Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (2024)

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This Crock Pot Pork Carnitas recipe is a family favorite! It’s so easy to make in the Crock Pot or Instant Pot, and the leftovers make delicious meals like tacos, enchiladas, and burritos.


While this might not be a recipe for traditional Carnitas, I love that you can set it and forget it for the day in the Crock Pot or cook it hands free in the Instant Pot. The slow cooked pork comes out tender, flavorful, and ready to be made into a tasty carnitas taco, burrito bowl or taco salad.

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (1)

Table of Contents

Where’s the recipe?

Here at My Crazy Good Life, we like to make our recipes easy for everyone to follow. In the article below, you’ll find lots of information including recipe tips and ingredient substitutions to help you with every aspect of making this recipe. I recommend reading it before heading to the printable recipe.

If you’re more comfortable in the kitchen and don’t need the extra help, simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you’ll find the easy to print Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe!

Ingredients for Pork Carnitas

  • Pork Tenderloin: I always look for the leanest one I can find. You can use another cut of meat (boneless pork shoulder roast is popular), but tenderloin is the leanest. Whatever your grocery store has will work.
  • Green Chile Salsa: Find one with the fewest ingredients you can.
  • Diced tomatoes and Green chilies: Also called Rotel in some areas. Rotel is just tomatoes and green chilies.
  • Onions: Any color will do! I prefer to cook with red onions.
  • Bay Leaves: You’ll be adding these to the recipe before cooking and removing them after it’s cooked–try to not bury it down below the meat so they’re easy to grab out before eating.
  • Spices: This recipe uses simple Mexican spices. Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, and Cumin
  • Sour cream or plain Greek yogurt: As a topping, if desired.
  • Salt and Black Pepper: To taste.

Optional ingredients and sides:

  • warm tortillas
  • black beans or refried beans
  • Mexican rice
  • tortilla chips and salsa
  • fresh cilantro and fresh squeezed lime juice
Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (2)

How to make Crockpot Pork Carnitas

Slow cooking this recipe is the easiest method I’ve found.

  1. Cut the onions: Cut one onion into thick slices and line the bottom of your crock pot with them. Dice the other onion and set aside.
  2. Add the pork: Place pork tenderloin on top of the onions and sprinkle cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, and add bay leaves onto the top of the pork.
  3. Add sauces: Pour half of the jar of salsa and the entire can of Rotel over and around the pork.
  4. Cook: Cook on low heat for 5-8 hours, depending on the size of your tenderloin.
  5. Shred the pork: Take the bay leaves out of the Crock Pot and discard. Pull the pork loin out of the slow cooker and shred it, then add it back into the liquid.
  6. Serve! Serve with the rest of the bottle of green chili salsa, warm corn or flour tortillas, diced onions, and sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (3)

How to make Instant Pot Carnitas

  1. Prepare the pot: Spray the bottom of your Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Cut the onions: Slice one onion into thick slices and use them to cover the bottom of the pressure cooker. It’s ok if they overlap. Dice the other onion and set it aside.
  3. Add the pork: Add the pork on top of the onions. If you need to cut the pork into chunks so it fits better, you can do that.
  4. Sprinkle cayenne pepper, cumin and chili powder, and place bay leaves on the pork.
  5. Add sauces: Add 1/2 of the green chili salsa and the entire can of Rotel on and around the pork. This recipe does not need any extra liquid added. The salsa and tomatoes are enough.
  6. Set your pressure valve to Sealing and cook on high pressure for 15 minutes per pound of pork.
  7. Allow a 15 minute natural release after the cook time is finished. This means that for 15 minutes after the cook time is done, don’t touch the sealing valve–the pressure will begin to release all by itself. After 15 minutes, flip the valve to Venting and allow the rest of the pressure to release.
  8. Remove and discard the bay leaves.
  9. Shred the pork: Remove the pork from the pot with a slotted spoon and shred meat with a mixer or two forks.
  10. Add the pork back to the pot. I like to let it sit for a few minutes and soak in the seasoned liquid.
  11. Serve with the rest of the bottle of green chile salsa, warm flour or corn tortillas, diced onions, and sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (4)

Recipe Tips

  • For crispy carnitas: Sear the pork on all sides for a few minutes using a hot skillet and olive oil, avocado oil or cooking spray, then transfer to your slow cooker to cook. When the pork is cooked and shredded, place meat on a large baking sheet and add 1/2 cup – 1 cup cooking liquid. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until browned, then flip with tongs, add more liquid, and repeat.
  • If you’re using an Instant Pot and want Carnitas with crispy edges, allow the shredded pork to sit in the pot for 5-10 minutes to add additional flavor, then drain the liquid, move the pork to the sides and spray nonstick cooking spray (or drizzle olive or avocado oil) below it. Press sauté and allow pork to crisp for 3-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you want it.
  • If you’re looking to reduce the spicy heat in this recipe, leave the cayenne pepper out and reduce the chili powder to 1/4 tsp.
  • Onion, garlic, pico de Gallo and a spritz of lime juice are great toppings and flavors that blend well with the meat.
  • You can use pork butt or shoulder, but be sure recalculate your nutrition info as tenderloin is typically a leaner cut than those two.
  • Store leftover Carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. I swear this recipe tastes even better the next day.
Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (5)

Healthy Eating Plans

Weight Watchers: Please see this Weight Watcher Carnitas Recipe for the lowest point options.

Trim Healthy Mama

  • These slow cooker carnitas are an S recipe on THM without any needed modifications! That means you can enjoy this delicious recipe for pork carnitas crockpot style without any added steps.

21 Day Fix/Portion Fix

I count these as follows: 3/4 cup of Pork Carnitas = 1 Red Container.

  • Add veggies to your carnitas if you’d like for some extra greens–I love adding peppers and more onion!
  • Garnish with unflavored greek yogurt and count in your red container.
  • 2 small corn tortillas count as 1 yellow container.
  • Other optional (free!) toppings are cilantro and lime.

More healthy Crock Pot recipes

  • Healthy Stuffed Pepper Soup
  • Healthy Crock Pot Jambalaya
  • Crock Pot Chicken for Meal Prep

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (6)

4.22 from 46 ratings

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Pork Carnitas: Instant Pot and Crock Pot

Created by: Becca Ludlum

Prep Time 10 minutes mins

Cook Time 6 hours hrs

Total Time 6 hours hrs 10 minutes mins

Approximate Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Servings 6 people

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas are a spicy carnitas recipe that your whole family will love! Instant Pot and Crockpot instructions included. Make carnitas tacos, carnitas enchiladas, and burrito bowls from this recipe!

Equipment

  • Crockpot

  • Instant Pot 6 qt

  • Sealing Rings

Ingredients

  • 3 lbs pork tenderloin
  • 2 onions sliced thick
  • 2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 oz green chile salsa or diced green chiles
  • 1 can Rotel or tomatoes with diced green chilies

Instructions

Crock Pot Instructions

  • Slice one onion into thick slices and line the bottom of your crock pot with them. Dice the other onion and set aside for a topping. 2 onions

  • Place pork tenderloin on top of the onions and sprinkle cayenne pepper, chili powder, cumin, and add bay leaves on the pork. 3 lbs pork tenderloin, 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 tsp chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 2 bay leaves

  • Pour half of the jar of salsa and the entire can of Rotel over and around pork. 8 oz green chile salsa, 1 can Rotel

  • Cook on low for 5-8 hours, depending on the size of your tenderloin.

  • Take the bay leaves out of the Crock Pot and discard. Pull the pork loin out of the slow cooker and shred it, then add it back into the crockpot.

  • Serve with the rest of the bottle of green chile salsa, warm flour or corn tortillas, diced onions, and sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Spray the bottom of your Instant Pot with nonstick cooking spray.

  • Slice one onion into thick slices and use them to cover the bottom of the pot. It’s ok if they overlap. 2 onions

  • Add the pork on top of the onions. If you need to cut the pork into chunks so it fits better, you can do that. 3 lbs pork tenderloin

  • Sprinkle cayenne pepper, cumin and chili powder, and place bay leaves on the pork. 2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp cumin powder, 2 tsp chili powder, 2 bay leaves

  • Add 1/2 of the green chile salsa and the entire can of Rotel on and around the pork. This recipe does not need any extra liquid added. The salsa and tomatoes are enough. 8 oz green chile salsa, 1 can Rotel

  • Flip your valve to Sealing and Cook on high pressure for 15 minutes per pound.

  • Allow a 15 minute natural release after the cook time is finished. This means that for 15 minutes after the cook time is done, don’t touch the sealing valve–the pressure will begin to release all by itself. After 15 minutes, flip the valve to Venting and allow the rest of the pressure to release.

  • Remove and discard the bay leaves.

  • Remove the pork from the pot and shred with a mixer or two forks.

  • Add the pork back to the pot. I like to let it sit for a few minutes and soak in the seasoned liquid.

  • Serve with the rest of the bottle of green chile salsa, warm flour or corn tortillas, diced onions, and sour cream or Greek yogurt.

Video

Notes

  • For crispy carnitas: Sear the pork on all sides for a few minutes using a hot skillet and olive oil, avocado oil or cooking spray, then transfer to your slow cooker to cook. When the pork is cooked and shredded, place meat on a large baking sheet and add 1/2 cup – 1 cup cooking liquid. Broil for 1-2 minutes or until browned, then flip with tongs, add more liquid, and repeat.
  • If you’re using an Instant Pot and want Carnitas with crispy edges, allow the shredded pork to sit in the pot for 5-10 minutes to add additional flavor, then drain the liquid, move the pork to the sides and spray nonstick cooking spray (or drizzle olive or avocado oil) below it. Press sauté and allow pork to crisp for 3-10 minutes, depending on how crispy you want it.
  • If you’re looking to reduce the spicy heat in this recipe, leave the cayenne pepper out and reduce the chili powder to 1/4 tsp.
  • Onion, garlic, pico de Gallo and a spritz of lime juice are great toppings and flavors that blend well with the meat.
  • You can use pork butt or shoulder, but be sure recalculate your nutrition info as tenderloin is typically a leaner cut than those two.
  • Store leftover Carnitas in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. I swear this recipe tastes even better the next day.

Trim Healthy Mama

These slow cooker carnitas are an S recipe on THM without any needed modifications! That means you can enjoy this delicious recipe for pork carnitas crockpot style without any added steps.

21 Day Fix/Portion Fix

I count these as follows: 3/4 cup of Pork Carnitas = 1 Red Container.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 411kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 63g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 196mg | Sodium: 452mg | Potassium: 1476mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 835IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 51mg | Iron: 3.9mg

Make This Recipe?

Make sure to follow on Pinterest @bludlum and on Instagram @beccaludlum

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (7)

Becca Ludlum

Healthy recipe creator, self-confessed food snob, and certified Level 1 Precision Nutrition Coach. I create healthy recipes with minimally processed ingredients, but have never turned down a homemade brownie. ;)

Crock Pot Pork Carnitas Recipe (2024)

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