If you follow me on Instagram @lillieeatsandtells, you know I make these easy low-fat slow cooker crispy carnitas ALL the time. It’s just slightly adapted from Sarah DeVore and is the easiest, tastiest, LEANEST protein. Such a perfect one to have on hand at all times to throw in everything! I’ve posted it before in my favorite staple tostada recipe but since I’m always referencing it, I thought it deserved a post of it’s own.
I usually do the crispy carnitas in a slow cooker just because it’s often on a Sunday when I prefer to get all the work over with in the morning and come home to it. But it can also be done in the instant pot. Once it’s all tender and shreddy, I like to crisp it up in a big skillet. You can also bake or broil it for 15 minutes or so but this is my favorite way to get it crispy in no time.
How to Make Your Easy Low-fat Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas
It’s important to take super good care of your meat as your prepping it. Start by trimming off all the fat and then pat it dry. Then you can cut it into small chunks. Season it liberally and then throw it onto a pan and brown it all over to lock in that flavor.
Now you can move the meat over to the slow cooker and add in all the other ingredients. This will be the green salsa, garlic, and onion.
Let it cook for 4-6 hours. When it’s just about done, shred the meat.
When it’s all done cooking, enjoy it any style you’d like! Tacos, sandwiches, rice bowl, you name it.
Check out my recipe below for the Instant Pot and Oven version for the cooking method.
What you Need for Your Easy Low-fat Slow Cooker Crispy Carnitas
- 2-3 pounds pork tenderloin
- Season Salt
- 16 oz jar of Herdez (or any green salsa)
- 8 cloves of garlic (I always use these frozen cubes from Trader Joe’s or Stater Brothers)
- 1 medium white onion
Now it’s ready to put in seriously anything. Rice bowls, burritos, tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, pitas, pizzas, nachos… should I stop? I should stop. Sandwiches? You get it. If we’re not eating it all that night, I’ll keep it juicy from the slow cooker and then just crisp up whatever portion we’re going to eat.
Macro-Tips on weighing this: (Skip this if you’re already a recipe logging pro or if you’re just here for the food and not the macros or you’ll never want to come back!)
- I don’t want to over complicate this, but if you track macros and appreciate things being precise, you’ll want to account for that shrinkage that happens in the second cook. So if you crisp up the entire recipe, you can use the FINAL crispy carnitas weight as your end number… the one you use for your number of servings if you use this method to add your recipes. BUT, if you’re going to use it for different things and not always serve it crispy, I’ll use the final juicy weight in the “number of servings” in my recipe and then when I go to crisp up a pan for dinner, I’d weigh a portion into the pan (600 grams for instance) and then weigh it again after it’s crispy and see by what percentage it shrunk. If I’m lazy I’ll just log a little more than I take to account for it. So don’t stress. (Cooking it takes away some water leaving all the macros but less weight so 120 grams of pork is now maybe 100g but you’re still getting the macros from 120 grams of juicy pork so if you’re recipe reflects the macros of the juicy pork, you’ll want to log that full 120 grams of it.)
Easy Low-Fat Crispy Slow Cooker Carnitas
- 2-3 pounds pork tenderloin Only 2.5 fat for 4oz- I get mine from Costco and usually do one of the packages which is two small loins.
- Season Salt
- 16 oz jar herdez or some green salsa
- 8 cloves of garlic I always use these frozen cubes from Trader Joes or Stater Brothers
- 1 medium white onion diced- weigh it raw and make a note before you add it I used about 250 grams- or estimate if you’re into that because it’s an onion.
- Trim fat off meat and pat dry.
- Cut into chunks, 3-4 inches long. (This helps the pieces be shorter later like carnitas.)
- Season liberally all over with season-salt and sear on all sides in a hot pan with cooking spray to lock in flavor. Get a nice brown crust on it.
- Move to a crock pot and cover with the salsa, garlic, and onion and cook for 4-6 hours or until tender. Shred it and toss in juices. (I like to pull out my chunks and shred them in a new dish then pour a little more than half of the liquid over it. Toss in those juices and then proceed to fry it up.
- OR for instant pot: Season meat, sear in instant pot on sautee setting, then cover with salsa mixture, seal lid and vent, press manual, and up to 45 minutes. When it’s done, let it naturally release for 10-15 minutes, then open the vent , then lid when it lets you easily.
- ***You can use the meat like this, or spread it on a pan and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes to get some crispy pieces, more like authentic carnitas. OR… my favorite way (AND THE ONLY WAY WE DO IT NOW… AND FOR SURE WITH ANY LEFTOVERS) is just crisp up as much as you need in a hot fry pan. Quicker than the oven and SOO good when it gets a good brown on it!
- I don’t want to overcomplicate this, but if you track macros and appreciate things being precise, you’ll want to account for that shrinkage that happens in the second cook. So if you crisp up the entire recipe, you can use the FINAL crispy carnitas weight as your end number… the one you use for your number of servings if you use this method to add your recipes. BUT, if you’re going to use it for different things and not always serve it crispy, I’ll use the final juicy weight in the “number of servings” in my recipe and then when I go to crisp up a pan for dinner, I’d weigh a portion into the pan (600 grams for instance) and then weigh it again after it’s crispy and see by what percentage it shrunk. If I’m lazy I’ll just log a little more than I take to account for it. So don’t stress. (Cooking it takes away some water leaving all the macros but less weight so 120 grams of pork is now maybe 100g but you’re still getting the macros from 120 grams of juicy pork so if you’re recipe reflects the macros of the juicy pork, you’ll want to log that full 120 grams of it.)
Tried this recipe?
Tag @LillieEatsAndTells on Instagram with #LillieEatsandTells! We’d love to see your creations!
I just made this for dinner and it delicious and so easy to make! Thanks for sharing this with us.
Trying this now. Maybe I missed it but do you cook on LOW in crockpot?
So yummy! Thanks for another great recipe! Also, the oven bake at the end made it all the more wonderful. Great advice.
Definitely one of my go to meals! I like to meal prep before each new college semester and this one is PERFECT for meal prep.
The best! Even my 9 year old at this on a tostada for days!!! Win im my book!!!!
A family favorite! We all love this meal
One of the best recipes Ever! So universal… can be prepped and used all Week in different meals!
My hUsband anD i absolutely love this recipe! We’ll Crisp up some street taco sIze corn tortillas in the oven anD top them with oaxaca cheese + carnitas + homemade salsa, aVocado, anD lime…DELICIOUS! The pork is so flavorful and makes amazing leftovers!
So easy, so good. Always a crowd pleaser!
This was one of the first recipes of Lillie’s that I made and my whole family loved It.
This is a staple in our house. It is so flavorful and versatile! I use the Instant Pot and it works great. We love having this on hand for meals throughout the week. Thanks, Lillie!
I maKe this almost weekly! It is wonderful And makes great leftovers too— try it with a fried egg!
This is yummy and versatile.
Such a DELICIOUS and easy recipe !! Pretty sure after the first time i made it (which is a couple months back because its noW on constant rotation) my boyfriend decided he wants to get married lol these are just that good and Your fam will think YOU’RE a chef!!
MAke these at least once a week-seriouslY the best and easiest source of protein to put with everything!!!
Do you only use the onions if you cook it in the slow cooker? Thanks!
No i use them in the instant pot too! For sure!
This was delicious. I made it in a dutch oven in a Breville toaster oven on the slow cook setting on low for 4 hours. The first tenderloin I made was delicious out of the pot, but when I crisped it at 350 for only about 10 minutes and it became dry. The second time I made it, I just skipped crisping it. If I want to crisp it, should I slow cook it for a shorter time? The texture was perfect at 4 hours-it easily shredded. Or should I crips it at a higher temperature? Would love any advice you have.
Can you make this in a dutch oven in the oven? I don’t have a slow cooker or instant pot. If so, what temperature and how long?
I absolutely love this recipe! I’ve made it every week for probably 3 months now! I just don’t get sick of it, it’s so easy to prep and the macros are fantastic. I finally bought an instant pot this week mainly to make this recipe! It was a breeze! Try this! It’s so simple and everyone loves it!
Fantastic recipe! Whole family loves it…
Have you tried making double/triple the servings? If so, how long do you leave in instant pot/crockpot? Thanks! Excited to try this recipe (:
Quick question- do you add any liquid in addition to the salsa mixture for the instant pot? I always seem to get the burn notice with my instant pot so now I’m gun shy 🤣
This is some of the best meat I’ve tried! What a great recipe, and the macros are aweome too! It’s easy and simple, crisps up nicely in the pan and the flavor is amazing! We’ve been eating it in tacos, quesadillas, rice bowls, and on salads all week. It will be a staple!
I’m so glad you loved it!
How long would I cook in the instant pot if the pork was still frozen?
I’m so sorry I’m just responding to this! And I’ve actually never done the pork from frozen because I always want to chop into chunks and sear… so I can’t say with confidence! So sorry!
I just made this and am blown away! I used pork shoulder and spent about an hour (seriously) trimming off every bit of fat I could find.. next time I’ll try the loin if I can find it! … after I got done with that it was so easy and turned out absolutely delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your ways!! I ate with rice and your chipotle cream sauce. YUM 😋
Yum! And so glad it was a success! Thanks for letting me know!
Maybe I missed it but it says move to crockpot for 4-6 hours but it doesn’t say whether it’s on high or low. Which one do you typically do? Thanks!
I’m so sorry I just saw this! I need to find a better way to catch my comments from my phone. And you didn’t miss it! I didn’t think to put it oops! Probably because I’m not always precise myself on this stuff… So to be honest I’ve probably done both and it works! But generally low. High if I’m worried at all that I could run short on time. Don’t know if I’ve noticed a difference! Hope it worked if my response was too late!