Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas Recipe: Easy, Delicious & Low Carb

Discover the Rich Flavors of Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas

Embark on a culinary journey that will tantalize your taste buds without compromising your keto diet. Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas offer a symphony of savory flavors, melding tender pork with aromatic spices in a dish that’s as satisfying as it is health-conscious. This recipe is not just a meal; it’s a celebration of Mexican cuisine adapted for the ketogenic lifestyle.

Perfect for a family dinner or a meal prep champion, these carnitas are designed to fit seamlessly into your low-carb, high-fat regimen. With minimal prep time and the magic of slow cooking, you’ll have a delectable dish that’s both convenient and irresistibly delicious.

Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas

The Heart of the Dish: Why Keto Carnitas?

Keto Carnitas are more than just a satisfying meal; they’re a testament to the versatility and richness that keto-friendly cuisine can offer. Originating from a deep-rooted love for Mexican flavors and a commitment to the ketogenic diet, this recipe is a harmonious blend of tradition and health.

At the heart of this dish is pork shoulder, a cut that’s naturally high in fat and perfect for slow cooking. The fat content not only aligns with the keto diet’s macronutrient requirements but also ensures that each bite is succulent and full of flavor.

The use of spices like cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper brings warmth and depth, while the citrus notes from orange and lime juice cut through the richness, adding a subtle tang that elevates the entire dish. These ingredients not only infuse the pork with incredible flavor but also contain beneficial antioxidants and vitamins, making them a powerhouse in your keto cooking arsenal.

Ingredients for Keto Carnitas

Mastering the Art of Slow-Cooked Carnitas

Creating the perfect Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas is an art form that involves patience and attention to detail. The slow cooker is your best ally, transforming the pork shoulder into a fall-apart tender delicacy over several hours. Here’s how to elevate your carnitas:

Season Generously: Don’t be shy with the spices. A robust seasoning blend not only tenderizes the meat but also penetrates it for maximum flavor. Ensure each piece is well-coated for a consistent taste experience.

Citrus Balance: The balance of orange and lime juice is crucial. Too much can overpower the dish, while too little won’t provide the necessary acidity. Fresh juices are best, as they provide a natural sweetness without added sugars.

Shredding Technique: When shredding the pork, aim for consistency in size to ensure even crisping if you opt for broiling. Removing excess fat at this stage is key to achieving the perfect texture.

Shredded Keto Carnitas

Variations to Spice Up Your Carnitas

Spicy Chipotle Carnitas

For those who love a fiery kick, adding chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can take your carnitas to new heights. The smoky heat complements the pork beautifully, creating a bold flavor profile that’s unforgettable.

Citrus Herb Carnitas

Incorporate fresh herbs like thyme and rosemary along with the citrus juices. This variation offers a fragrant twist that’s both refreshing and comforting, perfect for a summer keto feast.

Green Chile Carnitas

Blend roasted green chiles into the cooking liquid for a subtle, earthy spice. This addition introduces a new layer of complexity and pairs wonderfully with the existing flavors of the carnitas.

Substitutions for Your Keto Carnitas

Understanding the flexibility of ingredients is essential for any keto cook. Here are some substitutions that maintain the low-carb integrity of the dish:

Orange Juice Alternative: If you’re concerned about the natural sugars in orange juice, consider using a keto-friendly orange extract mixed with water. This will give you the citrus flavor without the carbs.

Lime Juice Substitute: Apple cider vinegar can replace lime juice, offering a similar tanginess and additional health benefits like aiding digestion.

Onion Flavor without the Carbs: For those strictly monitoring carb intake, onion powder can provide the desired flavor without the additional carbs found in fresh onions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this dish in an Instant Pot? Yes, you can use the pressure cook setting to significantly reduce cooking time, then use the sauté function to crisp up the pork afterwards.

How can I store leftovers? Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze for later enjoyment.

Is it necessary to broil the carnitas after slow cooking? Broiling is optional but recommended for adding a delightful crispness to the edges of the pork.

Can I use a different cut of pork? While pork shoulder is ideal for its fat content and texture, pork butt can also be used as an alternative.

What are some keto-friendly sides to serve with carnitas? Consider serving with cauliflower rice, a fresh avocado salad, or wrapped in low-carb tortillas or lettuce wraps.


Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas

These Slow Cooker Keto Carnitas are a delectably tender and savory dish that perfectly fits into a low-carb, high-fat lifestyle. Packed with flavor and easy to prepare, they're ideal for a satisfying keto-friendly meal.
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Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 8 servings
Calories 348 kcal


  • Slow cooker
  • Cutting board
  • Forks
  • Baking Sheet (optional)
  • Bowl
  • Whisk


  • 4 pounds pork shoulder, boneless
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Begin by patting the pork shoulder dry with paper towels. Then, generously season all sides of the pork with salt, black pepper, cumin, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper.
  • Place the seasoned pork shoulder into the slow cooker.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the orange juice, lime juice, and minced garlic. Pour this mixture over the pork in the slow cooker.
  • Scatter the chopped onion around the pork and top with bay leaves.
  • Cover and cook on low for 6 hours or until the pork is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  • Once the pork is cooked, transfer it to a cutting board, shred it using two forks, and remove any excess fat.
  • Optional: For added crispiness, spread the shredded pork on a baking sheet and broil in the oven for a few minutes until the edges are crispy.
  • Remove the bay leaves from the slow cooker and discard.
  • Serve the carnitas with your favorite keto-friendly sides or use them as a filling for low-carb tacos or lettuce wraps.


To keep this dish keto-friendly, ensure that the orange juice is fresh with no added sugars, and use it sparingly. Leftover carnitas can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or frozen for later use.


Calories: 348kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 30gFat: 23gFiber: 1gNet Carbs: 2g
Keyword Easy Keto Dinner, keto carnitas, Keto Mexican Food, Low Carb Pork Recipe, slow cooker carnitas
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