Slow Cooked Dutch Oven Beef Carnitas

Slow cooked for six hours with loads of spices, limes, and oranges, these slow cooked Dutch oven beef carnitas are juicy, tender, and packed full of flavor.

Dutch oven beef carnitas

Dutch Oven Beef Carnitas

I haven’t really had time to get to the store for a big grocery trip with all the moving and unpacking and parenting I’ve been doing. So the other day I walked down to my dad’s shop to snoop around his freezer and whatta ya know, we found two beef chuck roasts that he had tucked away from a local farmer. I knew right away I was making these slow cooked Dutch oven beef carnitas.

Chuck roast is a great choice for a variety of slow cooked meals because it is super economical and as the fats break down during the slow cooking process, the meat gets really tender. Also, it is widely available, unlike some less common cuts like English roasts (my absolute favorite!), or Tri-tip, which might be harder to come by.

ingredients for dutch oven beef carnitas

To make these carnitas, you will need:

  • 3-4 lbs Beef Chuck Roast lightly salted and peppered
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 large white onion chopped into large pieces
  • 2 medium oranges one chopped, one squeezed
  • 2 large limes one chopped, one squeezed
  • 1 cup beef broth
Bone in Chuck Roast
Dutch oven beef carnitas
Shredded beef

Instructions for dutch oven beef carnitas

For these Dutch oven carnitas, you start by searing the roasts on both sides before adding your seasonings and popping them in the oven for the afternoon. I love Dutch oven recipes because you can throw them together and forget about them. Then, about the time the house starts smelling wonderful, you remember that you did that and get so excited because dinner is almost ready!

I lightly salt and pepper my roasts before searing then just toss everything else in whimsically after the roasts are nice and brown. I squeezed in half a fresh lime, then chopped another and tossed it in. Then, I squeezed in a whole orange and chopped another to go in. I love the way the citrus smells as it’s baking and releasing all those delicious juices.

Dutch oven beef carnitas
Dutch oven Beef Carnitas
Dutch oven beef carnitas

toppings for dutch oven beef carnitas

This slow cooked beef is delicious, of course, but the fun is in the toppings! When we make these, some of our favorite toppings are:

  • Chopped lettuce
  • Chopped tomato
  • Fresh squeezed lime
  • Sour cream
  • Chopped Red Onion
  • Shredded Queso Cheese
  • Fresh Chopped Cilantro
  • Homemade Guacamole

I love just spreading out all the festive toppings and serving these along with some homemade Mexican rice, refried beans, and fresh guacamole, and just letting everyone go to town building their own! The fresh veggies make a beautifully colored tablescape and the variety of choices makes it feel like a party. I hope you enjoy this one as much as we do!

FAQ and substitutions

Should I trim off any fat before searing the roasts? No. The slow cooking process will break down the fats and add to the flavor of the dish.

Do I have to sear the roast or can I skip that step? Searing the meat helps to “seal” in the flavors, so while the meat will cook just fine without searing, the end result will be less a flavorful canita.

How do I get the meat crispy before assembling them? I like to set my oven on broil and place the shredded, prepared beef on a baking sheet in the oven for 5 minutes. Alternatively, you can place them in the oven at 450 for 25 minutes. Just be careful not to dry them out.

Why did my carnitas turn out tough? This could happen for a few reasons. First, make sure that your carnitas have enough liquid that they don’t dry out during the slow cooking process. Also, make sure that your oven temp is set properly at 275 and that you let it cook the full length of time. A higher/faster temperature and bake time could result in a tough final product.

Did you make it? Let me know by leaving a review below or tagging me with a pic on instagram
Dutch Oven Beef Carnitas

Dutch Oven Beef Carnitas

Callie Morgan
Slow cooked for six hours with loads of spices, limes, and oranges, these Dutch oven beef carnitas are packed full of flavor.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Servings 12 people


  • 1 dutch oven


  • 3-4 lbs Beef Chuck Roast lightly salted and peppered
  • 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 3-4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp garlic
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1 large white onion chopped into large pieces
  • 2 medium oranges one chopped, one squeezed
  • 2 large limes one chopped, one squeezed
  • 1 cup beef broth


  • Rinse your roast in cool water and pat dry. Then, heat up your oil in the Dutch oven on medium high heat. Lightly salt and pepper both sides of the roast, then sear the roast on both sides and turn off the heat.
    3-4 lbs Beef Chuck Roast, 3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Add in the rest of the seasonings, the onion, and the citrus. Squeeze the juice from one orange and one lime and wash and chop the rest to be thrown in with the roast. Add one cup of beef broth, put on the lid, and cook at 275 for 6 hours.
    3-4 tsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper, 1/2 Tbsp Chili Powder, 1 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp onion powder, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1 large white onion, 2 medium oranges, 2 large limes, 1 cup beef broth
  • After six hours, pull the roast from the oven and shred with a fork. Toss WITH THE JUICES from the Dutch oven and serve hot on flour tortillas with ALL the toppings. Enjoy!
Keyword Beef, Carnitas, Dutch Oven, gluten free

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