This slow cooker carnitas recipe is MELT in your mouth amazing! They’re the moistest, crispiest, tastiest pork carnitas you’ll ever have, without the excessive ingredient list that some Crock Pot carnitas have. And did I mention they don’t take a lot of your time or money, either? There is minimal prep time needed for these crispy carnitas and with a final crisping up of the pork at the end, they make a crowd-pleasing meal. And, you can use these slow cooker carnitas in so many ways.
Most carnitas recipes are made with orange juice, lime juice, and a thousand spices. Way too many for my liking, but don’t worry, I took this pork carnitas recipe back to basics!
Traditionally pork butt carnitas are cooked confit style over low heat for many hours. We’re accomplishing the exact same thing, but with the slow cooker, because let’s face it, no one wants to keep an eye on their stove for 3-4 hours.
What Are Pork Carnitas?
Pulled pork carnitas are made from pork that has been simmered for a long time. It’s essentially Mexican pork meat that can be used in tons of different recipes. Carnitas means “little meat,” which is fitting because the meat is pulled apart into small pieces.
This easy carnitas recipe can be used in burrito bowls, burritos, wraps, salads, tacos (of course) stews, enchiladas, and more.
How To Cook Pork Carnitas
This pork carnitas slow cooker recipe is low-maintenance and perfect for all occasions.
Here’s how to make Crock Pot pork carnitas:
- Season the pork. Cut the pork into 2″ pieces and season well with salt.
- Brown the pork. Heat lard in the slow cooker and set it to high. Once it has melted, add in the pork, cover, and cook.
- Shred the pork. Remove pork from slow cooker, reserve fat, and shred until it’s in large bite sized pieces.
- Crisp the pork. Heat some of the reserved fat in a cast iron skillet and add the pork to the pan in a single layer to allow it to crisp up. Flip and cook on the other side. Season with salt to taste.
- Serve your crispy pork carnitas!!
TIP: The key here to crisping it up is the cast iron skillet and patience. Don’t toss or stir the pork. Place it in a single layer and DON’T TOUCH until you can visibly see that it’s crispy and easily lifts from the pan. Flip and cook another minute or so and season again with a bit of salt. Done! It’s so worth it.
Are Carnitas Spicy?
No, this slow cooker carnitas recipe is not spicy at all. If you want them spicy, serve it with some sliced jalapenos and a sprinkle of cayenne, or your favorite hot sauce to add some heat.
What Is The Difference Between Pulled Pork And Carnitas?
Crock Pot carnitas are intended to be eaten with other foods that are Mexican cuisine. Pulled pork is typically slathered in a barbecue sauce and it’s a Southern-style dish.
Technically, both types of meat have been pulled, but carnitas are actually diced before they are even cooked. Pulled pork, on the other hand, is torn apart once it’s done cooking.
My crispy carnitas are best when served as tacos, enchiladas, or a burrito.
How Do You Store Crock Pot Carnitas?
Store crock pot carnitas in an airtight food container in the refrigerator. The crispy carnitas will last around 3-4 days in the fridge.
To heat them up, heat the carnitas in a skillet until it’s hot. Or you can place it on a microwave-safe plate and heat for a couple of minutes. I recommend covering the meat with a damp paper towel to keep the carnitas meat moist and prevent a mess.
Can You Freeze Crispy Carnitas?
Yes, you can freeze crispy carnitas. They will last around 6-8 months. This Mexican pork carnitas recipe is perfect for meal prep, too. Defrost them in the fridge overnight, then warm in a skillet or the microwave.
What To Serve With Slow Cooker Carnitas
You can go in so many different directions with slow cooker carnitas, but I wanted to share some of our favorites in addition to fresh salsa, a squeeze of lime juice, sliced avocado, and sliced jalapenos. Take a look at these paleo options to try:
- Plaintain Grain-Free Tortillas – Stuff your crispy carnitas into these tortillas and top as desired. .
- Mexican Cauliflower Rice – Serve the pork carnitas as a rice bowl with this cauliflower skillet recipe.
- Easy Guacamole – Guacamole makes everything better, serve a dollop onto your carnitas.
- Tomatillo Salsa – A nice twist from the classic red kind.
Easy Crispy Crock Pot Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe:
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Easy Crispy Crock Pot Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe
This Crock Pot slow cooker carnitas recipe makes the most CRISPY carnitas you've ever had! See how to make pork carnitas with just 3 ingredients and minimal prep.
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- 2 lb Pork butt
- 1 cup Lard (or butter)
- Sea salt
More TIPS about this paleo recipe in the post above!
- Cut the pork into 2" pieces and season liberally with salt.
Place the lard in the slow cooker and set it to high. Once it's melted add in the pork, cover and cook for 3-3.5 hours.
- Remove the pork from the fat, reserving the fat, and shred into large bite sized pieces.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium high heat with a bit of the reserved fat, just enough to coat the bottom in a thin layer.
- In batches add the pork to the pan in a single layer allowing it to crisp up and easily release from the pan before flipping and continuing to cook another minute or so. Repeat with remaining pork. Season with salt to taste.
Serving Size: 1/4 lb carnitas
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Where does nutrition info come from? Nutrition facts are provided as a courtesy, sourced from the USDA Food Database. Net carb count excludes both fiber and sugar alcohols (though the latter are rarely seen on this site), because these do not affect blood sugar in most people. We try to be accurate, but feel free to make your own calculations.
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Do you have to use lard? I’ve never used it before and have absolurley no idea where to even buy it! Lol.
I am a huge fan of carnitas. Here in Texas, they are served everywhere, but few are actually good! Many times it’s either dry or really greasy. Yours looks like it’s a perfect balance! I believe this is a must-try!
I love slow cooker carnitas. This looks SO good. I love all the photos, they make me want to dive right through the screen.
I love carnitas! And the slow cooker is such a convenient way to cook it!
Yum! Love that you get some crispiness with these – how fab! You must be talking to me because I can hardly resist lifting the lid off the slow cooker!
Whelp, I’m vegan, but my family isn’t. Especially my husband. And this definitely something he enjoys.