Make these Slow Cooker Carnitas Burrito Bowls with tender pork carnitas, street corn salad, cilantro-lime rice, and all your favorite fixings.
Best Burrito Bowl!
These carnitas burrito bowls are one of Fit Foodie Finds’ most popular meal-prep recipes! So many of you have made this recipe and we recently gave it a bit of a makeover to make it even better.
We love bowl recipes because they are composed of many different things all in one! This carnitas bowl recipe is made up of a few of our favorite recipes.
Components of the bowl
Let’s Talk – Carnitas
In order to make perfectly cooked, juicy carnitas, we highly suggest using the slow. Our slow cooker carnitas recipe is incredible tasty, fall-off-the-bone tender, and so easy to make!
Here’s what you need:
- Pork shoulder: pork shoulder is an excellent cut of meat for carnitas because it’s a tougher part of meat so it needs to be cooked longer,
- Spices: this pork is all about the spice rub! Star spices include garlic powder, chipotle powder and chili powder.
- Olive oil: olive oil is used to sear the meat to get the outside nice and crunchy before slow cooking.
- White onion: white onion is slow cooked with the pork to infuse it with flavor.
- Garlic: when in doubt, add more garlic.
- Broth: broth is used to help tenderize the pork while cooking.
- Orange Juice: orange juice? Just trust us! It adds amazing flavor.
How to Cook Carnitas
Once you’ve got all of your ingredients for the carnitas, cooking it goes like this:
- Dry rub the meat
- Sear the meat
- Slow cook
To get the full instructions for this carnitas recipe, check it out HERE or scroll down to the recipe card.
Slow Cooker Carnitas
This carnitas recipe is slow-cooked for 8 hours and then broiled so that they are super tender on the inside, but nice and crispy on the outside.
Cilantro Lime Rice
Cilantro lime rice is one of my favorite side recipes on Fit Foodie Finds. It’s flavorful, filling, and goes so well with any burrito bowl recipe.
Our cilantro lime rice recipe is super basic, made with just a few ingredients. Here’s what you need:
- Long-grain brown or white rice
- fresh cilantro
- Garlic powder
- Sea salt
want to make this low-carb?
Get all of the same flavors of cilantro lime rice, but with less carbs and calories. Try swapping the white rice for cauliflower rice!
Cilantro Lime Rice
Make this u003cstrongu003ecilantro lime riceu003c/strongu003e for an easy and flavorful addition to any of your favorite meals!
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Mexican street corn salad on its own is a flavor burst of a salad! It’s fresh, packed with veggies, and so delicious in this carnitas burrito bowl.
We simplified this corn salad in this recipe a bit so you didn’t need as many ingredients as our classic Mexican street corn salad. Here’s what you need:
- Lime juice
- Apple cider vinegar
- Red onion
- Cotija cheese
- Salt and pepper
Mexican Street Corn Salad
Take dinner up a notch and add this u003cstrongu003eMexican Street Corn Saladu003c/strongu003e to the menu! This delicious healthy side dish is made with grilled corn, fresh veggies, and the most delicious cotija yogurt sauce.
Other Burrito Bowl Ingredients/Toppings
Once you’ve got the three main components of this burrito bowl ready to go, it’s time to assemble your bowls! Now, you have a couple of choices. You can either assemble these right in a bowl or make them in a meal-prep container for later.
Other ingredients you will need include:
- Black beans
- Romaine lettuce
- Cotija cheese
- Greek yogurt/sour cream
We recommend meal-prepping this Carnitas Burrito Bowl recipe into separate glass meal-prep containers so that you can have an easy grab-and-go option.
These burrito bowls will last for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Slow Cooker Carnitas Burrito Bowls
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1.5 teaspoons chipotle powder
- ½ tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ tablespoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground oregano
- ½ teaspoon paprika powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 pound pork shoulder
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium white onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup broth any kind
- ¼ cup orange juice
- fresh lime juice for serving
- cilantro for serving
Cilantro Lime Rice
- 2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
- 4 cups water
- ½ cup fresh cilantro chopped (not packed)
- ⅓ cup fresh lime juice
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt*
- 1 15- oz. can yellow sweet corn drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup minced red onion
- 1/3 cup crumbled cotija cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
Other Bowl Ingredients
- 1 15- oz. can black beans drained and rinsed
- 8 cups chopped romaine lettuce
- Lime wedges for serving
- Optional: Greek yogurt/sour cream
- Combine the spices for the dry rub in a small bowl and set aside.
- Season the pork shoulder with the dry rub by massaging the pork with the spices on all sides. Let it sit for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the white onion, garlic, and broth into the slow cooker and turn your slow cooker to high.
- Heat a large skillet over medium/high heat. Add olive oil. When olive oil is fragrant, add the pork shoulder to the pan. Brown both sides of the pork shoulder for 3-4 minutes on each side.
- Transfer the browned pork shoulder into the slow cooker and pour the orange juice over the meat and then cover the slow cooker. Cook the pork shoulder on high for 7-8 hours or until the pork falls apart.
- Once the pork is done cooking, preheat the oven to 450ºF and spray a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray.
- Uncover the slow cooker and use 2 forks to carefully shred the pork. It should be super tender and easy to shred. Toss the shredded pork with all of the juices in the slow cooker.
- Transfer the shredded pork to the baking sheet and spread it out. Then, bake at 450ºF for around 5-7 minutes to make your carnitas nice and crispy.
- Remove the pork from the oven and squeeze on fresh lime juice. Then, sprinkle on fresh cilantro.
- Serve in a taco, in bowls, in a burrito, etc.
Cilantro Lime Rice
- Place 2 cups of rice and 4 cups of water into a medium-sized pot. Then, bring to a rolling boil over medium/high heat.
- Reduce heat to low and cover for 35-40 minutes, or until water is absorbed, stirring halfway through.
- Transfer the rice into a bowl and let cool in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
- Next, chop fresh cilantro and juice limes.
- Once the rice has cooled, add in chopped cilantro, lime juice, garlic powder, and sea salt. Stir to combine. Set aside.
- Place all of the ingredients for the street corn salad in a large mixing bowl and stir until combined. Set aside.
- Place about 1 heaping cup of romaine lettuce on the bottom of your bowl. Add around 4-oz. carnitas, about 3/4 cup cooked cilantro lime rice, 1/2 cup street corn salad, and 1/4 cup black beans to the top of the romaine lettuce. Repeat in three other bowls.
- Serve with fresh lime, cilantro, Greek yogurt, and more cotija cheese.
Tips & Notes
- Instant Pot: If you'd like to make Instant Pot Carnitas, turn your Instant Pot to the saute function. Add olive oil to the bottom and sear all sides of your pork for 1 minute. Then, turn your Instant Pot off and add garlic and a little more olive oil to your Instant Pot. Close lid, turn the valve to seal and cook on manual high for 60 to 90 minutes. Once the timer has gone off, quick release your Instant Pot to let out the steam. Shred and add the rest of the carnitas ingredients. Option to follow THIS recipe.
- This recipe was updated on April 2, 2021. Get the original recipe HERE.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.
So delicious!! I used a pork butt shoulder when it was .99 cents per pound. I bought a 6.5 pound pork and cut it in half. I added avocado and Mexican hot sauce to my bowl!
Here’s the pork!
We LOVE this recipe. It is such a great find for a busy working mom. Throwing this in the crockpot Sunday easily gets us dinners Sunday through Wednesday. We use it in so many different ways. Burritos bowls are my favorite but I also love tacos and nachos. Thanks for this!
Does the original recipe still live anywhere? I will definitely give this new version a try, but my husband loves the original recipe and is like to keep a copy of it!
Delicious recipe! Thanks for the easy step-by-step instructions. Will definitely make again. Highly recommend!
These look amazing, lady!!
First a quick note: the carnitas have garlic powder listed twice, once for 1 TB and once for 1/2 TB.
Unfortunately, I realized too late that this was basically an entire different carnitas recipe and flavor profile. I have made the original recipe several times and liked how simple and tangy it was. This new one was strong on the cinnamon and sweetness, and not enough tang or salt (used about 2.5 lb of pork shoulder). It would be helpful to more obviously state this is an update (and in my opinion, an entirely different, carnitas recipe).
Good catch on the garlic! So sorry you didn’t like this one. The OG recipe is linked in the recipe card.
Made this with chicken instead of pork and mixed the black beans with the corn salsa. Delish!
Do you eat this cold if you decided to take this to work for lunch? I asked because of the lettuce in the bowl. Thanks for your response.
You can do either!
So you don’t add the seasonings and juices to the pork until AFTER it’s cooked in the slow cooker?
I’m super confused about this too. I’ve re-read the directions a million times and I don’t get it. I’m making it today and just decided to add all of the ingredients into my crockpot while it’s cooking. It doesn’t make sense to me to do it afterwards.
Yes, you add the seasonings after the meat is cooked. It makes it so flavorful!
This looks sooo yummy!!! I just got all the ingredients to make it. Can I use my insta pot instead of a slow cooker though? Do you know how long I should cook it for in the insta pot and if I need to add liquid? Thanks so much!
We have a similar IP Pulled pork recipe — https://fitfoodiefinds.com/instant-pot-pulled-pork/ Check it out!
This recipe is so amazing! My partner and I both work shift work at the hospital and this was such a huge treat to eat when working a night shift (Way better than a lame ol’ ham n cheese sandwich! Hahaha). I did choose to pack the lettuce, the street corn salad and some fresh tomatoes in one container. Then I put the pork, black beans and cilantro rice mixture into a container that I heat to pour over top. (And I made double the portion of the pork because honestly who doesn’t love extra shredded pork!) Thank you for your website. I was running out of meal ideas until I found this gem!
So glad you guys love this recipe!!
I thought I would leave a comment about my experience cooking this recipe since so many people were perplexed by the slow cooker aspects. I made the recipe with chicken instead of pork and I was also confused by the slow cooker instructions seeming contrary to everything I know about slow cooking. The only thing that might make sense is if you put all of the carnitas ingredients in the slower cooker, including the juices. But instead of trying that, because I wasn’t sure how that would turn out, I decided to just skip the slow cooker entirely and cook the chicken in a skillet with the oil and the dry spices. I added some of the dry spices to the oil while the chicken was first cooking, then once the chicken was safely cooked all the way through, I broke it up a bit with my spatula. Then I added some more of the dry spices and continued to cook it until it was a bit more browned. Then I turned off the heat and added the wet carnitas ingredients (the canned green chilis, the juices). And I finished by breaking up the chicken a bit more until it was more pulled chicken like. I can’t speak to trying this with pork, since I don’t eat pork, but it worked great with chicken. Other than the odd instructions for how to cook the meat, I really like this recipe overall. The corn salad and the cilantro rice are particularly tasty and different from my usual routine lunches. I used frozen corn and cooked dry black beans in the Instant Pot instead of canned. I would also agree with some other reviewers that the calorie count seems off. I think it’s still a very healthy meal for the average person, but I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone on a very calorie restricted diet, unless you used chicken and left out a lot of the cheese. I really liked how little chopping was involved in making a fairly healthy, fun, and delicious meal. It went much faster than a lot of my meal-prep lunch recipes. Highly recommend for meal prepping for the week if you are ok with cooking your meat on a skillet and skipping the slow cooker!
You know I read the list wrong and added all the pork ingredients into the slow cooker after Browning the meat… came out really nice
The flavoring of the meat is great, but the recipe instructions for cooking it are WAY off. Just a little olive oil for a very small pork loin all day in the crock pot? I put it on my crock pots lowest setting, and by the time I got home 8 hours later, there was nothing left of my pork loin but a burnt log! I am lucky that my house didn’t burn down before I got back. I recommend altering this recipe to include some kind of liquid ingredients in the first step. I don’t see how anyone turned out perfectly cooked carnitas by following the crock pot instructions.
This is very good, however the nutrition information is misleading and therefore disappointing. MyFitnessPal calculated this recipe to be 690 calories before adding on the rice! Now I have a lovely lunch to eat this week that will blow my calorie count.
I haven’t quite finished crafting the recipe yet, but four or five hours into the cooking of the meat the edges of the pot started to burn. So far the meat is fine, but I realized (thanks to a handy reddit post) that there needed to be more liquid in the pot whereas the recipe only recommends one tablespoon of olive oil and some garlic.
These were amazing. My family loved them. This was delicious and hubby approved! Thanks for sharing it.
I made this recipe this weekend and it tastes great! My only issue is that the calorie count is way off. I am on a calorie restricted diet and made this specifically because it was around 400 calories. Not sure if that calorie count was made using chicken. A 4 oz serving of pork butt has about 350 calories alone! My calculations come out to approximately 600 calories per serving (4 oz meat, 3/4 cup brown rice, 1/2 corn, and 1/4 cup black beans). So beware – this is NOT a low calorie meal!
My 600 calorie count also included reducing the pork butt to a 3 oz portion. If you left it at 4 oz, it would come out to just under 700 calories.
I made this Sunday night and my husband had THREE tacos with it and has been saying all week that it’s “restaurant quality” and is already asking to make it again. I did it with a 1 pound pork loin in the Instant Pot for 20 minutes and just a little extra orange and lime juice 🙂 Thanks for the great recipe!!
YESSSSS!! Glad you guys loved it!
Do you eat it cold?
We like eating it warm, but feel free to eat it cold!
The corn salad takes this dish to another level. So good! I topped it with a little mayo mixed with sauce from chipotles in adobo. Great recipe!
I’ve made this twice and love it, but both times with chicken. Do you have any idea how the nutritional information changes if you use chicken instead? I would think less fat.
Hey Tina! I don’t know exactly, but yes less fat for sure!