Plate of shredded pork carnitas ready to serve.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Heavily adapted from The Kitchn's recipe with a few changes to tone down the spice.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword Cinco de Mayo, crockpot, easy, keto, low carb, party food
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 15 minutes
Servings 15 people
Calories 286kcal


  • 1 boneless pork butt (6 to 8 pounds; also called pork shoulder)
  • 2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper or to taste
  • 8 cloves garlic smashed
  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons chipotle hot sauce such as Tabasco or Cholula brands


  • Place trimmed pork butt on a large plate. Combine salt, cumin, pepper, oregano, cinnamon, and cayenne in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture on all sides of the meat and transfer to a large slow cooker. Sprinkle garlic cloves over.
  • Whisk together tomato juice, orange juice and chipotle hot sauce and pour over meat. Cook on low 8 hours, or until pork is pull apart tender.
  • When the meat has cooled slightly, carefully transfer from the cooking juices to a large bowl. Using two forks, shred the meat.
  • Skim fat off of the slow cooker juices. Add 1 cup or more of the juices to the meat and gently toss to coat. Refrigerate remaining juices for reheating the pork (see note #1) or freeze for another use (see note #2).
  • Serve reheated in tacos, on tostadas, in burritos, on taco salads, and more! (See post for links to my favorite recipes.)



  1. My favorite way to reheat pork carnitas is in a slick of hot oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet until the meat is heated through and the edges are crisp, adding a little bit of the cooking liquid for flavor and moisture. 
  2. Don't throw the cooking liquid away! If you have some left over when your pork carnitas is gone, you can freeze it. It makes a great start for chili or other savory soup.


Calories: 286kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 127mg | Sodium: 1114mg | Potassium: 903mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 240IU | Vitamin C: 12.2mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 2.5mg