These slow cooker carnitas tacos are tender chunks of pork cooked in a crock pot, then stuffed into warm corn tortillas with red onion and cilantro. An easy and authentic meal that’s even better than what you would get at a restaurant.
I love to order carnitas at my local Mexican restaurant, I just adore the crispy exterior and tender interior of the meat. I’ve since learned to make these slow cooker carnitas tacos, and they’re a winner with my entire family!
How do you make slow cooker carnitas tacos?
To make authentic, flavorful carnitas in the slow cooker first develop the flavor of the pork by searing it in a pot with a little oil. The browned pork goes into a slow cooker with cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, chicken broth and orange juice. After the pork has cooked for 4 hours, remove it from the slow cooker, spread it on a sheet pan and broil the meat until it is golden brown with crispy edges. When the pork comes out of the oven, you are ready to serve it shredded with your favorite taco ingredients.
Tips for crock pot carnitas
- I like to brown my pork before it goes into the slow cooker for added flavor. If you’re in a hurry, you can skip this step and simply place your uncooked meat in the pot along with the seasonings.
- This pork makes great leftovers, and can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months. To freeze, store the pork in a resealable gallon sized bag, then thaw in the refrigerator.
- There are two types of dried oregano sold at the grocery store – Mexican oregano and Greek oregano. Choose the Mexican oregano if it’s available to you.
What cut of meat is carnitas?
For flavorful, tender carnitas, you will want to use a boneless cut of pork with some marbling. I like to use boneless country ribs which are boneless strips of pork shoulder with a rib-like flavor, but they are not actually ribs. You can use any boneless chunks of pork shoulder (pork butt) for an excellent result.
Carnitas tacos variations
Carnitas tacos are traditionally served with a simple garnish of onion and cilantro. You can add other ingredients to customize the tacos to your taste.
- Taco Shell: For a crispy crunch, use hard corn shells. These carnitas also taste great with soft flour tortillas. If you’re watching your carbs, you can use butter lettuce leaves instead of tortillas.
- Cheese: Feel free to add shredded cheese such as cheddar, Monterey Jack or cotija cheese.
- Other Toppings: To make these tacos your own add toppings like avocado, salsa, lettuce, sour cream, olives or jalapeno peppers.
How to reheat carnitas
The best way to reheat carnitas is to heat them in the oven at 300 degrees F for 45 minutes. If you want the meat crispier, you can leave it in the oven a little longer. If you are low on time, you can reheat carnitas by microwaving the meat for a minute per cup of meat.
These slow cooker carnitas are a hassle free way to enjoy a classic Mexican dish. These carnitas are perfect for everyday dinners or to wow your friends with the authentic flavors.
More delicious Mexican recipes
- Mexican Street Corn (Elote)
- Stuffed Poblano Peppers
- Mexican Stuffed Shells
- Mexican Meatball Soup
- Steak Tacos
Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos
- 4 pound boneless pork butt or boneless country ribs fat trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes
- 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
- 1/3 cup orange juice
- 16 corn tortillas
- 1/2 cup cilantro chopped
- 1/3 cup red onion finely diced
- Heat a large pot over medium heat, and add the oil. Season the meat with the salt and pepper and brown it in batches. Transfer the browned meat to a plate.
- After all the meat is browned, place it in a slow cooker along with the cumin, onion, bay leaves, oregano, lime juice, chicken broth and orange juice.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.
- Remove the meat from the crock pot with a slotted spoon. Place the meat in a single layer on a sheet pan.
- Broil the meat for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.
- Roughly shred the meat. Divide the meat between the tortillas. Top with cilantro and red onion, then serve.