Recipes/ Whole30

Easy Oven Carnitas

Hey there strong people!

Hope you all are having a great week! Today I am bringing you a simple carnitas (pulled pork) recipe that goes well over rice, oven fries, or over a bed of lettuce. My husband eats it with white rice and I usually do a giant “carnitas salad”. I also love the occasional “carnitas fries” with all sorts of fun toppings.

If you have ever had carnitas before, you know the traditional ingredients are not very healthy (lard, sugar, and other processed ingredients). My goal when I made these was to have them taste somewhat like the carnitas I grew up having at weddings and family parties. I think they came pretty close.

I recommend getting a high quality pork (look for pasture raised pork). Pork is one of the cheapest meats so splurging on a high quality pork wont break the bank.

I made the carnitas in a dutch oven in the oven OR you can throw all the ingredients in a crockpot on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Spices make the carnitas get a lot of great flavor. I used sea salt, pepper, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika.


Easy Oven Carnitas

Print Recipe


  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 2.5 lbs. pork shoulder
  • 1 onion
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 Orange
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1.5 cups of broth (or water)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • Lime and cilantro for garnish



Preheat oven to 350.


Rinse and dry the pork shoulder. Cut into large chunks.


Heat a dutch oven pot on medium heat. Add ghee or cooking fat of choice.


Sear the chunks of pork in the ghee until golden brown.


Add the rest of the ingredients (yes everything!).


Bring to a boil.


Make sure the dutch oven is oven safe and place it in there for 2 hours or until the chunks of carnitas fall apart with a fork. Check every 30-45 min.


Once they are done, shred with a fork and throw them on a cookie sheet. Add a little bit of the juice leftover in the dutch oven.


Set your oven to the “broil” setting and place the cookie sheet with carnitas on the top rack. Leave it in there for 5 minutes or until the carnitas are crispy.


Garnish with cilantro and lime juice.


This can easily be made in a crock pot. Just add all of the ingredients and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4 hours. Repeat the same broiling step.

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