Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas


The holiday means more time spent with family and friends and less time to prep dinner. Which is why I am obsessed with my slow cooker. I love being able to throw dinner into the slow cooker, set it, and then go run errands. When I get home, the house smells DIVINE and dinner is ready. It is definitely a lifesaver during this busy holiday season.

My latest recipe obsession? These Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas. This recipe feeds an army and freezes like a dream. So, even if you just need to make dinner for 1-2 people, make the whole recipe and then freeze the rest. Then all you need to do is reheat the frozen carnitas and have dinner on the table in fifteen minutes.

These carnitas start with the flavorful spice rub. Combine cumin, chili powder, salt, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and dried oregano in a small bowl and whisk everything together.











Then grab the slow cooker and place quartered yellow onions on the bottom.

Put some boneless, skinless chicken breasts over the onions. I know that the big fear of cooking boneless, skinless chicken breasts is that they get super dried out and tough, but the slow cooker is magical–it will make them tender, juicy, and wonderful.











Sprinkle the dry rub all over the chicken breasts and rub it onto both sides. Pour over a delicious mix of orange and lime juice. The liquid levels were a little low, so I added some low sodium chicken broth until the liquid level just reached the chicken breasts.











When the chicken is cooked, shred it in the slow cooker using two forks. Allow the chicken to sit in the juices for about 5-10 minutes before serving!

I love eating it as is (topped with pickled onion and avocado), but my family prefers it as a quesadilla or taco filling. The options are endless!

A perfect busy weeknight dinner for this hectic season.











Check out more of Catherine’s delicious recipes by visiting Simply A (RD) Foodie and come back here every Wednesday for new recipes!

Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas

Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Serves: 12


  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons dark chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 6 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice from one orange
  • Juice from three limes
  • 1/2-1 cup low sodium chicken broth


  1. In a small bowl, combine cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper, garlic powder, dried oregano, and cayenne pepper. Whisk to combine.
  2. In the bowl of the slow cooker, arrange the onion quarters on the bottom. Lay the chicken breasts on top of the onions. Sprinkle the dry rub evenly on both sides of the chicken breasts. Massage the rub into the chicken. WASH YOUR HANDS
  3. Pour over the orange and lime juices. Add in the rinds of the orange and limes. Add in enough chicken broth until the liquid level just reaches the edges of the chicken breasts.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  5. When the chicken is cooked, remove the orange and lime rinds. Using two forks, shred the chicken into bite-sized pieces. Let the chicken sit in the juices for 5-10 minutes.
  6. njoy as is or use as the filling for tacos, quesadillas, or enchiladas!

Nutritional Information:

(1 serving): Calories: 416 | Fat: 11gm | Saturated fat: 3gm | Carbohydrates: 6gm | Sodium: 698mg | Fiber: 1gm | Protein: 70gm | Cholesterol: 192mg
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Catherine is a registered dietitian, whose love of all things food and cooking started during her study abroad in Italy. She believes that all foods fit into a healthy diet (even chocolate cake), food tastes better when you cook it yourself, and that a well-stocked pantry is a lifesaver. Check her out at Simply a (RD) Foodie.

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