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Carnitas served on a white platter with a small jar of salsa, lime wedges, and avocado halves.

Dutch Oven Carnitas

With a few simple seasonings and a zesty marinade, Dutch Oven Carnitas will blow you away. The outside of the pork gets a crispy, charred edge that is bursting with flavor while the inside remains incredibly moist and practically shreds just by looking at it. 

Yield: 8-10 servings 1x
Prep: 15 minutesCook: 4 hours 30 minutesTotal: 4 hours 45 minutes


  • 1 white or yellow onion, chopped into large chunks
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1/2 cup lime juice* (juice of about 6 limes)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice* (juice of about 4 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 1 (3-4 pound) boneless pork shoulder (also known as pork butt or Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 teaspoon oregano, crushed in hand
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Optional garnishes: Chopped cilantro, Pineapple Salsa, Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Salsa

*A shortcut is to buy lime juice or orange juice at the store. We recommend buying Nellie and Joes Key West Lime Juice.

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  1. To a food processor or blender, add the onion, garlic cloves, lime juice, orange juice, and hot sauce. Pulse it a few times until it resembles a thick liquid. Set it aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Place the pork shoulder in a Dutch Oven, pat dry with paper towels, and rub the seasoning all over the meat. Pour the marinade over the pork.
  4. Cover and bake at 300°F for 4 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove the roast to a wooden cutting board. Use two forks to shred it and then stir it back into the juices in the Dutch oven.

Freeze For Later: Follow Steps 1-2. Pat the pork dry with paper towels, season all over with the rub, and place in a gallon-sized freezer bag. Pour the marinade over the top. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw completely. Place the pork and marinade in a Dutch oven. Cover and bake at 300°F for 4 1/2 hours, until it shreds easily.


Can You Freeze This After It Cooks? Yes. Freeze the shredded pork in its juices. When ready to eat, warm in the microwave, slow cooker, or over low heat on the stove top.

For Crispier Meat: Preheat the broiler. Broil the meat on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet for 3 minutes. Using tongs, turn the meat over and spoon about ¼ cup of the juices from the slow cooker over the meat. Broil another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the edges of the meat start to crisp up and turn brown. Remove from the oven and spoon another ¼ cup of the juices over the cooked pork.

How to Clean Your Dutch Oven: After cooking for 4.5 hours, the marinade will be blackened and sticky at the bottom of the Dutch Oven. Just soak it in some Dawn dish soap (or baking soda and water) and use a metal scrubber to remove. If your pot has a coating on it, use a plastic scrubber.

Make our Slow Cooker Carnitas instead.

Make our Instant Pot Carnitas instead.

© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: Mexcian Method: Dutch Oven