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4.54 from 15 votes

Easy Carnitas, Slow Cooker or Dutch Oven

Easy Carnitas with tortillas.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time4 hours
Total Time4 hours 20 minutes
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: braised pork steak, carnitas, tacos
Servings: 8
Author: Angela Roberts


  • 4 pounds boneless pork shoulder see notes
  • 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
  • 2-4 cups beef broth or water
  • tortillas
  • 2 red onions diced to serve with carnitas
  • handful cilantro
  • guacamole or sliced avocado


  • Trim excess fat from pork shoulder. Cut into 4 separate pieces.
  • Salt liberally.
  • Heat tablespoon of olive oil in dutch oven and brown pork pieces on all sides. Remove, set aside.
  • Add onions, pepper to pan. Cook for two minutes. Add garlic. Cook for one minute.
  • Add in juice of orange and orange pieces, juice of limes. I refrain from adding in lime pieces, as the lime can add bitterness.
  • Add pork back in.
  • Add in just enough water or broth to cover 2/3 of the meat. Add cinnamon Stick and chile powder.
  • Cover and braise for 3 1/2 hours.
  • 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.
  • Remove from oven. Strain pork from broth., making sure to save broth. Pull pork into pieces. Strain the broth.
  • Pull pork in pieces and place on large baking sheet. Pour about 1 cup of broth over pork. You want the crisp up the ends a little, but still keep pork tender.
  • Bake in oven at 375 degrees F. for approximately twenty minutes until most of the broth is gone and the meat has crispy crackling edges.
  • Serve with tortillas, chopped red onion, cilantro, sliced avocado, lime slices.
  • You can freeze for up to three months.


I  have also used 5 pound carnitas with bone.