Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

This delicious Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas recipe is tender and juicy, yet simple to make.  Mexican pulled pork is great to have on hand for carnitas tacos, burrito bowls, salads, sandwiches and more.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Dinner, Sandwiches/Burgers/Tacos
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Cinco De Mayo, Crockpot/Slow Cooker, Dairy Free, Easy Recipes, Freezer Friendly, Game Day, Gluten Free, Low Carb, Make Ahead, Meal Prep, Weekend Meals, Weeknight Dinners
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 10 Servings


  • 3 pounds pork shoulder roast
  • 1 onion diced
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • juice of one lime 1-2 tablespoons
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes


  • Mix together the chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, oregano and red chili flakes, set aside.
  • Add the chopped onion and garlic to the slow cooker with the tomato paste, lime juice, and just 1-2 teaspoons of the spice mixture. Stir everything together until fully mixed.
  • Sprinkle the rest of the spices all over the chuck roast, patting to help it stick to the meat.
  • Place the meat on top of the onion mixture and set cook on low for 8-9 hours. Total cooking time will vary for different roasts.
  • After meat has cooked, use two forks to shred the meat, removing any large pieces of fat or gristle as you find them. (If the meat is still too tough to shred, it needs to be cooked a little longer. Cook for an additional 30-60 minutes and check it again.) Stir to mix well with the sauce. Cover and continue to cook on low for another 30-60 minutes.
  • Before serving stir well again to mix the meat with the sauce. Taste meat and season with more salt to taste.
  • Optional Step: To create crispy carnitas, heat a heavy skillet (cast iron is best) over medium high heat.  When pan is hot, add 1 tablespoon of oil.  Add the carnitas in batches, careful not to crowd the pan.  Drizzle a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid from the crock pot over the meat as it fries.  Once bottom is crispy, turn the meat, until desired crispiness is reached.


This type of meat will get tender by cooking low and slow. If it seems too tough when you think it is done, try cooking for another 30-60 minutes, then check again. The longer you cook it, the more tender it will get.
You can also use a bone in pork roast, but it may take a few hours longer to get tender.
Nutritional information is an estimate for your convenience. If you have strict nutritional needs, please do your due diligence to make sure this recipe fits your needs.
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