Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe
Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe photo by Taste of Home
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Slow-Cooked Carnitas Recipe

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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
MAKES:12 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Cook: 6 hours
MAKES: 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

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.


  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.
Originally published as Slow-Cooked Carnitas in Taste of Home April/May 2011, p58

Sweet White Wine

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

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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."

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