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Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Carnitas, a Mexican dish where the shredded pork is cooked until slightly crispy on the edges, has to be one of my favourite Mexican meat dishes! When I came across the idea of doing a lighter version with chicken on Jeanettes Healthy Living I knew that I would have to try some chicken carnitas! I pretty much took my pork carnitas recipe and used it for these chicken carnitas and I used the slow cooker to keep things nice and easy. You pretty much just mix the orange juice based cooking liquid, throw it and the chicken in the slow cooker, shred the chicken and broil it until crispy. To help ensure that the chicken stays nice and moist the cooking liquid is mixed in with the chicken before and after it broils. Of course these chicken carnitas can be used in many things like burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, etc. and my favourite way, in simple tacos with fresh diced onions, cilantro and a hit of lime!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Nice and crispy on the edges!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Feel free to use your favourite taco fillings!

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos

Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 6 hours Total Time: 6 hours 10 minutes Servings: 4

A lighter version of carnitas using chicken that is cooked in the slow cooker before being broiled until slightly crispy on the edges and moist and tender in middle!



ingredients
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken breasts or thighs
  • 3/4 cup orange juice (~2 oranges)
  • 1/4 cup lime juice (~2 limes)
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 12 small tortillas
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, torn
  • salsa to taste (I like a salsa verde here)
  • 2 limes, cut into wedges
directions
  1. Place the chicken in the slow cooker along with the mixture of the orange juice, lime juice, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper and cook on low until tender, about 6-8 hours.
  2. Shred the chicken, mix in 1/4 cup of the juices, spread it out in a single layer on a baking sheet and broil until it starts getting crispy, about 5 minutes. Mix in 1/4 cup of the juices, mix everything up and broil for another 5 minutes before mixing in another 1/4 cup of the juices.
  3. Assemble the tacos on the tortillas with the chicken carnitas along with the onions and cilantro and serve with the lime wedges.

Option: Replace juices with beer.
Option: Use your favourite tacos toppings!
Nutrition Facts: Calories 474, Fat 14.6g (Saturated 3.8g, Trans 0), Cholesterol 108mg, Sodium 467mg, Carbs 32g (Fiber 5g, Sugars 5.4g), Protein 53g
Nutrition by: Nutritional facts powered by Edamam

27 comments:

Maria said...

I love that you used the slow cooker!

Jenny said...

Slow cooker recipes are the best! Can't wait to try this one!

Tieghan said...

Mmm! Carnitas!! These look so good! Love the chicken version!

Matt Robinson said...

Slow cooked and crispy edges, perfection. Can't wait to give these a try!

A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

I love me some tacos! These look incredible!

Heather Christo said...

these could not look better!! YUM!

Anonymous said...

In the crockpot right now! can't wait to smell the aroma in about 30-45 minutes....Thanks for sharing!

Jodee Weiland said...

Kevin, this recipe looks so delicious and full of rich flavors! I know this will become a favorite for my family...thanks for sharing!

Gaby said...

Love the slow cooker meals and these are my favorite flavors!!

Karly Campbell said...

Oh, yes. This is happening. We are obsessed with carnitas here and I bet my chicken-loving kids would go nuts for this version!

md said...

Almost makes me consider buying a slow cooker if it would guarantee chicken breasts that aren't dry... But how practical would that be for one person?

Jeanette said...

My son loves carnitas - great idea using chicken and the slow cooker!

bev @ bev cooks said...

Abbbbsolute favorite way to eat tacos! And chicken. And Food.

Pam said...

I have never had these, but they looked so good I've got them in the crock pot now. Thanks!

Julie @ Table for Two said...

Slow cooker recipes are the best! This looks so good and easy!

Anonymous said...

These are really easy and very good, the cilantro & lime rice is good too. It was good inside the tacos! Every recipe I've tried from this site has been good.

Michelle said...

Made these today, they were awesome. Next time I'll double the sauce. When I shredded the chicken it just soaked it all right up. I put salsa on my first one, but not on the other. The flavour is so good, all I used was some cheese and just a little sour cream. My husband just yelled up at me while I'm writing this review " good job babe" , for the third time. Thanks Kevin, it's a keeper.

Marlene said...

To make these ahead, I assume you can do everything up through the shredding and then crisp just before serving? I plan to freeze the leftovers uncrisped too. Made mine overnight, put unshredded chicken and sauce into the refrigerator and will shred and crisp right before dinner.

Marlene said...

To make these ahead, I assume you can do everything up through the shredding and then crisp just before serving? I plan to freeze the leftovers uncrisped too. Made mine overnight, put unshredded chicken and sauce into the refrigerator and will shred and crisp right before dinner.

Marlene Bellamy said...

Wow, these were good! I made a double recipe tonight for Cinco de Mayo, as I was hosting my book group. They were a major hit. I had plenty of sauce, with some leftover.

Marlene Bellamy said...

Also, I made them early in the day and let them sit in the sauce until I was ready to broil them. They didn't crisp up too well but were delicious anyway.

Leah said...

I just made these today and they were SO GOOD! I feel the need to share this recipe with everybody I know. I'm saving this so that we can have it again SOON. Thanks Kevin!

Kevin Lynch said...

Leah: Glad you enjoyed them!

Angela said...

These sound great! I am confused by the instructions about the juices, though. It looks like you put all of the juice in the crockpot to cook. Do you then try to pull the liquid off before broiling the meat? The part about adding 1/4, 1/4, and 1/4 juices doesn't make sense to me if all of the liquid has cooked with the meat.

Kevin Lynch said...

Angela: By 'juices' at the end I am referring to all of the liquid left in the crockpot after removing the chicken. When done cooking there should be plenty of liquid left in the crockpot to mix in with the shredded chicken to help keep it mice and moist.

Gabriella Acuña Lopez said...

I'm dying to try this recipe, but I don't have a slow cooker. Is there any other way of cooking the chicken and still get the same result? Thank you for an awesome and totally inspiring blog! Gabs from Sweden

Kevin Lynch said...

Gabriella Acuña Lopez: You could do it on the stove top. Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces, optionally brown the chicken then add all of the ingredients that went into the slow cooker, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender and easy to shred. Once the chicken is cooked you can continue with the recipe above. You may need to add some extra liquid to the pot, maybe 1/2 - 1 cup chicken broth or water, you want enough liquid so the chicken is just covered. If you do need to add extra liquid, simmer what is left in the pan until it reduces to 1 cup after you remove the chicken.

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