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chipotle mexican grill carnitas

Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas

Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas
Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas



This Chipotle carnitas recipe is a remake of the restaurant favorite that features pork roast slow cooked with a variety of spices until tender. An easy dish that works perfectly as a filling for enchiladas, burrito bowls, tacos and more!

I make Mexican food at least once a week because my whole family loves it. I often get requests for dishes such as traditional Mexican rice, flavorful chicken fajitas, and this melt-in-your-mouth tender Chipotle carnitas.

We often grab a quick lunch or dinner at Chipotle, but it can get expensive over time! I decided I needed to learn how to make some of our favorite menu items at home, such as this Chipotle carnitas. The end result is perfectly tender and flavorful pork with minimal effort.


The carnitas at Chipotle is pork that is slow cooked with seasonings including juniper berries, thyme and bay leaves. After the meat is cooked, it is shredded then ready to go into any number of Mexican style dishes.


    • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil / 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 pounds pork roast such as pork shoulder or pork butt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves / 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries


    • Heat the oil in a large pot over medium high heat.
    • Season the pork roast with the salt and pepper.
    • Place the pork in the pot. Cook on both sides for 4-5 minutes or until golden brown.
    • Transfer the pork to a slow cooker. Add the chicken broth, bay leaves, thyme and juniper berries.
  • Cover and cook for 8 hours on low heat.
  • Uncover the slow cooker and discard the juniper berries and bay leaves.
  • Shred the pork in the slow cooker with two forks.
  • Serve as-is, or place the shredded pork on a sheet pan lined with cooking spray. Spoon 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid over the pork. Broil for 3-4 minutes or until the pork pieces have crispy edges.


  • The secret ingredient in this recipe is the juniper berries, which add a unique, herbaceous flavor. Juniper berries can be found in the herbs and spices aisle of most major grocery stores, and can also be ordered online.
  • It takes a few extra minutes to brown the meat before it goes into the slow cooker, but I really feel like it’s worth the effort to do this step. If you’re in a huge hurry, you can just put the meat in the slow cooker without browning it first, and that will also be fine.
  • This dish will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, and can be frozen for 2 months. I often make a double batch so that I have extra to go into the freezer.
  • Traditionally carnitas is served crispy, either from the shredded meat being finished in a hot pan or under the broiler. When I eat at Chipotle I find their meat has a softer consistency, so I’ve made the crisping step optional.
  • No slow cooker? This recipe can be made in the same way in an oven. Place the seared pork and the rest of the ingredients in a large covered pot, then bake at 325 degrees F for 4 hours or until the meat is tender.

Helpful Tips to make Chipotle Copycat Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Do not use non-stick pans for searing. Cast iron or stainless steel are great alternates to the dutch oven.
  • You can use bone-in or boneless pork but watch your cook time.
  • Searing the meat before placing it in the slow cooker adds another layer of flavor. While you could skip this step, I highly recommend taking the extra 15 minutes and doing it. Trust me the flavor is worth it!
  • If making this with fresh rosemary sprigs, I place them on the bottom of the slow cooker and put the pork roast on top.

What you will need to make Chipotle Copycat Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas

  • Dutch oven – I love this set and use it all the time. It is perfect for roasts and I especially love it for my one-pot meals.
  • Slow Cooker – the slow cooker is almost my most used kitchen appliance, especially during fall/winter! It’s just so convenient, and let’s face it, it makes the comfort food taste even better!


Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas
Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas


Chipotle Mexican Grill Menu Prices

This restaurant sets itself apart from traditional fast food establishments by providing authentic Mexican meals made with naturally grown produce and naturally reared meat. Furthermore, all the ingredients are prepared fresh, either on-site or in one of their central kitchens. Chipotle’s slogan is “Food with Integrity”, they understand the connection between how food is raised and prepared with how it tastes, and that’s what they provide.

The company has dedicated itself to creating superior Mexican cuisine that’s good to eat and good for the environment. Through the entire organization, from produce to the plate, the company has strict regulations to ensure they only deliver the safest, freshest, highest quality meals.

Burrito, Bowl, Tacos & Salad

Burrito (Chicken) $6.50
Burrito (Steak) $7.50
Burrito (Carnitas) $6.95
Burrito (Barbacoa) $7.50
Burrito (Sofritas) $6.50
Burrito (Vegetarian) $6.50
Bowl (Chicken) $6.50
Bowl (Steak) $7.50
Bowl (Carnitas) $6.95
Bowl (Barbacoa) $7.50
Bowl (Sofritas) $6.50
Bowl (Vegetarian) $6.50
Taco (Chicken) 1 Pc. $2.40
Tacos (Chicken) 3 Pc. $6.50
Taco (Steak) 1 Pc. $2.75
Tacos (Steak) 3 Pc. $7.50
Taco (Carnitas) 1 Pc. $2.55
Tacos (Carnitas) 3 Pc. $6.95
Taco (Barbacoa) 1 Pc. $2.75
Tacos (Barbacoa) 3 Pc. $7.50
Taco (Sofritas) 1 Pc. $2.40
Tacos (Sofritas) 3 Pc. $6.50
Taco (Vegetarian) 1 Pc. $2.40
Tacos (Vegetarian) 3 Pc. $6.50
Salad (Chicken) $6.50
Salad (Steak) $7.50
Salad (Carnitas) $6.95
Salad (Barbacoa) $7.50
Salad (Sofritas) $6.50
Salad (Vegetarian) $6.50

Kid’s Menu

Meal Includes Fruit or Kid’s Chips & a Drink
Build Your Own $4.75
Cheese Quesadilla (No Meat) $3.75
Cheese Quesadilla (with Meat or Guacamole) $4.25


Chips & Guacamole $3.25
Chips & Salsa $1.95
Guacamole $1.95
Chips $1.30


Patron Margarita $7.15
Sauza Margarita $4.70
Beer Regular $3.65
Beer Large $4.15
Bottled Water $2.25
Bottled Drink $2.60
Soda Regular $1.80
Soda Large $2.10
Kid’s Drink Regular $1.65



The company was founded in 1993 by Steve Ellis, a classically trained chef. It started with an initial 16 restaurants all based in Colorado. Ellis’ concept was to create a fast food chain that focused on great quality ingredients that are grown or produced locally with a big emphasis on responsible farming and agriculture.

It was in 1998 that Chipotle’s received a big helping hand with massive investment from the McDonald’s Corporation; in fact, by 2001 they were the company’s biggest investor. With investment from such a major food giant, they expanded rapidly and the first location outside of Colorado was opened in 1998, in Kansas City, Missouri.

By the time McDonald’s divested in 2006, the company had grown to over 500 restaurants across a variety of locations.

Nowadays, Chipotle Mexican Grill is a global name, with restaurants spanning the USA, Canada, the UK, France and Germany. In 2013, they were registered to have over 1,900 locations with an estimated $327.4 million net income.

There are also two other key factors to mention when considering Chipotle’s. In 2010, they hired Nate Appleman to assist in developing new cuisine, he was voted as “Best New Chef” by Food and Wine magazine. Through the involvement of top quality chefs, the business has assured the great taste and quality of all the food served there.

Furthermore, in an effort to improve their high food standards even more, it was in 2013 that Chipotle decided to voluntarily disclose which food had GMOs in, something that has only been done by very few companies due to the controversy over the issue. By 2015 they were successful in their mission and had completely eliminated the use of GMO ingredients in all of their food.


Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas
Chipotle Mexican Grill Carnitas



Chipotle’s has a simple, focused menu, preferring quality over quantity. They have four main items: burritos, bowls, tacos and salads. Although each of these options comes with a range of customizable choices: rice, beans, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and four different types of salsa.

Furthermore you also get your filling choice: chicken pork, barbacoa, steak, tofu-based ‘sofritas’ and a vegetarian option. They also have a kids menu if you wanted to bring the little ones along, so you aren’t lacking in choices.

This restaurant is a popular place meaning sometimes the wait times are a little longer than you’d expect, although it’s worth the wait. With the option to pre-order online or simply using the available app on your IPhone or android, you can collect your pre-order when you arrive and save yourself a lot of time. The staff are kind, helpful and speedy and they create a welcoming atmosphere for anyone who visits.

Their most popular items are their burritos, a flour tortilla wrapped with your choice of meat or ‘sofritas’, rice, beans or mixed vegetables, sour cream, guacamole, salsa and cheese. The steak is a firm favorite and even non-vegetarians rave about the tofu-based ‘sofritas’.

Their food is hot, delicious and authentically Mexican, so if you don’t fancy anything too spicy be sure to ask your server the best choice for you. To top this all, Chipotle’s are fantastic value for money with all their items ranging within the $5 to $8 mark.

This is an outstanding example of a fast food chain offering high quality products, and they certainly deliver. Great ambience, fantastic staff, and mouth-watering, freshly prepared authentic Mexican food, Chipotle delivers in all aspects.


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