Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

September 26, 2012 by Ali

Oh my goodness, people. I’ve stumbled upon a new way to make crispy pork carnitas. But instead of spending hours upon hours babysitting your carnitas in the oven, turning them countless times to get the crispies, and adding in tons of extra oil (or lard – eek), these delicious and crispy carnitas can be made in your slow cooker!

Are you ready for the secret?!?

It’s fabulously easy.

You just let the slow cooker do all of the work of preparing your tender and oh-so-flavorful pork. (And get ready – your home is going to smell amazing!) Then once the pork is ready, you shred it and lay it out on some baking sheets, and then briefly pop them under the broiler, giving them a quick turn and an extra dose of broth as they cook to keep them moist. BRILLIANT.

And to top it all off, I thought that the seasoning combo I tried for these carnitas turned out fantastic! Loved all of the Mexi spices, and I also threw in a bottle of a favorite (Kansas City!) beer for the cooking broth, which was fab. Definitely a delicious recipe everyone will love on tacos, burritos, salads, sandwiches, or whatever carnitas dish your heart desires. I know this one will definitely become a staple in my house!

Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 6 hours

Total Time: 6 hours, 10 minutes

Yield: Serves 6-8


  • 1 Tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 (4-5 lb.) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks
  • 8 oz. beer
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. chipotle powder (or 1 chipotle in adobo sauce)
  • 2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper


Heat oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the pork and sear on each side until browned (about 2 minutes per side). Transfer pork to the slow cooker.

Add remaining ingredients, and give the mixture a careful stir to combine. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.

Once the pork is cooked, preheat your broiler to high heat and prepare two baking sheets with aluminum foil. Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces, and then use a slotted spoon to transfer it to the prepared baking sheets, spreading it out evenly in a single layer. Reserve the remaining broth from the slow cooker.

Place one sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin crisping up. Remove the sheet, and use a spatula or tongs to carefully toss the pork. Then ladle about 1/4 cup of the remaining slow cooker broth over the pork. Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy. Then remove and ladle an additional 1/4 cup of broth over the crispy pork.

Repeat with the other baking sheet of pork.

Serve immediately in tacos, burritos, salads, or whatever sounds good to you! Or cover and refrigerate or freeze.

About Ali

Ali Ebright is a freelance recipe developer and food writer/photographer, and blogs at Gimme Some Oven and Gimme Some Life. She also loves all things music, traveling near and far, actually making things from Pinterest, cozying up with a good book and her sweet pup, Henry, and spending time with a wonderful group of friends. Come say hello and follow Ali on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ & Instagram.

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59 thoughts on “Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas

  1. Made it with corona. Mmmmm yes!

    - Courtney

  2. These are absolutely bloody delicious. We eat the meat in small corn tortillas with cheese, salsa, tomatoes, greens, chopped onions — all the usual suspects. The meat is so good. I’ve made this twice now and I think next time I might double the liquid; my slow cooker cooks a little hot and I find there’s barely any broth left at the end. But they’re so good I don’t care.

    - Cat

  3. Just wanted to say that I made these last night. I came home from work to find my husband standing over the crock-pot with a fork! Not sure how much he ate before I caught him! Needless to say, these were a big hit and I will be making them again.

    - Laura

  4. I’ll be trying this later on today. I’m going to add serrano peppers, bay leaves, and a bit cinnamon, in addition to what you have added. Also, this is the only recipe I’ve found thus far that uses the oven for the crisping at the end. Kudos! I’ll let ya know how it goes.

    - Steele Valenzuela

  5. This was amazing! Almost as good as my local Mexican estaurant. ,The only change/addition I made was adding the juice of one lime. Bookmarked for future use. Thanks!

    - GeorgeInNePa

  6. I made these today for a birthday party and they were a big hit!

    - Megan

  7. Hi Ali!

    What can I substitute for beer?

    - Katelyn Smith

    • Dr. Pepper is good too.

      - K. Eagan

    • try orange juice or a bottle of mexican coca cola (should be able to find at your local mexican store, comes in glass bottles instead of plastic. If not use a can of regular coke)

      - Tiffany

    • Hi! I substitute organic vegetable broth or free range organic chicken broth for the beer! Both work great and give it great flavor!

      - Angel

  8. This recipe is fantastic! I followed the cooking directions but seasoned with Badia Complete Seasoning (a mixture of most of the ones listed) and added lime juice. I used half the meat one day for carnita tacos and the rest the next day for Pulled Pork Sandwiches with BBQ sauce. This will probably become a biweekly recipe in our house :)

    - Brandi

  9. Can’t wait to make these! One question: cut into 3 inch cubes before the crockpot? I can’t tell if you cook the roast whole or in little chunks? Please help! Thanks!!

    - Andrea

  10. I have got to learn how to use a slow cooker…those look amazing!!!

    - lisa@cookingwithcurls

  11. I found Chipotle bullion type cubes… haven’t been able to find the powder. Do you think those will work?

    - kristi Smith

  12. Can you cook on high for a shorter time and still get the same results?

    - Alicia

  13. Omg…made these for dinner tonight and they are fantastic!!! Super easy to make and totally crave inducing! Hubby’s on a diet and he’s mad mad mad. Thanks so much for this great recipe!

    - maggie

  14. My family made this for Superbowl Sunday and now I’m trying to make it again but, I can’t find the recipe. Just the pictures and blog entry no recipe. Please help.

    - Taryn

  15. Where can I get chipotle powder?

    - Alice

  16. Made this last night–it was great! Much better than what I’ve made before. I will reduce the salt next time.

    - Alice

  17. About to make these a reality… thanks for the recipe… tell you how they taste soon!

    - Matthew Insardi

  18. THIS is exactly what I was searching for… assembling my spices right away! Thanks!

    - Karrie

  19. I want these so badly it makes me cry.

    - Liz @ The Lemon Bowl

  20. Oh my dear god. I made these last night and they were way better than the carnitas I normally make. Thank you!

    - Julie

  21. Wow! I’ve loved every recipe I’ve looked at so far. New to your site and about to be a frequent stalker .. I mean visitor to your site. Good grief don’t give out your address lmao or you’ll have guests for supper frequently! <3

    - Shannon

  22. You are a genius!!! The slow cooker is my BFF this time of year and you just gave me a new recipe to through in the rotation. We eat tacos at least once a week! ps- I always cook my pork in beer- love that you are on the same page!!

    - kelley

  23. Love these pictures! They look really good but wow, the pictures. I think dishes with tortillas are always difficult to photograph but you did an awesome job. :)

    - Erin @ Texanerin Baking

  24. Love a simpler way to make delicious carnitas! These are beautiful.

    - kita

  25. This IS brilliant! I love slow cooker season :)

    - Anna @ hiddenponies

  26. mmmmm I wish this had been my dinner tonight ;)

    - carrian

  27. Oh, girl… these are SOOOOO up my alley!!!!!!! :)

    - Tina {My Life as a Mrs}

  28. Ugh ok, now you’ve convinced me Ali. I need a slow cooker! I don’t have one. I feel so unladylike. :(

    These look divine! And I have a mexican night on Friday… I already know I’m making guacamole but I needed a main dish. Perhaps this is my excuse to get that slow cooker!!!

    - sally @ sallys baking addiction

  29. I was just craving tacos! I was in search of the perfect recipe and I think I’ve found it!

    - Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious

  30. I’d love to have some of this right now, love the method!!

    - Cassie

  31. oh, this looks delicious! will have to try this one!

    - Melinda T

  32. it looks amazing! I cna’t wait to try making it!

    - Julie

  33. These are my kind of tacos!

    - Laura (Tutti Dolci)

  34. The slow cooker truly is a dream! Love these… now where are mine? I’m hungry.

    - Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

  35. Ali – what beer did you use for this recipe? I think Jeremy would love this!

    - Stephanie Hubers

  36. Look at all that cilantro + onion goodness! I neeed.

    - Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel

  37. Freaking. Love. This.

    - Bev @ Bev Cooks

  38. Can’t wait to try this! They look delicious and beautiful photos!

    - Meghan

  39. Delicious! I do slow cooker carnitas, but I don’t crisp them up. Nice twist!

    - Lori @ RecipeGirl

  40. Oh heck yes, I will be trying these. They look absolutely amazing. Pork carnitas rock!

    - Kim (Feed Me, Seymour)

  41. Such a great idea to use the slow cooker; the meat looks like it’s falling apart. Love the pictures too!

    - Kathryn

  42. I adore pork carnitas… and awesome pics here!

    - Blog is the New Black