Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas in Dutch Oven or Slow Cooker by Angela Roberts

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 and crisped up and caramelized  in in the juices under the broiler or in the oven. You can only imagine how exciting the last part of the cooking is.

Carnitas by Angela Roberts

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 in a slow cooker. You will need 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.

We only eat one brand of tortillas. Tortilla Land tortillas are raw and have to be pan fried for about a minute. Once you have them, you’ll never go back to the pre-cooked ones. When heating in a cast iron pan, they puff up and get a beautiful char.

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven by Angela Roberts

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

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Perfect for a Cinco de Maya party, serve carnitas, which can be made ahead, even frozen. Pair with Margaritas or strawberry lime basil sangria.

Dessert calls for something refreshing.  Lime mango ice cream, Pavlova Berries and Lime cream, or melon lime basil sorbet are three great options.

5.0 from 2 reviews
Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
Pork carnitas with tortillas.
  • 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
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-2 cups beef broth (or water)
  • tortillas
  • 2 red onions diced (to serve with carnitas)
  • handful cilantro
  • guacamole or sliced avocado
  1. Trim excess fat from pork shoulder. Cut into 4 separate pieces.
  2. Salt liberally.
  3. Heat oil in dutch oven and brown pork pieces on all sides. Remove.
  4. Add onions, pepper to pan. Cook for two minutes. Add garlic. Cook for one minute.
  5. Add in juice of orange and orange pieces, juice of lime and lime piece.
  6. Add pork back in.
  7. Add in just enough water or broth to cover ⅔ of the meat. Add cinnamon Stick.
  8. Cover and braise for 3½ hours. Or 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 degree oven with lid.
  9. Remove from oven. Pull pork into pieces. Add in a baking pan with the broth.
  10. Bake in oven at 375 for approximately twenty minutes until broth is gone and the meat is has crispy crackling edges.
  11. Serve with tortillas, chopped red onion, cilantro, sliced avocado, lime slices

So tell me, how are you going to celebrate Cinco de Mayo? This year I’m actually going to a food blogger’s cajun dinner. It’s rescheduling due to very bad storms last Monday night. I’m sure it will be awesome.  But, do I hope they serve margaritas!

Enjoy these easy Carnitas and let me know how the recipe works out.


  1. says

    I love carnitas…so awesome. Yours look fantastic!! Just wanted to let you know that I made one of your recipes for SRC…I made your parmesan honey biscuits and LOVED them…they were so good! Thanks for a great recipe :)

  2. Robyn says

    I followed this recipe exactly & it turned out awful! I had to throw the whole thing away. I think it was the peel from the limes that made it so bitter. Would have been good I think if I just added the juice from the fruit and not the fruit itself. I thought that was odd when I read directions, but went with it anyway. Oh well, I guess they can’t all be winners. Bummer though, for sure.

  3. Vincent Ferra says

    Given the majority of the world uses Celsius to indicate temperature, 300 degrees seems very high for this recipe. This makes me wonder if you mean 300 Fahrenheit. Could you please amend your recipe to make that clear?


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