These Easy Slow Cooker Carnitas make killer tacos or burrito bowls the whole family is guaranteed to love.


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
  • 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. 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.

Created in partnership with The Real Food RDs.