Slow Cooker Pulled Pork


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Slow cooker pulled pork is incredibly juicy, tender and flavorful with the perfect blend of spices. It’s an easy “set it and forget it” slow cooker recipe that’ll you’ll love.

Pulled pork is great for serving a crowd or for weekly meal prep – especially as there’s so much you can do with it! And let’s be honest, pulled pork tacos are the best.

Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

My slow cooker is one of the most used appliances in my kitchen, right after my Vitamix. And it’s perfect for making the best slow cooker pulled pork you’ve ever tasted.

With how busy we all are it’s great to have a recipe that only takes 5 minutes to prep and cooks all on its own. There’s definitely no slaving away in the kitchen with this recipe. In fact, it’s quite possibly the easiest pulled pork recipe that exists.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe Video

Want to know how to make the best pulled pork? Let me show you. Watch the quick tutorial video below!

The Best Cut of Pork for Pulled Pork

When it comes to making pulled pork, look for a boneless pork shoulder. Sometimes it’s also called a pork butt or Boston butt. You can find bone-in pork shoulders, though I prefer a boneless pork shoulder for more meat in my slow cooker.

Choose a pork shoulder that’s well marbled (for extra flavor), but not too much fat on the edges. You can trim any excess fat off as well.

Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!
Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!

The Most Delicious Pulled Pork Rub

The spice rub I use on this pulled pork is a combination of paprika, oregano, cumin, salt and pepper. It’s flavorful spicy, but not hot spicy. And it tastes just as delicious as my brisket dry rub (though that one is more sweet and smoky).

How to Make Slow Cooker Pulled Pork – 4 Easy Steps

For the most perfectly spiced, cooked, tender, juicy, oozing with flavor pulled pork, follow these four easy steps:

  1. Place the diced onion, garlic and orange juice in the slow cooker
  2. Rub the dried spices on all sides of your pork
  3. Place the pork in the slow cooker and set the timer for 8 hours on low (don’t use high – it’s much more tender cooked low and slow)
  4. Remove the pork to a plate or cutting board and use two forks to shred

You barely have to lift a finger with this recipe and the outcome is the most delicious pulled pork you’ve ever tasted!

Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!

What to Serve with Pulled Pork

Well, first, let’s not forget that you can eat it all on it’s on. But I also love to serve it with:

It’s also great mixed with your favorite barbecue sauce, made into a pulled pork salad or topped on some fried eggs for a savory, protein-packed breakfast. The options are endless. And that’s what makes this slow cooker pulled pork recipe so darn good.

Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!

How to Store Any Leftover Pulled Pork

If you don’t happen to eat it all the pulled pork one sitting, not to worry – it’s delicious meal prep for later in the week. Just place it in a meal prep container. It will last for 4-5 days in the fridge or for 2-3 months in the freezer.

Slow cooker pulled pork is juicy, flavorful and delicious. The best slow cooker recipe!

BEST Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Recipe

4.94 from 129 votes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 8 hours
Total: 8 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Lisa Bryan


Slow cooker pulled pork is the tastiest recipe for your slow cooker! Pork shoulder that's slow roasted is so tender and juicy it literally falls apart on its own.



  • 4 1/2 pounds pork shoulder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 orange, juiced


  • Place the diced onion, garlic and orange juice in your slow cooker.
    A slow cooker with onions for pulled pork
  • In a small bowl, mix all of the spices together.
    Spices in a bowl for slow cooker pulled pork
  • Trim all excess fat from the pork shoulder, then rub the spice mixture generously around the entire pork shoulder and place in the slow cooker.
    A slow cooker with pork in it.
  • Turn your slow cooker to low and cook for 8 hours.
  • Once your pork is fully cooked, remove it from the slow cooker to a plate or cutting board and use two forks to shred the pork.
    A plate of pulled pork

Lisa’s Tips

  • You can add some of the remaining liquid from the slow cooker to the pulled pork for extra moisture. 
  • This is a delicious BBQ sauce that’s also paleo and Whole30 friendly. It’s great on this pork!
  • I’ve also heard great things about this slow cooker, if you’re looking to buy a new one.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 411mg | Potassium: 625mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 885IU | Vitamin C: 11.5mg | Calcium: 40mg | Iron: 2.5mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: pulled pork, slow cooker pulled pork
Did you make this recipe?Mention @downshiftology or tag #downshiftology!

This recipe was originally posted May 2015, but updated to include new photos and information. 

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About the author

Lisa Bryan

Lisa is a bestselling cookbook author, recipe developer, and YouTuber (with over 2.5 million subscribers) living in sunny Southern California. She started Downshiftology in 2014, and is passionate about making healthy food with fresh, simple and seasonal ingredients.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Trying to cook this in my instant pot, slow-cooker mode, normal temp. I don’t trust it. Is there a temperature I can test to make sure it is fully cooked? I am cooking it with the bone. Thanks!

  2. Made this exactly as directed in the recipe, and I found it to be terribly bland. The dominant note is paprika, of course, but there needs to be a step where you salt the pork and let it rest overnight in the fridge, or at least double the salt—and I say this as someone who isn’t a salt fiend. (This is also COVID times, so yes, I can smell and taste things 🙂 It smelled delicious while it was in the slow cooker.) I had high hopes from all the good reviews, but this was quite disappointing. I don’t think I’ll even keep the leftovers, it’s that bad. 

  3. Our grocery only had pork butt available and the smallest I found was 7.5 lb (meat is hard to get here right now). Could i use this and simply double the remaining ingredients? Would the cook time remain the same?

    1. Yes, you can just double the ingredients. As for cooking time, I would keep it the same. Then check on it when it hits the 8 hour mark. If it’s not done yet, then cook it for another hour or two to see if it will become tender by then.

  4. Made this today; my house smells AMAZING (normally I smoke my ribs and such, but didn’t have the desire today).  The only tweeks I made were to add 1/2 tsp of ground mustard and ancho chili powder to the rub, and to use apple cider vinegar and apple juice in place of the juice from the orange (we love the flavor that apple gives to pork).  Other than that, I did follow the recipe and I can say after just SIX hours its starting to fall apart (and yes, I did sneak a taste and OMG!) … I’ll be using this from now on when I want to so a slow cooker pulled pork!5 stars

  5. Is the oregano called for in the recipe dried or fresh?? Big difference in the strength of the taste! Can’t wait to try this recipe.

  6. So easy to make and the seasonings were just right, not overpowering. We used some for pork tacos and plan to use the rest for bbq sliders. Tks for sharing!5 stars

  7. Made this today for dinner! And I’m so happy I did, my boys love it. I used a cara cara orange and used a 2lb pork butt instead. Meat came out perfect! Thank you for the recipe!

  8. Every so often a huge pork loin goes on sale for about $1.99 CAD / lb. I think the “blade end”/ side people use for country style ribs might also be the shoulder but I’m not sure. Maybe it’s just beside it.

    I cut one up tonight and am thinking of using that part for this recipe. What do you think?

    1. Yes! Pork butt or shoulder (where the butt comes from, go figure) is perfect for pulled pork. This is an awesome hands off recipe. I cook it overnight and fridge or freeze the leftovers. If you’re gonna do it, do it big! When I cant find a “butt” roast I buy country style ribs, boneless or not, doesnt matter.

    1. Hi Victoria – It should be okay, just keep an eye to see when it becomes completely tender as it may have a different cooking time.

  9. I know this recipe off by heart now that I’ve made it every few months in the past few years. Just prepped it in the slow cooker now, can’t wait for dinner tonight! This is my BF’s favourite meal and we use it up in so many ways. Can’t wait to enjoy tonight on tacos! Thanks again Lisa for this delicious pulled pork recipe. Can’t wait to purchase your cookbook! 5 stars

  10. Absolutely! SENSATIONAL. Don’t change a thing in the recipe, follow it to the letter. You will be rewarded with most delicious, moist and tender pulled pork imaginable.
    I did season and marinate the pork (butt cut) overnight with the juice of one freshly squozen navel orange.
    “chef’s kiss” as my kids would say!!5 stars

  11. I have made this recipe several times exactly as written and it is absolutely delicious Lisa. I just prepped the roast, and have it all in the slow cooker, but it is now late in the day and I am thinking about just leaving it in the fridge and making it tomorrow. I looked for any comments about leaving the rub on overnight, but I don’t see anything. Do you think it will wall right?5 stars

  12. This sounds like a delicious recipe. I have one question: Can the pulled pork be pre-cooked and then frozen? Thanks!

  13. My second time making your recipe now and my family loves it!! Thank you =] I actually cook it on high for about 5.5 hours (I have a smaller, older crockpot) and it comes out perfect so i cannot even imagine how tender it would be if cooked on low for longer.5 stars

    1. Hi Caitlin – Instead of halving the recipe for two, I’d recommend making the whole recipe and freezing the other half to enjoy in the future! :)

  14. Lisa,
    Made the Slow Cooked Pulled Pork. Myself and my family loved, spiced just perfectly for weekly prep into very dishes. .5 stars

  15. Without a doubt, this is the best pulled pork I have ever eaten !!!    So super easy !     Have a soy allergy and cannot eat most barbecue sauces, unless I make it myself—. But this tastes so stinking good, you won’t even want barbecue sauce!!!!    Definitely a “Keeper” recipe !!    Thank You! 5 stars

  16. This was my first BBQ pulled pork meal and being 80 years old I would say it was just excellent for a old man. I followed the recipe religiously except I am very impartial to sweet nBy ray’s sauce.

  17. Absolutely fabulous recipe for pulled pork! Another great tasting meal from you Lisa, thank you. I made pulled pork tacos along with your lime crema and cilantro slaw and it wowed at the dinner table. :)

    1. Hello,
      Could you please copy and paste the URL for the Lime Crema and Cilantra Slaw you made from this site?  It sounds like the perfect accompaniment but I can’t find it.  Thanks so much!  CK

      1. You can always search for the recipes on the website using the search bar at the top right hand :)

  18. I’ve made this recipe 4 times now, because my friends and family request it often. We’ve used it for sandwiches, tater tot bowls, it’s delicious in soft tacos…and it’s really so easy. The most difficult part is trimming the excess fat off. If you want everyone to be amazed at your cooking skills, make this recipe!5 stars

  19. I made this for my family and they loved it. I made Pork burritos out of it. I pulled the pork and put it in a cast iron skillet with the juice and let it get just a little crisp. Wrapped the pork, with refried beans, and a sharp cheddar. Man they ask for this all the time now. Makes a great leftover too.

    I also made a breakfast burritos. Take Pork, and juice. Add one Red Bell Pepper, one
    Jalapeno Pepper, four eggs (stirred), and a large hand full of Mexican five cheese blend. Cook Pork, and Peppers until the juice is evaporated, add eggs until almost done and add cheese. Once melted let stand until cheese firms up just a bit. Flame your torte’s, add a broken up crisp hasbrown, and pork mixture, roll up. Enjoy with some Hot sauce of your choice.5 stars

  20. This was absolutely delicious. The best pulled pork recipe I have made. I added some Memphis style BBQ sauce after shredding and served homemade coleslaw on top. Great meal!! Thank you for your wonderful recipes!!5 stars

  21. Are you cutting the 4 1/2 lb roast in half? It looks like you are in video but recipe doesn’t say to do so. Thank you much. 

    1. Hi Jackie – You don’t have to cut it, if the entire roast will fit in your slow cooker. If it doesn’t fit, then you can chop it down.

  22. I’m planning on making this tomorrow and I’m wondering if you can taste the orange juice in the finished product?

  23. I made this recipe in my instapot (don’t have a crockpot) today on slow cook for 6 hours (on normal which is low on a crockpot) and pressure cooked for 20 minutes. I checked it at 6 hours and it was tender but not tender enough that it pulled apart easily. I ran out of time and ran the pressure cook. The pork was a bit dry but so tender! My husband actually liked this better than the barbacoa recipe! I did add a little more liquid since I used my instapot (1/2 cup orange juice and 1/2 cup beer). The rest of the recipe I followed to a T. It is the perfect base and definitely needed some bbq sauce! Next time I’ll try without adding extra liquid if I have the time to do the full 8 hours! Thanks for the great recipe as always!4 stars

    1. Glad you enjoyed this pulled pork recipe Min! If you haven’t tried already yet either, you should give the carnitas recipe a try for Mexican flavoring :)

  24. I’m making this tomorrow for a family outing…is it easy to reheat? Can you just turn the crock back on to keep warm?

    1. Hi Cheryl – yes, it’s super easy to reheat. You can warm it back up in the crockpot, or the microwave if you’re doing small portions. Enjoy!

  25. Hi! I’m trying this and have barely 8 hours for it to cook…I know low and slow is best, but if I need to crank it up to high to speed it up will that ruin the recipe?

    1. Hi Alissa – that’s fine if you crank it up to high, just make sure to give yourself at least 4-5 hours to cook it.

  26. I finally got around to trying this – Grocery store had pork shoulders buy one, get one free!
    This is my favorite protein now. I loved having this for meals all week. Added to fried eggs and also in quinoa bowls with pickled red onion, an orange chipotle dressing and other veggies. I’m making the pork for a family get-together soon, too. I cannot get enough, thanks for this!
    I do have a question – what is the benefit of having the garlic and onions only in the bottom, instead of also on top of the meat while it cooks?5 stars

    1. Hi Emmy – Happy to hear this has become a staple now! As for the garlic and onions, you can do either or :)

  27. I made this recipe on the weekend and the pork did not come out pull-apart tender.

    Wondering if I could have done something to make this recipe better? I put the pork in a slow cooker for 8.5 hours and the meat was tougher than I was expecting from pulled pork, and it was a struggle to “pull” it apart. My cut of meat was slightly larger than 4.5 pounds – could that have contributed? Should I have let it slow cook for a longer period of time? Thanks.3 stars

    1. Hi Alex – the pork definitely should have been easy to pull apart after 8.5 hours. It might have been the cut of meat your purchased, but yes, if you find that it’s tough sometimes an extra hour or so does the trick. Hope it turns out better next time!

  28. Absolutely loved this recipe. I ended up adding BBQ sauce to the slow cooker after about 6 hours and took out some of the juice to make room! It completely fell apart after the 8 hours and it was so delicious! Your recipes never disappoint.5 stars

  29. I am making it right now, but my husband can’t eat onions. Will it be too dry? Do I need to add more liquid? 

    1. My husband cannot eat onions but does not react to onion powder. I chop up celery to mimic the texture and moisture of the onion and onion powder mixed into the celery to mimic the flavor 

    1. Hi Nick – it may need a little bit longer in the slow cooker. You can check it at 8 hours, but it might need up to 10.

  30. Simple to prep and amazing finish. If serving as a sandwich, I recommend tossing in a small amount of highend BBQ sauce. If serving over a potatoe dish or mashed cauli, I would refrain from adding the BBQ sauce and just use the fantastic juice left in the pot. Another crowd pleasing meal. Thank you!5 stars

  31. Hi Lisa!
    I don’t have a slow cooker; therefore, can you give me directions for cooking it in the oven. Thanks for your help!

    1. Hi Deborah – I haven’t tried making this recipe in the oven, so not sure what the directions would be. Sorry!

  32. I actually don’t have to try this recipe exactly because it’s almost identical to what I already do. Nearly every other recipe asks for you to add a bunch of liquid to the slowcooker but after 8 hours enough will cook out of the pork and vegetables that nearly the whole shoulder will be submerged. Please do not add entire bottles of broth or barbecue sauce to your pork!

    For anyone trying this one out, if you want it to be more geared towards tacos then simply add more cumin. If you want it to be spicy, chop up a couple habaneros with the onions and garlic (they go very well with citrus like orange) and don’t be afraid, the spice will break down over the 8 hours. If you want this for barbecue pulled pork sandwiches, mix some of the shredded pork with your preferred sauce *after* cooking. The author is right, this is great for meal prep as the recipe is very versatile and should be your base for making pulled pork moving forward.5 stars

    1. Also, by spicy, I do mean this for the average person. If you like your food to be spicy spicy like me, you know that 2 habaneros for 4.5 pounds of meat is really not that much but the average person should get a nice little warmth out of it. I will use 5 or 6 then top with my favorite hot sauces when it is done for either tacos, sandwiches, on a plate with beans and rice, etc.

    2. Thanks so much Thomas for sharing those tips! I’m glad you love this recipe and that it aligns with how you enjoy to cook pulled pork as well. It really is a versatile recipe, and I’m always one for options. :)

  33. Wow! Perfect recipe. I subbed one of out two tablespoons of paprika out for a tablespoon of cayenne for a little extra kick and it turned out great.5 stars