Mouth-Watering Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Recipe

As a chef specializing in Brazilian and American cuisine, I’m excited to share this delicious Pernil recipe with you. A Pernil is a traditional Puerto Rican pork dish that is slow-cooked to perfection, and my recipe offers a skinny version of this mouth-watering dish.

Usually, Pernil is made with pork shoulder blade roast with its rich and juicy fat. However, in this “Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil,” I have used boneless pork shoulder lean fat removed instead to reduce the calories without compromising the taste.

This recipe incorporates the fusion of classic Caribbean citrus flavors with aromatic spices like cumin, oregano, and black pepper to create an explosion of flavors when you bite into it.

My recipe for Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil requires simple ingredients that you can easily find in your local grocery store, such as limes, oranges, garlic cloves, cumin, oregano, coarse salt, and pepper.

By following my instructions carefully and marinating your pork overnight, you’ll enjoy tender and succulent shredded pork that is perfect for dinner recipes or lunch sandwiches.

So let’s dive in together and try out this delicious Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe


Dear food lovers,

Are you looking for a delicious, flavorful, and healthy recipe that won’t take hours to prepare? Look no further than this amazing Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil recipe – an irresistible dish that will make your taste buds dance with joy!

One of the greatest things about this recipe is its ability to bring the authentic taste of Puerto Rican Pernil right to your own kitchen. What makes this special is the combination of garlic, citrus juices, cumin, and oregano, which is an essential ingredient in the traditional preparation of Pernil. The aroma from these spices while slow cooked will fill your entire kitchen with a mouth-watering fragrance.

In addition to its delectable taste, this recipe is also perfect for those who want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It uses lean pork shoulder blade roast with all the fat removed to give you a lean and protein-packed meal. To maintain the unique flavor we use limes, oranges, black pepper, and coarse salt to add brightness to the dish without adding a lot of calories.

And let’s also not forget how easy it is to make! Just combine all ingredients in a slow cooker overnight so that garlic citrus juices cumin and oregano can marinate into your pork, then let it cook on low for 8-10 hours for an explosion of flavors.

Whether you’re looking for something exotic or have a family history with Puerto Rican culture or looking for dinner recipes ideas adopting international cuisines in your daily routine – this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil recipe fits everyone’s needs. Your mouth will be happy; your stomach will be full and without having an ounce of guilt because it hits all the right spots.

So why wait? Try our Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Recipe today and impress your friends and family at your next gathering.

Savor the essence of traditional flavors alongside healthy ingredients cooked up by us!

Ingredient List

 Get ready to fall in love with this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil!
Get ready to fall in love with this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil!

Let’s gather these flavorful ingredients!

  • 3 lb boneless pork shoulder, lean fat removed
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp coarse salt
  • 1-2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1-2 tbsp ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime and 1 orange
  • Freshly ground black pepper

This Puerto Rican inspired recipe for slow cooked pernil is bursting with notes of fresh citrus from the lime and orange juices, as well as warming spices like cumin and oregano. It all starts with a boneless pork shoulder that we remove the fat from it. We need some garlic , coarse salt, and dried oregano to add some spice layers to the pork shoulder. We’ll finish off the flavor with freshly squeezed lime juice and orange juice for a punch of tangy sweetness. Don’t forget to add freshly ground black pepper according to your taste!

The Recipe How-To

 A delicious and healthy option for your lunch or dinner.
A delicious and healthy option for your lunch or dinner.

After gathering all the ingredients needed for this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Recipe, it’s time to start cooking! Follow these easy steps for a delicious and healthy Puerto Rican pork dish.

Step 1: Marinate the Pork

  • First, mix together the garlic cloves, limes, oranges, cumin, oregano, coarse salt, and black pepper in a large bowl.
  • Make small incisions all over the 3 lb boneless pork shoulder blade roast, then rub the mixture into the meat.
  • Cover the pork with plastic wrap and let it marinate in the refrigerator overnight.

Tip: Marinating your meat ahead of time will add extra flavor to your dish.

Step 2: Slow Cooker Magic

  • Remove the pork from the marinade and place it in a slow cooker.
  • Pour half of the marinade over the pork, then add 1/4 cup of water.
  • Cover with lid and cook on low for 8 hours or until fork-tender.

Tip: If you want your pork to be more flavorful or spicy, you can pour all of the marinade over it.

Step 3: Shredding Time

  • Once cooked, remove the pork from the slow cooker and place it onto a cutting board.
  • Shred it apart using two forks, removing any large pieces of fat.
  • Return shredded pork to slow cooker with remaining cooking liquid and keep warm on “keep warm” setting until ready to serve.

Tip: For a crispier texture, transfer your shredded pork to a baking sheet after removing excess liquid and bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes.

Step 4: Time to Serve

  • Serve your skinny slow cooker pernil with your choice of side dishes such as rice and beans or roasted vegetables.
  • Squeeze a fresh lime wedge over the top of each serving for an extra pop of flavor.

Congratulations, you have made a delicious Puerto Rican Pork dish that is flavorful and healthy. It’s perfect for sharing with family and friends at dinner parties or just for your everyday meal.

Substitutions and Variations

 The perfect recipe for any Sunday roast dinner.
The perfect recipe for any Sunday roast dinner.

for the Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Recipe

As delightful as this recipe is, you can still tweak it according to your personal preference or cooking needs. Whether you are a vegetarian or simply need to omit some ingredients due to allergies, there are plenty of substitutions and variations that can turn this classic Puerto Rican dish into something that suits your taste.

If you prefer a spicier pernil, add a tablespoon of red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños to the seasoning mix. For those who find the cumin flavor too strong, try substituting half a tablespoon of smoked paprika instead. You can also experiment with different types of citrus juices such as grapefruit, lemon, or lime depending on what’s available or your preference.

If you want to go for a more vegetarian-friendly version, substitute the pork shoulder with roasted portobello mushrooms or jackfruit. Additionally, you can add more vegetables like carrots, leeks, and celery to the slow cooker along with the pork for a heartier and more nutritious meal.

This recipe is also versatile enough to incorporate into other dishes. Once cooked and cooled, this pernil can be shredded and used as a filling for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos. You can also serve it alongside some Spanish rice and beans for a complete dinner.

Remember, cooking is about creativity and adventure; don’t be afraid to explore new ingredients and techniques when concocting your own version of this delicious Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil Recipe!

Serving and Pairing

 It's time to spice up your meals. Try this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil!
It’s time to spice up your meals. Try this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil!

When it comes to serving and pairing, this Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil recipe is incredibly versatile. The tender and juicy pork is a perfect main dish for any meal of the day, from breakfast to dinner.

One of my favorite ways to serve this pernil is with a side of rice and beans, which creates a classic Puerto Rican taste. You can also add some fresh sliced limes or oranges on top of the pernil to add some extra fragrance and tanginess.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can use the shredded pork to create tacos, burritos or sandwiches. These dishes provide a fun twist on the traditional roasted pork, especially when paired with some guacamole, sour cream or pico de gallo.

For those who enjoy some heat in their meals, try pairing this pernil with some jalapenos or hot sauce. The spicy kick complements the rich flavors of the pernil perfectly. Alternatively, if you want to balance out the dish with a light and refreshing side dish, try serving it with a crisp salad dressed with balsamic vinaigrette.

In terms of drinks, I recommend serving this pernil with a cold beer or margarita. The refreshing flavors of these beverages pair well with the hearty nature of the pork.

Overall, there are endless possibilities for serving and pairing this delicious Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil recipe that even vegetarian recipes lovers will be impressed! And don’t forget to share your creations with friends and family – it’s sure to be a hit!

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You won't believe how easy and flavorful this pernil is.
You won’t believe how easy and flavorful this pernil is.

Once your skinny slow cooker pernil is cooked to perfection, the next step is to serve it up and enjoy! However, there are times when you may need to prepare this dish in advance or store any leftovers. To help you make the most of the dish, here are some tips on how to make-ahead, store and reheat your Puerto Rican-style pork.

Make-ahead: If you’re short on time and want to prepare your pernil ahead of time, the great news is that this recipe can be made several days ahead. It can even be marinated overnight to add extra flavor to the pork. I recommend storing it in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready for use.

Storing: Once your skinny slow-cooked pernil is fully cooked and ready to eat, you’ll need to store any leftover portions properly. To keep it fresh for future meals or snacking, wrap the pork securely with aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. You can refrigerate your pernil for up to 4 days after cooking.

Reheating: Reheating your Puerto Rican-style pork couldn’t be easier! Whether cold out of the fridge or frozen solid from the freezer, simply place it in a microwave-safe dish covered with a damp paper towel or in a covered skillet on low heat until warmed through completely. You can also reheat it on low heat in the oven at 325°F until heated through thoroughly. Be careful not to overheat and dry out the meat.

Enjoy your delicious Puerto Rican-style pork either freshly made or after it has been reheated – either way, it’s sure to taste incredible!

Tips for Perfect Results

 Made with just a handful of ingredients, this meal is perfect for a busy weeknight.
Made with just a handful of ingredients, this meal is perfect for a busy weeknight.

As a chef who has cooked countless slow cooker pernil dishes, I have learned some tips and tricks to help you achieve the most delicious and mouth-watering dish possible. Here are my top tips for perfect results with this skinny slow cooker pernil recipe:

1. Make sure to remove excess fat from the pork shoulder blade roast before cooking. This will help the flavors of the garlic, citrus juices, cumin, oregano, and other spices & herbs come through the meat without being obscured by an oily or fatty texture.

2. It’s important to let the pork marinate overnight to infuse it with flavor. The garlic and citrus juices, in particular, will penetrate the meat if given enough time to soak in.

3. When adding your ingredients into the slow cooker pernil puerto rican recipe, pay attention to their proportions. Adding too much of one spice or herb can overpower the dish’s balance, resulting in a less flavorful meal.

4. If you’re using a bone-in pork shoulder instead of boneless, make sure that it is well-trimmed and that the bone does not protrude or poke out too far from the meat as it cooks.

5. If you like your shredded pork extra tender, try cooking on low for longer than instructed in the recipe or using an Instant Pot with a slow-cook mode for juicy, pull-apart meat.

6. Don’t be afraid to experiment with variations and substitutions! Pernil puerto rico is a versatile dish that can be customized to suit your taste preferences; trying different combinations of spices and herbs to see what works best for you.

By following these tips and recommendations while cooking your skinny slow cooker pernil dish, you can achieve an incredible flavor profile comparable to that of traditional Spanish pork loin or roasted pork shoulder dinners – but done in an easy-to-make slow cooker version!


As you prepare to make this delicious Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil, it’s natural to have a few questions on your mind. I’ve compiled some frequently asked questions and helpful answers so that you can enjoy your flavorful pork dish with peace of mind.

Does pork shoulder need to be submerged in slow cooker?

Let’s get started with the pork shoulder by putting it into the slow cooker. I suggest pouring the marinade over the top, ensuring that the entire top is coated as best as possible. It’s not necessary to submerge the roast completely in the marinade, just make sure that there’s always at least an inch of liquid at the bottom of the slow cooker. Once you’ve done that, simply cover the slow cooker with the lid, and we’re good to go!

Do you have to brown pork shoulder before putting it in the slow cooker?

For juicy and flavorful pork, it’s important to sear it properly before slow cooking. Searing the pork in a cast iron skillet creates a nice crust on the outside, locking in the natural juices and flavors of the meat. It’s essential to note that the purpose of searing is not to cook the pork through, but to create a deliciously browned exterior. Once the pork is seared, it is ready to be added to the slow cooker for a perfect and tender finish.

Do you cut the fat off pork shoulder before slow cooking?

Before cooking, it’s advisable to trim off some of the excess fat from the pork shoulder. This is because the meat generally comes with a fair share of fat on the surface. However, it’s essential to leave a small amount of fat to enhance the flavor of the dish.

Can you overcook pork shoulder in slow cooker?

When cooking pork shoulder, it’s unlikely to overcook the meat due to its abundant fat and marbling. Nevertheless, it’s crucial to prevent it from becoming too tender as the acids in the sauce can cause it to break apart if cooked excessively. Keeping an eye on the pork throughout the cooking process and taking a taste test is the best way to ensure that it’s cooked to perfection.

Bottom Line


In conclusion, the Skinny Slow Cooker Pernil recipe is a fantastic way to experience the flavors of Puerto Rican pork without having to worry about the extra calories. This dish is perfect for those on a diet or anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious and healthy meal. Using this recipe, you can easily make a slow-cooked, juicy and flavorful pork shoulder that will have your friends and family asking for seconds.

So what are you waiting for? Grab your slow cooker and get started on this amazing recipe today. Don’t forget to use fresh ingredients like limes, oranges, black pepper, cumin, oregano, coarse salt and garlic cloves to get the best flavors possible. With these simple ingredients and instructions, you can enjoy a delicious meal that even Puerto Ricans would be proud of.



Puerto rican pork
No ratings yet
Prep Time 8 hrs
Cook Time 8 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Calories 348.4 kcal


  • 3 lbs boneless pork shoulder blade roast, lean, all fat removed
  • 4 -5 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed black pepper
  • 3 oranges, juice of (1/2 cup)
  • 2 limes, juice of


  • Using a sharp knife, cut slits into the pork and stuff holes with half of the crushed garlic. Combine the remaining ingredients and pour over pork. Place in the ceramic part of the crock pot, cover and refrigerate, turning pork occasionally so the marinade covers all of pork.
  • The next day, remove the crock pot and cook on low, 8 hours.
  • After 8 hours, remove pork and shred using two forks. Remove liquid from crock pot and add pork back to crock. Add about 1 cup of the liquid back and adjust salt, pepper and cumin (you will probably need to add more). Let it cook another 15-30 minutes.
  •

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 240gCalories: 348.4kcalCarbohydrates: 8.3gProtein: 30.4gFat: 21.2gSaturated Fat: 7.4gCholesterol: 105.5mgSodium: 977mgFiber: 1.8gSugar: 4.9g
Keyword Meat, Pork
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Recommended Recipes Just For You



Dora is a chef well-versed in Brazilian and American cuisine. After a hard day's work in the kitchen of her restaurant, she finds the time to jot down recipes for her food blog. Her recipes are sure to delight foodies everywhere, as she strives to make each one unique and enjoyable to read.