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Tender, juicy, flavorful, crispy caramelized chicken carnitas of your dreams! This is an award-winning chicken carnitas recipe that your taste buds will fall in love it. Oven, stove top and slow cooker methods included!

Okay, so the award was given by my Salvadorian better half, which really should count for something, right…? But If there was a chicken carnitas recipe award out there, this recipe would take it home. It is that legit!

The man has been embracing my wanna be forever vegetarian dishes, like the roasted veggies Autumn salad, and Sweet Potato Rounds. So he has rightfully earned a carnivore’s dream meal, a healthy dinner of the most tender and moist chicken carnitas.

Little shredded pieces of meat, originally from Michoacán Mexico, and traditionally made out of braised pork shoulder then quickly fried in its own fat/lard (confit in chef’s lingo) for that caramelization to happen.

We are going to use dark meat chicken instead and caramelize them under the broiler flames, clean, healthy, easy and delicious! I won’t lie you guys, I cheated and had a few small bites myself. So darn delicious I could barely handle not diving into the pan.

Tough they are fabulous in tacos, I served my chicken carnitas inside of perfectly roasted acorn squash bowls. This combination is divine! I made sure to season the inside of the squash really well with similar Latin spices as thecarnitas. Dreamy to say the least!

To braise the chicken carnitas I used organic boneless skinless chicken thighs, the first 2 oranges from the tree ( you can also use beer), and a good dash of Latin spices I mixed together. Cover tightly with a lid, and cook them slowly in the oven until they fall apart when touched with a fork.



  • 3 lb chicken thighs boneless skinless
  • 2 oranges juiced ( may be replaced with beer)
  • 3 strips orange peel
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp honey
  • 1/4 c pepitas toasted
  • 1/3 c cilantro leaves + edible flowers for garnish
  • 2 limes cut into wedges
  • 3 acorns squash for serving optional

Chicken Carnitas Seasoning:

  • 2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin + more to taste
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder


  1. Oven Method: Preheat your oven to 325”F.
  2. In a large cast iron dutch oven add 2 tbsp of olive oil and layer the chicken thighs on top. Sprinkle with the chicken carnitas seasoning: sea salt, garlic and onion powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes and chili powder. Add the garlic cloves and orange peels.
  3. Pour the orange and lime juice over the top and give everything a good toss to coat. Cover with a tight lid and transfer to the preheated oven for 1 1/2 hours until the chicken i tender and falls apart when stabbed with a fork.

You can find complete recipes of this CHICKEN CARNITAS RECIPE in

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