Real Recipes From Real Home Cooks ®

carnitas (slow cooker)

(4 ratings)
Blue Ribbon Recipe by
Pam Stewart
Grand Rapids, MI

I served this on Mother's Day figuring it was MY day and I love this type of food; my husband usually doesn't. Well, this made a believer out of him he loved it and has asked me to make it several times since. He is now convinced that tacos and burritos are not ALL made from ground beef with taco seasoning. FINALLY!

Blue Ribbon Recipe

You'll find many uses for this slow cooker carnitas recipe. Carnitas is the Mexican version of pulled pork. In this recipe, a pork shoulder is coated in cumin, coriander, oregano, garlic powder, salt, and cinnamon. It's a fantastic blend of spices. Letting the coated pork sit in the fridge overnight enables the spice flavor to permeate the meat. After cooking in the slow cooker, the pork is very tender. It makes a lot, so we made nachos and sandwiches with them.

— The Test Kitchen @kitchencrew
(4 ratings)
yield 6 to 10 depending on who is eating ;-)
prep time 25 Min
cook time 10 Hr
method Slow Cooker Crock Pot

Ingredients For carnitas (slow cooker)

  • 1
    4 lb. boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 tsp
    Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp
    garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp
    dried oregano
  • 1 tsp
    ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp
    ground coridaner
  • 1/4 tsp
    ground cinnamon
  • 2
    bay leaves
  • 2 c
    chicken broth

How To Make carnitas (slow cooker)

Test Kitchen Tips
We could not find a boneless pork shoulder so used a bone-in one for testing. Once cooked, the meat fell right off the bone before it came out of the slow cooker.
  • Spices combined in a bowl.
    In a small bowl, mix together all the spices except the bay leaves.
  • Pork covered in the spice mixture.
    Rub the pork with the spice mixture.
  • Pork in a resealable bag ready to refridgerate.
    Put into a Ziploc bag and refrigerate overnight.
  • Roast in the slow cooker.
    In the morning, place the bay leaves in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the roast on top of the leaves. Pour the chicken broth around the sides of the pork, being careful not to rinse off the spice mixture.
  • Flipping the pork after 5 hours.
    Cover and cook on low until the pork shreds easily with a fork, about 10 hours. Turn the meat after it has cooked for 5 hours.
  • Shredding the cooked pork.
    When the pork is tender, remove it from the slow cooker and shred it with two forks. Use the cooking liquid, as needed, to moisten the meat.