clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
crock-pot pork carnitas

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 20 servings 1x


Units Scale
  • 4-5 lbs. pork loin roast
  • 2 limes, juice and zest
  • 2 large oranges, juice and zest
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • 1/2 large jalapeno, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Southwestern seasoning
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon


  1. Place the pork loin into your crock-pot. Set it aside, while you mix up the cooking marinade.
  2. For the marinade, stir together orange juice and zest, lime juice and zest, water, bay leaves, Southwestern seasoning, jalapeno and minced onion.
  3. Once combined, pour the marinade over the roast in your crock-pot.
  4. Set the slow cooker to low and allow to cook for 4-7 hours depending on the size of your pork loin.  Start checking the internal temperature at about the four hour mark.  The pork should be at 145° to be safely eaten. 
  5. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and put it on a cutting board to rest for at least ten to 15 minutes before attempting to make pulled pork or slice it.  This rest period will allow the juices to redistribute throughout the tender, flavorful pork carnitas roast.
  6. Once the roast is done, I use half for pulled pork and then put half away for another meal.   Sometimes, I thinly slice the whole roast.  The slices crisp up as well as the pulled pork and then I have leftover slices for other dishes.   (My family prefers the pork slices over the pulled pork, so make what yours likes best.)
  7. I also strain and reserve the cooking liquid. I store leftover pork carnitas slices in that braising liquid when I refrigerate it.
  8. Once you have the half you will be saving put away, crisp the other half in a cast iron skillet with a little butter or cooking oil.  Or spread it in an even layer on a *baking sheet and place under the broiler for 3-4 minutes. Let it just start to get some crispy edges. Don’t leave it long enough to dry out. (You can definitely skip this step and serve your carnitas just as they come out of the crock-pot, juicy, succulent and delicious. But, the authentic carnitas experience is more about the crisping of the edges.)
  9. Remove from the skillet or oven and serve in the dish you have planned, i.e.  tacos, rice bowls, nachos, loaded baked potatoes, barbecue sandwiches, etc.


For slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Street Tacos add the carnitas to charred corn tortillas with some minced red onion, chopped cilantro and a squeeze or two of lime juice.  Add some queso fresco  or cotija cheese if you like.

We still use corn tortillas if we make loaded tacos, too.  Choose all your favorite taco toppings and veggies to make carnitas tacos that are out of this world!

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Category: Main Dish, Meat, Protein
  • Cuisine: Mexican