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4.5 from 81 votes

Pork Carnitas

These Crispy Pork Carnitas are seriously bursting with flavor yet so simple to make! This is the meat you want for your tacos, burritos, sandwiches, you name it. It’s to die for!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs 40 mins
Total Time4 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: carnitas, pork carnitas, pork carnitas recipe, pulled pork
Servings: 10
Calories: 254kcal


  • 4 lb pork shoulder (aka pork butt), bonless
  • 1 onion peeled and halved
  • 3 cloves garlic crushed
  • 2 medium oranges juiced and keep the spent halves
  • 2 limes juiced and keep the spent halves

Dry Rub


  • Prepare oven: Preheat the oven to 300 F degrees.
  • Mix dry rub ingredients: In a small bowl, combine all the dry rub ingredients together.
  • Season pork and place all ingredients in pot: Place the pork shoulder in a large Dutch oven or an oven safe pot and rub the dry rub all over the pork on all sides.  Throw in the onion, garlic juice from the oranges, limes and the spent orange and lime halves.
  • Cover pot and cook: Cover the pot and place it in the oven. Bake for 3 1/2 hours until the meat is tender and shreddable.
  • Shred meat: Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a baking sheet. Using two forks shred the meat into small pieces. There should be about 1 1/2 cups of liquid left in the pot. Ladle about 1 cup of that liquid all over the shredded pork.
  • Crisp up carnitas: Place the meat under the broiler, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Half way through turn them over with a spatula to crisp up on both sides. You can crisp them up 450 F degrees for about 30 minutes, especially if your oven doesn’t have a broiler.
  • Serve: Serve hot on tortillas, burritos, tamales, sandwiches, etc.



  1. Cooking: To speed up the cooking process you can cut the pork shoulder into 4-inch chunks. This will save about an hour from the cooking process.
  2. Pork Carnitas In the Instant Pot: Place the pork shoulder in the instant pot along with the juice, lemon and lime halves. Add another cup of water/broth to the pot. Set the Instant Pot to the Meat/Stew setting and set the timer to 90 minutes.
  3. Once the Instant Pot cycle is complete, wait until the natural release cycle is complete, should take about 15 minutes. Follow the manufacturer’s guide for quick release, if in a rush. Carefully unlock and remove the lid from the instant pot. Using a slotted spoon, transfer all the pork to a baking sheet and shred with two forks. Follow the instructions in the recipe to finish crisping up the pork.
  4. Pork Carnitas in the Slow Cooker: Find the recipe here.
  5. Leftovers: Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for 3 to 4 days
  6. Freezing: Let the carnitas cool to room temperature. Place them in an airtight container or a freezer bag and place in the freezer. It will last anywhere from 4 to 6 months in the freezer. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight.
  7. Place them on a baking sheet and reheat in the oven at 400 F degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.
  8. Nutrition: Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on products used.


Calories: 254kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 108mg | Sodium: 451mg | Potassium: 774mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 125IU | Vitamin C: 18.9mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 1.9mg