Slow Cooker Monday: Carnitas

It’s been a while since the last Slow Cooker Monday. I’ve been using my slow cooker more recently for easy, healthy dinners – it’s the best coming home to dinner already made (otherwise I sometimes reach for easy, unhealthy dinners like frozen waffles).

Another time slow cookers come in handy is cooking for company. I had a bunch of girlfriends over for dinner last week and was out all day before they came over. I put some pork shoulder in the CrockPot before I left in the morning and by the time we all got to my house, the meat was fully cooked, really tender and fell apart easily.

This recipe for carnitas is simple and very flavorful. Rub some spices onto the meat, place into a slow cooker with some onion and set to low for 8 hours. Don’t be afraid to cook it without any added liquid – the meat will produce some liquid as it cooks. Serve with tortillas and all your favorite fixins for an easy dinner.

What’s your go-to easy (and hopefully healthy) dinner?


Slow Cooker Carnitas

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Serves 4-6

  • 2 pounds boneless pork shoulder (A.K.A. Boston butt)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • A few dashes of cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 large onion, cut into 4 pieces

For serving:

  • Tortillas
  • Cilantro
  • Avocado
  • Sour cream

Spray a large slow cooker with non-stick spray (I used a 6 quart). Combine salt, pepper, oregano, cumin and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub the spices over all sides of the meat and place in slow cooker. Top with onion and cook on low for 8 hours.

Remove meat with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl. Discard onions. Using 2 forks, shred the meat. (Optional – to crisp the meat, place under the broiler for a few minutes.)

Serve with tortillas, chopped cilantro, avocado, sour cream, or anything else you like.

6 Comments on Slow Cooker Monday: Carnitas

  1. Melissa Vanni
    January 9, 2012 at 9:17 pm (10 years ago)

    This looks great! My husband has been begging me to learn how to make carnitas!

    • Stephanie
      January 9, 2012 at 9:39 pm (10 years ago)

      @Melissa – if you have a CrockPot, this is a great way to try making carnitas! It’s pretty foolproof.

  2. Danica
    January 13, 2012 at 2:28 pm (10 years ago)

    dude, crazy – I totally made slow cooker carnitas on Monday! I didn’t even see your post till just now!! I got what had to have been about EIGHT POUNDS of pork shoulder and tried a recipe that braised it in four cups of broth in the slow cooker, plus salt and spices and then more salt and spices when I shredded it. That is some moist stuff… I had to pour most of the broth off afterwards. Only now do I realize I should have saved it and made soup or something 🙂 Good carnitas tho!

  3. Jennifer
    January 31, 2012 at 7:13 pm (10 years ago)

    I made this on Sunday, it was really good!

    • Stephanie
      January 31, 2012 at 7:32 pm (10 years ago)

      @Jennifer – that’s great! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  4. Steph
    December 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm (10 years ago)

    loved this recipe. so easy and so delicious!


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