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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!

If you enjoyed this recipe or any of my others let me know by using #theschmidtywife on social media!

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Peace & Love

Lauren, The Schmidty Wife

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Louis

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

Do u have to use chipotle chill powder only have chill powder

Lauren Schmidt

Wednesday 3rd of June 2020

You can use regular chili powder but the flavor will be slightly different from the written recipe!

Jamie

Thursday 28th of May 2020

Would a pork tenderloin work well with this recipe?

Lauren Schmidt

Sunday 31st of May 2020

Unfortunately probably not. Since the size and amount of fat in the pork tenderloin is so different from a butt/boston/shoulder cut it probably won't work that well. You could certainly give it a try because this recipe does have quite a bit of liquid it will prevent the tenderloin from drying out but the result might not be exactly the same as if you used a pork butt. Hope that helps!

Christine J

Wednesday 27th of May 2020

This sounds delicious! Its in my crock pot now! Also going to use your idea/recipe for carnita bowls with leftovers.

Tara

Saturday 9th of May 2020

I love carnitas! Thanks for the tip on making them crispy. These were soooo delicious.

Lauren Schmidt

Monday 11th of May 2020

Thanks so much Tara! :)

Teresa H.

Wednesday 29th of April 2020

Making this tomorrow!