Easy Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork) + Video

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This easy carnitas recipe is ready in about 4 hours. Combine tender slow cooker pork sirloin tip roast with your favorite toppings for the most incredible pulled pork tacos! Cooking this pork carnitas recipe in the slow cooker creates delicious fall-apart tender meat! 

titled (shown in flour tortillas) easy carnitas recipe


When you love Mexican food, there are so many delicious options for easy dinners that it can be tough to pick a favorite. 

Mexican pork dishes like this one are a favorite of ours because they can be frozen, then used to make dinner on busy nights!!

I love to prep this for taco night because it makes the best carnitas and flavor. A little bit of meal prep goes a long way to create fork tender slow-cooked pork.

I promise you that it’s an easy recipe that all home cooks can make. 

easy carnitas recipe ingredients in bowls on counter

Easy Carnitas Recipe

Tender and flavorful bites of spice-rubbed pork are slow cooked, then finished under the broiler to obtain the most magnificent crisp around the edges.

This easy carnitas recipe is one to keep, and it’s certainly one that we enjoy serving at parties and celebrations!

Pair these with some elote corn (Mexican Street Corn) and you’ve got an amazing dinner ahead of you!

Looking for more slow cooker recipes to feed a crowd? Try these chicken tacos or my incredible barbacoa that tastes just like the one from Chipotle.

making easy carnitas recipe in crockpot

Ingredients Needed For Mexican Pork

  • Sirloin Tip Roast – Leaner than the typical shoulder cut, but just as delicious, this becomes incredibly tender when cooked in a crockpot. 

    Be sure that it’s boneless so you get the most meat for your money.
  • Chicken Stock – Instead of buying a carton from the store, mix 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base into 2 cups of water.
  • Spices – A delicious blend of garlic powder, cumin, smoked paprika, and dried oregano. 

    I also add a healthy dose of New Mexico chili powder, which has earthy and fruity undertones and a medium level of heat.
  • Limes – Squeeze a couple of fresh limes over the cooked meat before serving. The bright citrus cuts through the fat and enhances the flavor of the spices.
slow cooked mexican pork shoulder

Storage and Reheating

Unless you prepare this easy carnitas recipe for a large group, you’re bound to have leftovers!

Allow the meat to cool to room temperature, then transfer to an airtight container with some of the cooking liquid. 

Mexican pulled pork can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, or you can freeze it for up to 3 months.

Reheat pork sirloin tip roast in the slow cooker, microwave, or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of broth as needed for moisture. 

If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

shredding carnitas

Easy Carnitas Recipe FAQ

What cut of meat is best for carnitas? 

A shoulder roast (also known as pork butt) is the top choice for a number of reasons. It’s easy to shred, especially when slow cooked for hours, and the fat provides plenty of flavor and moisture.

It’s also one of the most inexpensive cuts, making it a budget-friendly option for many families.

I personally like to use boneless pork sirloin tip roast for this slow cooker recipe. It’s not as fatty as the shoulder, but it’s not as lean as tenderloin. It has just the right balance of texture and flavor!

Are carnitas and Mexican pulled pork the same? 

Essentially, yes. Both are slow cooked for hours until the meat is falling apart and extra tender.

The difference is one small step at the end — carnitas are broiled before serving so the ends become brown and crispy.

What goes well with pork carnitas? 

Just about everything! We love to spoon some of the slow cooker pork sirloin tip roast into flour tortillas with all of our favorite toppings — an easy pork tacos recipe!

Mexican pork is also incredible over cilantro lime rice with beans, salsa, and guacamole or stuffed into a cheesy quesadilla. You could even add some to homemade nachos!

What are the best toppings for shredded pork?

It just depends on how you’re going to use this slow cooker carnitas recipe. You can top it with sour cream, black beans, pico de Gallo, BBQ sauce, red onion, salt and black pepper, citrus juices, or any other simple ingredients that you want to add. Toppings are a great way to add so much flavor!  

You can also use this pork in a variety of ways. I love to make a burrito bowl with a single layer of rice, a ton of meat, and all the toppings that I can think of. You can make a large bowl or small bowl for a snack. 

The seasoned pork really does make for a delicious crispy carnitas taco, so it’s a good thing that you have all the details on the recipe card below. Use this great recipe for Cinco de Mayo or as a yummy Mexican dish for everyone to enjoy. It’s a simple way to make a delicious meal that can taste so many different ways. 

This is the easiest recipe to make! 

crockpot carnitas on sheet pan

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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pulled pork tacos, close up

Easy Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork) + Video

Donna Elick
This easy carnitas recipe is ready in about 4 hours with the help of a slow cooker. Enjoy tender Mexican pulled pork for dinner tonight!
5 stars from 1 review
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 8


  • 4 pounds boneless pork sirloin tip roast
  • 1 tablespoon New Mexico chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, crushed
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken stock, or 2 cups water and 1 tablespoon low sodium chicken base
  • 2 limes
  • salt , to taste


  • Cut pork into 8 cubes. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl combine chili powder, garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Mix to combine. Coat pork with the spice mixture on all sides of pork pieces. Place into a slow cooker (I used a 6 quart). Pour chicken stock around the sides of the pot. Avoid pouring directly on top of pork or seasoning will come off.
  • Cover and cook on high for 4 hours (alternately cook on low for 10 hours). Meanwhile prepare a baking sheet with aluminum foil. When the pork is tender, use 2 forks to shred meat into large pieces. Taste for seasoning, if necessary add salt to taste (mine did not need salt). Use a slotted spoon to remove pork from slow cooker and place on a cookie sheet.
  • Pour cooking liquid into a pot and boil until thickened (spoon leaves a trail when swirled through) and pour over pork. Preheat oven to broil. Place pork until broiler until edges are nice and crisp, about 3-5 minutes. Remove from oven and squeeze 2 limes over top.
  • Serve and enjoy!



Serving: 1 | Calories: 275cal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 141mg | Sodium: 149mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 3mg

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!

Originally published October 2014, updated and republished February 2024

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  1. I know limes are essential in pulling the flavor together… My 4 year old is allergic to citrus (lime/lemon/pineapple), but I'd love to make this pork. Is there a good substitute that pairs well? or is omitting limes all together the better bet?

  2. Pretty good stuff! It doesn't get the crisp that cooking it in a pot does but the flavor is right and I didn't even need 2 forks to shred it – just pushed the back of the serving spoon on it and it separated. Poured all of the juice back on it and mixed it up – delish!

  3. I make this in the slow cooker using pork butt. I just pull the fat out as I spread it out on the sheet to finish the carnitas under the broiler.

  4. 5 stars
    I just tried these last night and I have to say they have the perfect balance of flavors. I’m not usually a fan of pork, but this recipe looked too good not to make. It came together easily, and while it took a while a majority of it was waiting for the pork.

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