Easy, Slow Cooker Carnitas

Carnitas Plate 1My uncle is so amazing.  He takes care of my grandparents, who pretty much need care 24/7. He works hard to make sure they have everything they need with very little respite.  My mom, who lives here in California, travels to Hawaii to help as often as she can, but he is the caregiver and our family is super grateful for everything he does for them and us.

I think he enjoys cooking, but dinner ideas can to be a struggle.  It’s hard to be in charge is pretty much every meal every single day.  Last time I talked to him on the phone, he requested a recipe for Mexican food. Since I purchased them a slow cooker last year, I decided to share my slow cooker carnitas recipe.  It is simple to put together and just cooks all day.  It’s perfect for my uncle (or any other busy person) because it doesn’t need tending.

I usually cook carnitas over the stove, but a couple years ago, my friend Robin whipped up the delicious pork filling in a slow cooker, and now I make it that way from time to time.  All I have to do is throw a pork shoulder into the slow cooker, juice an orange over the top of it, and add cumin, garlic powder, and oregano. Once it cooks all day, I just shred the pork and broil it to get it a little crispy. This version is perfect for weeknights when I have very little energy to cook, so I think it will be great for my uncle!

Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas


(serves at least 4 adults or 8 children/grandparents)


3 lbs pork shoulder

juice of 1 orange

1 tsp granulated garlic

1 tsp cumin

2 tsp oregano

salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place the pork shoulder into the insert of a slow cooker.
  2. Add the orange juice, garlic, cumin, and oregano and cook on low for 8 hours (high for 4-6 hours) until the meat shreds easily.
  3. Remove the roast from the slow cooker and reserve the liquid. Shred the meat into bite-sized pieces and sprinkle with salt, preferably kosher, and pepper.
  4. If you like crispier carnitas, arrange the shredded meat onto a foil-lined baking sheet and broil until crisped to your liking. Spoon some of the reserved liquid over the broiled carnitas to keep moist.
  5. Fold into corn or flour tortillas with desired toppings. Traditional toppings include chopped onion, cilantro, and hot sauce.

2 thoughts on “Easy, Slow Cooker Carnitas

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