Let's Get Cookin'

Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas

These might be the easiest solution to taco night yet with just 10 minutes of prep and a low and slow, hands-off cook time. Perfect for tacos or burrito bowls or even stuffed into a baked sweet potato.

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 10 mins.
  • Cook Time: 8-9 hrs
  • Total Time: 8-9 hrs.
  • Yield: Serves about 8-10 1x
  • Cuisine: Whole30, Paleo, Dairy-Free


For the Carnitas:

  • 3 lbs. boneless pork shoulder or butt roast, patted dry (about lbs. bone-in)
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about a 1 heaping cup)
  • 1 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 Tbsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • Pinch of cinnamon (about ⅛ tsp.)
  • Pinch of chipotle powder (about ⅛ tsp.), more if you like it spicier
  • 2 tsp. salt + more to taste 
  • ½ tsp. black pepper
  • Juice of 2 limes (about 2 Tbsp.)
  • Juice of 1 large orange (about ¼ cup)

For the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:

  • ¾ cup mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil Mayo)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • ½ tsp. salt + more to taste
  • Juice of 1 lime (about 1 Tbsp.)


  1. Pat pork shoulder dry with paper towels. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, dried oregano, cinnamon, chipotle powder, salt, and black pepper to make the spice rub.
  3. Rub spice mixture onto the entire surface of the pork shoulder. This can be done up to 3 days in advance and the pork stored, covered, in the fridge until ready to cook.
  4. Place pork shoulder in the slow cooker, fat cap facing up (the ‘fat cap’ is the thick layer of fat). Place onions and garlic on top of the pork.
  5. Pour lime and orange juice over all and place lid on the slow cooker. No stirring necessary!
  6. Set slow cooker to LOW and cook for 8-9 hours or until pork shreds easily with a fork. 
  7. When pork is done, remove pork from the slow cooker to a bowl or baking dish and shred pork with two forks, adding a little of the liquid from the slow cooker as needed to moisten and season the meat. Taste and season with additional salt, if needed. 
  8. Optional: Spread shredded pork on a baking sheet and broil for 3-4 minutes until edges of pork are crispy. Alternatively, you can place pork in a hot, preheated cast iron skillet and allow it to sit, undisturbed, for  5-6 minutes to allow pork to get crispy. Stir and cook an additional 2-3 minutes or until edges are crispy.
  9. Serve with desired toppings.

To make the Cilantro-Lime Sauce:

  1. Place all sauce ingredients in a food processor or blender. Blend until well-combined, add a few drops of water to thin it if needed.
  2. Taste and adjust salt to taste. Store in a covered container in the fridge up to 5 days.


All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!


  • Serving Size: 4 oz.
  • Calories: 199
  • Sugar: 2g
  • Sodium: 327mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 25g