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Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe

Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe

These hearty carnitas are delicious and easy to simmer in a slow cooker all day long. Sometimes, instead of using tortillas, I place the pork on top of shredded lettuce for a tasty salad. —Lisa Glogow, Aliso VIejo, California
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 6 hours YIELD:12 servings


  • 1 boneless pork shoulder butt roast (3 to 4 pounds)
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bunch green onions, chopped
  • 1-1/2 cups minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup salsa
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup tequila or additional chicken broth
  • 2 cans (4 ounces each) chopped green chilies
  • 12 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, sliced red onion and chopped tomatoes, optional


  • 1. Cut roast in half; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker. Sprinkle with the garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Add the onions, cilantro, salsa, broth, tequila and chilies. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender.
  • 2. Remove meat; cool slightly. Shred with two forks and return to the slow cooker; heat through. Spoon about 2/3 cup meat mixture onto each tortilla; serve with toppings of your choice. Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1 carnita (calculated without optional toppings): 363 calories, 15g fat (5g saturated fat), 67mg cholesterol, 615mg sodium, 28g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 24g protein.

Reviews for Slow-Cooked Carnitas

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I_Fortuna User ID: 8342880 247816
Reviewed May. 3, 2016

"I subtracted a star for using flour tortillas and garlic. Traditionally, unless you live in Texas, tacos are made with corn tortillas. Flour tortillas are too heavy for this type of taco and one misses out on the melding of the delicate flavors of the corn tortilla with, again, traditionally, pico de gallo (fresh cilantro, seeded tomatoes, and the green part of the scallion, *no* salt and pepper but lime juice is o.k.). Also, traditionally, carnitas is made crispy in a dry frying pan or under the broiler. This is part of the delicious character of carnitas, although optional.

Save the flour tortillas for quesadillas, burritos and fajitas. Hubby makes a quesadilla from only avocado and a bit of salt.
Hubby's makes traditional quesadillas also with corn tortillas made al carbon.
Why does everyone put garlic in everything? Traditionally, garlic is rarely used in much of Mexican cooking. It simply masks the great flavor of the pork, Yuk! : )"

Lys10 User ID: 5239329 243694
Reviewed Feb. 12, 2016

"Loved this! The flavor and tenderness of the meat is great! I have tried it with both a pork and a beef roast. We like the pork so much more."

grandmascooking22 User ID: 5357761 241532
Reviewed Jan. 11, 2016

"I have asked Hispanic friends for years how to make my carnitas taste like theirs....nothing has worked until now! This recipe is perfect. The flavors that cook in to the meat are incredible. We used the meat for tacos a couple nights and then used the meat in the broth for Huevos rancheros. It's just the best! Thanks, Lisa!"

CarrieBerry4Chad User ID: 5330384 232745
Reviewed Sep. 12, 2015

"Not exactly what comes to mind when you think carnitas, but still had a really good taste. Meat turned out nice and tender and had tons of leftovers to freeze for future meals."

lmmanda User ID: 1101093 219279
Reviewed Jan. 30, 2015

"This was a delicious dish! I cooked the meat about 5 hours and turned it over to cook the last hour. Even my son who claims not to like pork thought it was great."

greatwithoutgluten User ID: 6330173 218973
Reviewed Jan. 27, 2015

"I made these and they were very tasty and easy. The pork was very flavorful. We will definitely make these again!"

ejt325 User ID: 4790999 194401
Reviewed Dec. 7, 2013

"I made these with steak instead of pork and they were great!"

angieact1 User ID: 1990802 177404
Reviewed Oct. 7, 2013

"I love being able to slow cook this recipe. Carnitas are a favorite of mine, and these are tasty!"

aicenhour User ID: 4627743 115170
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2013

"I LOVE making this dish. One pork shoulder or roast will make 2 dinners, so we eat supper one night and I freeze the leftovers. I also add some fajita seasoning and onions and peppers when cooking in the slow cooker (towards the end). I have substituted lemon juice when I didnt have lime juice and it turned out just fine! Serve with Mexican rice, refried beans or black beans, sour cream, salsa, cheese and chips! MMMM!"

debluvscookin User ID: 4057729 194477
Reviewed Aug. 17, 2013

"This was delicious. One of my favorite slow cooker meals. Nice flavors in this dish. Not overpowering. Next time I make I will try the suggestion of putting over lettuce for a salad."

MY REVIEW User ID: 5326454 124447
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2013

"My family loves this recipe! I make it frequently."

MrsHanna User ID: 5477667 194476
Reviewed May. 6, 2013

"Love this recipe! We tried this recipe for Cinco De Mayo and my family loved it! I used two 4 pound pork shoulders, frozen Hot Green Chili instead of canned, homemade salsa, and no cilantro. We topped everything off with mexican cheese blend, sour cream, and guacamole! Definately will make again!"

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 194398
Reviewed Oct. 31, 2012

"This was a delicious pork taco/burrito meat but just doesn't qualify as carnitas without that crispy exterior. Next time, will try broiling or skillet-browning cooked meat before serving."

Cwong624 User ID: 1504025 116174
Reviewed Sep. 26, 2012

"My family says this is the BEST"

blhenn User ID: 5747906 109544
Reviewed Sep. 18, 2012

"I made this out of my "best loved recipes" cookbook. This was a pretty good change from the normal. It was really easy and quick to prepare and it made the house smell amazing. However mine turned out a bit watery, so I had to drain it a bit so our tortillas were not soggy."

lilaccrew User ID: 1915814 115143
Reviewed Apr. 8, 2012

"I do not understand why people like Travlnman02 come here and add their own complete recipes? Just submit it to TOH and leave the reviews for this section! I didn't think this was too much work at all, very delicious!"

Travlnman02 User ID: 5805527 194475
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2012

"This recipe is a lot of extra work and expense. I've been making carnitas for more than 30 years in a crock pot without all the work shown here and the taste is absolutely great. I use only Pork Loin or Tri-Tip Roasts becuse of the lean meat. I dis-like fat on any meat. In a large skilet heat (1) Tbsp oil and then add three cloves of minced garlic, lightly sal the meat and add fresh ground Blk Pepper. On med heat brown all sides of the meat, dark without burning. Place meat in crockpot. Pour 1/4 cup red wine in skillet to de-glaze and scrape to loosen particles and pour over the meat. Put on the lid and cook on low heat for 8-10 hrs. Remove meat and strain juices, Save juices for addition to meat when you re-heat. Serve as meat for tacos, or on salad with Sliced Green onions, Cheese, Tomatoes, Avocados, and fresh salsa on the side. Goes well with Fresh beans and mexican rice with small salad. Great with just meat, salsa and tortillas also. Careful with the salt, a little goes a long way."

aug2295 User ID: 4631582 193376
Reviewed Mar. 12, 2012

"This was pretty good. The meat was tender. I prefer the taste of roast pork shoulder, but for a weekday meal, this is nice."

ktrogo User ID: 3883046 149632
Reviewed Jan. 19, 2012

"These are so good. I served with black beans and it was a hit! Will be making this again and again!!"

Mandalin User ID: 3358540 191928
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2011

"I love this recipe. I serve mine with corn tortillas, chopped cilantro, fresh lime wedges and pepper jack cheese. I like to eat the leftovers for breakfast with country potatoes and a runny egg."

ValerieMS User ID: 4364700 115142
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2011

"I set this up to serve as a "Taco Bar" the weekend my daughter and her boyfriend were home from college to help decorate for Christmas. It was good, but next time I'll cut the cilantro back to 1 cup, skip the red onion & serve additional green onions in their place. I also added grated sharp cheddar, black olives, sour cream and additional salsa to the topping choices."

s_pants User ID: 174050 109543
Reviewed Nov. 23, 2011

"Good flavor! We also added shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole and salsa on top. While it was good with the toppings, it was almost too much...hid the flavor of the meat."

Fkysar User ID: 6197099 123273
Reviewed Nov. 14, 2011

"This is a really great recipe! Everyone always asks us to cook this or beg for the recipe! I love how little the prep time is too. I can just start my slow cooker in the morning and by the time we get off work this delicious meal is all ready to go! Love love love this recipe!"

micheleclow User ID: 6777152 212293
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2011

"This rating is for my info only. Obviously everyone really likes this, so it's either me or my crockpot, but I didn't taste any flavor in of the meat. Next time I'll try a recipe in the oven."

LindsayLou10 User ID: 6290444 124445
Reviewed Oct. 20, 2011


DarlaWeberConnelly User ID: 5796280 131858
Reviewed Oct. 17, 2011

"This was fabulous! I will certainly make again. I save some of the juices for making chili as well. Yummy!"

GinghamGal User ID: 1470634 194394
Reviewed Oct. 14, 2011

"This was a huge hit with my hubby and four teenagers! I heated the flour tortillas in a dry skillet to give them a little crunch. We just added raw sliced onion, shredded lettuce, and sour cream as toppings. Yum!"

mommylu User ID: 5317722 115134
Reviewed Oct. 12, 2011

"This is a new family favorite! I only used 1 can of chilies to cut down on the heat and all chicken broth. It was delicious! My hubby at the leftovers for 4 days straight!"

millyilly User ID: 6182083 178061
Reviewed Sep. 27, 2011

"THis recipe is high on my list. I made this for our tailgate party at the OU game. Everyone said it was to die for! Now I am making it to take to a party. The only thing I added was juice of half a lime. And use the Tequila! I put it in the coker at 11pm and let it cook all night. The aroma when we woke up was sensational! Very easy to prepare and the reward is great!"

blueyedjla User ID: 2054467 190985
Reviewed Jul. 20, 2011

"Fast and simple to put together. Pork was juicy and tender. This recipe pleased even my pickiest eaters."

Bellinvoz User ID: 5979441 194392
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2011

"I made this tonight and got so many compaments at dinner, this is a winner in our house!"

jmwkrw User ID: 6012474 212292
Reviewed May. 29, 2011

"This is very good. I did shred the carnitas and broiled them in a flat pan about 5 minutes before serving to crisp them up a little. Very good flavor"

cbredek User ID: 5983552 149631
Reviewed May. 11, 2011

"Great flavor and easy to make. My family loved it!"

modell User ID: 2087044 193373
Reviewed May. 2, 2011

"This is a very easy, delicious recipe. My husband loved it. I used 1/3 the amount of cilantro as my family is not a huge fan, and it still had a bit of a kick."

prichardrachelle User ID: 2546376 149626
Reviewed May. 2, 2011

"So yummy!!! We made it for our church group and everyone went back for seconds. Was great the next day as well. Will be making again soon."

thudspeth User ID: 5767684 177403
Reviewed Apr. 20, 2011


KAW1964 User ID: 1468717 190975
Reviewed Apr. 6, 2011

"This was wonderful! Great flavors and taste even better the next day!"

susitravl User ID: 21761 193326
Reviewed Apr. 4, 2011

"Fantastic! Just the right amount of liquid to keep the pork from getting dry, but not dripping out of the tortilla. We love Mexican restaurant made carnitas but had never made one at home that I cared to repeat until now - wonderful!!!"

dgkingan User ID: 3869570 194391
Reviewed Mar. 30, 2011

"so easy! excellent! makes plenty for left overs and it's just as good the next day."

curtisfamily93 User ID: 5699264 183053
Reviewed Mar. 26, 2011

"This was SOOO easy & came out delicious! I cant cook with onions because we have a food allergy, but it still came out delicious! I only used one can of chilis & addded a can of diced tomatos...Also made Mango salsa with it which was the perfect compliment!"

easymeals User ID: 5899891 116173
Reviewed Mar. 25, 2011


jaqwhite User ID: 5899697 124443
Reviewed Mar. 25, 2011

"SUPER simple recipe and TOTALLY delicious. I brought a crock pot of the carnitas in for a work event yesterday and it was all eaten SO fast. They were so good. I will be making this often."

adrianecheri User ID: 4095765 149625
Reviewed Mar. 24, 2011

"Wonderful, easy, all you could ask for with a crockpot meal!"

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Wine Pairings

Sweet White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a sweet white wine such as Moscato or a sweet Riesling.