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  • Writer's pictureMarnie

Authentic Slow-Cooker Pork Carnitas

Updated: Jan 5, 2022

If you're a fan of perfectly seasoned, tender with a slight crisp on the edges carnitas, then this is the recipe for you! I make these in my slow cooker and they taste so authentic and delicious. Carnitas are so versatile too - eat them with rice, or in tacos, burritos, tostadas or my delicious burrito bowl - the possibilities are endless!

Here's how to make them:


  • 3 pound boneless pork shoulder roast

  • 1 small sweet onion , sliced thin

  • 6 cloves peeled garlic, smashed

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Cilantro, for garnish

For the marinade:

  • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup sour orange marinade (I like Goya brand), or 1/2 cup lime juice and 1/2 cup pulp-free orange juice

  • 1 1/2 TSP fine sea or kosher salt

  • 1 TSP cumin

  • 1 TSP dried oregano

  • 1/4 TSP crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/8 TSP ground black pepper


TIP: I recommend letting the pork marinate overnight, so I make ahead the night before - this ensures that incredible flavor!

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the marinade ingredients.

  2. Using a paring knife, make slits in the pork and liberally rub the marinade into the pork, getting into the slits.

  3. Place the pork in your slow cooker bowl, along with the onion, garlic, and bay leaf.

  4. Pour the remaining marinade over the pork.

  5. Cover the slow cooker bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge at least 8 hours or overnight.

  6. Put the bowl in the slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 8 hours.

  7. Remove the pork only and transfer it to a cutting board and let it cool slightly. Don't dispose of the juice yet!

  8. Using tongs or forks, shred into thick chunks.

  9. Pan fry the pork to crisp it up: add a tablespoon of olive oil oil in a nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium-high heat.

  10. Working in batches to avoid overcrowding, spread the pork in the pan in an even layer, drizzling with some of the juices from the slow cooker.

  11. Once the juice evaporates and the bottom of the pork is golden and crispy, sear it quickly on the other side and then remove from the skillet. This will make it browned all over, and not dry.

  12. Serve with rice, tortillas, in tacos or burritos and enjoy!

Did you make it? Share pics in the comments!

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