Calling all taco lovers! These Slow Cooker Pineapple Carnitas Tacos are an explosion of taste and a breeze to prepare. Tender pork shoulder simmers in a guajillo pepper-infused pineapple juice marinade, resulting in juicy, flavorful shreds that rival traditional tacos al pastor. Pile the goodness onto warm flour tortillas or soft corn tortillas, and don’t forget the fresh pineapple salsa for a touch of sweetness and acidity. 

Colorful salsa in tacos

This easy recipe is a slow cooker meals that is a lifesaver! The leftovers are just as delicious, making it perfect for meal prep or feeding a crowd.  So the next time it’s Taco Tuesday or Cinco de Mayo, whip up a batch and enjoy the fiesta throughout the week!

These slow cooker tacos break away from the traditional carnitas method of slow-cooking pork in copper pots. It’s my creative take, resulting in a dish that’s become one of my favorite ways to prepare pork with a Mexican twist!

What are Carnitas?

Pineapple carnitas tacos in an oval bowl viewed from overhead

Carnitas, meaning “little meats” in Spanish, is a staple in Mexican cuisine. This popular taco filling features slow-cooked pork that gets shredded and boasts incredible flavor.

Pork Shoulder: Your Slow Cooker’s Best Friend

For slow cooker success, look no further than pork shoulder, also known as pork butt.  This cut is ideal because:

  • Built for Slow Cooking: Pork shoulder has the marbling (fat) needed to withstand long cooking times without drying out.
  • Flavor Powerhouse: Slow cooking allows the fat to render, infusing the meat with rich, savory flavor.
  • Shredding Perfection: The connective tissues in pork shoulder break down beautifully during slow cooking, resulting in tender, melt-in-your-mouth shreds that are perfect for tacos, burritos, and more.

Skip the pork tenderloin or loin – they simply won’t deliver the same slow-cooked magic.  Pork shoulder is your key to slow cooker pulled pork perfection!

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker Pineapple Carnitas Tacos

Short on time or no slow cooker? No worries! This recipe can also be prepared in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker for about an hour, making it a weeknight lifesaver.

Slow Cooker Magic!

2 flour tortillas filled with shredded pork and pineapple salsa

This recipe is the epitome of convenience – just toss everything in the crock pot, set it, and forget it!  The tender, shredded pork is incredibly versatile. Pile it onto warm tortillas for delicious tacos, or get creative! Here are some ideas:

  • Tamale Time: Encase the pork in fluffy corn husks for a taste bud adventure.
  • Crispy Taquitos: Roll up the pork in corn tortillas, fry them golden brown, and enjoy a delightful handheld treat.
  • Simple Perfection: Serve the pork over fluffy Mexican rice, add some black beans for heartiness, and garnish with fresh cilantro for a satisfying and colorful meal.

This slow cooker wonder is perfect for busy weeknights or relaxed weekends.

How Do You Make Delicious Shredded Pork Carnitas Tacos?

By building layers of flavor. Get ready for a flavor explosion! Here’s how this recipe creates its magic:

  • Spice Symphony: The first layer of flavor begins with a fragrant rub made from a perfect blend of spices like chili powder, cumin, Mexican oregano, and a touch of cinnamon. 
  • Liquid Gold: Next comes the braising liquid, a delectable sauce bursting with flavor. Dried guajillo peppers lend a touch of smokiness, while pineapple juice adds a hint of sweetness and acidity. Garlic, cumin, oregano, and salt round out this tasty sauce.
  • Slow Cooker Bliss: The seasoned pork slow cooks in this delicious bath for 4 hours, allowing the flavors to meld and the meat to become incredibly tender and shreddable. The result? Pork carnitas perfection!

Taming the Heat

For those who prefer a milder flavor, feel free to remove the seeds from the guajillo peppers before blending.  This reduces the spice level without compromising the smoky depth. 

Soaking the peppers for at least 30 minutes softens them considerably, making blending a breeze and ensuring a smooth, silky sauce. For the smoothest sauce possible, a high-powered blender or food processor is ideal. However, if you don’t have one, no worries!  Simply blend the sauce as best you can, then strain it through a sieve to remove any remaining pepper skins.

Elevate Your Carnitas Tacos

I love topping them with my favorite Pineapple Salsa recipe!  This vibrant salsa bursting with red onion, jalapeno, tomato, and cilantro perfectly complements the sweetness of the pineapple juice in the carnitas and adds a delightful touch of freshness. 

If you’ve made these Slow Cooker Pineapple Carnitas Tacos or any other recipe leave a comment or question below, and don’t forget to leave a star rating.  I love to hear from my readers!

Yield: 8

Slow Cooker Pineapple Carnitas Tacos

2 carnitas pork tacos with pineapple salsa

Pork shoulder is slow cooked in a guajillo pepper, pineapple sauce, shredded and served in tacos with fresh pineapple salsa.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes


  • 6 dried guajillo or ancho peppers, seeds removed
  • 2 teaspoons Mexican oregano
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 pounds pork shoulder
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Remove the pork shoulder from the refrigerator while you prepare.
  2. To a large bowl add the peppers and cover with boiling water, soak until softened, about 30 minutes.
  3. To a small bowl add the oregano, cumin, chili powder, cinnamon and salt, mix well.
  4. Rub the spice mix all over the pork shoulder.
  5. Drain the peppers and add to a blender along with the pineapple juice, garlic, cumin, oregano and salt. Blend until smooth.
  6. Add the pork shoulder to a slow cooker and pour half of the sauce over the pork. Cover and cook for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
  7. There will be liquid in the bottom, do not discard. Remove the bowl from the slow cooker and use 2 forks to shred the pork in the bowl. 
  8. Mix in the rest of the pepper pineapple sauce.
  9. Serve in a flour tortilla with fresh pineapple salsa.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size


Amount Per Serving Calories 543Total Fat 37gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 153mgSodium 341mgCarbohydrates 11gFiber 2gSugar 5gProtein 41g

This nutrition calculation is provided by Nutronix that is only a guideline and not intended for any particular diet.