Easy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
Easy Pork Carnitas are sure to win you over. They are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside! With the power of the slow cooker, you will make restaurant-quality carnitas with little mess or fuss.
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Hi there! My name is Natalya and I run the blog Momsdish. If you already follow me, you know I can’t get enough of easy slow cooker meals that require simple ingredients and minimal clean-up. I’m SO looking forward to sharing this recipe with you! For years, I toiled with creating the perfect carnitas. They either came out too dry or too greasy. But, these are JUST right.
Carnitas, or “little meats” in Spanish, is a dish of braised or simmered pork that has been cooked in juice until ridiculously tender. If they already aren’t one of your favorite dishes to order at your local taqueria, get prepared to fall in love. This pork packs some serious flavor and is the perfect candidate for weekend meal prepping. From tacos to burritos to salads, carnitas go great on just about anything.
Note: Carnitas are often confused for another dish called “barbacoa”. While the concept is similar, barbacoa is typically beef that has been slow-cooked in dried chiles and spices until tender. Also, barbacoa is much spicier!
How to Make Pork Carnitas
Let the slow cooker do ALL the work for you. Cooking your pork low and slow ensures that it will be nice and tender when it is time to chow down. There’s nothing worse than spending a bunch of time prepping carnitas for them to simply turn out bland and dry. Follow this easy step-by-step process and don’t let that happen to you:
- Pat your pork dry and season pork roast liberally.
- Add your veggies, broth, and citrus to the slow cooker.
- Add the roast and slow cook on high heat for 5 hours.
- Shred pork with a fork, transfer to a baking sheet and pour juices on top.
- Broil the shredded pork for 5 minutes, until the edges are delicious and crispy.
What Can I Make with Pork Carnitas?
- Street tacos: Grab your favorite corn tortilla, some onions, cowboy caviar, cilantro, and lime wedges. Pack each tortilla with a hefty chunk of pork. This is the perfect party food!
- Nachos: Oh yes, everyone’s favorite snack food is made that much more delicious with some homemade carnitas. Top your chips off with a scoop of carnitas, cheese, guacamole and pico de gallo.
- Burrito: I mean, who doesn’t love a good burrito? Stuff a large, flour tortilla with all the usual suspects and dip it into jalapeno ranch.
- Salad: Add carnitas for our favorite Mexican Salad! This makes for a great weekday lunch.
A Few More Pork Recipes
- Roasted Pork Tenderloin: One of the tastiest and versatile budget pork cuts out there. This tenderloin gets so tender and is super easy to make.
- Pulled Pork Recipe: Stuff this pulled pork between a buttery bun and pair with some coleslaw or a fat plate of fries. YUM!
- Instant Pot Ribs: The Instant Pot makes just about everything super tender in a fraction of the time. Ribs are no exception. If you are a fanatic, this will surely become a member of your weeknight rotation.
- Air Fryer Pork Chops: I LOVE pork chops. They are so cheap and tasty. When made in the air fryer, they get that nice crispy crust with half the fat.
- Cuban Pork Sandwich: This sandwich puts the meat front and center. It’s the perfect balance of vinegar and juiciness.
How to Store Pork Carnitas:
We love that this Mexican pulled pork can be made ahead. Carnitas can be covered and refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months. To freeze, pack carnitas in a freezer-safe bag with some of the juices from the slow cooker. To prevent freezer burn, remove as much air as you can when sealing.
Easy Pork Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)
Easy pork carnitas are sure to win you over. They come out just right - and that means crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside!
Pat the pork dry with a paper towel. Combine salt, pepper and dried oregano and rub pork with the seasoning.
In the slow cooker, add chopped onion, garlic cloves, broth, lime juice, orange juice, and bay leaves.
Add the pork to the slow cooker. Cook on high for 5 hours or on low for 7-8 hours.
Remove the pork from the slow cooker. Shredded the pork with two forks. Keep the juice.
To get crispy edges, transfer the shredded pork to a baking sheet. Pour ½ cup of the juices on top of the meat and broil it for 5-7 minutes, or until golden brown.
If you make this recipe, I’d love to see pics of your creations on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter! Hashtag them #natashaskitchen