Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas

Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas – Tender, slow cooked beef just begging to make the best tacos you’ve ever eaten.

Simple Savory Beef Carnitas from
I know. Carnitas are traditionally made with pork. But, well, beef was what I could find at a good price and we wanted tacos. Tacos are a serious business at our house. We take them quite seriously. I, for one, am never satisfied with a ground beef taco. It feels like the peanut-butter-and-grape-jelly-on-Wonder-bread of tacos. They get the job done, but you can always do better, add more flavor, and make it more exciting.

We LOVE our shredded beef taco recipe (and I still whole-heartedly recommend you try it if you haven’t). It’s delicious. But they do require a bit of planning ahead, and I don’t always have the time to go through the browning and the chipotle pepper and spice-blend pureeing steps. Enter: beef carnitas. In the slow cooker.

Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas - These make the best tacos, taco salads, or nachos! from Simple Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas. These are the best!
These were a cinch to pull together. I had a few spare moments after Milo went to bed and Sophie was happily playing with Michael after dinner one night, so I sliced up the veggies, sprinkled the spice rub on the beef and refrigerated it in the crock overnight. The next morning, I pulled out the crock, settled it into the slow cooker and forgot about it till many hours later. With a quick shred (I was able to just pinch the meat with tongs and it fell apart), we were ready to go.

We served these plain with corn tortillas (we love Tortilla Land brand that you cook yourself. They also happen to be gluten-free, but we loved them even before that was a concern). You could certainly dress them up with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, sour cream, salsa, or guacamole. I liked mine with a little of our favorite mango-pineapple salsa and some guacamole. Michael did it man-style: meat + tortilla + a few manly grunts here and there. If you’re Paleo or on Whole30, you can skip the tortillas and make a big salad out of the carnitas.

Whatever you fancy, these are delish.

p.s. If you’re on the hunt for a great slow cooker, we’ve been really happy with ours. It’s easy to program and has clips on the lid to prevent spills. Holla! 
Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas - These make the best tacos, taco salads, or nachos! from We can't get enough of these Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas. Paleo, GF, and Whole30 approved!

5.0 from 4 reviews
Slow Cooker Beef Carnitas
If your slow-cooker has a removable crock, you can prep this the night before. Follow all steps up until cooking and refrigerate overnight. The next morning, put the crock in the slow cooker, set it to low, and you're ready to go!
Serves: about 8
For the beef carnitas:
  • 2-3 lbs chuck roast
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • 1 onion, sliced (I like sweet onions)
  • 1 green pepper, sliced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 1 (4oz) can diced green chiles (don't drain)
For serving:
  • corn tortillas*
  • your favorite taco toppings: shredded lettuce, salsa, guacamole, cheese, sour cream, cilantro, etc.
  1. Place rump roast in the slow cooker. In a small bowl, whisk together chili powder, salt, pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. Sprinkle spice mixture over the roast. Scatter the onion, bell peppers, and green chiles over the roast.
  2. Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until beef is pull-apart tender. (You should be able to easily shred it with a fork or a pair of tongs).
  3. Serve with corn tortillas and your favorite taco toppings.
*Gluten & Dairy Free Notes: not all corn tortillas are gluten free. Read your package to be sure. We like Tortilla Land cook-your-own corn tortillas. They're gluten and dairy free and are delicious and soft (i.e. they don't crack or split when you bend them). Also, this is common sense, but skip cheese and sour cream if you're dairy free.

Recipe adapted from Eat Live Run


  1. Momma Lynn says

    My mouth is watering. We love taco’s but hate ground beef. Thank you for a wonderful alternative!

  2. says

    These were fantastic and easy since I keep bell pepper strips frozen in my freezer. It took only a few seconds to throw together and made a TON.

  3. Tobie says

    These were a huge hit with my family! Than you for sharing this great recipe. I didn’t marinate overnight but decided to sear the seasoned meat first, worked well, crockpotted it all day. My house still smells yummy the morning after!

  4. Melissa says

    We made these tonight and everyone loved them! The meat had just the right amount of seasoning to add flavor without taking away from all my other favorites (avocados, cilantro, sour cream, etc..) Thanks for sharing!

  5. says

    Emily we love this recipe. We have made it multiple times since you posted it and it has become an instant staple in our house. I’m featuring it on my fabulous friday post tomorrow just to give you a heads up. Miss you girl and keep the great recipes coming!

  6. Nanci says

    Wow this looks delish. I have some chuck roast that I cut up do you think 8 could use that
    Tha ks

    • says

      Nanci – Absolutely! Since the meat is in smaller pieces, you may just want to check it 1-2 hours earlier. It will probably be tender sooner. Yum! Hope you love them!

  7. Tania says

    Instead of cooking it on low, could I cook it on high for a shorter amount of time? Any idea how long that might be if I cook it on high?

    • says

      Tania – That should be just fine! When switching from low to high, I generally half the time, so I’d say 3-4 hours on high should do the job. Just so long as the meat shreds easily, you’ll know they’re done!

  8. ANA says

    I have now made this several times. My family begs for them which is just fine with me. We love them and it is really easy to make. Thank you for the recipe and also the tip about the corn tortillas-I will never go back to the ones I used to use.

    • says

      Karen – I don’t. In all the times I’ve made this, the beef releases it’s own liquid shortly into the cooking process, and it’s enough to keep everything from burning. If you’re nervous, you could put a little beef stock or water in, but I wouldn’t add more than about 1/2 cup at the very most.

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