These slow cooker carnitas are an easy and delicious one-pot dish! This recipe is paleo, AIP, and whole30 friendly.

What are carnitas?

Carnitas is a Mexican dish that’s made with slow-cooked pork shoulder simmered with fresh citrus, herbs, and spices until it’s tender and falling apart. It is so delicious and so perfect for serving with tacos, burrito bowls, and more!

This version of carnitas is made in the slow cooker without any nightshade spices to make it AIP-friendly. It’s also paleo and whole30 compliant.

How to make carnitas

  • Combine the coconut sugar, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper (plus other seasonings if using) to create a dry rub. Rub the pork shoulder until evenly coated. Add to the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Squeeze the juice of orange and limes over the pork shoulder and place the rest of the orange and lime into the slow cooker along with the onion, garlic and bay leaves.
  • Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  • Once cooked, discard the orange, lime and bay leaves. Carefully shred the pork with two forks until fully shredded.
  • If crispy carnitas are desired, set the oven to broil and add the pork to a baking sheet. Crisp under the broiler for 5 minutes or until crisped to liking.

Can you also make this recipe in the instant pot?

I love using the slow cooker for this recipe. However, you likely can also make this recipe in the instant pot by cooking it on high pressure at around 90 minutes.

What cut of pork do you use for carnitas?

The best cut to use for carnitas is pork shoulder!

How do you use these carnitas? What should you eat them with?

Carnitas are so great for adding to a variety of meals! Here are some ideas for how you can eat them…

The Ingredients For This Recipe

  • Pork Shoulder
  • Orange & lime
  • Garlic, bay leaves, cilantro, salt, pepper, and oregano

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Slow Cooker Carnitas (AIP, Paleo & Whole 30)


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp coconut sugar (omit for whole30)
  • 1 tbsp dried cilantro
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper (omit for AIP)
  • 3 lb pastured pork shoulder, excess fat trimmed
  • 1 large orange, halved
  • 2 limes, halved
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Fresh cilantro for garnish

Instructions

  1. Combine the coconut sugar, cilantro, oregano, salt and pepper (plus other seasoning if using) to create a dry rub. Rub the pork shoulder until evenly coated. Add to the bottom of a slow cooker.
  2. Squeeze the juice of orange and limes over the pork shoulder and place the rest of the orange and lime into the slow cooker along with the onion, garlic and bay leaves.
  3. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  4. Once cooked, discard the orange, lime and bay leaves. Carefully shred the pork with two forks until fully shredded.
  5. If crispy carnitas are desired, set the oven to broil and add the pork to a baking sheet. Crisp under the broiler for 5 minutes or until crisped to liking.
  6. Serve topped with cilantro and additional lime juice if desired.