still making ground beef tacos, they will quickly become a thing of the past once you try this recipe. Bonus: they’re even made in the slow cooker! What’s not to love?! Get ready for taco cravings, everybody!

We think there’s a little bit of magic that happens when taking such an ordinary, cheap cut of meat and turning it into this culinary masterpiece. Especially considering how little effort is required to get this going! Once your meat is chopped, all you have to do is throw everything in the crockpot, mix ingredients by hand really quick, and then go about your day. It is the perfect meal for a busy weeknight! Carnitas belong in all Mexican food: burritos, quesadillas, enchiladas, you can even eat it by itself! No matter how you choose to serve them, they are absolutely delicious!

Orange Juice Options:

In some regions of Mexico, carnitas contain orange juice or zest. You can add both to this recipe for a citrus zing. Simply add 1/2 cup of orange juice and up to 1 tablespoon of orange zest into this recipe with the oil and spices.

My pork is really fatty. Do I need to trim a bunch of fat off? 

Trimming isn’t necessary, but it all depends on your personal tastes. Fat does not render in a slow cooker so you will end up with gristle and blobs of fat. If you’re not a fan of gristly meat, you’ll want to trim off some of the larger pieces of fat. Don’t worry about trimming it all though, just the larger pieces. 

Why do you call for so much oil? 

We are essentially slow frying the pork, which requires a lot of oil. The secret to the most amazing carnitas is a crisp exterior and tender interior, and you can’t do that without a good amount of oil. At the end, there will be a good amount of oil remaining to drain out, so you’re not actually eating all of that oil. Also keep in mind, this recipe makes a lot of meat. This is much more than just a couple of servings. While you could certainly replace the oil with broth, Coca Cola, or other liquids, we highly recommend using oil for the most amazing results.

Vegetable Oil Alternatives:

Don’t want to use vegetable oil? You can also use one of these vegetable oil substitutes in the same amount:

  • Peanut Oil
  • Corn Oil
  • Lard
  • Canola Oil
  • Coconut Oil (though flavor may be impacted)

We do not recommend using olive oil or avocado oil for this recipe. While they could certainly work, they are expensive and better used for shallow pan frying.

The best crockpot carnitas you'll ever have! Killer Crockpot Pork Carnitas made in your slow cooker so it couldn't be easier!

Oven Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place roast into a 5 to 7 quart oven-safe pot with lid or use a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil later. Follow all instructions in the recipe, but instead of placing the meat into a slow cooker, place it in your pot or roasting pan.

Cover with lid or aluminum foil tightly cover the roast with foil. Roast at 350 degrees for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until pork shreds easily with a fork. Shred in the pot or pan.

If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious Mexican inspired recipes:

Watch the video below where Rachel will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.

Crockpot carnitas in a white bowl
The best crockpot carnitas you’ll ever have! Killer Crockpot Pork Carnitas made in your slow cooker so it couldn’t be easier!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 3 to 5 pound pork butt or shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
Instructions
  • Trim roast and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Put directly into crock pot (or baking pan).
  • Combine spices and toss into crockpot.
  • Add in the vegetable oil. Yes, it is a lot of oil, but fear not. If you skimp you won’t get the same results.
  • Toss together using hands until evenly coated with spice and oil goodness.
  • Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours until the meat can easily be shredded with a fork.
Notes
TO CRISP ON THE STOVE: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Work in batches and use tongs to place the shredded meat into the pan and saute until crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. The meat should still have oil on it from the slow cooker. 
TO CRISP IN THE OVEN: Spread shredded carnitas out onto a baking sheet in an even layer. Place under the broiler setting in your oven for 3 – 5 minutes until crisp. 

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 878mg | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Slow Cooker Carnitas
Crockpot carnitas in a white bowl
The best crockpot carnitas you'll ever have! Killer Crockpot Pork Carnitas made in your slow cooker so it couldn't be easier!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Ingredients
  • 1 3 to 5 pound pork butt or shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups vegetable oil
Instructions
  • Trim roast and slice into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Put directly into crock pot (or baking pan).
  • Combine spices and toss into crockpot.
  • Add in the vegetable oil. Yes, it is a lot of oil, but fear not. If you skimp you won't get the same results.
  • Toss together using hands until evenly coated with spice and oil goodness.
  • Cook on low setting for 6-8 hours until the meat can easily be shredded with a fork.
Notes
TO CRISP ON THE STOVE: Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Work in batches and use tongs to place the shredded meat into the pan and saute until crisp, about 3 to 5 minutes. The meat should still have oil on it from the slow cooker. 
TO CRISP IN THE OVEN: Spread shredded carnitas out onto a baking sheet in an even layer. Place under the broiler setting in your oven for 3 - 5 minutes until crisp. 

Nutrition

Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 142mg | Sodium: 555mg | Potassium: 878mg | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 1.8mg
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Slow Cooker Carnitas
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