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Slow cooker pork carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas - juicy and highly-seasoned pork slow cooked until tender enough to pull apart with forks then broiled slightly for crisp delicious edges. The most delicious, easiest and healthiest version of carnitas! Great filling for tacos, burritos or in bowls.
Course Main
Cuisine Fusion
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 4 -5 people
Calories 352kcal
Author Imma


  • 3 1/2 - 5 lbs or 1.58-2.27 kg pork shoulder , either butt or picnic
  • 4 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ - 1 tsp chili pepper
  • 1 cup or 8 fl oz orange juice or 2 oranges
  • 1 ½ tsp or 9 g salt , more to taste
  • 1 tsp or 2.03 g cumin
  • 1 tsp or 2.30 g smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp or 1.01 g dried oregano
  • 1 tsp crushed dried oregano leaves
  • 1 cinnamon stick , preferably Mexican canela
  • 1 large onion , chopped, plus finely chopped onion for garnish
  • corn tortillas , warmed for serving
  • chopped cilantro for garnish


  • Remove pork from packaging and gently rinse pork under cold water. Remove pork skin and any visible fat.
  • Add half of the minced garlic, bay leaf , chili and the orange juice to the slow cooker.
  • Season pork with salt, cumin, smoked paprika and oregano. Place in the slow cooker.
  • Add the remaining crushed oregano leaves, cinnamon stick and onions in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on Low for about 8 hours or until the pork shreds easily with a fork.
  • Remove the pork roast from the slow cooker and shred. Reserve cooking liquid.
  • The meat should be tender enough to pull apart with forks.
  • Place the shredded pork on a foil on a baking sheet. Use liquid from the pork to moisten carnitas.
  • Broil on high for 10-15 minutes, stirring once, or until the edges of the pork begin to crisp and brown. Keep a close eye to avoid burning. Use tongs or spatulas to turn as needed .
  • Serve warm as a filling for tacos, burritos or in bowls.


  • Mexican Canela (Mexican cinnamon) is the softer loose-bark variety of cinnamon stick that we commonly find at the grocery stores. You can buy them in Mexican market or specialty stores or online through amazon.com. Regular cinnamon stick or ground cinnamon works fine as a substitute for this ingredient.
  • For a slightly sweeter taste, you may switch the orange juice with pineapple juice.
  • If you like spicy pork, throw in a whole scotch bonnet for a spicy and sweet pork.
  • If you want to serve it later, shred the pork but don't broil it. Store the pork and juice separately in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 161mg | Potassium: 861mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 365IU | Vitamin C: 31.3mg | Calcium: 88mg | Iron: 3.5mg