Slow Cooker Carnitas

These Slow Cooker Carnitas are easy to make at home with your crockpot. Popping them under the broiler at the end ensures that they get nice and crispy!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m a sucker for a good slow cooker recipe. I love the fact that I can do all the prep work the night before, turn the crockpot on in the morning and be welcomed home to a fully cooked meal.

Gone are the days of the basic crockpot roast. Instead, let’s get reacquainted with the crockpot. Pull it out of the closet and try something new like this Butter Chicken, Osso Buco or Chicken Tortilla soup.

Or, how about these Slow Cooker Carnitas?

They’re flavorful, crispy, salty and perfect for loading into street tacos.

Street tacos are much different than the Americanized version found most often here in the states.

Missing is the cheese, sour cream, and salsa. The main focus of these tacos is the meat.

The meat being these amazing Slow Cooker Carnitas.

How Do You Make Slow Cooker Carnitas?

  • The process of making these carnitas is super easy. Just season a pork shoulder with a bunch of spices – chili powder, cumin, oregano – squeeze in some citrus juice – and let it cook away on low for 10-12 hours (or 5-6 hours on HIGH) until the meat is super tender and shreddable.

How Do You Make Crispy Carnitas in the Crockpot?

  • To make your slow cooker carnitas crispy, just pop them under the broiler with a sprinkle of salt when they’re done cooking. After a few minutes, they’ll become browned and slightly crisp and perfect.

Crispy carnitas on a baking sheet. How Do You Make Slow Cooker Carnitas Street Tacos?

You can make those pretty pink pickled onions up to two weeks ahead of time. In truth, I normally have a jar in my fridge at all times. I’ve even got an entire post dedicated to how I pickle my onions. I love having them on hand for topping all kinds of things – Chicken Gyro BowlsInstant Pot Split Pea Dal, even scrambled eggs.

These Slow Cooker Carnitas Street Tacos are a delicious departure and I think you’ll really enjoy them!

Wine Pairings for Carnitas:

  • An authentic Mexican dish is always excellent with beer. I went with a classic Corona, but feel free to choose any light Mexican beer of your choice.
  • If you’d like to pair these tacos with a bottle of wine, a Tempranillo would be an excellent choice for complimenting the spices in the meat.
  • Margaritas – Try this one, this one, or this one.

What to serve with carnitas tacos: 

More Taco Recipes:

Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

Overhead shot of platter of carnitas tacos topped with pineapple salsa.

Slow Cooker Carnitas Street Tacos

These Slow Cooker Carnitas Street Tacos are easy to make at home with your crockpot. Popping them under the broiler at the end ensures that they get nice and crispy!
3.88 from 25 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 hours
Total Time: 10 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 8 people


  • Tortillas (I used a corn-flour blend)
  • 1 avocado (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 lime (cut)


  • 4-6 lbs . pork shoulder (slightly trimmed of excess fat)
  • 1 tbsp . garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp . cumin
  • 2 tsp . dried oregano
  • 2 tsp . brown sugar
  • 1 tsp . dried basil
  • 1 tsp . ground coriander
  • 1 tsp . chili powder
  • 1 tsp . paprika
  • 2 oranges (sliced in half)
  • 1 lime (sliced in half)

Pickled Onions

  • 1 red onion (halved and thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Pinch crushed red pepper flakes



  • Combine garlic salt, chili powder, dried oregano, dried basil, cumin, ground coriander, brown sugar, and sweet paprika.
  • Rub the spice mixture evenly over the pork. Place pork in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Squeeze the juice from the oranges and limes over the pork. Place rinds pulp side down in slow cooker over the meat.
  • Cover and cook on low for 10-12 hours, or until pork is tender and falling off the bone. Use a fork to pull away from bone and discard it.
  • Preheat oven broiler. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper and arrange pork in a single layer.
  • Taste the pork for saltiness. You may want to sprinkle some additional salt on top. (I especially like using my homemade citrus salts at this stage of the recipe!)
  • Place underneath broiler until tips of pork are browned and slightly crisp, about 3-5 minutes. (Don’t walk away from it. Keep an eye on meat to make sure it doesn’t burn or become overly browned).

Pickled Onions

  • Add sliced onions to a medium bowl. Pour enough boiling water over them to fully cover and count to 10. Drain onions and place in jar or bowl.
  • Heat vinegar, lime juice, 1/8 cup sugar, chili flakes and salt in small saucepan over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, about 3 minutes.
  • Taste for sweetness and add more sugar as needed.
  • Pour vinegar mixture over onions.
  • Allow to stand at room temperature, until fully cooled. Cover and refrigerate up to 2 weeks.


  • Place carnitas in tortillas and serve topped with sliced avocado and cilantro. Pass around extra limes for garnish.
Did you make this recipe?Mention @platingsandpairings or tag #platingsandpairings!


Calories: 284kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 28g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 1424mg | Potassium: 741mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 29.9mg | Calcium: 53mg | Iron: 2.8mg

If you loved these Slow Cooker Carnitas Street Tacos I would appreciate it so much if you would give this recipe a star review! Also, be sure to snap a picture of your finished carnitas tacos and share it with me on Instagram using the hashtag #platingsandpairings and tagging me @platingsandpairings.

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30 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Carnitas”

  1. I’ve been dreaming of having a taco party for several years. Now that I am back in the states. . .I think it is time. From the pickled onions to the pork. . .I love that everything is made ahead so that I can focus on other things vs running around cooking the day of the party. Love it!!

    • Great idea for a party Lynn. I didn’t even think about how easy this would make things when you’re entertaining. Now you can enjoy your company and not be stuck in the kitchen! Have fun!!!

  2. Thank you so much for the recipe! I just made it for my family tonight and it was perfect! It was a crowd-pleaser and definitely a keeper. I’m looking forward to trying your other recipes.

  3. Question, when you put the pork in the slow cooker what liquid did you cook it in? Water, beer, ??? I know you added the juices from the fruit but what else was in the cooker. Thanks!

  4. Oh my yum! Made your recipe this weekend and we all loved it! Flavorful, but not too spicy. I followed your recipe except that I didn’t broil the meat in the oven — we were too hungry. We just ate the shredded meat from the slow cooker. This is moving into my “Favorite Recipes” board on Pinterest! Thank you for sharing it.

  5. Made these today. They were amazing.!! These really remind me of eating the tacos in Mexico. Delicious and authentic favors. So simple to make. Thank you for the recipe!

  6. 3 stars
    It says total time is 1 hour 10 minutes. It takes 10-12 to cook. So total time is actually 11-12 hours. And prep only totoototook like 10 minutes, not an hour. When people are on a time crunch, this information is important.

  7. 5 stars
    Hi Erin
    I made this today and WOW!!! It was the BOMB! We had a family gathering so I used a 6.75lb Shoulder Butt Roast. I followed the recipe to the “T” and it was delicious! There was great flavor and not too salty. Not to mention, it was so very easy. My son was begging to take the leftovers home with him!
    This cut of meat is inexpensive – Carniceria’s charge $7.50-$11.00/lb…I will never but their greasy offerings again!
    Thank you for this Great recipe! I will use it many more times in the future!!!

  8. 5 stars
    The meat is fantastic. I am making the pickled onions for a later making of this since i didn’t have time to let them sit.
    Do you have a recipe for the pineapple salsa. There is some store bought ones but i do like fresh.


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