Two carnitas pork tacos on a plate.
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5 from 4 votes


Tender and flavorful pork Carnitas can be made in the oven, slow cooker or instant pot and are veratile to serve with tacos, burritos, quesadillas and more!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8
Calories: 230kcal
Author: Lauren Allen


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
  • 2-3 teaspoons salt or more, to taste
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic , minced
  • 2 onions roughly chopped
  • juice from 2 large oranges
  • juice from 2 limes


  • Trim and discard excess fat from the pork.
  • In a small bowl, combine chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Generously season the pork on all sides. 
  • Add the seasoned pork to the bottom of the slow cooker. Add garlic, chopped onions, orange juice, and lime juice. 
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours.
  • Remove pork from the slow cooker, shred the meat, and return it to the pot. Taste and add more seasonings and salt and pepper, if needed. 
  • At this point you can eat the pork as it, or (to be truly authentic) you can place the meat on a baking sheet and broil it for 2-3 minutes until the edges are crispy. 
  • For tacos, serve warm inside corn tortillas, garnished with cilantro. Add salsa or pico if desired.
  • Serve with a side of authentic Mexican rice and refried beans
  • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.



Oven method: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Cut the pork into 4 pieces (this will allow it to cook faster and more evenly in the pot). Season the pork on all sides and place in pot. Add an additional cup of water/broth to the pot.  Prepare and season the pork the same, but cut it into a few large chunks to fit evenly into a dutch oven pan or oven-safe pot.
Instant Pot: Prepare and season the pork the same, inside the instant pot. Add an additional cup of water or chicken broth to the pot. Cook on Manual/High pressure for 70 minutes. When timer beeps, allow the pot to naturally release pressure, about 15 minutes longer. Remove lid and shred the meat. Broil if desired. 
Make ahead Instructions: Add everything to the pot, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 days before cooking (depending on the freshness of your ingredients).
Freezing Instructions: Allow the pork to cool completely, then store in a freezer safe container or bag for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. To rewarm, spread the meat on a baking sheet with a little of the juice and reheat at 400 degrees F until warm, about 10-15 minutes. 


Calories: 230kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 27g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 92mg | Sodium: 722mg | Potassium: 589mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 625IU | Vitamin C: 3.6mg | Calcium: 58mg | Iron: 3.1mg