Slow Cooker Carnitas + Video

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3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Carnitas are so easy they just about cook themselves. The most simple pork carnitas recipe yields the most fabulous results.

titled: cheater pork carnitas 3 ingredients


Just toss it in the crockpot and go! Come back hours later to perfectly tender and juicy pork that is mouthwateringly delicious and perfect on everything.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow cooker pork carnitas make the best street tacos, veggie salad topping, carnitas nachos, and so much more! I actually turn the leftovers into taquitos.

It all starts with a good cut of pork. I used pork shoulder (aka pork butt), but you could go with pork loin for a leaner cut.

The extra marbling in a pork shoulder makes the meat even more rich and tender.

Toss it all in a slow cooker and let it go. Shred slow cooker carnitas with forks or meat claws and serve!

How to Make Carnitas in Slow Cooker

I have made slow cooker carnitas several times, and I just can’t get over how easy and flavorful it is.

I love to use the meat on nachos, in burritos and tacos, and for flautas and taquitos. You are going to love it too!

Simply place pork shoulder in your crock pot, then cover with diced onion and green salsa.

Cook for 3-4 hours on High or 6-8 on Low. Shred the carnitas in the slow cooker, then let them cook for another 30 minutes to soak up all the juices. It’s that easy!

Pork Carnitas Recipe Tips

  • Place the pork fat side up. This way, the fat will melt into the meat as it cooks, adding both flavor and moisture.
  • Add a flavor boost. If you have the time, you can brown the pork shoulder on the stove before starting this slow cooker carnitas recipe.
  • Use a flavorful salsa. I prefer the 505 Southwestern Hatch Valley Green Chile Salsa with Tomatillos, Garlic, and Lime. 
  • Make it crispy. You can always transfer slow cooker pork carnitas to a rimmed baking sheet and pop them under the broiler for a few minutes.

    It’s an easy way to get those classic crispy edges.

Kitchen Items You Will Need

  • Slow Cooker – The slow cooker is almost my most used kitchen appliance, especially during fall/winter!

    It’s just so convenient, and let’s face it, it makes comfort food taste even better!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe FAQ

Is it better to slow cook pork on low or high?

Low and slow is the best method for pork, but either temperature setting will do the trick for these slow cooker carnitas!

That’s because the High setting simply comes to temperature faster than Low. They cook at the same temperature over several hours either way.

Can you overcook carnitas in slow cooker?

Any cut of meat can become overcooked, even in the crockpot. Avoid cooking this pork carnitas recipe for longer than the times listed below, or the meat will end up tough and chewy.

Storage and Reheating

Transfer any leftover slow cooker pork carnitas, along with some of the juices, to an airtight container. Refrigerate for 3 to 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Warm leftover shredded pork in the oven for best results. You can add a few splashes or water or broth for moisture.

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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pulled pork tacos with toppings

crockpot pork carnitas

Slow Cooker Cheater Pork Carnitas + Video

Donna Elick
Slow cooker carnitas are so easy to make! This simple recipe brings the most fabulous results. Just toss everything in the crockpot and go!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 10 people



  • 5 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • 2 cups green salsa
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  • Place pork in the bottom of the crockpot. Sprinkle onion over top and pour salsa over top.
  • Cover and cook for 3-4 hours on high or 6-8 hours on low. Once cooked through, use 2 forks or meat claws to shred pork. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Mine usually needs just a pinch.
  • Stir, cover and allow to cook for 30 minutes longer so the pork can absorb all those yummy juices.
  • Serve and enjoy!


Donna’s Notes

Make sure you are using a flavorful salsa. I prefer the 505 Southwestern Hatch Valley Green Chile Salsa with Tomatillos, Garlic and Lime.


Serving: 6ounces | Calories: 314cal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 51g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 136mg | Sodium: 448mg | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 18mg | Iron: 2mg

All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage (and shown) crockpot carnitas recipe

Originally published November 2015, updated and republished April 2023

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    1. It would not matter as it does not change the flavor. The flavor from bones is in the marrow. Since you are not getting to the marrow it does not matter. The bone is traditional because when it is cooked completely, it will pull out eadily

  1. Just had this for supper. Big hit with my husband & myself. Very easy. I did let the juices sit overnight so I could skim the fat off the top before heating the meat back up in the juice. Then I fried the pork in a non-stick skillet so I wouldn't have juices running down my arm when I ate them. Very tasty with shredded cheese & a homemade pico de gallo on top.

  2. 5 stars
    I love to use boneless for this recipe, It makes everything easier. This was so good, and I can’t wait to make more!

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