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.
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.
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!
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.
That’s it! You’ve made Crockpot Carnitas.
Frequently Asked Questions
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.
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.
Pork shoulder creates tender, flavorful carnitas.
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.
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.
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!
More crockpot dinner recipes
While we have the slow cooker out, don’t miss these other EASY slow cooker recipes!
- Crockpot Smothered Steak
- Crockpot Pork Chops (a favorite at our house)
- Crockpot Beef BBQ
- Crockpot Beef Stew with Onion Soup Mix
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and/or comment below!
Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 1 (4–5 lb) bone-in pork shoulder
- 1 cup chicken stock
- ⅓ 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.