Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven
Had I known carnitas was this easy, I would have made this meal years ago.

Carnitas means little meats. This carnitas is pork braised in broth for at least 3 hours, then pulled apart, crisped up and caramelized in the juices under the broiler or in the oven. I usually double this recipe and braise the meat in this 7 quart cast iron dutch oven.

You can only imagine how exciting the last part of the cooking is.

One of my favorite ways to eat pork tacos is with this red cabbage slaw.

I also love to have my carnitas with salsa verde, recipe found here.

We did this dinner for a recent birthday, because it’s a great crowd pleaser and doesn’t take a lot of time to put together. You can braise in a cast iron dutch oven, which is what I did, or make it in a slow cooker.

Pork Carnitas, Brasied in Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven then Baked to Crispy

You will need to use the oven for the final twenty minutes, when the shredded pork cooks away in its juices and gets crispy on the ends. I was lucky enough to find a orange chipotle salt at Whole Foods, a new addition to their spices. It added that extra kick, but I didn’t include it in the recipe, because not everyone would have access to it.

My husband’s famous guacamole or sliced avocados are a must.

Perfect for a Cinco de Maya party, serve carnitas, which can be made ahead, even frozen.

Pair with Homemade Fresh Citrus Margaritas or strawberry lime basil sangria.

Roasted Salsa Verde

Pico de Gallo

Avocado Margarita

Make a Corn Tomato Salad as a Side.

Grain Free, Gluten Free Tortillas

Enjoy these easy Carnitas and let me know how the recipe works out. It’s one of my  “go to” crowd pleasers.

More Mexican Recipes from Spinach Tiger

More Pork Recipes from Spinach Tiger

Shop with Me on Amazon. 


Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas with tortillas.
Course Entree
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 20 minutes
Servings 8
Author Angela Roberts


  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder
  • sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno seeded and ribs removed, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and sliced
  • 1 orange cut in half
  • 4 limes divided
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon chile powder
  • 2-4 cups beef broth or water
  • tortillas
  • 2 red onions diced to serve with carnitas
  • handful cilantro
  • guacamole or sliced avocado


  • Trim excess fat from pork shoulder. Cut into 4 separate pieces.
  • Salt liberally.
  • Heat tablespoon of olive oil in dutch oven and brown pork pieces on all sides. Remove.
  • Add onions, pepper to pan. Cook for two minutes. Add garlic. Cook for one minute.
  • Add in juice of orange and orange pieces, juice of lime. I refrain from adding in lime pieces; they tend to add a bitterness.
  • Add pork back in.
  • Add in just enough water or broth to cover 2/3 of the meat. Add cinnamon Stick and chile powder.
  • Cover and braise for 3 1/2 hours.
  • You place in slow cooker on high for 4 hours, or low for 10 hours. (You may need to add in a little more water. Check hourly if you are using dutch oven. ). I put my dutch oven in a 300 degrees F. oven with lid.
  • Remove from oven. Take pork out, reserve broth. Pull pork into pieces. Add in a baking pan. Strain the broth. Pour over the pork. Carnitas can dry out if there is not enough broth.
  • Bake in oven at 375 degrees F. for approximately twenty minutes until most of the broth is gone and the meat is has crispy crackling edges.
  • Serve with tortillas, chopped red onion, cilantro, sliced avocado, lime slices.
  • If you're eating low carb, use this tortilla recipe.

The post Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven appeared first on Spinach Tiger.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.