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Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos
with Mexican side salad

Active: 30 min Total: 7 hr 30 min
Carnitas is Mexican pulled pork and, served on tortillas with avocados, onions, and salsa, it makes for a quintessential taco that is totally addictive. This recipe was featured in 2017 and is perfect for a busy week during the holidays - it can feed a crowd and you can let your slow cooker do the work for you!
Smarts: Restaurant-style carnitas is usually braised and deep fried for tender pieces of pork with crisp edges. To get those crunchy bits in this slow-cooker version, use the optional step to pan fry the portion of the pork for tonight's meal. Save half the pork if you plan to make Wednesday's waffle fry "nachos."


Slow Cooker Carnitas (enough for 2 nights):
  • Jalapenos - 1 , chopped
  • Garlic - 6 cloves , chopped
  • Stock, any type - 1/2 cup
  • Pork, boneless shoulder roast (enough for 2 nights) - 2 1/2 lbs (sometimes labeled pork butt; if using bone-in, purchase a slightly heavier cut)
  • Oregano, dried - 3 tsp
  • Cumin, ground - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
Mexican Side Salad:
  • Lettuce, romaine - 2 hearts , chopped
  • Tomatoes, medium - 1 , diced
  • Vinegar, red wine - 2 tsp
  • Lime juice - 2 tsp
  • Honey - 2 tsp
  • Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
  • Pepitas / pumpkin seeds - 1/4 cup
Carnitas Tacos:
  • Onions, medium - 1/4 , finely diced
  • Cilantro, fresh - 1/4 cup , leaves torn
  • Avocados - 1 , sliced
  • Lettuce, romaine - 1 heart , chopped
  • Tortillas, taco-sized corn or flour - 8
  • Slow-cooker carnitas (ingredients listed separately) - ~3 cups
  • Sour cream - 1/3 cup (sub plain or Greek yogurt)
  • Salsa, any type - 1/3 cup


  1. Jalapenos / Garlic / Onions / Cilantro - Prep as directed and store separately. (Can be done 1 day ahead)
  2. Slow cook pork - (This makes enough for 2 nights.) Combine jalapenos, garlic, and stock in the bowl of a slow cooker. Add pork. Rub pork on the top and sides with oregano, cumin, salt, and black pepper. Cook pork until tender and easily shredded with a fork, low for 7 to 8 hours (or high for 4 to 5 hours).
  3. Avocados / Lettuce (for both the tacos and salad) / Tomatoes - Prep as directed.

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  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk together vinegar, lime juice, honey, and cooking oil. Top with lettuce (portion for salad), tomatoes, and pepitas. Wait to toss until just before serving.
  2. When pork is finished cooking, transfer to a cutting board (reserve the cooking liquid) and roughly chop. Reserve half the pork for Wednesday.
  3. [Optional step:] If you'd like your pork crispy (like traditional carnitas), heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add some oil and then the portion of the pork for tonight's dinner. Cook without stirring until dark golden brown on the bottom. Stir and continue cooking until pork is crisp and golden brown in spots.
  4. Drizzle the shredded pork with some of the cooking liquid (you likely won't need all of it, but this will add some of the great flavor from cooking back in). Season with some salt and pepper.
  5. Warm tortillas according to package directions.
  6. Toss salad to combine.
  7. Assemble tacos by topping tortillas with carnitas, lettuce (portion for tacos), avocados, onions, cilantro, sour cream, and salsa (or set it all out on the table and let everyone assemble their own). Enjoy with salad on the side.



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