Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos


Tender, flavorful, slow-cooked pork carnitas are traditionally crisped up on the stovetop in a skillet. Using this convenient shortcut, you can broil the meat on a sheet pan and brown and crisp the entire batch at once. Pork carnitas, the Mexican version of pulled pork, can also be used in enchiladas, sliders, and quesadillas. This recipe has a very short prep time, making it an easy choice for busy weeknight meals. Combine the pork shoulder with chicken broth, orange juice, garlic, pepper and salt in your slow cooker, set it in the morning and forget it. Shred the finished pork, remove it from the liquid using a large slotted spoon, and spread the meat in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil on high until pork begins to brown and crisp. Serve pork carnitas with the traditional taco toppings, such as shredded cabbage, diced avocado, queso fresco, cilantro, and lime wedges.  If you are feeling real adventurous, make your own corn tortillas while the pork slow cooks. Make pork carnitas tacos for your next backyard cookout and don't forget to add a big pitcher of margaritas.

Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos. Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 25 mins
6 serves


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder

  • 3/4 cup lower-sodium chicken broth

  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice (from 1 orange)

  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • Warm corn tortillas, shredded cabbage, diced avocado, queso fresco (fresh Mexican cheese), lime wedges, for serving


  1. Combine pork, chicken broth, orange juice, garlic, pepper, and 1 tablespoon of the salt in a 6-to 7-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on LOW until pork is fork-tender, about 8 hours.

  2. Preheat broiler to high with oven rack 6 inches from heat. Shred pork in slow cooker. Remove pork from liquid, and transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet. Spread into an even layer. Broil until pork begins to brown and crisp, about 8 minutes. Stir and broil 2 minutes more. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon salt, and toss well. Transfer to a serving platter.

  3. Serve pork with tortillas, shredded cabbage, diced avocado, queso fresco, and lime wedges.

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