Tender slow cooker pork carnitas recipe that is easy and cheap too! Make tacos with it or serve over rice. TONS of flavor, a great dinner.
These slow cooker pork carnitas are out of this world, almost better the next day. 😉 Using steaks, shoulder, or roast cubed, every bite is packed with flavor. Will become one of your favorite Crockpot recipes too. (originally published 1/21, affiliate links present)
Cubed Pork Recipe
So we bought half a pig this year and we’ve been working thru all the pieces. I first made this in my Instant Pot. There were all these other cuts I hadn’t used before so I started experimenting with the best ways to cook pork shoulder, roast, pork tenderloin, chops, and all the things.
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I used one of them, cut into large bite size pieces and made it on the weekend. It was so good this way and popular with my family that I have made it several times beyond that. Now that our “stash” is gone I buy pork when it’s on sale at the store to make it with brown rice.
Let’s talk a little bit about slow cooking shall we?? First off I have a few different varieties and I love them all. Each one has an occasion to be used like….
- This is my favorite 6 quart programmable one with a locking lid so it’s great for bringing to a potluck too.
- If you just want to serve a few appetizers you should get this one that sit side by side one another.
- I prefer not to use liners, but rather just spray olive oil inside before adding my food for easier cleanups.
Let me give you a peek of my pretty thang I bought recently. It goes with my kitchen so I can just leave it out on the countertop all the time. 😉
I have even used this same recipe with beef. If you wanted a much faster version you could use a pressure cooker to make the same version but called Instant Pot carnitas. Any way you swing it comes out killer. Reason is the sauce is the key, the meat can be swapped out depending on what you have on hand really.
What are the different cuts of pork?
- Pork butt
- Loin – You could even cook this as Crockpot frozen pork loin carnitas if you needed to
I have used all of these. Ideally I will cube the meat into bite size pieces it really doesn’t matter what cut it is. Whatever is on sale or I have in the freezer is the winner for that day. 😉 Now if you use it from rock hard you wouldn’t be able to cut it at all. You’d need to use the timing for Crockpot frozen pork chops let’s say but with this sauce.
Difference with that is that it will take a bit more time (but not much) and the meat will likely shred instead of staying in chunks like you see here. Thawing beforehand is always best, but from frozen is possible, just saying.
Crockpot Pork Carnitas
I often time will look for packages like you see here that need to be bought within the next day. I’ll jut plan this meal for the following morning so I can throw it all in and it’s ready for lunch or dinner…or both if I double it. Here are a few questions you might have to begin with:
What is the difference between carnitas and pulled pork?
I personally use different seasonings for both. Our slow cooker pulled pork has a sweeter taste to it. I leave these in larger pieces, but shredded is good too and easily done with 2 forks. Some people crisp carnitas at the end too. You could do this with a Ninja Foodi, air fryer, or under your broiler.
Here’s what my prepared meat looked like at the beginning. I trim it a bit (preference) and then cut it up like this.
Pork Carnitas Slow Cooker Recipe
The salsa verde adds a ton of flavor as is, I buy that bottled to make things a lot easier. You can adjust the heat level to your liking. What is listed below makes it mild / almost medium. Slow cooking is great for this kind of meal. You’ll get fall apart shredded pork that tastes like authentic Mexican food at your favorite restaurant. Your family will love it too I assure you.
- Cubed pork shoulder, roast or other cut
- I have cubed large pieces of beef too and that works well
- you can use frozen but thawed is always better
- Salsa verde or pico de gallo adds a lot more flavor than chicken broth and includes the liquid you need for cooking
- Onions are of course optional but add a lot of flavor and texture for very little money
- Garlic is something I add into almost every single recipe I make
- Salt and pepper seasoning is a given but use your favorites if you have a family recipe for this
- Oregano is a great add in, some like bay leaves as well
- Chili powder or red pepper flakes can be added for a bit of heat. This can be adjusted depending on how spicy you want it to be. What is listed below will make it mild/medium.
Corn tortillas are great to serve on the side so you can wrap up all your items and take a bite. You could use small rolls to make sliders of sorts as an appetizer or finger food for dinner which kids just love. If you like a bit of tang to it you could add 1/4 cup of orange juice to the mix as well.
Pork Loin Carnitas Slow Cooker
Just throw it all in and walk away. I normally don’t recommend the high setting ever. The whole benefit to this pot is you can break down the connective tissues in thick meats if kept in for a long time. If you find yourself in a pinch some night you can use it and it would likely decrease the cooking time to just 3 hours.
If you have had these at a street fair and fallen in love you’ll love this recipe. Serving a crowd for game day? It is quite versatile and can easily be doubled if you have a pot that is large enough to hold it all. the timing would remain about the same, just check for tenderness after hour 6. You can make it faster in your pressure cooker, that recipe link is at the top.
As for the seasonings you can add more if you wish. Love garlic powder? Add some of that as well as all the onions you like.
Slow Cooker Pork
Here’s a quick rundown on how we made this, there’s a printable recipe card at the bottom of this post too that you can keep handy or just come back each and every time you want to make it. We would be sad to just see you this time and never again. ;(
- Trim and cube pork into pieces about 1.5′ x 1.5″ or so. Put into slow cooker. Add all other ingredients and stir together so meat is well coated.
- If you’re doubling the meat then double the sauce ingredients too.
- Close lid and cook on high for 3 hours or low for about 6 hours until the meat is fork tender. Shred the meat and serve over rice or inside small tortillas with 1/4 cup cheese as tacos.
Like I said, you can make this same carnitas recipe in your pressure cooker as well if you want to decrease the cook time dramatically. I do love low and slow when it comes to making meats tender though so if I have my choice it would be this method. Sometimes the day gets away from you though and you need quick, I get it.
How do you Store Leftover Carnitas
This saves quite well and can be warmed up for a second meal in the next few days. I always recommend enjoying leftovers within 48 hours but you can keep in the fridge for up to 4 days if needed. Keep all the sauce you have in with the meat so it stays nice and moist. Reheat in the microwave for a few minutes.
Looking for more easy pork recipes to try? Our baked pork chops get five stars from every single person who’s tried them. Those are in the oven but you can make pork chops in a Crockpot too. Both will achieve a different texture so it is just preference really.
- Instant Pot pork stew with vegetables is a great change for the traditional recipe.
- If you’re forgetful, our frozen pork chops in Instant Pot recipe will be helpful so dinner is still a success.
- For Traeger instructions, here is our killer smoked pulled pork recipe to try sometime.
I love it when I can find meat on sale. We usually will buy a pig from a local farmer at the beginning of the year but if we don’t I am always on the lookout for a great deal. With out deep freezer we can buy a bunch, prep it however I like and keep for later. Saves a bunch of money, frustration and ensures we can always make dinner, even from frozen.
Want to see a few of my favorite things that I am totally obsessed with?? Take a peek and see how many you might already have…twinsies!
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- Trim and cube pork into pieces about 1.5'x1.5" or so. Put into slow cooker.
- Add all other ingredients and stir together so meat is well coated. If you're doubling the meat then double the sauce ingredients too.
- Close lid and cook on high for 3 hours or low for about 6 hours until the meat is fork tender.
- Serve over rice or inside small tortillas as tacos.