Easy Carnitas Recipe
This easy carnitas recipe can be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot for foolproof Mexican pulled pork that's juicy and flavorful. Perfect for tacos, tostadas, gorditas, burrito bowls and more! (gluten free, paleo, low carb)
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 10 servings
For the carnitas
- 2 1/2 pounds pork shoulder (also known as 'pork butt')
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 cup broth (chicken, beef or vegetable) *for Instant Pot cooking method only*
Slow Cooker Instructions
Cut the pork shoulder into large 4-inch chunks. Place in the slow cooker.
Add the lime juice, salt, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder and black pepper. Mix thoroughly to coat the meat with all the seasonings.
Cover and cook on high for 4 hours, or on low for 7-8 hours. When tender, shred the meat by pulling it apart with two forks.
Mix in freshly chopped cilantro if desired and serve in tacos, gorditas, tostadas, burrito bowls and salads.
Instant Pot Instructions
Cut the pork shoulder into large 4-inch chunks. Place in the Instant Pot.
Add the lime juice, salt, ground cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, dried oregano, onion powder, black pepper and 1 cup of broth. Mix thoroughly to coat the meat with all the seasonings.
Lock the lid and set the steam release vent to the "sealing" position. Press the "manual" button and set the timer on high pressure for 40 minutes.
When the 40 minutes are up, let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes. Then manually release the remaining pressure by moving the steam release vent to the "venting" position.
Open the lid and shred the meat with two forks. Mix in freshly chopped cilantro if desired and serve in tacos, gorditas, tostadas, burrito bowls and salads.
If you're interested in making a large batch of carnitas and want to double the recipe, I recommend doubling all the seasonings except the salt. Once the carnitas are cooked and ready to eat, taste and season with more salt if desired.
To make this with pork loin, I recommend adding 2 tablespoons of cooking fat, either olive oil, coconut oil, canola oil or whatever you prefer. Since pork loin is a much leaner cut than pork shoulder, I’d also add 1/4 cup of liquid – either broth or orange juice. The meat won't be as juicy as if you were using pork shoulder, but it'll still taste great!
To freeze: Cool the carnitas in the fridge. Place it in an air-tight freezer bag, leaving about 2 inches of room at the top to allow for expansion, and freeze. It can be kept frozen for 4-6 months. To reheat, heat it up in medium pot on the stove or a large bowl in the microwave.
Easy Carnitas Recipe
Amount Per Serving (1 /10th of recipe)
Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Vitamin A 50IU1%
Vitamin C 1.7mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Serving: 1/10th of recipe | Calories: 247kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 76mg | Sodium: 533mg | Potassium: 18mg | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 30mg | Iron: 1.3mg