This crockpot carnitas recipe is so simple to make and it’s packed with flavors. They’re not only gluten free but the easy-to-find pork shoulder in this recipe is a great cut of meat that doesn’t break the bank. So tender and juicy, it’s like having Chipotle in your own kitchen, but better!

A bowl of pulled pork carnitas with a few pieces of cilantro on top. And there is half of a piece of orange in the back.

I’m a sucker for the slow cooker, crockpot recipes because they just make life so much easier.

You can put something in it at night and wake up to a fresh warm breakfast, or put something in it in the morning before you go to work, then come home to a hearty dinner.

Trust me, I get it, no one wants to spend a full day at work just to come home and spend hours cooking, then clean up too. Especially if you have children to look after like I do, extra work and clean up is just NOT the vibe.

The ease and convenience of fast food are all too appealing in these situations, which is why I’m super excited to share these easy, healthy, crockpot carnitas with you.

It’s affordable and doesn’t take much effort, so there’s no excuse for you not to eat healthily!

Why I Love This Crockpot Carnitas Recipe

There is a bowl of pulled pork topped with cilantro. There are lime and orange halfs on the table as well.

The star ingredient of this recipe is pork shoulder which is budget-friendly and very easy to find. If for some reason you do have some difficulty finding pork shoulder you could always use pork loin or pork tenderloin as well.

The great thing about using the slow cooker is that you can use tougher cuts of meat (aka cheaper) because they cook low and slow, which makes them more tender.

I always just buy whatever is available or most affordable at the grocery store, no need to be picky here.

Moreover, this recipe is so versatile and is great for meal prep since you can use it in so many different ways. You can make tacos, burritos, taco/burrito bowls, loaded nachos, loaded fries… the list goes on.

I really like Siete Foods brand chips and tortillas. They taste great and have all the clean ingredients.

Only Sweetened by Orange Juice 

The orange juice in this recipe is a great substitute for sugar, and the citrus helps tenderize the meat even further what makes it even juicier.

You’ll see a lot of recipes call for brown sugar, or sometimes sodas like Dr. Pepper or Cola as a sweetener, but the orange juice in this recipe works even better in my opinion. It’s healthier and creates a better flavor and texture for the meat.

How to Make this Healthy Crockpot Carnitas

As I said previously, these healthy, gluten free carnitas are super easy to make. All you’ll need is 8 simple ingredients and a crockpot. For this recipe you will need:

  • Pork shoulder or pork loin
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Orange (to juice)
  • Salt, Pepper
  • Smoked paprika
  • Cumin
  • Optional: diced jalapeno pepper if you want to add a little heat!

Throw all of the ingredients in the crockpot, let it cook for 8 hours, then take the pork out to shred it. Once you’ve finished shredding, place the pork back into the crockpot and let it sit for about 30 more minutes so that it can soak up all of those mouth-watering juices.


How to Serve these Tender Crockpot Carnitas

Whether you’re making tacos, burritos, taco/burrito bowls, or even throwing it in a soup or chowder, all you’ll need is a couple of fresh ingredients to top it off and have an all-star dish.

Some great ways to top off your carnitas would be with fresh lime, fresh chopped onion, fresh cilantro, salsa, pico de gallo, avocado, or guacamole.

Add some cauliflower rice to bump up your veggie intake as well.

Another great way to eat this carnitas is in lettuce wraps. There’s a nice fresh crunch from the crisp lettuce and it keeps this dish gluten free. So many possibilities!

What are your favorite ways to eat carnitas? Leave a comment below!


A bowl of pulled pork carnitas with a few pieces of cilantro on top. And there is half of a piece of orange in the back. pinterest image.


A bowl of pulled pork carnitas with a few pieces of cilantro on top. And there is half of a piece of orange in the back.

Get the recipe:Easy Crockpot Carnitas

This crockpot carnitas recipe is so simple to make and packed with flavors. It is the perfect dinner dish that will satisfy the whole family.
4.38 stars (8 reviews)


  • 2 lb pork shoulder
  • 1/4 onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/3 cup fresh orange juice


  • 3 -4 tsp sea salt, or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, or to taste
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cumin


  • Pat dry the pork shoulder with paper towels. Season with all the “rub” Ingredients and rub all over the pork then place in your crockpot.
  • Add Onion garlic and orange juice. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or cook on high for 4- 6 hours. Pull apart with a fork. The meat should be very tender easily fall apart.
  • Serve with your favorite Taco shells, or on top of burrito bowls.


Increase or decrease the ratio of seasoning depending on the amount of meat you are working with.
Serving: 1g, Calories: 360kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 27g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 102mg, Sodium: 477mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 5g

The Nutrition Facts above are specific to the ingredients I chose to use for this recipe, which may vary.