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More Healthy Cinco De Mayo Eats: Slow Cooker Carnitas

Slow Cooker Carnitas by FamilySpice.com

Continuing with our healthy Cinco De May Eats is Carnitas! I love my slow cooker. I’m always looking for a good slow cooker recipe and here is one for you!
The pork shoulder is a great cut of meat for the slow cooker, whether you are making pulled pork sandwiches (recipe coming soon!) or Mexican Carnitas! I never follow a recipe to the letter. I’m usually very distracted, especially with my three little ones running around in the background. Nine times out of ten, I’m out of one ingredient and then I rummage through the pantry to look for some substitute. This recipe is no different. I found several Carnitas recipe and I molded what I liked about each and came up with this one. Don’t have canned tomatoes? Use salsa or enchilada sauce. No fancy spices in the pantry! Use Taco Seasoning.
 Again, keep it healthy and serve your carnitas with whole grain tortillas and homemade guacamole! Olé!

Slow-Cooker Carnitas

I adapted several recipes to make this easy crockpot recipe, that will leave everyone thinking you slaved over a hot stove all day! Recipe by Laura Bashar of Family Spice


  • 4 1/2 lb pork shoulder, boneless
  • 1 TBS kosher salt
  • 3 TBS vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp chile powder
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes, canned
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded & sliced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, fresh, chopped


  1. Trim of excess fat & cut into 5-inch chunks:
    • 4 1/2 lb pork shoulder , boneless
  2. Season roast with:
    • 1 TBS kosher salt
  3. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and add:
    • 2 TBS vegetable oil
  4. Cook the pieces of pork shoulder in a single layer until very well-browned, turning them as little as possible so they get nice and dark before flipping them around.
  5. If your non-stick skillet is too small to cook them in a single-layer, cook them in two batches.
  6. Once all the pork is browned, place them in a 6 quart slow-cooker.
  7. Blot away any excess fat in your skillet with a paper towel.
  8. Pour in your skillet:
    • 1 cup water
  9. Scrape the bottom of your skillet with a flat-edged utensil to remove all the crispy pieces of pork.
  10. Pour the deglazing liquid with the pork bits into the slow-cooker containing your pork shoulder chunks.
  11. Add to the slow-cooker:
    • 1 tsp chile powder
    • 1 bay leaves
    • 1/4 tsp cumin
    • 4 garlic cloves , minced
    • 14 oz diced tomatoes, canned
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh , chopped
  12. Cover and simmer on low heat for 6 hours or on high for 4 hours, or until pork is tender.
  13. Remove pork from the slow-cooker, and using a fork, shred the pork into bite-sized pieces, about 2-inches.
  14. Return to the slow-cooker to absorb the liquid, about 20 minutes.
  15. Heat a large non-stick skillet to medium-high heat and add:
    • 1 TBS vegetable oil
    • 1 onion , sliced
    • 1 red bell pepper , seeded & sliced
  16. Cook until veggetables soften, approximately 5 minutes.
  17. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until onions start to carmelize, about 15 minutes.
  18. Add vegetables to the pork mixture.
  19. When ready to serve, garnish pork with:
    • 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh , chopped


Serving Suggestions: Serve with whole wheat tortillas, guacamole and fat-free refried beans, or top a salad.

Cooking Tips: Don't have a slow-cooker? Try this version for the oven: Crispy Carnitas.

Prep Time:

Yield: 12 servings

Cook Time:

Slow-Cooker Carnitas Detail