Recipe: Carnitas

30 Apr

Mexican restaurants are always on the top of our “short list” when we go out to eat. My favorite thing to order, bar-none, is carnitas. There’s something about the salty, citrusy flavor of the pork that just does it for me. Here’s my at-home rendition:



  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 1 (2-4 lb) boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken broth


  1. Combine all ingredients except roast, bay leaves, and broth in a bowl.
  2. Roll roast in the spice mixture, covering all surfaces, and using all of it.
  3. Layer bay leaves in the bottom of the crock pot, top with roast.
  4. Pour chicken broth over the top, put the lid on, cook for 6-8 hours on low.
  5. Serve with your favorite fajita/taco toppings and tortillas.

Do you have a favorite carnitas recipe? We’d love to hear it. Share the link/recipe in the comments.

Download the .pdf of this recipe: Carnitas


9 Responses to “Recipe: Carnitas”

  1. claudia lamascolo April 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    We love mexican food and cant get enough recipe this is one to add to the list of must trys thanks for your visit!

  2. sarah, simply cooked April 30, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    You mentioned that it tastes citrusy… but there is no citrus in the recipe? I have never eaten carnitas but it sounds delicious and easy.

    • chefshellina April 30, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

      You’re right- this specific recipe doesn’t use any citrus, but the combination of spices/broth gives it that acidic punch that is reminiscent of citrus flavors. (I have had carnitas that actually included lemon and orange flavors- it’s brilliant.) Also, we spritz the top of the carnitas with lime juice- but of course… forgot it in the photo! Good catch. 😉

  3. PolaM April 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm #

    Your post almost convinced me to get a slow cooker: how else would I get such great carnitas?

    • chefshellina April 30, 2011 at 9:51 pm #

      I bet you could do it (very carefully, and supervised) in a dutch oven on the stove. Just put it on a really, super low heat, and check it often. It could work.

  4. Ky Foley April 30, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    Wow! These look delicious! I love carnitas, great recipe! =]

    • chefshellina April 30, 2011 at 10:40 pm #

      So glad you think so! Thanks for coming by! 🙂

  5. backcountryfishnerd May 3, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

    I think anything with avacado deserves a lime. …or anything mexican. Lemons are so last decade! I need to share the secret fajita recipe with you…

    • chefshellina May 3, 2011 at 11:11 pm #

      If we’re talking about what flavors simply must accompany Mexican food- there better be a margarita nearby for me. 😉 And yeah, you better share that secret fajita recipe with me- or else. (evil laugh)

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