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

Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas

  • Author: Polly Conner
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 9 hours
  • Total Time: 9 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


The seasoning and marinade, plus the slow cooking method, pack some serious tangy-smoky-citrusy flavor into the meat. After being cooked all day and shredded, you’ll pop the meat under the broiler and broil until it begins to crisp up on the edges. You’ll find yourself going back to this recipe again and again!


  • 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!


Make It Now:

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

  1. Over medium-high heat, saute the onion just until softened, about 5-7 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper while it cooks. Stir in the garlic during the last 30-60 seconds. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper.
  3. Pat the roast dry with paper towels and then rub the seasoning all over each piece. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
  4. Add the seasoned meat, onion/garlic mixture, lime juice, orange juice, and hot sauce into the slow cooker.
  5. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours.
  6. Remove the pork to a wooden cutting board, and shred with two forks.
  7. 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 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.
  8. 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. Place the onion/garlic mixture, seasoned pork, lime juice, orange juice, hot sauce 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 it 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.