Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork aka Carnitas is full of flavor and so easy to make. Tender, juicy pork infused with a blend of Mexican spices, all effortlessly slow cooked to perfection! Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to prep and the slow cooker does the rest!

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork tacos on platter.Pin

Why I Love This Recipe

  • Bursting with Flavor: This Mexican Pulled Pork recipe offers an explosion of authentic Mexican flavors, combining tender, juicy meat with a tantalizing blend of traditional spices and herbs.
  • Effortless Cooking: With the magic of the Crock Pot, this recipe allows you to set it and forget it, freeing up your time while the flavors meld together. Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to prep!
  • Meal Prep Hero: This recipe (and many slow cooker recipes) are perfect for meal prep. Just store all the ingredients in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, pop into the slow cooker and forget about it until dinner time!
  • Crowd-Pleasing: Whether you’re planning a casual family dinner or hosting a gathering and need to feed a crowd, this dish is bound to please even the most pickiest palates, making it a perfect addition to any occasion.
Taco with Mexican pulled pork.Pin

The Ingredients

  • chili powder
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder
  • oregano
  • kosher salt
  • small onion
  • apple cider vinegar
  • canned diced green chilies
  • honey
  • boneless pork shoulder

How to Make Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

1. Add Ingredients: Place all the ingredients in a slow cooker and mix ensuring everything is coated with spice mixture.

2. Slow Cook: Set the slow cooker heat to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until hot and cooked through.

3. Shred and serve: Shred the meat with two forks and serve with desired accompaniments.

Slow Cooker with Mexican pulled porkPin

Meal Prep Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

1. Place all the ingredients except the pork shoulder in a gallon freezer bag and mix together by pressing on the outside of the bag.

2. Add the pork shoulder, and turn to coat in the mixture.

3. Seal bag, label and freeze for up to 3 months until ready to use. Be sure to get as much air as possible out the bag so that it doesn’t form ice crystals inside when freezing.

4. When ready, remove the frozen mixture from the bag and place it all into the crock pot. Set the heat to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until hot and cooked through.

Close up of taco with pulled pork and toppings.Pin

Freezer Meals For The Win

I love having meals prepped in the freezer because it ensures you can serve your family a fresh home-cooked meal even on the busiest of days. In fact, I prefer to double or even triple a recipe sometimes so I can keep multiples in the freezer, especially when the ingredients are seasonal. A meal prepped freezer bag is also a great way to share with friends! If you have a sick friend or know a mom who just delivered a new baby, deliver a few frozen bags with cooking instructions to them and you’ll be the lifesaver they’ve been needing.

Mexican pulled pork tacos.Pin
Mexican pulled pork tacosPin

Tips for the Best Mexican Pulled Pork

  1. Select the Right Cut: Opt for a well-marbled pork shoulder or pork butt for the perfect balance of tenderness and flavor.
  2. Slow and Steady: This slow cooking process ensures the meat becomes fork-tender and absorbs all the aromatic flavors.
  3. Enhance with Citrus: Squeeze fresh lime over the pork to impart a subtle citrusy tang that complements the richness of the dish.
  4. Shred with Care: Once the pork is cooked, use two forks to shred the meat and be sure to allowing it to absorb all the flavorful juices and spices.
  5. Crisp up In Pan: If you want some crispy bits, feel free to add the cooked pork to a sauté pan and crisp up the edges for some extra texture.
Bowl of shredded Mexican pulled pork.Pin

Ways to Use Carnitas (Mexican Pulled Pork)

This recipe is the perfect base to use in a variety of delicious ways. Here are some ideas for how to incorporate your carnitas into your meals:

  1. Tacos: Fill warm tortillas with carnitas, fresh salsa, avocado, lettuce and a squeeze of lime for a classic and delicious taco.
  2. Burritos: Wrap up carnitas with rice, beans, cheese, and guacamole in a large tortilla for a hearty and flavorful burrito.
  3. Quesadillas: Layer carnitas between cheese and tortillas, then grill until the cheese is melted and the tortillas are crispy for a delightful twist on a classic dish.
  4. Nachos: Pile carnitas on top of tortilla chips, then add cheese, jalapeños, salsa, and guacamole for an indulgent plate of loaded nachos.
  5. Salads: Add carnitas to a bed of mixed greens, along with avocado, corn, black beans, and a zesty dressing for a refreshing and satisfying salad.
Five Mexican pulled pork tacosPin
With its delicious flavors, effortless preparation, and versatile serving options, this dish is sure to become a staple in your weekly meal plan! There’s nothing better than tender, juicy pork that practically cooks itself! Let me know what you think of this recipe in the comments and tag me on social media if you make it!

Images by Ivan Solis

Pin

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork

Slow Cooker Mexican Pulled Pork aka Carnitas is full of flavor and so easy to make. Tender, juicy pork infused with a blend of Mexican spices, all effortlessly slow cooked to perfection! Plus, it only takes 5 minutes to prep and the slow cooker does the rest!
No ratings yet
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 10
Author: Catherine McCord
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes

Equipment

  • slow cooker

Ingredients  

Instructions 

Make-Ahead Freezer Instructions:

  • Place all the ingredients except the pork shoulder in a gallon freezer bag and mix together by pressing on the outside of the bag.
  • Add the pork shoulder, and turn to coat in the mixture.
  • Seal bag, label and freeze until for up to 3 month until ready to use. Be sure to get as much air as possible out the bag so that it doesn't form ice crystals inside when freezing.
  • When ready, remove the frozen mixture from the bag and place it all into the slow cooker. Set the heat to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until hot and cooked through.
  • Shred the meat with two forks and serve with taco shell and toppings or other desired accompaniments.

Make Same Day Instructions:

  • Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to coat thoroughly.
  • Set heat to low and cook for 8-10 hours, until cooked through and easily falls apart with a fork.
  • Shred the meat with two forks and serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 246kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 572mg | Potassium: 727mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 128IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Mention @Weelicious or tag #weelicious!

About the Author

Catherine is a mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. I create simple, healthy recipes the whole family will love.

Comments

  1. Turned out terrific! But since it is pulled pork, I’d serve it North Carolina style which is either served on a chopped platter with coleslaw and hush puppies. Or as a sandwich on a bun with coleslaw

  2. super easy and super delicious. Even better than going out to Mexican food. Made it with your Mexican rice and had all kinds of side fixings. The whole family loved it and my 5 year old ate 2 1/2 tacos!!

  3. I made this yesterday and it was soooo delicious! My kids who are both picky eaters loved! Please include some more healthy crockpot recipes in the future. Thanks Catherine!

  4. Can you make this with a piece of meat that is half the size? Will it still work in the slow cooker? That’s a lot of meat!

  5. This was SO good! FYI: I did 5 lb w/ bone in, not frozen, low for 8 hours. The bone came right out and I barely had to shred the pork it was so tender. The fat in this type of cut keeps the pork from drying out. Thanks for the great recipe!

  6. This is THE BEST pork I have ever had! We have not ever eaten pork tacos! This is definitely a keeper! Thank you for the awesome recipe.

  7. You can try a mexican carniceria (meat market) …they tend to sell more pork than other stores I think. I get mine, $1.39/lb. in 15 lb packages (which is 2 shoulders, about 7-8 lbs each) …only thing is, it comes with that thick skin (hide?) on it…I guess some people leave it on, I don’t know…but I’m always trying to cut down on the fat, so I cut it off…and it takes me a bit. (or I’m just getting old, idk ) today I started around 12:15 and when I checked the start time, it was 1:45 …so I guess I’m a very slow ‘assembler’ …but I attribute much of that to trimming the fat, which I probably obsess over.

  8. I find it in the meat case. You can certainly ask the butcher at the counter for a small piece!

  9. Do you buy the pork shoulder in the meat case of your regular grocery store? Or do you need to specifically ask the butcher for it? The reason I ask is that I rarely – if ever – find pork shoulder that is less than 8-10 pounds (and usually it’s bone-in). Maybe my grocery store just has very limited selection?

  10. no, green (or “ortega” ) chilies are completely mild…zero heat. More like bell peppers, different flavor though.

  11. Do the green chillies add a lot of spice? I have a 2-yr old who will be eating this. Can you recommend a substitite or is it okay to just leave out?

  12. I love recipes like this one. Pulled pork is a huge hit at our house. Can’t wait to try this one. xx

  13. Do you have a substitute for apple cider vinegar? I think I have everything else I need to make it tonight!

  14. What a fantastic idea! If I want to try this with some of the other recipes you mentioned that would work well, how much time should I add to cook them from a frozen state?

  15. I’m kinda embarrassed to admit this, but I have never done a pork shoulder in my slow cooker! I always make soups or stews. Yet, I love shredded pork deliciousness. I guess part of my problem is that I am one person at home (well, plus my cat), and so pork shoulder is a big commitment. But this sounds so delicious, so maybe I should just make one and send leftovers to neighbours 😉

  16. Love this post Catherine! One if my faves that you have written. Such a great idea to prepare meals to freeze when you have time for busy nights with the kiddies and hubby, or to help out another family for whatever the reason. Thank you

  17. Do you need to thaw out the before the slow cooker? I have heard it is best to thaw first as the slow cooker doesn’t get the meat hot fast enough and can be a problem with bacteria. Thoughts? I would love to throwing in frozen meat to cook.

  18. It is frozen when you put it in the crock pot. If you chose to not freeze it first, then I would cook it for 4-6 hours!

  19. If this wasn’t frozen (the meat was fresh), would the cook time be the same?
    That is, when you put it in the crock pot, it’s frozen, correct?

  20. I use fresh pork shoulder, put it all in the bag together, freeze it, and then when I’m ready I put the whole frozen block into the slow cooker!

  21. Can you use frozen pork shoulder to make this initially or should it be fresh before freezing? Then so you put the frozen contents in the slow cooker or do you defrost first? Thanks!

  22. What a genius idea! I really need to get a crock pot, but I suppose it would work in a Dutch oven too. What do you think?

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