Did you make this? Snap a photo and tag us on Instagram at @thrivinghome so we can see your creations and cheer you on!

Crispy carnitas tacos in a metal dish with white bowls of toppings on the side.

Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas

The seasoning and marinade, plus the slow cooking method, pack some serious tangy-smoky-citrusy flavor into the meat. You’ll find yourself going back to this recipe again and again!

Yield: 8-10 1x
Prep: 10 minutesCook: 9 hoursTotal: 9 hours 10 minutes


  • 1 white or yellow onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (3-4 pound) pork shoulder (also known as pork butt or Boston butt), trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup lime juice* (juice of about 4 limes)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice* (juice of about 3 oranges)
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • chopped cilantro (optional for garnishing)

*Freshly squeezed is the best!

Before You Begin! If you make this, please leave a review and rating letting us know how you liked this recipe! This helps our business thrive & continue providing free recipes.


Make It Now:

  1. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and then rub the seasoning all over each piece. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  3. Add the seasoned meat, diced onion, minced garlic, lime juice, orange juice, and hot sauce into the slow cooker.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.
  5. Remove the pork to a wooden cutting board, and shred with two forks.
  6. Optional: Preheat the broiler. Broil the meat on a rimmed baking sheet for 3 minutes. (Tip: Cover the pan with foil for easy clean up.) Using tongs, turn the meat over and spoon about 1/4 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 1/4 cup of the juices over the cooked pork.
  7. Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, or salads, or enjoy a la carte. If serving in a corn tortilla, we suggest topping with diced avocado, pico de gallo, Cojita cheese crumbles, chopped cilantro, and lime wedges. To take these OVER THE TOP, make our Cilantro Lime Aioli and Easy Pickled Red Onions to serve as a garnish–YUM! 

Freeze For Later*: Follow Steps 1-3 but place all of the ingredients into a gallon-sized freezer bag. Seal and freeze.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw 24-48 hours. Follow steps 5-8.


Find our Instant Pot Crispy Carnitas recipe here or our Dutch Oven version here.

*You can also fully cook, shred, and freeze the carnitas meat. Just make sure the meat is cooled and then place it in a freezer bag/container with the juices from the slow cooker. When you’re ready to eat it, thaw and rewarm over low heat or in the microwave. 

© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: Mexican Method: Slow Cooker