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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

This slow cooker pork carnitas is simmered low and slow for 8 hours, and seasoned with fresh citrus, onion and garlic, and bay leaves.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas served with lime and green onions.

There’s something undeniably satisfying about a slow-cooked meal (not to mention the heavenly smells that waft through your house while it cooks).

This slow cooker pork carnitas is tender and juicy boneless pork butt, cooked to perfection in bright lime and orange citrus fruits, with earthy and sweet garlic, onion, and bay leaves. 

The best part is, all you have to do is put everything in the crock pot and walk away! No need to spend hours in a hot kitchen; it’s ready for you when you’re ready to eat.

It’s the perfect protein for tacos, quesadillas, burrito bowls, and more! 

Trust me, you’re going to love making this slow cooker pork carnitas!

Cubed pork, onions, spices, water, and citrus fruit on a table.

Ingredients for slow cooker pork carnitas

  • Boneless pork butt (cut into 1.5 inch cubes) – This is the perfect cut of pork that will be fork tender and perfect for carnitas!
  • Water – Water will help cook the carnitas in the slow cooker.
  • Citrus – I’ve used a combination of both orange and lime to get sweet and tart flavors. 
  • White onion and garlic – Classic combination that will add sweetness and earthiness to the dish.
  • Bay leaves – Bay leaf is an aromatic herb that will provide an herbaceous flavor in the background.
  • Kosher salt – Kosher salt is important to help bring out all the flavors in the carnitas. 
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas served on a table.

What is a pork butt?

A pork butt is just the name! It’s actually a version of a pork shoulder roast.

It’s a highly affordable roast that is full of flavor!

It has a lot of connective tissue and fat, which make it perfect to cook low and slow in a slow cooker, or in a pressure cooker. 

All of the connective tissue melts away beautifully and becomes tender and juicy.

Crock pot pork carnitas in a bowl.

Serving suggestions

This slow cooker pork carnitas works perfectly to fill hard or soft tacos, cheesy and delicious quesadillas, and big burrito bowls.

I love serving it alongside some fresh Mexican corn salad, and having a zesty and cool jalapeno mango margarita ain’t a bad idea either!

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas on a plate with a tortilla.

Storage and leftovers

Any leftover slow cooker pork carnitas can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

To reheat, simply place on a microwave safe dish covered loosely with a damp paper towel and heat 2-3 minutes or until heated thoroughly.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas in a bowl topped with green onions.

More slow cooker recipes

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 15 minutes

This slow cooker pork carnitas is simmered low and slow for 8 hours, and seasoned with fresh citrus, onion and garlic, and bay leaves.


  • 2 pounds boneless pork butt, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 orange, quartered
  • 1 lime, juiced quartered
  • 1 white onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Add all of the ingredients to your slow cooker. Stir them around to ensure that all of the ingredients are well mixed. 
  1. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5 hours, or until the pork is falling apart. 
  2. Optional, but highly recommended! To crisp the carnitas, shred the pork and then heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and then add the pork. Cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pork is crisp around the edges. 
  4. Serve warm, with your choice of toppings. Store any leftover carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 429Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 314mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 35g

This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.

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Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas pin for Pinterest.

About Brandy!

I am a food lover and recipe developer bringing you delicious recipes that taste great and are easy to make! My food is inspired by travels around the world and my love of flavorful food. A list of things that make me happy: cats, Coke Zero, houseplants, and travel. Read more...


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