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Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

Tender, seasoned braised chicken served on a warm tortilla and garnished with avocado, sour cream and cilantro
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time5 hrs
0 mins
Total Time5 hrs 10 mins
Course: Entree
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 carnitas
Calories: 100kcal
Author: Anecia Hero - SmartyPantsKitchen



  • 2 lbs chicken white and/or dark
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin divided
  • 2 tablespoons chile powder divided
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder divided
  • 2 tablespoons Adobo sauce ( optional: see recipe notes)
  • juice from six limes
  • 1 tablespoon salt divided
  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 1 jalapeno cut into strips
  • cilantro as garnish


  • Season chicken with 1 tablespoon each: garlic powder, chile powder, ground cumin. Sprinkle ½ tablespoon salt over the chicken
  • Pour chicken broth into slow cooker; add lime juice; place chicken in broth
  • Top chicken with sliced onion and jalapeno
  • Cook on low for 4 hours
  • After 4 hours, remove chicken and shred; season with remaining spices and add Adobo sauce; (optional: see recipe notes); combine well
  • Using a measuring spoon, remove about 1/2 cup of the liquid from the slow cooker; discard
  • Add shredded chicken back to slow cooker and allow to simmer on low for at least 30 minutes
  • Remove shredded chicken and place on warm flour tortilla; garnish with cilantro, sour cream and/or avocado


Should I Use White or Dark Chicken for Chicken Carnitas?

Dark or white chicken meat works great in this recipe. Use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts, or use a combination of the two. Dark meat seems to have a little more flavor, but the seasonings in this recipe will work well for either type of meat.

How Do I Make Carnitas?

The beauty of this dish is that the slow cooker does the work for you! Just prep a few items:
  • Season chicken cuts with 1/2 of the spices: ground cumin, chile powder, garlic, salt and pepper
  • Pour about 1 cup of chicken broth into slow cooker
  • Place seasoned chicken in cooker and set timer to 5 hours
  • Slice onions and/or jalapeno peppers and place on top of chicken; put the lid on and you're done!
  • Once the chicken is done(it smells delicious!!) remove it from the slow cooker and shred it
  • Place shredded chicken back in slow cooker and add remaining seasonings. Let sit at least 30 minutes;
  • Remove meat, place on tortilla and garnish with sour cream, avocado or cilantro

What is Adobo Sauce?

Adobo sauce is a brownish-red sauce, usually found in canned Chipotle peppers. It has a little heat to it, so if you do not like spicy, you can choose not to include the sauce.


Calories: 100kcal