Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders [Video]

Catalina Castravet
By Catalina Castravet

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders are braised for 4-8 hours until fall-apart tender. Shredded, and topped with crunchy slaw, spicy lime crema, and served with grilled pineapple, it’s a flavor explosion perfect for any celebration! This delicious blog post has been sponsored by AdapTable Meals, all opinions are mine.

Some great sides for these sliders are my oven-roasted Crispy Potato Wedges or Baked Sweet Potato Fries for a lighter option. In keeping with the Mexican theme, consider serving my crispy, fluffy cinnamon-sugar Churros for dessert!

Image of slow cooker pork carnitas sliders.

Pork Carnitas Recipe

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders are my fresh makeover on the classic sandwiches. There’s nothing like the intense, meaty flavors of pork braised on low for several hours.

The slow cooker allows me to achieve that without having to keep vigil over the pot. I can just throw in all the ingredients, set the timer, go about my day, and come home to amazingly tender and savory pork.

For best results and convenience I used AdapTable Meals Carnitas Pork Roast. I like that the roast is already pre-seasoned and all I have to do is cook it and brainstorm toppings and side dishes. #AdapT2Thrive

For this recipe, I went crazy with the toppings! The slaw adds freshness and crunch, while the Spicy Lime Crema ties everything together in a creamy, zesty way. The smoky, grilled pineapples just take everything to the next level.  

These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders are sure to be a hit at your next game day, office potluck, party, and other gatherings!

Photo of Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas.

What are carnitas?

The term literally means “little meats.” It’s a traditional Mexican dish that’s very similar to pulled pork.

The meat is simmered or braised in oil for several hours until incredibly tender. Then, it’s shredded and served between tacos, burritos, sandwiches, and more.

What’s the difference between barbacoa and carnitas?

Both carnitas and barbacoa are authentic Mexican recipes, but the first uses pork meat, and barbacoa typically uses lamb, beef, or goat.

In addition, carnitas are milder in flavor, while barbacoa is loaded with spices and dried chilies.

Photo of slow cooker pork carnitas ingredients.

What goes into Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders:

For the carnitas themselves, I only use four very common ingredients: pork roast, an onion, beer, and pineapple juice. The high-fat content of the meat keeps it from drying out, while enzymes in the beer and pineapple break down the tough fibers to tenderize and infuse it with flavor at the same time.

Use any bun you prefer for the sliders. However, for the first time you make this recipe, I encourage you to make it exactly as indicated. This will allow you to taste all those beautiful flavors together, so you can play around with them next time.

Image of coleslaw lime crema grilled pineapple.

How to make the best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas:

  • Prepare the carnitas. First, place meat, onion, beer, and pineapple juice inside the slow cooker. Turn on low for eight hours, or on high for four hours. Shred in the same pot. Afterward, sear to crisp up the exterior.
  • Prepare the slaw. Next, combine all the slaw ingredients. Set aside,
  • Prepare the spicy lime crema. Use a food processor to combine all spicy lime crema ingredients. Set aside.
  • Prepare the grilled pineapple. Brush pineapples with olive oil, then toss in brown sugar. Grill and set aside.
  • Assemble. Top the sliders with pork, and slaw, then drizzle with the crema. You may serve the grilled pineapples on the side along with wedges of lime.

Can you use pork chops for carnitas?

Sure, if it’s the only thing you have since the slow cooker is excellent at tenderizing even leaner cuts like pork chops. However, I highly suggest using a loin or shoulder for this recipe. I love the way the fat renders down and essentially make the meat into a succulent dish.

Photo of slow cooker pork carnitas.

Can you make them ahead?

Yes. The juicy meat absorbs even more flavor after a day or two. That’s what makes them so great for big gatherings, or for using in different dishes throughout the week.

What to serve with?

Pork carnitas are savory, meaty, and filling. I like to balance out with light and fresh side dishes such as my Cucumber Salad or Fruit Salad with Honey Lime Dressing.

A super fun way to serve this recipe is like a buffet— along with the meat, put out bowls of Pico de Gallo, sour cream, cilantro, shredded lettuce, slaw, spicy lime crema, grilled pineapples, and cheese.

Let guests choose between tacos, tortillas, and buns to make their own creation! Don’t forget the refreshing Fruity Mojitos!

Photo of crockpot carnitas sliders on a serving plate.

More Slow Cooker Recipes:

Recipe Tips:

  • The pork is done if it takes minimal effort to shred. You may simmer for longer if it’s not shredding easily yet. 
  • Also, you can use this basic carnitas recipe for tacos, burritos, rice toppers, and more. 
  • Use dark, malty beer for a deeper flavor.

Save Recipe
5 from 7 reviews
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders
Author: Catalina Castravet Serves: 8 sliders
Prep time: 30 minutes Cook time: 8 hours Total time: 8 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients

Carnitas:

  • 2 lbs.  boneless pork roast 
  • 1  onion  (finely chopped)
  • 1/3 cup  beer  (I used a dark beer)
  • 1/3 cup  pineapple juice 
  • 6  slider buns 

Grilled Pineapple:

  • 6 slices  fresh pineapple 
  • 1 tablespoon  olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons  brown sugar 

Coleslaw:

  • 1 tablespoon  apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 teaspoon  lime juice 
  • 1 tablespoon  orange juice 
  • 1 teaspoon  white sugar 
  • 2 cup  red cabbage  (chopped)
  • 2 cloves  garlic  (minced)
  • 1/4 cup  red onion  (thinly sliced)
  • 1  Jalapeno  (deseeded and finely chopped)

Spicy Lime Crema:

  • 1 cup  Mexican Crema  (or sour cream)
  • 1/4 cup  cilantro 
  • 1/2 cup  mayo 
  • 1 tablespoon  lime juice 
  • 1 teaspoon  lime zest 
  • 1/8 teaspoon  ground chili powder  (more or less depending on how spicy you want it)
  •  Salt and Pepper  (to taste)

Garnish:

  • 2 tablespoons  fresh cilantro  (chopped)

Instructions

Carnitas:

  1. Add the pork to the slow cooker, with the fattier side facing up.
  2. Add the onion and pour the pineapple juice and beer on top.
  3. Cover and cook for 8 hours on LOW or 4-5 hours on HIGH. When done cooking, the pork should shred apart very easily, cook more if needed.
  4. Using two forks, shred the pork directly in the slow cooker, and allow it to soak up the flavorful liquid.
  5. Place a large pan over medium-high heat, and sear the pork until it darkens in color and gets a crispier exterior.

Coleslaw:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, toss and set aside.

Spicy Lime Crema:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor, pour into a serving bowl. Set aside.

Grilled Pineapple:

  1. Turn on the grill or place a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Brush the pineapple slices with olive oil, toss in brown sugar and grill until black marks appear on the pineapple.

Assemble:

  1. Top sliders with pork, coleslaw, and drizzle with spicy lime cream.
  2. Serve with grilled pineapple and lime wedges on the side, garnish with cilantro.
Calories: 452 Carbohydrates: 31 Protein: 29 Fat: 23 Saturated Fat: 3 Cholesterol: 93 Sodium: 276 Potassium: 587 Fiber: 3 Sugar: 16 Vitamin A: 486 Vitamin C: 49 Calcium: 96 Iron: 2
Save Recipe

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Comments

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Sarah Bailey

Slow cooker pork always looks incredible - I could definitely tuck into one of these sliders as well. A great easier meal idea!

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Tasheena

This recipe looks so yummy. Looking forward to making this for my next gathering. I know my guest are going to love it.

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Pam Wattenbarger

We absolutely love pork carnitas. Being able to make them in the slow cooker is a bonus. I love having dinner waiting when I get home from work.

Reply

Amber Myers

I love sliders! I'll be adding this to a future dinner menu for sure. Yum.

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Chef Dennis

These Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Sliders are scrumptious! I will definitely be serving this to my family the next time we gather.

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Paula Schuck

With grilled pineapple?? OMG drool. This is very timely. We love this meal and would eat it often if we had the time and ingredients on hand always. Love your take on pork carnitas. Checking to see if I have all of the ingredients this week. Thanks!

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Gervin Khan

I love everything on this recipe, it's delicious and it so easy to make. Thank you for sharing this with us.

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Tammy

This recipe is a lot like my pulled pork sliders but yours has a sweetness to it. Love it.

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Nancy at Whispered Inspirations

OMG, I need to make this. I haven't made carnitas in a little while, so I am due. Thanks for this!

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Barbies Beauty Bits

Yum I am saving this recipe. With plenty of time of my hands to cook, I will be trying these!

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Bohemian Babushka

OMGoodness! It's past midnight, BB's already had dinner, but this recipe and pics have me hungry!! Another one of your recipes into the Pinterest file.

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Lizzie Lau

These pork carnitas sliders look delicious. I've never tried making carnitas at home, but it's one of my favorite things in Mexican restaurants.

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Ruth I

This sure looks delicious! I am excited to try this recipe!

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