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Easy Crockpot Carnitas + How to Make Them Crispy!

A simple recipe for delicious Crockpot Pork Carnitas! This Mexican classic comes together in no time using flavorful pork butt, spices, onion, oranges, and beer! With a special trick to get your carnitas tasting better than what you get at a restaurant! Perfect for filling tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

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close up photo showing crispy carnitas on a sheet pan with an orange slice

Let’s Make Easy Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker

The best recipes in my opinion are ones that are simple to make, delicious, and can be stretched into multiple meals AND THIS ONE DOES IT ALL!

These Crockpot Carnitas are:

  1. Easy to make. Basically a dump and go slow cooker recipe!
  2. Super flavorful, a recipe the WHOLE FAMILY will devour.
  3. It is a large recipe that keeps really well so it is perfect for stretching into multiple meals!

I love these Carnitas so much in fact that I am working on a whole recipe series of what to make with your Leftover Carnitas!

all of the ingredients needed to make crockpot carnitas together in the crockpot

What you need to make Easy Crockpot Carnitas:

Equipment you need:

  • Slow Cooker/Crockpot
  • Standard Kitchen Tools (Cutting Board, Knife, Fork, Measuring Spoons)
  • Oven
  • Sheet Pan/Tray

Ingredients you need:

  • Pork Butt: Around 4 pounds & preferably boneless, also called a Boston Butt. It is actually the cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the front shoulder. It is the cut of pork typically used for making pulled pork.
  • Onion: Diced, a sweet, yellow, or white variety will work.
  • Spices: Chipotle Chili Powder, Dried Oregano, Cumin, and Salt. NOTE: The Chipotle Chili Powder is different from just normal Chili powder, most big brands like McCormick Spices do carry the Chipotle variety, known to be more smoky and slightly more subtle.
  • Orange: Just 1 orange, a navel variety works best but any standard size orange will work. You will be using the zest and the juice.
  • Blue Moon Beer: Or similar beer, Blue Moon is a Belgian-style Witbier AKA a Wheat Ale, so look for something similar if you can’t find Blue Moon. You will just need one bottle for this recipe.
all of the ingredients laid out to make the crockpot carnitas recipe

How to make Crockpot Carnitas Recipe:

Carefully cut the pork butt into 4 even pieces. Leave any fat pieces on, this adds to the flavor and the fat can be picked off when it is time to pull the pork. I cut the pork but into pieces to allow more flavor soak into the meat.

Transfer pork pieces to the crock. Add the diced onion, chipotle chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt over top pork.

Zest entire orange over top the spices and juice the entire orange into the crockpot.

step by step photos for slicing and placing the pork in the crockpot, the onions & spices, and orange in the crockpot

Now slowly pour the beer overtop the crockpot contents.

a blue moon beer being poured over the contents of the crockpot

Cover the crockpot and set to LOW for 6 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours. Cooking times will vary depending on size of meat and equipment used.

a photo showing the crockpot contents before it is cooked and after it is cooked

Once the pork is done in the crockpot (able to be easily pulled apart) there is one last step that is a game changer for making these carnitas better than a restaurant. You will shred the pork and then it will be crisped up in the oven.

So set your oven to BROIL. Transfer all the pork to a sheet pan. Pull/shread pork apart and spread over the entire sheet pan.

Measure out about 1/4 cup of the liquid from the crockpot and sprinkle evenly over the pulled pork.

Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and broil 5 to 6 minutes until the pork gets nice and crispy edges.

Serve immediately. Suggested serving, for delicious tacos serve with warm tortillas, queso fresco cheese, cilantro, and red onions.

a sheet pan full of crispy crockpot carnitas recipe
a sheet pan of carnitas next to a plate of pork carnitas tacos
three carnitas tacos on a white plate with onions, cheese and cilantro

If you like this recipe you might like:

Have Leftover Carnitas?? Here are some great recipe ideas on how to use up those leftovers:

Need Chipotle Chili Powder? Order some here:

close up photo showing crispy carnitas on a sheet pan with an orange slice

Crockpot Carnitas

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours 5 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes

A simple recipe for delicious Crockpot Pork Carnitas! This Mexican classic comes together in no time using flavorful pork butt, spices, onion, oranges, and blue moon beer! With a special trick to get your carnitas tasting better than what you get at a restaurant! Perfect for filling tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!

Ingredients

  • 4 pounds pork butt
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large orange
  • 1 (12oz) Blue Moon or similar wheat beer

Instructions

  1. Carefully cut pork butt into 4 even pieces. Transfer pork pieces to the crock. Add onion, chipolte chili powder, oregano, cumin, and salt over top pork. Zest entire orange over top the spices and juice the entire orange into the crockpot. Slowly pour the beer overtop the crockpot contents. Cover the crockpot and set to LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for 4 hours.
  2. Set oven to BROIL. Once pork is done (able to be easily pulled apart) transfer all the pork to a sheet pan. Pull pork apart and spread over the entire sheet pan. Measure out about 1/4 cup of liquid from the crockpot and sprinkle evenly over the pulled pork. Transfer to the middle rack of the oven and broil 5 to 6 minutes until the pork gets nice and crispy edges.
  3. Serve immediately. Suggested serving, for delicious tacos serve with warm tortillas, queso fresco cheese, cilantro, and red onions.

Notes

Chipotle Chili Powder is different than plain Chili Powder, use Chipotle Chili Powder in this recipe.

If you skip broiling in the oven I do find that the carnitas are really wet and mushy which isn't great, so don't skip the broiling step!

While I highly suggest beer for this recipe, if you don't have beer in your house you can use broth instead.

The Pork Butt cut is also referred to as a Boston Butt, they are the same thing. This cut of meat sometimes will contain a bone, I recommend a boneless cut.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 632Total Fat: 43gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 195mgSodium: 447mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 53g

Nutritional data is automated, final nutritional information will depend on ingredients used and any changes made.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below on the blog or share a photo with me tag @the_schmidty_wife! Can't wait to see what you made!

And make sure you are following me on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook for all the latest recipes!

Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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Tawanna Martin-Young

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

I only have a pork shoulder blade roast. Will this still work?

Lauren Schmidt

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Yes! That is actually the same cut as a Pork Butt or Pork Boston Butt cut, it is super confusing, so many different stores will call it different things but it all comes from the shoulder!

Michael

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Love this recipe! Pairs amazingly with some pan fried plantains and refried beans for a nice authentic Puerto Rican dish.

Sandi

Saturday 19th of June 2021

This is an absolute favorite of ours. The meat is so versatile. It makes amazing breakfast tacos! Right now I have a pork butt cooking to take on vacation with grandsons. Really good with Cotija cheese and sliced avocado

Lauren Schmidt

Tuesday 20th of July 2021

That makes me so happy to hear! Thanks Sandi!

Mindy

Friday 18th of June 2021

This is the best! I’ve made carnitas a variety of different ways. This is for sure the most flavorful. My family devoured it!

Lauren Schmidt

Saturday 19th of June 2021

Yay! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment Mindy, it totally made my day! I am so happy your family enjoyed it!

Allie

Monday 26th of April 2021

I'm cooking for a family of 4 who doesn't eat much (the two kids are still little). I know it's hard to get the Boston Butts much smaller than 4 lbs., so I'm wondering what's the best way to keep the leftovers good? Can the shredded pork be frozen and then thawed later? What do you recommend?

Lauren Schmidt

Monday 26th of April 2021

Hey Allie, I feel you my kids are still small as well. You could definitely freeze the shredded pork!! I have actually frozen some before for the same reason. I personally measure out 1 or 2 cups and freeze in separate bags or containers and label the amount. So that way it thaws quicker and better portion control when you are ready to use it again!

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