Easy Carnitas Recipe + Video

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

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!

titled (shown in flour tortillas) easy carnitas recipe

When you love Mexican food, there are so many delicious options for easy dinners, it can be tough to pick a favorite. Mexican pork dishes like this one a favorite of ours because they can be frozen, then used to make dinner on busy nights!!

bowl of mexican pulled pork

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

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.

RECIPE VIDEO

Watch the video below to see how easy it is to make this recipe!

easy carnitas recipe ingredients in bowls on counter

Ingredients Needed For Mexican Pulled 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.
making easy carnitas recipe in crockpot

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

Reheat in the microwave or oven until warmed through, adding a splash of broth as needed for moisture. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator overnight first.

Get Free Recipes Sent to Your Email

Do you ❤️ TSRI? Don’t miss another recipe!

Subscribe to The Slow Roasted Italian by email to receive new recipes in your inbox!!

slow cooked mexican pork shoulder

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 a boneless sirloin roast – 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!

shredding carnitas

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.

crockpot carnitas on sheet pan

What goes well with pork carnitas?

Just about everything! We love to spoon some of the meat into flour tortillas with all of our favorite toppings.

It’s 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!

Enjoy!

With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

Don’t miss a thing! Follow us on

Facebook Twitter Pinterest | Instagram 

mexican carnitas in flour tortillas

OTHER SLOW COOKER RECIPES

Crock Pot Pork Chops

Dr Pepper Pulled Pork (Crockpot)

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

Crockpot Chicken Fajitas


pulled pork tacos, close up

Easy Carnitas Recipe + 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!
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course Main
Cuisine Mexican
Method Slow Cooker
Servings 8

Ingredients
 

  • 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

Instructions
 

  • 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!

Video

Nutrition

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 March 2022

the slow roasted italian affiliate linked cookbook banner

Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.

34 Comments

  1. I love slow cooking pork with Himalayan salt and liquid smoke then shredding it. I serve it with pineapple rice.

    1. The pineapple rice intrigues me…sounds like a great combo with the pork…could you publish the recipe?? thanks in advance

    2. The pineapple rice intrigues me….sounds great with pork…can you publish your recipe…thanks in advance Ruth

  2. Tony Chacheres is my "go to" seasoning. I lightly sprinkle my pork loins, ribs, ect with it at least 24 hours in advance then slow cook on the grill till my meat thermometer says it's done. Let the meat rest 10 minutes then enjoy some goodness. Angela

  3. Pork Carnitas is our family favorite, I make it at least 2-3 times a month because it's so easy and tasty….I usually use the pork loin in Costco because it comes in 6-7lbs and I can make 2-3 meals out of it, I will look next time for the sirloin tip roast packages you mention and try your recipe version, it looks delicious, I love Costco.
    Samantha

  4. My favorite Mexican meal. Try it with corn tortillas. A little more "tooth" and they don't get soaked through as fast.

    1. New Mexico chile powder is made up entirely of ground chiles (unlike chili powder, which has other spices added) but it has a smokiness and a touch of heat to it. It is pretty readily available and you should find it in the international aisle in your grocery store (or super center).

      Enjoy and let us know how it goes.

  5. Just made this for dinner tonight using the exact cut of pork pictured on this page. I had no idea what to do with this "4 pack" of roasts and this was the perfect recipe. My whole family loved it. We sauteed onions and peppers to serve along side the Carnitas.

  6. plan to try this this weekend, it looks/sounds wonderful! quick question; what is the purpose of the lime at the end? does it enhance the flavor of the pork?

  7. I couldn't find New Mexico chili powder so I bought the whole dried New Mexico Chili and put it on the blender and made my own powder!! The house smells so good, I just had a little of the pork and it tastes amazing!

  8. I followed this recipe to the letter and it was terrible, too dry. I feel that this is the wrong cut of meat, not enough fat. Traditionally the head of the pig is used to make carnitas, I live in TX and I have had carnitas a time or two.

  9. I made this for a Saturday lunch, and it turned out fantastic. I didn't have New Mexico chili powder, so I used regular chili powder and a dash of pepper flakes which turned out great. I am going to go find some at the grocery store though, because my family wants me to make it again next Saturday.

  10. This is our favorite carnitas recipe, and I love picking up these sirloin tip roasts at Costco. However, my crockpot is currently non-functional–that's what happens when you forget to add liquid at the start (to a different recipe), and try adding it part of the way through–snap, crackle, pop! So, has anyone tried this recipe in the oven?

  11. I buy these pork roast at Costco and love your way of cooking them. Just hubby and me so I halve the recipe and it turns out great every time! Thanks for an easy great dinner recipe!

  12. In the slow cooker now! I didn't have chili and we're not spicy folks – plus need the 4yo to love this. He likes strong robust flavor and pork so I suspect this will be a winner! Thanks for the recipe.

  13. I have made this many times, always amazing. I make up large batches of the spice mix and keep it in a sealed container so that it is always ready to go. Works great as a grilling seasoning. Just made a huge batch using two large fresh hams I had from buying a pig. Now I have plenty to put in the freezer for another day. Thanks for the recipe! Julie

  14. Just made this tonight and loved the flavors! Didn't have NM chilli powder so used regular chilli powder and added a pinch of cayenne. I did slice some onions before placing roast in crock pot and a couple smashed garlic cloves & pickled jalapeno slices in the mix since like an extra kick. I skipped the broil at the end bc didn't want to dry out pork…plus we were hungry and couldn't wait��. Served over a bed of cheesy polenta and topped with finely chopped cilantro.
    Delicious! Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recipe Rating