Crock Pot Carnitas

Delicious tender, crispy pork carnitas made easy by seasoning a pork roast or Boston butt with Mexican spices, cooking in the slow cooker then getting those famous crispy bits by placing under the broiler.

True carnitas cook in lard like a confit but ain’t nobody got time for that. Or, maybe I should say ain’t nobody got 2 gallons of lard for that. I think cooking the pork in the crock pot without water comes pretty dang close to the real thing since the roast puts out its own fat and then slowly cooks in it. Then, to get the crispy bits, you just chop up the meat, drizzle some of that fat over it and broil it until it gets good and crispy.

Boom. Done.

This is one of my go-to recipes for entertaining. As a matter of fact, I’ve made this many, many times and become too distracted with my guests to remember to take photos! This might have something to do with the cold beer and margaritas that usually accompany this meal :o)

Tender, crispy pork carnitas made easy by seasoning a pork roast or Boston butt with Mexican spices, cooking in the slow cooker then getting those famous crispy bits by placing under the broiler.

You can feed a lot of people with this recipe without going broke and with very little effort!

I typically serve carnitas two ways... Either on a plate with refried beans, yellow rice and guacamole salad or, if I'm feeding a crowd, I set out a stack of taco-sized flour tortillas with these taco fixin's then let everyone make their own carnita tacos:
  • diced onion
  • chopped cilantro
  • diced tomatoes 
  • shredded cheese
  • pico de galo
  • guacamole
  • lime wedges
I like to assemble my carnita tacos with diced onion, chopped cilantro and a squeeze of lime juice!

Try these other 'Fix It & Forget It' slow cooker recipes great for feeding a crowd!

  • Crock Pot Pulled Chicken - Pulled chicken made in a slow cooker plus a recipe for Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce, a white barbeque sauce popular in Alabama.
  • Slow Cooker Hawaiian Ham - A super easy crock pot recipe with ham, brown sugar and pineapple. Serve as-is or make Hawaiian Ham Sliders!
  • Crock Pot Chicken Tacos - Moist and delicious slow cooker shredded chicken perfect for Taco Tuesday!
  • Crock Pot Pulled Pork - Tender, juicy pork seasoned with a delicious but simple dry rub recipe then cooked to perfection in a slow cooker.

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Yield: 20 Servings


prep time: 10 minscook time: 10 hourstotal time: 10 hours and 10 mins


  • 1 6-7 pound boston butt roast
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


Combine salt and spices in a small bowl then mix well. Rub the roast with oil then coat with spice mixture. Cover and refrigerate roast to marinate in the spices overnight (8-10 hours).

Cook roast (without adding water) in crock pot on high for 6 hours or low for 10 hours.

Remove roast from crock pot and let rest for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, pour rendered cooking liquid into a measuring pitcher and let sit until liquid and fat have separated. Spoon fat off and set aside.

Roughly chop roast into chunks and spread onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Cut lime into wedges or chunks and squeeze juice all over pork. I tossed the squeezed lime pieces into the pan with the pork for extra flavor.

Drizzle 1/3 cup of the rendered fat over the pork. Place baking sheet on the middle oven rack and broil on high until pork pieces begin to sizzle and crisp up. Remove from oven and serve.

Serve carnitas as-is or assemble into soft tacos using heated soft flour tortillas. I usually top mine (as-is or as a taco) with diced onion, chopped cilantro, avocado slices and fresh squeezed lime juice.
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Tender, crispy pork carnitas made easy by seasoning a pork roast or Boston butt with Mexican spices, cooking in the slow cooker then getting those famous crispy bits by placing under the broiler.


  1. Looks delicious! I've never made pork carnitas. I need to fire up the slow cooker!

  2. I just watched your cookbook presentation on QVC. I can't wait to receive mine!! Isn't David V. awesome? You made him do his happy dance LOL. I'm printing this recipe right now and have a pork shoulder in the freezer. We happily have a smoker.

  3. These are in the broiler now! I'm going to top them with cheese, pickled red onions and sour cream. Can't wait!

  4. family favorite - I often take out of the freezer before bedtime and cook slow until/for dinner the next day . . . never seems to miss any tastiness by not marinating. :)

  5. We made this recipe and it was delicious! Hubby really like it. The whole family did! We will definitely be making these again and again. Thanks for a great recipe!

  6. Can you make this with pork belly instead of shoulder or butt? Or would having more fat in the meat alter the dish in some way? I have a lot of pork belly in the freezer but not a lot of shoulders, and the butt roasts I use for pulled pork instead.

    1. I use whatever I have on hand that has that fattiest meat, since the long cooking in lard is what makes it so amazing.

  7. This looks amazing! I do have two questions a) approximately how long do you broil the meat? b) Is the rendered fat the part that you skim out of the pitcher or the part that remains? Thank you for sharing with us!

  8. This is the absolute best, easy, delicioso!!!

  9. looks like minced BBQ

  10. Thank you for developing this recipe. It has become a huge family favorite; we make it about once a month! I really appreciate the flavors that develop from the rub.

  11. How hot (cayenne) is this? My wifey is a little hesitant about the heat.

    1. I don't find this to be hot at all but you can always reduce the amount by half to play it safe ;)

  12. So could I use have of the meat mixture for Carnitas and put BBQ sauce on the rest of the meat mixture and have pulled pork??


Hi there! While I’m not able to respond to every comment, I try hard to answer any questions that haven’t been addressed in the post, recipe or in other comments.

I can tell you now 1) I have no idea if you can substitute Minute Rice or brown rice in my recipes because I’ve never used them and 2) If I know how to convert a recipe to a Crock Pot version, I will make a note about it (otherwise, I don’t know).

And though I may not respond to them all, I do read each and every comment and I LOVE to hear from you guys! Thanks, y’all! - Mandy