Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

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It’s hard to believe I went until 22 without carnitas. They are now one of our favorite little indulgences and it’s one of those recipes that you can make and then use for multiple nights for multiple dishes!! Who’s gonna say no to that?

Slow Roasted Carnitas

The pork shoulder gently cooks for 3 hours and when it’s done, it literally melts in your mouth. Insanely tender and even more delicious with the addition of a little guacamole, it makes for a 100% satisfying meal. Add a skinny margarita and you couldn’t pay me enough to share!

You could use this carnitas recipe and throw it into tacos, nachos, quesadillas, or any other application you deem fit. You honestly couldn’t go wrong!


Slow Roasted Pork Carnitas

5 from 3 votes


  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 1/2 cup fresh Orange Juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh Lime Juice
  • 10 oz chipotle salsa
  • 1 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste


  • Place the pork in a large dutch oven with the orange juice, lime juice, salsa and salt. Add enough water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and simmer with the lid on for 2 hours, at which point the pork should be falling apart to the touch.
  • Turn the heat up to medium high, and continue to cook the pork for 45 minutes, uncovered, stirring every once in a while, until all the liquid has evaporated and the pork fat as been rendered.
  • Parts of the pork should be caramelized and golden brown. Remove the dutch oven from the stove and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve immediately or let cool and store in an airtight container for 4 days in the fridge

For another great comforting pork recipe, check out my Pulled Pork Sliders

Photo by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking


  1. I made this for Halloween night – it will be the new tradition that replaces the old Halloween chili. SOOOOO good!!

  2. I made these yesterday and oh my goodness, they are WONDERFUL! Seriously amazing. We had friends over and you wouldn’t believe how much pork we ate 🙂 Definitely a big hit. I made them with King Arthur Flour’s soft wrap bread as the tortillas and the combination was incredible. Plus I made your guacamole!

    One question though – cubing the pork was incredibly difficult for some reason. Is there any way to do it faster? Could I get boneless pork? I had the hardest time getting the pork off the bone when cutting it.

    1. Ask your butcher to cut it off the bone for you. So much easier!
      Also my favorite carnitas recipe if from David Lebovitz. Check out his website.. This one is even simpler, so I’ll have to try it to!

  3. I made this this weekend and it turned out great. Last night I used some of the leftovers to make naked burrito bowls with rice, black beans, cheese and guacamole. Very Good!

  4. Gaby, Your recipes sound wonderful, and your photography is gorgeous. I enjoy reading and viewing them. Thank you!

  5. Just made these. They are AMAZING Gaby! I ended up making them on an open face corn tortilla. so good and easy!

  6. Plan to make this this weekend. Any recommendations on chipotle salsa? Sacrilege I know, but bottled would be easier, unless I can add chipotle sauce to salsa. 🙂

  7. This looks great! I’m having a nacho bar party and wondering if it would be possible to keep the carnitas warm in a crock pot? If so, do you have any tips for how to do that (liquids to add incase extra moisture is needed?) I’m also wondering if it would be possible to keep the nacho cheese sauce warm in a crock pot? Thanks!

    1. nacho cheese sauce in a crock pot = 100%

      carnitas – yes you can keep them warm in the crock pot too! Just dump the entire tray of carnitas after you broil them into a crock pot and keep it on low!

  8. Do you think I could initially cook this in the crock pot then broil to get crunchy before serving? If yes, what temp and how long? Should I adjust fluids?

    Thank you!

    1. yes I totally think you could do that but I haven’t done it before so I can’t say how you should alter times with exact certainty. My initial instinct would be 8-10 hours on low. or 4-5 hours on high and keeping the liquids the same. LMK what you end up doing as I’m sure other people are curious!! Thanks 🙂

  9. I never comment on recipes but this one is worth commenting on! I made this last night for 20 people I doubled the recipe and they were amazing!!! I was hoping to have leftovers but no such luck. I have passed this recipe on to others and will most definitely be making it again!

  10. Made this today and it was AWESOME! I did sort of change one thing. I added a small can of chipotles with the sauce into the citrus juice, then blended it with a blending stick instead of using chipotle salsa. Then poured it over the meat and cooked as directed. I served it on corn tortillas with Yucatán style hot pink onions with habanero chiles and chopped cilantro. YUMMMM!!!!!!

  11. Hi Gaby,
    I’m a huge fan of carnitas but have never “attempted” lol …to make .
    This recipe looks super easy !! But, I’m curious what you refer to with the Chipotle salsa.?
    I’ve only bought Chipotle peppers in the can.

    1. I have my own brand of chipotle salsa you can buy at williams sonoma. Otherwise any other thin red salsa will work!! I like the ones that are flavored with chipotle. It’s usually a fresh salsa so it would be in the refrigerated section of the market!

  12. Delicious. I made for my daughter’s 13th birthday party and we did a nacho bar. Everyone loved it. Will definitely make it again. I used Guy Fieri’s chipotle salsa.

    1. Yes – you could do it in a slow cooker just broil it on a sheet pan once it comes out to get it crispy on the edges!

  13. 5 stars
    These carnitas were so easy and delicious! My husband and and I loved them. So yummy! We’ll definitely be making them again and again. Thank you!

  14. Taking this along (the second time) for a hostess present. Because what is better for a weekend guest to bring than pork carnitas?!! Nothing, that’s what i say!! This soooo good and sooooooo easy to make.

  15. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner tonight, they were a hit! And so easy. The meat was tender and flavorful. I didn’t have chipotle salsa so I used chipotles in adobo, the whole can. It was delicious. I love Gaby’s recipes. Simple and delicious!

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