Mexico’s version of pulled pork, this version is made easy with a CrockPot! Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas is a little spicy with tangy, melt-in-your-mouth tender pork that’s perfect for filling your favorite taco shells.

Three Pork Carnitas Tacos on a gray plate with slices of lime.

I just dusted off my 20-year-old Rival Crock Pot the other day because laziness…..less than two weeks before Spring. I had a hankering for Pork Carnitas but authentic pork carnitas are laborious and time consuming so I enlisted the trusty slow cooker and with fantastic results!

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Pork Carnitas is like the Mexican version of pulled pork. Made with a flavor packed rub and cooked, covered, until it’s tender enough to shred easily. What makes it truly carnitas is that it’s then fried in a pan until crispy giving it an unbelievably amazing texture that’s truly phenomenal.

Pork Carnitas is made with a heavily marbled pork roast like pork shoulder or pork butt which can be fatty. I switched things up and used a pork tenderloin to cut the calories just a bit.

Also, I skipped the step of crisping in a pan but you can totally do that if you have the time. Trust me when I say, you won’t miss it if you decide to just load up your tortilla with the pork without crisping it in a pan.

Pork carnitas tacos on a gray plate with a white crockpot filled with pork

How To Make It

This CrockPot Carnitas recipe is really easy to make. It all starts with a savory rub that you can use on just about any cut of meat.

Combine the cumin, onion powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper.

Rub the mixture onto the pork tenderloin making sure to cover it completely.

Heat the olive oil over med-high heat.

Add the pork tenderloin to the pan and sear, approximately 1-2 minutes on each side.

Place the tenderloin in the bottom of a slow cooker coated with cooking spray.

Cover with peppers, onions and cherry pepper juice.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.

Uncover and shred the meat using two forks.

Stir the carnitas mixture with the juice, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.

Serve with whatever idea you dream up. I toasted corn tortillas and added the carnitas mixture….topped it with red onion, pepper jack cheese, sour cream, more cheese….the skies the limit.

Pork being served from a crock pot with tongs.

What To Serve With It

While we love to make Pork Carnitas Tacos like the tacos we order at Chipotle, this pork is fantastic served over cilantro rice or cauliflower rice.

It’s also a great substitute for chicken in these enchiladas or use it for the base for an easy meal prep bowl.

If you want to round out your weeknight meal, we like to serve our carnitas tacos next to a pile of Elote Salad and this amazingly fresh guacamole.

How To Store It

Because this recipe makes a ton, you can easily FREEZE Pork Carnitas in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Make in advance and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days if you’re using as a meal prep ingredient like we do with this shredded chicken!

three pork tacos on a gray plate with limes and sour cream in a bowl.

More Easy Mexican Recipes

If you like this carnitas recipe, you may also love these Birria Tacos! Just like the tender, amazing tacos you get from your favorite Taco Truck.

Or make these super easy Sheet Pan Fajitas….then the next day, Fajita Quesadillas!!

A crispy taco is being held above a small bowl of cooked stew.

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Get the Recipe: Spicy Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

Easy to make Slow Cooker Carnitas! A healthier, easier version of Mexican Carnitas that's tangy, melt-in-your-mouth tender.
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Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 ground cayenne pepper
  • 2 pound pork tenderloin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large bell peppers, cut into strips
  • 3 whole garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/2 large Vidalia onion, sliced
  • 1/4 cup cherry pepper juice
  • salt and pepper

Equipment

  • slow cooker

Instructions 

  • In a small bowl, combine the cumin, onion powder, chili powder and cayenne pepper.
  • Rub the mixture onto the pork tenderloin making sure to cover it completely.
  • In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over med-high heat.
  • Add the pork tenderloin to the pan and sear, approximately 1-2 minutes on each side.
  • Place the tenderloin in the bottom of a slow cooker coated with cooking spray.
  • Cover with the peppers, onions and cherry pepper juice. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.
  • Uncover and shred the meat using two forks. Stir the carnitas mixture with the juice, cover and cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Serve with whatever idea you dream up. I toasted corn tortillas and added the carnitas mixture….topped it with red onion, pepper jack cheese, diced tomatoes, lettuce and avocado. Instead of sour cream I used low-fat greek yogurt.

Notes

Make ahead, pork carnitas can be frozen for up to 3 months in an airtight container.
Calories: 128kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Sodium: 44mg, Potassium: 386mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 977IU, Vitamin C: 39mg, Calcium: 13mg, Iron: 1mg