Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas is the one dish that my guys and frankly most of our friends ask for when I ask, “What do folks want me to make?” It is always this accompanied with my tomato salsa. No store brought salsa with these carnitas for tacos. It has to be freshly made by me. Lucky for me it is a quick salsa and hopefully it will become your go-to salsa recipe.
What makes this slow cooker pork carnitas recipe so special?
The simple fresh ingredients are the key to the success of slow cooker pork carnitas. It is only eight ingredients: pork tenderloin, salt, pepper, bay leaf, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, water, and olive oil. That’s it. Nothing fancy. There is a lot of recipes of there with tons of ingredients and they are fine, but these is something about the simplistically of this recipe that just works. I use pork tenderloins, but pork shoulder will work too. What I like about it is that usually there is two pork tenderloins which gives you options. For use we make tacos with one of the tenderloins and then next day or so we BBQ pork sandwiches with homemade coleslaw.
Easy preparation as the slow cooker does all the work for these carnitas.
The preparation is easy and the slow cooker does 90 percent of the work. The “hardest” work is getting the pork into the slow cooker. First you start by washing and drying the pork as a pan hits on high with olive oil. Washing and trying the pork helps it develop that nice bark. Season it generously with salt and pepper. Place in pan searing all sides to a nice brown.
As that is searing, add rosemary, thyme, bay leaf to the bottom of the slow cooker insert. Once the pork is ready then place it on top of the bed of herbs pouring the liquid from the pan. Deglaze the pan with some water and pour that into the insert.
Layer more rosemary and thyme finishing off with more salt and pepper. Put the lid on and pick the settings. After 4-8 hours depending on when you start it, you remove and shred.
That’s it for perfect tacos. On Taco Tuesday and beyond. Add the slow cooker pork carnitas, salsa, cheese to warmed tortillas and you have a delicious dinner. Need another option if you are having a crowd? Try fish tacos.
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 2-3 lbs (1.5 kg) pork tenderloins, washed and dried with paper towel
- Bunch of fresh thyme
- Bunch of fresh rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Generous amounts of sea/kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Drizzle of Olive Oil
- 1/2 - 1 cup water
- 1. Heat large pan on high with drizzle of olive oil.
- 2. Wash and dry pork tenderloins with paper towel.
- 3. Generously season all over with salt and freshly ground pepper.
- 4. Add tenderloins to pan browning all sides
- 5. While meat is browning, layer rosemary, thyme, and bay on the bottom of the slow cooker insert.
- 6. Place tenderloins on the bed of herbs and pour the pan juices over.
- 7. Add 1/2 cup water to deglaze the pan and then pour that on top.
- 8. Layer more thyme and rosemary on top making sure some gets between the tenderloins.
- 9. Sprinkle more salt and freshly grounded pepper.
- 10. Put lid on and select cooking settings for high (4 hours) and low (6-8 hours)
- 11. Remove pork from slow cooker and shred. If not using both then keep one tenderloin whole to use for BBQ pork sandwiches the next day.
Spicy Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Rice Soup
This Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Rice Soup recipe comes with a warning. If you are not careful with the brand of Thai red curry paste then it will knock your socks off after one sip. How do I know this? I made this soup for friends. They had just got off a transatlantic flight and nothing is better than a nice bowl of soup. Usually this is the case. We were all crying from the spice. Even my son who can drink hot sauce was like, “Mom, holy cow this is hot.”
Let’s sort out the whole red curry paste situation. Due to the amounts of curry I made, I buy my curry pastes at the Asian grocery store. It is cheaper and much larger than the tiny bottles of Taste of Thai Red Curry Paste in the grocery store. And that’s where the fault in the recipe presents. Depending on what brand of curry paste you use, it is going to change the quantity. The original recipe which I have a feeling was designed for Taste of Thai brand calls for 3 tablespoons. That is a brand adapted to American tastes. When you add 3 tablespoons of Thai red curry purchased in a huge tube at the Asian store, it makes the soup uneatable except to those who have no taste buds. So if you are using Asian store curry paste, then 1/2 to 1 teaspoon will be enough. Trust me on this.
Once the level of spice is correct, this is an amazingly yummy soup. As in it becomes a soup that causes cravings. It is super good. Perfect for winter. There is nothing fancy about this soup outside of the curry paste. It is chicken, carrots, butternut squash, onions, fresh ginger, brown sugar, fish sauce, veggie broth, and wild rice.
Slow Cooker Thai Chicken Rice Soup
- - 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- - 4 carrots chopped
- - 4 cups butternut squash cubed
- - 2 small onions diced
- - 2 tablespoons fresh ginger minced
- - 3 tablespoons Thai red curry paste (see note)
- - 3 tablespoons palm sugar or brown sugar
- - 3 tablespoons fish sauce
- - 2/3 cup wild rice or wild rice blend blend used in photos
- - 4 cups vegetable stock
- - 2 cans coconut milk
- - 1 tablespoon lime juice
- NOTE: If using Taste of Thai brand then 3 tablespoons is OK, but if using Asian grocery store purchased red curry paste then decrease to 1/2-1 teaspoons. Trust me on this.
- - Combine all ingredients except the coconut milk
- - Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 4 hours
- - Stir coconut milk and lime juice in cooking for 10 minutes
- - Shred the chicken
- - Serve with lime wedges and cilantro
A Fresh Classic Beef Bourguignon
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is simple and elegant
While I use my slow cooker year round, the fall and winter are the perfect times to use the slow cooker. And the perfect time for the French classic of bistros, Beef Bourguignon.
Let’s set the scene. Skies are gray. Leaves are turning. There is a chill in the wind. A small cozy kitchen with Glen Miller playing in the background. The well-worn apron is on and ready to cook this classic French dish made famous by the food superstar, Julia Childs to American audiences on her PBS Show.
The Classic Bistro Meal
I have made Beef Bourguignon the traditional way in a cast iron pot on the stove and oven. Given an opportunity to use my slow cooker allowing me the freedom of not having to watch the stove, I jump at it. I love a good slow cooker recipe. Especially when they have a bit of class to it. And what is classier than Beef Bourguignon? Basically, it is a beef stew made with carrots, mushrooms, potatoes, and fresh herbs. What makes it special is the use of red wine.
Making Beef Bourguignon
While I’m not a fan of slow cooker recipes where you have to do a prep cooking and prefer dump-and-go, since it is a Sunday, I decided to do a luxurious meal. Started my base for Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon with bacon. This is not for the faint of heart since the bacon fat is used in the recipe. Once the bacon is done then I removed and add the seasoned beef cubes searing them. Put the bacon and beef in the slow cooker. Pour in red wine working the nice bits leftover and reducing it then add beef broth, tomato sauce, and soy sauce. Blend that nicely then whisk in the flour. Allow the mixture to become thicker then pour over the bacon and beef. Add minced garlic, fresh thyme sprigs, carrots, mushrooms, and tiny potatoes. Give it a good stir. As a side, you could add pearl onions.
Now the slow cooker recipe I had for this beef stew asked for red cooking wine. Honestly, I don’t know what cooking wine is nor do I care to use it. My philosophy of cooking, while I don’t drink wine or beer, is to use the real stuff. Nice red wine. I had a red Italian wine that did the trick. And do we think the French use cooking wine? Didn’t think so. They use table wine on hand. It also asked for chicken broth, I used beef broth instead. Both additions make it richer. More authentic to how the French would prepare it.
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon is ready to slow cook to moist flavorful perfection. I added fresh thyme from my garden. Always add fresh when you have an opportunity. The broth is going to rich with the wine, broth, tomato sauce, soy sauce, and thyme. You may want to add a crusty baguette.
Looking for other slow cooker recipes, then visit Slow Cooker section.
Slow Cooker Beef Bourguignon
- 5-6 slices bacon, cut into think slices
- 3 lbs. boneless beef chuck, cut to 1 inch cubes
- 1 cup red wine, whatever red you have on hand works
- 2 cups beef bone broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup flour
- 3 Tablespoons minced garlic
- Handful of fresh Thyme
- 5 Medium Carrots, sliced
- 1 pound tri-color baby potatoes
- 8 ounce fresh mushrooms, sliced
- fresh chopped parsley for garnish
- 1 In a large skillet cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Put bacon in slow cooker. Salt and pepper the beef and add to the skillet and sear on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer beef to the slow cooker.
- 2 Add the red wine to the skillet scraping down the brown bits on the side. Allow it to simmer and reduce and slowly add beef broth, and tomato sauce, and soy sauce. Slowly whisk in the flour. Add the sauce to the slow cooker.
- 3 Add garlic, thyme, carrots, potatoes, and mushrooms to the slow cooker.
- 4 Give it a good stir.
- 5 Cook on low until beef is tender for 8-10 hours or high for 6-8.
- 6 Garnish with fresh parley.
Seriously Not Your Granny’s Irish Beef Stew
Unless your granny puts beef and wine in her Irish beef stew. My Irish Granny would never have put alcohol in any food. OK maybe a drop of sherry in the trifle, but that’s about it. My Mom did not cook with alcohol, either. In fact, I honestly only know of Irish folks my age and younger who cook with beer or wine. Not my Mother or Granny’s generations.
What makes this stew special is two things. One is the use of Guinness stout and lots of it was well as wine. The second is marinating the beef overnight in stout, wine, garlic, and soy sauce. The beef is tender and very flavorful though folks eating it may need coffee and dessert before they leave or they may get a DUI.
Remember, Irish beef stew is not just for Saint Patrick’s Day, but a perfect Sunday slow cooker dinner a cold winter’s evening. As my Mom would say in her Irish accent, “It would warm the cockles of your heart.”
Irish Beef Stew Recipe
- 1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 2 bottles Guinness
- 3 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons Better than Beef Bouillon
- 3 carrots, peeled & chopped
- 5-6 new potatoes quartered
- 1 large onion chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper & red pepper, to taste
- 1 bag of frozen peas
- Put soy sauce and garlic in a large freezer bag.
- Add beef then pour one of the stouts and wine over it.
- Seal bag tightly and squish the contents.
- Put in fridge to marinate overnight.
- Strain the juices of the bag into your crockpot keeping the meat separate.
- Sprinkle the meat and garlic with flour and toss to coat.
- Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Add the floured meat bits and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat is browned on all sides.
- As the beef browns, stir together the tomato paste, remaining Guinness, garlic, and bouillon in the slow cooker until combined.
- Add the meat, carrots, potato, onion, bay leaves along with a good amount of freshly ground pepper and a pinch of red pepper.
- Cover and cook on low for 8 hours.
- Shortly before serving, stir in the peas and heat just until the peas are hot.
The Best Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas this side of the Mexican State of Michoacán
For us, a mark of a good Mexican restaurant in the US is how they prepare pork carnitas. Recently we have had trouble finding good carnitas so I decided to make them myself. My first attempts were not successful in the crock pot. While tasty, they lacked the texture. You know that crispiness goodness on the edges and they tasted bland to me. The key to success with this recipe outside of the beer and chiptle spice is browning the meat before it goes into the slow cooker then once it is done, spreading it all out on a baking sheet crisping under the broiler.
Add warm tortillas, shredded cheese, sour cream, lettuce, and salsa, perfection!
Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (4-5 pound) lean boneless pork roast, excess fat trimmed, cut into 3-inch chunks
- 1 bottle beer
- 1 medium white onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon chipotle
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- Heat oil in a large saute pan over high heat.
- Add the pork and sear on each side until browned then transfer to a slow cooker.
- Add the remaining ingredients to the slow cooker, and combine well.
- Cook on low for 6-8 hours until the pork is completely tender and shreds easily with a fork.
- Preheat broiler to high heat.
- Use a fork to shred the meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Transfer pork with a slotted spoon to a baking sheet.
- Spread the pork in an even layer and leaving the juices behind in the slow cooker. (Don’t discard the juices)
- Place the sheet under the broiler for about 5 minutes, or until the edges of the pork begin browning and crisping up.
- Remove the sheet from the oven, then ladle about 1/4 cup of the juices from the slow cooker evenly over the pork.
- Broil for an additional 5 minutes to get the meat more crispy.
- Then remove and ladle an additional 1/4 cup of broth over the crispy pork.
Completely Cheesy Slowcooker Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna
Lactose intolerance folks it maybe advised to look away in regards to this very cheesy spinach lasagna. Unless you wish to torture yourself with a recipe with four different cheeses. It is hard to resist the dairy goodness in this one.
An amazingly simple vegetarian slow cooker meal for anytime of year. It is really a dump and go… OK not exactly dump, but layer and go recipe. If you are the industrious type then you can make your own tomato sauce; however, sauce out of the jar is OK. I use Rao’s. It is the really big jar since there is nothing worst with lasagna is to have dry lasagna. And of course uncooked noodles. Not that you will have that issue with it being in the slow cooker for 4-8 hours. I am a cheese addict so the more cheese the better and the cheese in this recipe is very generous.
While meat lasagna tends to be heavy, this spinach lasagna is very light. If you wanted more veggies, then I would saute them first to soften then add to the cheese mixture. Veggie lasagna coming out of the slow cooker does sound rather nice.
Just a reminder, this will feed a crowd. It is a lot of food. Either throw a party adding a salad and bread or expect to enjoy this everyday for lunch for two weeks. Not that that is a bad thing mind you.
Looking for more slow cooker meals? I have a whole section on that.
Slowcooker Vegetarian Spinach Lasagna Recipe
- 4-6 cups tomato sauce
- 12 to 15 no boil lasagna noodles
- 1 32-ounces container light ricotta cheese
- 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 5-ounces container fresh baby spinach
- 3 cups low-moisture part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
- Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, feta cheese, salt, pepper, chopped garlic, oregano, parsley and eggs; mix until thoroughly combined then add the spinach making sure it is mixed well.
- Spread tomato sauce on the bottom of the pot.
- Arrange a layer of the noodles over the sauce.
- Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the pasta.
- Sprinkle a layer of mozzarella and 1/3 of the parmesan cheese over the ricotta mixture.
- Top with a cup of tomato sauce.
- Repeat these layers until all the ingredients have been used up .
- Top the lasagna with a layer of lasagna noodles covered with tomato sauce and sprinkled with mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-1/2 to 4 hours or LOW for 6 to 8 hours.
- Turn off the crock pot and let stand 30-45 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.