Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!Laura is a quesadilla champion.  No, she doesn’t hold the world record for quesadilla eating or anything like that.  (That record apparently belongs to Sonya Thomas, a professional eater who downed 31.5 4″ cheese quesadillas in 5 minutes.  Now you know!)  Nope, Laura is the champion quesadilla maker around our house.  I’ve been making quesadillas for years, and honestly they’re delicious.  Tortilla + cheese + optional toppings.  Nice and easy, right?  Well, Laura stepped in and improved the simple quesadilla…and now I kinda want to eat one every night for dinner.  Is that allowed?

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!As I’ve noted before, we often have all sorts of leftovers hanging out in our fridge.  And we discovered long ago that tacos and quesadillas are an excellent way to use up leftovers.  Got an extra grilled pork chop?  Dice it up and put it in a ‘dilla.  Leftover rice pilaf?  It actually goes great as a base for tacos.  Extra smoked brisket?  ‘dilla time!

Quesadillas can be anything from absurdly simple to masterpieces with layers of flavors.  We make Robbie quesadillas in the microwave using American cheese.  #TrueStory  I’m not proud of that one, but it’s something our picky little eater will actually eat…when he’s in the mood.  We’ve tried making legit quesadillas for Robbie, but he just turns his nose up at ’em.  “No dilla.  No.”  That’s fine.  It just means we’ll save the legit quesadillas (like these Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas) for after the little man goes to sleep.

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!Since we make quesadillas at least once a week around here, I figured it was high time to actually share some tips on making delicious ‘dillas.

  • For starters, use one large flour tortilla instead of two smaller ones.  Just fold the large one over halfmoon-style.  It’ll make flipping that quesadilla SO much easier.  Yes, I have indeed tried flipping quesadillas only to lose half of the fillings.  Not fun.
  • Don’t add too many fillings.  See comment above.  Too many fillings means the whole thing will fall apart when you flip it.  I know it’s tempting, but less is more in this case!
  • Use salted butter (or unsalted butter with a sprinkle of salt) to grease the pan.  Trust me on this one.  The salted butter flavor on the outside of the quesadilla is insanely delicious.  We’ve gotten to where Laura tells me which side of the quesadilla has the salty, buttery topping…because that’s the side I want to touch my tongue first!  Yes, those are actual conversations that happen in our house.
  • Use Oaxaca cheese.  Ever heard of Oaxaca?  It’s a Mexican-style cheese that’s similar to mozzarella, and it’s perfect for shredding into quesadillas.  Do we always keep Oaxaca around here?  Nope.  But it’s a special quesadilla day when we happen to have some in the fridge!  Oh, and Oaxaca comes rolled up in a rope that you unwind.  Kinda cool, huh?

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!For these Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas, I kept it fairly simple.  The pork shoulder slow cooks while you are at work or running around doing a zillion other things.  Then you just shred that pork into carnitas, and you’ve got the base for some delicious Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas.  I used Oaxaca cheese (because I actually planned ahead to make these ‘dillas), and then I added some corn and red bell peppers for a bit of a flavor and texture boost.  Oh, I almost forgot!  The most important thing about making quesadillas?

  • Cook ’em low and slow.  Sure, I can boost the heat on the stove and really melt that cheese quickly…but my tortilla will get burnt in the process.  Low and slow is the way to go when it comes to quesadillas.  Seriously.  We cook ’em for 6-7 minutes per side.  The cheese and filling gets all nice and melty while the tortilla stays perfectly browned.

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!If you’re looking for a nice and easy dinner, these Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas are the answer!  They’re packed with flavor and require very little prep work.  Enjoy, friends!

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!

Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 6 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 604kcal

Ingredients

For the Slow Cooker Carnitas

  • 3-4 pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tsp black pepper divided
  • 2 tsp kosher salt divided
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¼ cup of lime juice
  • 1 medium white onion chopped
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp adobo sauce
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

For the Quesadillas

  • 4 large flour tortillas
  • ½ Tbsp butter
  • cups shredded carnitas recipe above
  • 1 cup oaxaca cheese shredded (can substitute Colby Jack if oaxaca is unavailable)
  • ½ cup corn fresh or frozen
  • ½ cup red bell pepper diced
  • ¼ cup green onions chopped
  • {optional} ¼ cup pickled jalapenos diced
  • sour cream for serving

Instructions

For the Slow Cooker Carnitas

  • Rinse pork shoulder under cold water and then pat dry with paper towels.
  • In a small bowl, combine chipotle powder, 1 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of kosher salt. Sprinkle spice mixture evenly over pork shoulder.
  • Using a Dutch oven (or large skillet), add olive oil; place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add pork shoulder and sear each side for 3-4 minutes.
  • Transfer pork shoulder to crock pot and add remaining ingredients (chicken broth, lime juice, remaining salt and pepper, chopped onion, bay leaves, garlic, adobo sauce, oregano, thyme and cumin).
  • Cover and cook on high for 5-6 hours, or low for 8-10 hours. When done, the pork shoulder should shred very easily.
  • Transfer pork to a large cutting board or plate and shred using 2 forks; stir in several tablespoons of the cooking liquid. (Note: You will have plenty of leftover carnitas for more quesadillas, tacos, nachos, etc.)

For the Quesadillas

  • Using a large skillet or griddle, add butter and place over medium-low heat. (Tip: If using unsalted butter, then add a pinch of salt to the pan.)
  • Lay flour tortillas out on large cutting board. Divide fillings evenly across tortillas, but place all fillings on half of each tortilla. Fold tortillas over to create half-moon shaped quesadillas.
  • Once butter has melted, add quesadillas and cook over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
  • Cut each quesadilla into 4 wedges. Garnish with sour cream and additional chopped green onions before serving.

Melty cheese.  Shredded carnitas.  Buttery tortillas.  These Slow Cooker Carnitas Quesadillas make for one heck of a tasty meal!

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28 Comments

  1. WOA – David, I couldn’t imagine eating ONE “dilla” in 5 minutes let alone 31!!! That’s one heck of a record! Though IMO Laura’s leftovers into “dillas” sounds like a way more impressive feat! One of these days Robbie is gonna come around and say yes to y’alls non-microwaved dillas (I cannot stop saying that word BTW after I read your post) and you and Laura are gonna be left HUNGRY – I know from experience – Lil Shashi is always eating my food off my plate and sometimes even grabs things out of my hand! I know for a fact that if I was sitting around with one of these deliciously flavor packed (hello chipotle) slow cooker pork carnita quesadillas, she’d grab it right out of my hand! Kids! 🙂
    Happy Tuesday, my friend! Hope you and the spiced clan have a wonderful rest of the week!

    1. Yeah, tell me about it, Shashi! Some of those “championship eating” records are just too much for me to stomach. (No pun intended.) I mean I love a good ‘dilla…but 31 in 5 minutes? Nope. Now as far as Robbie grabbing things out of my hand, I can’t wait for that to happen! Seriously! I’m tired of him eating the same things, but as long as they’re healthy and balanced then I’m ok with it…but still. I’m like, “c’mon buddy…you WILL like this. I promise.” And he’s like “No.” 😛

  2. You had me at melty cheese. These look amazing! I LOVE quesadillas so much–not enough to eat 31.5 in five minutes, but a lot. And your half-moon tip is a great one because flipping quesadillas is not my strength. I’m headed to the grocery store later today and I think I’ll have to pick up tortillas because now I’m craving quesadillas like nobody’s business!

    1. Dillas are how we roll around here when we don’t know what to make for dinner. True story: we had dillas for dinner last night. I had some leftover corn and leftover rice…so into a dilla those went along with some spices. And dinner was delicious! I hope you get that ‘dilla craving taken care of, my friend! 🙂

    1. I agree with you, Manali…some of these “championship eating” records are a bit too much. I do love a good ‘dilla, but 31 in 5 minutes is just too many. But ‘dillas are still one of our go-to dinners around here when we don’t have anything but some random leftovers in the fridge. Yum! 🙂

  3. 31 quesadillas in 5 minutes?! Wow. I also took a look at her other achievements, and that’s impressive. 11 pounds of cheesecake in 11 minutes – not everyone can handle this. And she also looks great. I mean, I’d like to be able to eat all that food and stay in excellent shape. Question: how many weeks of cardio do you need to burn out 11 pounds of cheesecake haha? Anyway, this quesadilla looks delicious. I was familiar neither with quesadillas nor with grilled cheese (not to mention banana bread!) until I met your blog. So you may take the credit for introducing these things 3 years ago first time ever 😉 Indeed, I need to repeat this ASAP!

    1. I’m not sure ‘impressive’ is the right word to describe “championship eating,” Ben. I mean I guess it’s impressive…in a “wow, that sounds gross” kinda way. 11 pounds of cheesecake in 11 minutes? I think I just got a stomachache thinking about that one. Good lord, the cardio needed to outdo 11 pounds of cheesecake?? It would be measured in weeks for sure! I’m so glad I’ve introduced you to some new recipes, my friend. They’re classics, and I hope you’ve gotten the chance to try ’em out! 🙂

    1. Yup, it’s basically pulled pork in a slow cooker with a few twists when it comes to the seasonings…nice and easy! And then you’re all set for a bunch of awesome ‘dillas for dinner. Maybe not 35 quesadillas, but then again who needs 35 quesadillas at once?? Thanks, Mimi! 🙂

    1. Oaxaca is pretty cool, Dawn! I was able to find it in our grocery store up here, so definitely look for it. It’s fun to use new ingredients now and again…if nothing else than just to play around and understand how to use ’em. 🙂 Thanks so much, my friend!

  4. Such a great idea to use leftovers in quesadillas – especially in the slow cooker, so intriguing. We often toss things into omelets. We’ll have to add ‘dillas to the list! And the flavors in this one are mouthwatering!

    1. Ooo…omelets is a great idea for using up leftovers, too! ‘Dillas are our go-to, and in fact we just had more quesadillas for dinner last night with some leftover corn and rice. So good! But do try the slow cooker carnitas in ‘dillas. Wait, I wonder if we could use these slow cooker carnitas in an omelet?? Oh, I need to find that out now! 🙂

  5. Hellow Quesadillas! I used to eat these bad boys all the time when I was overweight. Every now and again I indulge but not often. Of course, now I want one! Ever since I stated I’m working on my summer body I’m craving cheese. Laura is my hero! Leftovers make some of the best creations, but who has extra smoke brisket, if there is brisket I’m going to try to eat all of it. These ‘dillas look amazing.

    1. I agree with you, Mary! Quesadillas are so tasty! And I agree that you can’t eat ’em every night, but we like to pair half of a large quesadilla with a plate of roasted veggies. I feel like that balance works well. Also, I happen to have some extra smoked brisket in my freezer right now. Let me know if you want to come over for dinner! 🙂

  6. Definitely in need of some comfort food this week. It is snowing here in London which is rather unusual, we have lots of rain but no snow so it is kind of exciting as well. What a great way to use up leftover food and some great tips on how to make quesadillas! So hungry right now 🙂

    1. I actually just saw that on the news this morning. I guess snow is rather unusual in London? I hope you’re out enjoying it! I know we enjoyed snow when we lived in the southern part of the US as snow was rare down there. Up here, though? I cringe at the forecast when I see more snow. But at least snowy days are perfect justification for delicious comfort food! 🙂 Thanks so much, Miriam!

  7. Holy moly! That’s a lot of quesadillas in a short amount of time! As much as I love them, there ain’t no way I could possibly beat that record. Talk about feeling full! Quesadillas are definitely a great way to use up odds and ends in the fridge and when you get to make something that looks this good, it’s a bonus! I wish I had this for lunch today, but I started Meatless March! We shall see how that goes 😉

    1. Tell me about it, Dawn! I love me a good ‘dilla, but there’s no way I could down 31 in 5 minutes. 30? Possibly. 31? No way! 🙂 Best of luck with the meatless March venture….keep this one in mind for April 1! Hope you have a great week ahead, my friend!

  8. Aw yeah, it’s about to get all “dilla” up in hurr! My slow cooker hasn’t seen any action in awhile so I’m going to pin the crap out of this recipe!! My husband loves quesadillas so I’m going to surprise him with this dish! YUM!

    1. Yes! Get yo ‘dilla on, Christina! I mean the carnitas can just sit there and do their thing all day and then you can be all like *boom* quesadilla for dinner tonight, husband! 🙂 Hope you guys had a great weekend!!

    1. Leftover quesadillas is the way to roll, Jeff. Seriously. Name something that wouldn’t taste good in a quesadilla. I mean there’s probably something…but not much! 🙂

    1. I’ve never understood those silly competitions either, Kathy. And to call them a sport?? Uh, no. But if quesadillas are involved, then count me in! 🙂 Hope you had a great weekend!

  9. 34.5 cheese quesadillas…oh my that’s going to be rough on the system. I think I’d stick with just one of these awesome look carnita dillas! We actually just had buffalo chicken ones tonight! Though this more traditional approach honestly looks better. I love all the flavor that pork looks like it’s gonna have when finished! Awesome recipe David!

    1. Hah! Yeah, I’m with ya, Matt. I’d hate to think about how the system dealt with all those quesadillas. Umph. I’ll stick with just one of these carnitas quesadillas instead…or those buffalo chicken ones! I’m a sucker for anything buffalo chicken. Thanks, my friend!

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