A big pile of Mexican pork carnitas on a plate.

Mexican Pork Carnitas (slow cooker Mexican pork)

  • Author: Kristen Stevens | The Endless Meal
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
  • Category: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


We like to call these Mexican Pork Carnitas “the best damn carnitas you’ll ever eat in your whole life.” Yes, they’re that good. The meat is super flavorful and tender with lots of magical crispy bits. You’ll love it!



The spice rub

  • 2 teaspoons each: salt and paprika
  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and oregano
  • Optional: 1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (if you like it a little spicy)

The pork carnitas

  • 2.5 lb. pork butt (pork shoulder)
  • Juice from 2 oranges
  • Juice from 2 limes
  • 1 tablespoon honey (omit for sugar-free)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil


  1. Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Evenly coat all sides of the pork with the spice rub.
  2. Add the orange juice, lime juice, honey (if using), garlic, and bay leaves to your pot. Stir then set the pork on top.
  3. Choose which method you will cook the pork carnitas and follow those directions.
  4. When the pork is very tender, remove it from the pot and shred it using 2 forks. Turn your oven to broil.
  5. Pour the cooking juices into a pot and boil for 10 minutes, or until it is reduced to about 1/2 cup.
  6. Place the shredded pork on a large, rimmed baking sheet, drizzle it with the avocado oil, and put it on the top rack in your oven. Let it broil for 10 minutes then mix the pork around and broil for 10 minutes more.
  7. Pour the reduced cooking liquid over the pork and toss to coat.

Slow Cooker Method

Cover the pot and cook on low for 8-10 hours.

Stovetop cooking method

Bring the pot to a boil then reduce the heat and cover the pot. Simmer very gently for 5-6 hours, or until the pork is very tender.

Oven cooking method

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Cover the pot and put it in your oven for 7-8 hours, or until the pork is very tender.

4 grilled pork chops with lots of tasty charred bits on a plate.

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