Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

By February 20, 2018Dinner, Make Ahead, Recipes
slow cooker carnitas tacos

Do you like tacos? Slow cooker carnitas tacos? Not “every Tuesday is taco Tuesday” kind of like, but “I could (and just did) eat tacos four times (or more) in a week” kind of like. We’re big fans of tacos around here. While living in Austin for six years, I learned that there is more to tacos than ground beef and a seasoning pack.

Last week I made this slow cooker carnitas recipe. It makes a ton of carnitas, so we had carnitas tacos several times last week. Then we went to Austin, Texas to visit some friends. And ate more tacos. This carnitas recipe makes tacos that are on par with the tacos I get in Austin.

carnitas tacos with jalapenoMy favorite taco is The Otto from Taco Deli “organic refried black beans, double bacon, avocado, jack cheese”. I usually ask them to leave off the cheese. There’s already enough creaminess happening with the refried black beans and avocado. I get this taco, at least once, every time I go back to visit friends in Austin.  I haven’t tried to reproduce this taco at home, but now that I mentioned it, I think I’ve got an idea for breakfast this weekend.

Sometimes I load my tacos full of veggies, but when it comes to carnitas tacos I like them pretty simple with just a little onion, cilantro, and jalapeño. I add green onions, white onions, or red onions depending on what I have on hand.

After I read Tacos: Recipes and Provocations by Alex Stupak, I lost of little hope of finding the perfect store bought corn tortilla. BUT I have discovered that if I heat the corn tortilla up in a hot skillet and then put the carnitas in them immediately. Then immediately eat them. It works out alright. Not as wonderfully as a homemade tortilla, but then again I didn’t have to make the tortillas. And that’s a win on a weeknight.

slow cooker carnitas

One of the things I like about this carnitas recipe is it makes a lot, more than we can eat in a week for sure. Usually we eat carnitas for a few days and then freeze the leftovers into portions for later. It defrosts perfectly.

This recipe is sweet due to the orange juice, but it’s also spicy. Use one jalapeño instead of two if you want it to be less spicy.

slow cooker carnitas tacos

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 hours
  • Total Time: 4 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 12 servings
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican


This slow cooker carnitas recipe makes wonderful tacos that are full of flavor. They are a little bit citrusy and a little bit spicy.


  • 2 tablespoons chili powder (I used chipotle chili powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried Mexican oregano
  • 2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced


  1. Combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Rub the mixture on all sides of the pork shoulder. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Add onion, jalapeño, lime juice, orange juice, and garlic to slow cooker. Cook on high for 4 hours.


  • Serve on corn tortillas garnished with cilantro, onion, and jalapeño.
  • Nutrition calculated below based on 1/12 of carnitas, but I usually get 12-16 servings of the carnitas.


  • Calories: 350
  • Sugar: 1.5 g
  • Sodium: 480 mg
  • Fat: 24.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 27 g
  • Cholesterol: 102 mg

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