Crockpot Carnitas

These Crockpot Carnitas are impossibly easy—place everything in a slow cooker, let it cook, shred the meat, and dinner is served! Serve them on mini tortillas with all your favorite toppings.

carnitas on mini flour tortillas topped with onion, cilantro, and pico de gallo.

Crockpot Carnitas are one of my favorite recipes to feed a crowd. One (inexpensive) pork shoulder feeds so many people!

The recipe is super easy, requires hardly any hands-on time, and everyone loves the finished dish.

Have I sold you yet? Here’s how to make them!

How to make crockpot carnitas

Place a pork shoulder in a slow cooker with chicken stock, orange juice, onions, and salt.

raw pork shoulder and onions in a slow cooker.

Cook on high for 4–5 hours or on low for 6–7 hours. The pork shoulder will shrink in size, but don’t worry—there are still tons of servings of meat!

cooked whole pork shoulder and onions in a slow cooker.

Shred the meat with a fork and place on a sheet pan. Broil for 3–4 minutes, or until the pork begins to get crispy on the edges.

carnitas and onions on a sheet pan with crispy edges.

That’s it! You’ve made Crockpot Carnitas.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can carnitas be frozen?

Shred the pork shoulder and allow it to cool. Place the pork in a freezer-safe dish or resealable freezer bag. Add some of the accumulated juices to keep it moist. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 24–48 hours.

How do I reheat carnitas?

To reheat carnitas, place the shredded pork in a single layer on a sheet pan. Broil until the meat is charred in places and warm throughout.

What type of pork is best for carnitas?

Pork shoulder creates tender, flavorful carnitas.

Serving suggestions

Carnitas are traditionally served with chopped cilantro and chopped white onion. That’s my favorite way to enjoy them.

And the tortilla here is key! Corn tortillas are traditional, but I usually use flour tortillas because I like them better.

You can find mini flour tortillas (they are called “street taco tortillas”) in the international foods aisle of many grocery stores. They are dough-y and delicious.

How to char tortillas on the stovetop

Tortillas are even more delicious when you char them on the stovetop.

To do so, turn a gas burner on low and place one tortilla directly on the stovetop over the flame. Have a pair of tongs ready.

Let the tortilla cook and char in spots (this takes maybe 10 seconds, but watch closely!). Flip and repeat.

Now you have some great smoky flavor in the tortilla.

carnitas on mini flour tortillas with a wooden bowl of pico de gallo.

Easy pico de gallo recipe

While cilantro and onion are traditional, pico de gallo also makes a great topping. Here’s how I make mine:

  • Two tomatoes on the vine
  • Half of a white onion
  • A handful of fresh cilantro
  • The juice of half a lime
  • A pinch of salt

Chop everything finely and stir together.

If you make the pico de gallo ahead of time, leave out the salt and stir it in at the last minute. The salt draws the water out of the tomatoes and you’ll be left with a lot of liquid on the bottom if you salt it ahead of time.

Mini tortillas stuffed with pork and pico de gallo on a round wooden board.

What to do with leftover carnitas

Crockpot Carnitas are also great for repurposing into leftovers. Here are a few ideas for using the extra meat:

– Pork Quesadillas: place a small amount of butter in a skillet over medium heat, place a mini tortilla on top, and top with cheese and pork. Top with another mini tortilla, flip, and cook until the cheese is melted. Serve with sour cream and pico de gallo.

– Burrito bowls: serve with rice, black beans, shredded cheese, corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole, and sour cream

– Breakfast hash: sauté a chopped onion, diced potatoes, and a diced red pepper; stir in pork. Top with a fried egg and chopped cilantro.

I make these Crockpot Carnitas every time that I find pork shoulder on sale at the grocery store. The meat also freezes wonderfully for an easy dinner later on!

Carnitas on a white platter with lime wedges.

More crockpot dinner recipes

While we have the slow cooker out, don’t miss these other EASY slow cooker recipes!

Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!

📖 Recipe

carnitas on top of mini tortillas on a white rectangular platter, garnished with lime slices.

Slow Cooker Carnitas

Published by Kate
These slow cooker carnitas are perfect for a crowd, or for a hungry family. Transform the leftovers into quesadillas or burrito bowls, or freeze the extra meat for later use!
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 10 minutes
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 –10 servings
Calories 325 kcal


  • 1 (4–5 lb) bone-in pork shoulder
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • cup orange juice
  • 2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • To serve: tortillas, chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, pico de gallo


  • Place pork shoulder and onions in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with the salt. Pour the chicken stock and orange juice around the pork shoulder. 
  • Cook on high for 4–5 hours or on low for 6–7 hours. Remove the pork shoulder and let cool for 15 minutes. Shred the meat with a fork and discard the bone. Combine the meat with the cooked onions and broil if desired (directions below), or skip to step #4. 
  • (Optional) Preheat oven to broil. Place the shredded pork and onions on a sheet pan. Broil for 3–4 minutes, or until the pork begins to get crispy. 
  • Serve the shredded pork and onions on tortillas with chopped cilantro, chopped white onion, and/or pico de gallo.


Reheat any leftover carnitas by following the optional step of broiling them until crispy/warm.
Here’s how to make your own pico de gallo: combine two finely chopped tomatoes on the vine, half of a white onion (finely chopped), a handful of fresh chopped cilantro, the juice of half a lime, and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Serve immediately. 
Add even more flavor by charring tortillas on the stovetop. To do so, heat a gas burner to low, and place a tortilla directly on the stovetop grate. Keep a set of tongs handy! Let cook for 10–20 seconds, or until charred in spots. Flip and repeat. 
Freeze leftovers in a freezer safe dish or resealable freezer bag with some of the accumulated juices. Freeze for up to 2 months. Defrost in the refrigerator for 24–48 hours, and reheat in the crockpot, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Then, broil if desired. 


Calories: 325kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 35gFat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 122mgSodium: 570mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 2g
Keyword carnitas, taco night
Did You Make This Recipe?Please leave a star rating and comment below!

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