Pork Carnitas

4.50 from 4 votes
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Pork Carnitas – Tender like pulled pork and even easier to make in the crock pot! Slow-cooked with ingredients like salsa, green chiles, and tequila, they’re packed with flavor and perfect for taco night.

Do you love Pork Carnitas but don’t want to break a sweat cooking it? The crock pot saves the day! It does all the work, and you can go about your day. You come home to dinner that is ready and waiting for you.

Pork Carnitas is as easy to make as my crock pot barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, and just as delicious inside a tortilla as my Colorado classic, green chile pork. There’s no easier way to make dinner on a busy day.

Pork Carnitas


Why This Recipe Is A Winner

  • It’s super easy – just add your ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook away.
  • Simple, but by no means flavorless. Salsa, tequila, herbs, and chilies make these carnitas extra scrumptious with authentic flavor.
  • Guaranteed to be juicy – no dry carnitas here!
  • Goes great with classic taco toppings in any kind of shell or wrap.
  • Leftover carnitas can be used in most Mexican-style dishes.

What You’ll Need

  • Boneless pork shoulder roast – Pork shoulder makes for rich and juicy carnitas. This cut is a traditional choice for the dish and is quite affordable.
  • Chicken broth – Broth adds extra moisture to the roast and delicious home-cooked flavor.
  • Tequila – A dose of tequila adds a subtle layer of “adult” flavor to the dish. You’re welcome! Don’t worry, it is optional! Substitutions are listed below.
  • Chopped green chilies – These chilies are abundantly flavorful, slightly spicy, and not too hot. Look for the pre-chopped canned chilies.
  • Garlic – Garlic adds a warm, irresistible aroma and flavor.
  • Cilantro – A classic in Mexican dishes, cilantro adds a bright herbal taste.
  • Salsa – This classic topping contains many of the ingredients in this recipe plus tomatoes, adding some acidity and deeper flavor to the carnitas.
  • Tortillas – Don’t skip on tortillas – you’ll want these to make your tacos. Either corn or wheat tortillas will work, and it’s mostly a matter of personal preference.
pork carnitas on a plate

How To Make Pork Carnitas

  1. First, prepare everything by slicing your garlic and chopping the onions and cilantro. 
  2. Then you’ll need to cut your pork roast in half. Place it in your crock pot.  
  3. Drizzle the top of the roast with olive oil. Then sprinkle the garlic, salt, and pepper over the top. 
  4. Add in the green onions, cilantro, salsa, chicken broth, tequila, and chilies.
  5. Put the lid on the crock pot and set it to low heat. Leave to cook for 6-8 hours. 
  6. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred it. 
  7. Return the shredded pork to the crock pot. Cover and warm it back up for another 30-60 minutes. 
  8. Serve in warm tortillas with your favorite taco toppings!

Tips For Pork Carnitas

  • Store your leftover carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge. Use it up within 3-4 days.
  • If cilantro’s not your thing, you can use Italian parsley in its place. It’s slightly more bitter than cilantro, so you might want to cut the amount down to one cup.
  • If you don’t want tequila in your carnitas, no problem! You can use more chicken broth instead. Or Use the juice of 1 lime and 1 orange for a citrusy twist!
pork carnitas on a plate

Why Do I Need To Use Pork Shoulder

Pork shoulder is a traditional choice for this recipe. Because it has a good amount of fat throughout it, it makes the pork extra juicy and rich in flavor after slow cooking.

How Can I Make Carnitas Crispier?

To make these carnitas crispier, once it’s shredded, bake them in a 400-degree F oven on a baking sheet for 20-30 minutes. You’ll want to reserve your cooking liquid from the crock pot and drizzle some over the meat. Add some in the beginning, then again every ten minutes while cooking.

Can I Use The Instant Pot?

Absolutely! I like to cut the shoulder into about 2-3 inch cubes and then add everything to the pot. Cook on high pressure for about 45 minutes, then let it naturally release for 15 minutes before shredding.

How To Serve

Aside from being perfect for taco night, this pork carnitas goes perfectly with a side of Spanish rice and your favorite beans–may I suggest refried beans

Top it with your favorite traditional taco toppings like cheese, homemade salsa, guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, pickled jalapeño slices, cilantro, and fresh lime juice. 
They also go well with just about every Mexican-style dish you can think of. They can be used instead of chicken on top of crispier dishes like nachos and tostadas. Pork carnitas is also delicious inside of quesadillas and tamales.

close up pork carnitas for pinterest

More Easy Mexican Recipes

pork carnitas on a plate
4.50 from 4 votes

Pork Carnitas

By Erin
Pork Carnitas – Tender like pulled pork and even easier to make in the crock pot! Slow-cooked with ingredients like salsa, green chiles, and tequila, they’re packed with flavor and perfect for taco night.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 6 hours
Total: 6 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6



  • 1 boneless pork shoulder roast, (3-4 pounds)
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups cilantro, chopped
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tequila, (or additional chicken broth)
  • 1 7oz can chopped green chilies
  • Tortillas
  • Toppings as desired


  • Cut the pork roast in half, and place in a slow cooker. Sprinkle with sliced garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper. Add green onions, cilantro, salsa, chicken broth, tequila, and chilies. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Remove the meat, and shred. Place the pork back in the slow cooker. Cover and heat for an additional 30-60 minutes.
  • Serve in warm tortillas and top as desired.


Don't want to use Tequila? Use additional chicken broth or the juice of 1 lime and 1 orange for a little citrus flavor.


Serving: 1g | Calories: 193kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 647mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Erin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes
Course: Dinner Recipes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6
Calories: 193
Keyword: carnitas
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About Erin S

Welcome to Dinners, Dishes, & Desserts where my love of food meets my busy life. My name is Erin and I’m a casual home cook who loves to feed people. On this blog, you’ll find hundreds of quick and easy recipes made mostly from scratch. My days are spent in the kitchen, creating new recipes to share with family and friends.

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  1. I think crock pot recipes are good all year! I love this, I’ve been craving carnitas lately. And I love your little chili bowls in the background too! 🙂

  2. Carnitas are my dish at the local Mexican joint. Good luck on your bake sale! It is a great idea.

  3. Oh wow!! We made these the other night and they were a huge hit with my family! Incredibly delicious!