The secret to perfect, juicy pork carnitas is to broil the shredded pork for 10-15 minutes after it has been tenderized in the slow cooker for several hours. Serve the carnitas warm as a filling for tacos, burritos or in bowls for an easy weeknight dinner win!
Chicken is usually our go-to when it comes to easy slower cooker recipes, but sometimes it’s fun to shake things up.
If you’re feeling the same way, you’re going to love this simple Crispy, Caramelized Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe.
When I served this tender, flavorful, crispy pork to my family they hardly even said a word during dinner, as they were too busy digging in!
this recipe is made for weeknight dinners
You know I’m all about recipes that have short ingredient lists, simple prep steps, and big flavor.
This recipe is no exception – it has only 6-ingredients and takes just 5-10 minutes to throw together in your crockpot.
It makes a lot at one time so you’ll have plenty of pulled pork carnitas leftover to enjoy throughout the week!
You’ll find cook times in the recipe card for high vs. low, it’s so well-seasoned it’ll come out great either way you choose.
the secret to getting crispy crockpot carnitas
Instead of spending time searing the pork before adding to your slow cooker, you’ll can add that extra caramelized flavor with this easy trick.
The pork gets braised in the slow cooker until tender enough to shred easily between two forks.
Then you can run your shredded pork under a hot broiler to crisp it up. This is how you get that nice crispy texture & extra flavor!
Doing this on a sheet pan helps you crisp up a lot at once, another great time saver.
Whatever you do, do not skip the broiling step! Trust me, it’s worth the extra few minutes.
uses for shredded pork
Use the carnitas however you like (they’re so tasty, you really can’t go wrong), but here’s some of my favorite ways to enjoy it:
- tacos or lettuce wraps
- on top of cold salads or crunchy cabbage slaw
- with rice, quinoa, or slow cooker refried beans
- served alone with some roasted veggies
I hope you’ll make these pork shoulder carnitas at home soon. If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!
recipe & kid-friendly adaptations
1 | Use pork loin roast if you prefer a leaner option, or pork shoulder for a more traditional version.
2 | Serve your shredded carnitas separately on a plate with toppings on the side for resistant eaters.
3 | All slow cookers are different, so you may need to adjust the time up or down depending on your particular model.
this recipe is…
Crispy, Caramelized Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon mild chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 pounds pork loin roast or pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ¼ cup fresh orange juice
- Optional accompaniments: Tortillas avocado, queso fresco, pickled jalapeno, lime wedges, thinly sliced cabbage, salsa.
- In a small bowl, stir together the cumin, chili powder, garlic powder and salt.
- Rub the spice mixture on all sides of the pork. Place the pork in a 6-quart slow cooker, then pour in the lime and orange juice, turning the pork to coat.
- Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-9 hours, or until the pork shreds very easily with a fork.
- Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Shred with two forks, then add back to the slow cooker, stirring to combine with any remaining juices.
- Place the shredded pork on a foil lined, rimmed baking sheet. Broil on high for 10-15 minutes, stirring once, or until the edges of the pork begin to crisp and brown. Keep a close eye to avoid burning.
- Serve warm as a filling for tacos, burritos or in bowls.
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