Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa

Well hello there again! It’s me, Danae, from Recipe Runner! I’m so excited to be back on Ashley’s wonderful blog sharing another recipe with you guys. If you remember last time we all drooled over these delicious No Bake Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes. As much as I wanted to share another sweet treat with you, I thought I would take the savory route and share my easy to make and healthy Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa.

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa | Recipe Runner | Tender carnitas cooked in the slow cooker and topped with a sweet and spicy apple salsa!

Now I know healthy, easy, and carnitas aren’t usually used in the same sentence, but I’m here to show you that they can be. Carnitas are one of my favorite types of meat to put in a taco. The problem is, when you order them at a restaurant they are guaranteed to be dripping in grease with bits of crispy fat surrounding them. Yeah, yeah, I know, the crispy salty fat is delicious, but my jeans would tend to disagree with me if I ate them all the time. So, how can I still indulge in my favorite taco filling and keep my waistline in check? Pork tenderloin of course! Pork tenderloin is mostly used for roasting or grilling, but it is also a wonderful leaner option to use instead of pork shoulder. True, that because it doesn’t have the fat that pork shoulder has it lacks some of the flavor, but you won’t even notice with the added spices, juices, and beer.

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa | Recipe Runner | Tender carnitas cooked in the slow cooker and topped with a sweet and spicy apple salsa!

To make the carnitas all you have to do is cut the excess fat off of 2 one pound pork tenderloins and place them in your slow cooker. To the pork add the juice of an orange and lime, beer, green salsa, and a slew of delicious Mexican spices. Pop the lid on the slow cooker and let the meat simmer away in the spices and juices for 4-6 hours. As the aroma of the carnitas fills your house, your stomach will start to growl and your mouth will start to water, don’t worry this is all normal. Once the carnitas are cooked, use two forks and shred the pork. There you have it! The easiest, leanest, tastiest pork carnitas that ever came out of a slow cooker! While I could have stopped there and just put the meat on a tortilla with a little cheese, I decided I needed to make a sweet and spicy salsa to put on top. Since apples are in season and I have yet to share anything apple this year, I figured why not make the apples the star of this salsa. The apples are perfect to use because they are sweet and crunchy which is the perfect contrast to the savory and tender pork. The salsa is just as easy to make as the carnitas. All you need are a couple of diced up apples, chopped red onion, cilantro, lime juice, chili powder, honey, and salt. Mix everything together in a bowl, then refrigerate it until you are ready to eat your tacos. Seriously you guys, aren’t slow cooker meals the best! Not to mention, you will have plenty of meat leftover for the next time you get a carnitas taco craving. If you are anything like me, that salty, Mexican, pork craving hits at least once a month! What are you waiting for grab your pork, beer, slow cooker, and apples, and make yourself some tacos!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa | Recipe Runner | Tender carnitas cooked in the slow cooker and topped with a sweet and spicy apple salsa!

Yields 8 servings

Slow Cooker Carnitas Tacos with Apple Salsa

20 minPrep Time

6 hrCook Time

6 hr, 20 Total Time

Save Recipe


    For the Carnitas
  • 2 pounds pork tenderloin, excess fat and silverskin removed)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup green salsa
  • Corn or flour tortillas for serving
  • For the Apple Salsa
  • 2 apples, diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
  • 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 lime, juiced


    To Make the Carnitas
  1. Place the pork tenderloin in the slow cooker and top it with all of the spices, the orange and lime juice, beer, and salsa.
  2. Cover the slow cooker and set it to low, letting the meat cook for 4-6 hours depending on how fast your slow cooker cooks.
  3. Once the meat is cooked, use 2 forks and shred it.
  4. To Make the Apple Salsa
  5. In a medium sized bowl add all of the ingredients and stir together.
  6. Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.
  7. Serve the carnitas on corn or flour tortillas and topped with the apple salsa.


Recipe adapted from Pinch of Yum.


More Slow Cooker Recipes!

Slow Cooker Pumpkin, Turkey, Kale Chili | Recipe Runner | A big bowl of hearty healthy chili is the best way to warm up on a cold day!Slow Cooker Pumpkin, Turkey, Kale Chili

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup - the best weeknight meal! Chicken Enchilada Soup

Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Stew | Recipe Runner | Spicy green chiles and shredded pork are the perfect combination in this southwest stew!Slow Cooker Green Chile Pork Stew

Pulled Pork Biscuit Sandwiches | Recipe RunnerPulled Pork Biscuit Sandwiches

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  1. Chelsea @chelseasmessyapron

    These look and sound amazing!! I love the idea of an apple salsa – perfect for this time of the year!

  2. Renee @ Two in the Kitchen

    These look absolutely amazing!!! I am drooling for one right now even though it’s only 7am!! 🙂

  3. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel

    Loving this apple salsa — I’ve never seen anything like it! Looks SO good, just as good as any dessert 😉

  4. Erin @ Simple, Sweet & Savory

    LOVE the idea of the sweet apple salsa with pork. And double yay that it’s a slow cooker recipe. Can’t wait to try it!

  5. Sues

    I loveee the idea of an apple salsa! Especially with delicious-looking carnitas like this 🙂

  6. Kelly

    I love finding new slow cooker meals especially when they are healthy 🙂 These carnitas look amazing with the apple salsa!

  7. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom

    Danae, love love love these slow cooker carnita tacos!! and the apple salsa is brilliant!! Way to use fall apples. . I love this! Pinned!

  8. Thalia @ butter and brioche

    As a serious Mexican food lover this taco recipe will definitely come in handy for me.. especially loving that apple salsa, I have never made or eaten anything like it before!

  9. Mira

    I love tacos of all kind! This is such a great idea, to serve them with apple salsa! Easy and a must try, pinning!

  10. Arpita@ The Gastronomic Bong

    Oh my God!! This is so amazing.. l love all the fruity flavour in this … this is gonna be a definite hit with my friends and family.. Yumm!!

  11. Jeremey

    this sounds delicious…. I’m not huge pork fan, might try this with chicken instead.

  12. Rose

    Holy cow! I made this tonight and it was out of this world good. My husband and I were shocked at the marvelous flavors from the very first bite and we both went back for more. Thank you for a wonderful way to use our surplus of apples. My husband is already thinking of other ways to use the delicious apple salsa.

    • Ashley

      Hi, Rose! I am so glad to hear that you loved it! You can never have too much apple salsa 🙂

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  16. Loreen

    It all looks so good. Is there a book to purchase or how do I save these to my phone so I can try them?

    • Ashley

      Hi Loreen! I do not have a book available for purchase but you can print them or save the recipes on Pinterest. You can also sign up for my newsletter featuring all new recipes.

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