Savory Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas: Taco & Burrito Bliss

Slow Cooked Pork Carnitas

Indulge in a fiesta of flavors with our tantalizing Slow-Cooked Pork Carnitas recipe! These tender, succulent pork pieces are marinated in a symphony of spices, slow cooked to perfection, and then crisped up for the ultimate taco or burrito filling. Whether you’re planning a Mexican-inspired feast or a quick weeknight meal, this recipe promises to be a crowd-pleaser. Get ready to savor every bite of these mouthwatering, melt-in-your-mouth carnitas.

Ingredients (Metric & Imperial):

  • 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) boneless pork shoulder, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 oranges, juiced
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 250 ml (1 cup) chicken broth
  • 30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil


  1. In a large bowl, combine the pork chunks, chopped onions, minced garlic, orange juice, lime juice, cumin, oregano, smoked paprika, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well to ensure the pork is evenly coated. Marinate for at least 30 minutes or overnight in the refrigerator for deeper flavor.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the marinated pork and sear until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  3. Transfer the seared pork to a slow cooker. Add bay leaves and chicken broth.
  4. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  5. Once cooked, remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred it using two forks.
  6. Preheat your oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the shredded pork on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges turn crispy.
  7. Serve your delicious Pork Carnitas in warm tortillas with your favorite toppings like salsa, guacamole, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Enjoy!

Preparation Time:

30 minutes (plus marinating time)

Cooking Time: 6-8 hours (slow cooker) + 10 minutes (oven)

Number of Servings: 8

Calories per Serving: Approximately 350 calories


  • Rich in protein and essential nutrients.
  • Versatile; can be used as a filling for tacos, burritos, nachos, or bowls.
  • Slow cooking enhances the flavor and tenderness of the pork.


  • Longer cooking time may require planning ahead.
  • High-calorie dish; portion control is advised for those watching their calorie intake.

Benefits of Recipe Ingredients:

  • Pork is a good source of protein, B vitamins, and zinc. Reference
  • Citrus fruits like oranges and limes provide vitamin C and a burst of fresh flavor.
  • Spices like cumin and paprika add depth and antioxidants to the dish. Reference

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Can I use a different cut of pork for this recipe?

Yes, while pork shoulder is the traditional choice for carnitas, you can also use pork butt or pork loin for slightly leaner results. However, keep in mind that pork shoulder offers the best balance of flavor and tenderness.

How long should I marinate the pork for maximum flavor?

Marinating the pork for at least 30 minutes is recommended, but for the best flavor, marinate it overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the citrus and spices to infuse the meat deeply.

What’s the difference between using a slow cooker and an Instant Pot for this recipe?

Both appliances can be used, but a slow cooker cooks the pork at a lower, more consistent heat over a longer period (6-8 hours), resulting in incredibly tender carnitas. An Instant Pot can produce similar results in a shorter time (about 1 hour), but the texture may vary slightly.

What are some recommended toppings for pork carnitas tacos or burritos?

Popular toppings include diced onions, fresh cilantro, shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, salsa, sliced jalapeños, and lime wedges. Feel free to customize it to your taste!

Is there a substitute for the citrus juices in the marinade?

If you don’t have oranges or limes on hand, you can use store-bought orange and lime juice. Fresh citrus juice, however, provides the best flavor.

Can I make this recipe spicy?

Certainly! Adjust the level of spiciness by adding more chili powder or crushed red pepper flakes to the marinade. Be cautious and taste as you go to avoid making it too spicy for your liking.

What can I serve with Pork Carnitas besides tacos and burritos?

You can get creative! Serve them in nachos, on top of a salad, as a filling for enchiladas, or even in a bowl with rice and beans for a hearty meal.

Do I have to roast the shredded pork in the oven for crispiness?

Roasting the pork in the oven after shredding is optional but recommended. It adds a delightful crispiness to the edges of the carnitas, enhancing both texture and flavor.

Can I prepare this recipe in advance for a party or gathering?

Yes, this recipe is perfect for prepping ahead of time. You can marinate the pork and sear it in advance, then slow-cook it closer to your serving time for the freshest results.


ⓘ Disclaimer:
Please note that the information provided in this blog post is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute professional advice. The author of this article is not an expert. It is important to consult with a qualified professional. The content of this blog post is based on the author’s personal experiences, research, and opinions. nor the author assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequences resulting from the use of this information. By reading this blog post, you acknowledge and accept that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional advice.

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