Clean Eating Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

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These clean eating slow cooker carnitas are totally simple to make!

Yes, delicious, authentic tasting carnitas are absolutely doable at home, and they are super easy to make, and this clean eating slow cooker carnitas recipe proves just that.

I grew up with many Latina friends, and because of this, I grew up eating a lot of authentic Latin foods as well. Recipes from Guatemala, Mexico, El Salvador and even Ecuador and Cuba were very much a part of my childhood. My friend’s parents took me in like family and always encouraged me to eat (something I never argued with).

So the thought of trying to make Carnitas was a little intimidating for me. I mean, I’ve had the truly good stuff and it’s hard to compete with. Especially now that most of those friends and their parents are gone from my life, and their recipes along with them. What I wouldn’t give now to have collected those precious recipes back then!

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe, shredded and displayed wrapped in a tortilla next to a halved orange and lime. Black peppercorns are roughly ground and sprinkled over the carnitas.

But at the same time, a lack of recipes leaves me open to explore my own approach to this style of cooking. Can a white girl really make authentic Latin food from scratch? I guess one could create an argument either way for that. But I’d like to think that this recipe comes pretty darn close to the carnitas I tasted in my childhood. And seeing as how my mother hugged her bowl close to her and protectively said, “This is MINE. All MINE.” when I gave her some, I would venture a guess I did okay with this one.

This is perfect for tacos, rice bowls or even just by itself with some veggies on the side!


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Clean Eating Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

Clean Eating Slow Cooker Carnitas Recipe

Make delicious, authentic, pork carnitas at home in your slow cooker!
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 7 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 6 servings (approximately)
Calories: 356kcal
Author: The Gracious Pantry


  • 3 lb. pork shoulder
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 medium orange (juiced)
  • 1 medium lime (juiced)
  • 1 tsp. vinegar (red wine, white balsamic or regular balsamic work best, but any will do)
  • 1 large yellow onion (chopped)
  • 10 medium garlic cloves (minced)
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. salt


  • Place the pork shoulder in your slow cooker.
  • Pour the water, orange juice, lime juice and vinegar over it.
  • In a large skillet, saute the onions and garlic in the oil, then pour them over and around the pork.
  • Sprinkle the spices over and around the pork shoulder as well, and finally top with salt.
  • Cook on low for 5-7 hours, or until the pork easily shreds with two forks.
  • Allow the pork to cool enough to handle it. Transfer to a plate or bowl where you can easily shred it and remove the bone as well as any additional fat you prefer to remove.
  • Use for tacos or even as a salad topper!
  • Can be easily frozen in portions for up to 4 months for easy grab-n-go meals.
  • From frozen, thaw in the fridge overnight.


Please note that the nutrition data below is a ballpark figure. Exact data is not possible.


Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 151mg | Sodium: 493mg | Potassium: 859mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 4.2mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3.6mg

Recipe from the Gracious Pantry archives, originally posted 4/12/16.

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  1. Sounds absolutely delicious, but we’re not huge on eating pork around here. I was wondering if it would be possible to replace with chicken breast, and if it would effect cooking time or anything…
    Thanks for all you do,

  2. Tried this recipe and the pork turned out fairly dry. Taste was great otherwise. Any recommendations on how to rectify dryness?

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Jay – If the meat didn’t fill up most of your slow cooker, that’s why it was dry. You can use a small slow cooker, or simply double the recipe. It’s all about how full the crock is. Also, the more fat you have on your pork, the moister it will be when it’s done. Look for a fatty piece.

  3. My family and I love this recipe and I am making it again today! Looking over the ingredients, I notice that salt is listed twice? I’ve just been adding the pepper and oregano and topping with salt, but couldn’t help but wonder if possibly there was meant to have been another spice included in place of the duplicate salt listing? Just thought I’d check. Love your recipes! Thanks for sharing them!

    1. The Gracious Pantry says:

      Ashlee – So glad you like it! 😀 No, it was just a duplicate. I removed it. Thanks for the heads up!

  4. I’m going to try this recipe this weekend and use for meal prep lunches 🙂 Question on the calories — is that the calories for the full recipe? if not, what is considered a serving?

    1. Jennifer – Yes, per serving. I would make it and just divide it into six equal portions. That’s what I did. I didn’t measure. Sorry about that!

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