Food and Recipes

Slow Cooked Carnitas Recipe

Slow Cooked Carnitas Recipe

  • Servings: 10-12
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

The smell of carnitas cooking in the home is so good that it always makes me think twice about my vegetarian life. Yep, I’m a vegetarian (I know meat tastes good…it’s just a thought thing that I can’t get over), but I grew up eating meat off-and-on, and I still cook it pretty regularly in my home for the rest of my family. I’m raising my kids to eat meat because monthly B-12 injections aren’t awesome. But back to these carnitas: it takes quite a few ingredients to make at home, but many of us have a handful of them in our pantries already. Other than the ingredients, the recipe is incredibly simple–basically throw it all in a crock pot and wait about six hours! Best part is that no one would guess that you didn’t spend all day working in the kitchen on these. For me, this is for sure a go-to meal for gatherings: it makes a lot, people can personalize them, a vegan can swap the meat out for beans, most people love them, and you save a lot of energy making them.

⏱️ 6 hrs
12 Servings

  • 4 lbs of pork tenderloin*
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp chipotle chili powder
  • 2 large navel oranges, juiced
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced


  1. Pour coconut oil in the slower cooker. Next, place the tenderloin in the slow cooker. Depending on type of cut and size, you many need to cut into large cubes first.
  2. Rub all of the dry ingredients into the meat.
  3. Pour orange juice and liquid smoke over the pork. Add the garlic and onions. Cook on high heat for 6 hours.
  4. Once pork has finished cooking, shred with forks. I like to do this as soon as it is tender enough to do so, and continue to cook a little longer so that all of the flavoring seeps in. You may broil for a few minutes prior to serving, but I usually just serve it straight from the pots, and have no complaints.

*Some people prefer other cuts of pork, such as shoulder. I generally stick with tenderloin because I can easily purchase it, and don’t have to worry about dealing with bone or cutting it into cubes. It’s really your preference.

Serve on soft taco sized flour tortilla. Corn tortillas will do as well if you are eating gluten-free or just prefer the taste. The sky is the limit when it comes to toppings, just as it would be for any regular taco. We tried diced mango as a topping last time…and I wasn’t mad at that, because I got my own bowl of mangoes πŸ˜‹. Usually on carnita night, we have rajas con cremas as well because I don’t eat meat. This has just become our tradition. I will also be posting that recipe shortly πŸ€—.

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