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Crispy, shredded slow cooker carnitas (pulled pork) are a Mexican favorite that you can make at home. Packed with flavor, easy to make, and minimal dishes. |

Slow Cooker Carnitas (Pulled Pork)

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  • Author: Sam Hu | Ahead of Thyme
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Crispy, shredded slow cooker carnitas (pulled pork) are a Mexican favorite that you can make at home. Packed with flavor, easy to make, and minimal dishes. 


  • 3 lb. boneless pork shoulder or baby back ribs (2 racks)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 medium onioncoarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, chopped (optional, for garnish)


  1. Pat dry pork shoulder or ribs with paper towel completely and set aside.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir well to combine oil with all the dry rub ingredients until smooth (salt, pepper, oregano, paprika, and garlic powder). Rub and spread onto pork until evenly coated.
  3. Spread chopped onions evenly inside a 6-quart slow cooker (or crockpot) and add water. Place pork on top of onions. If using ribs, you can stack them on top of each other. 
  4. Cover and cook on 8-10 hours on the LOW setting or 4-6 hours on the HIGH setting until fork tender.
  5. Shred the pork by using two forks to pull the meat apart into small bite size and discard the bones (if using ribs).
  6. To crisp the shredded pork (optional), add shredded pork along with some drippings from the slow cooker into a large frying pan. Spread evenly. Heat over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes until the juices evaporate and pork turns nicely brown and crispy.
  7. Garnish with scallions and serve with Cilantro Lime Rice or Pulled Pork Tacos


How to serve: Serve pork carnitas with White Rice or Cilantro Lime Rice and Refried Beans, pinto or black beans, or roasted vegetables such as potatoes, broccoli, and carrots. You can also add them to tortillas to make Mexican Pulled Pork Tacos.

How to store: Store leftover slow cooker pork carnitas in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Keep in mind that raw pork is best cooked fresh and will only last for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

How to freeze: Freeze carnitas in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, allow it to thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.

How to reheat: You can reheat leftover pork carnitas in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add some juices if you want to stop the meat from drying out or leave uncovered if you want to crisp up the pork.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Category: Pork
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican