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

Slow Cooker 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
  • Optional garnishes: Chopped cilantro, Pineapple Salsa, Pickled Red Onions, Avocado Salsa

*Freshly squeezed is the best!

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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 until crispy – roughly 3-5 minutes. 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 5 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.

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.


  • Tip: Freeze the cooked meat in small portions. When ready to eat, warm in the microwave, slow cooker, or over low heat on the stove top.
  • For crispier meat, use our broiling instructions above. 
  • Try our Dutch Oven Carnitas instead.
  • Try our Instant Pot Carnitas instead.
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: Mexican Method: Slow Cooker