Shredded Beef For Tacos Recipe

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This shredded beef for tacos recipe is one of my favorites. It’s so simple and delicious, you won’t believe it. I also love how it makes a lot, which means leftovers when it comes to taco night. Are you planning a party and don’t know what to serve? Do you have picky eaters at the table? Do you want something easy that can feed a crowd? Here’s an easy recipe for shredded beef tacos that could be your answer.

Mexican Shredded Beef (and Tacos)

This Mexican Shredded Beef has incredible depth of flavour! The sauce is really rich and thick, and there is PLENTY of it. Fantastic for tacos, burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas, piled high on Mexican Red Rice or stuffed in rolls to make sliders!

Make this on the stove, oven, slow cooker OR pressure cooker (Instant Pot). 100% freezer friendly!

Mexican Shredded Beef taco spread - tortillas, sour cream, avocado, lime, pico de Gallo

Mexican Shredded Beef

I have a “thing” about shredded meats. I just love how it acts like a mop for sauces, so every mouthful is so juicy.

And Mexican Shredded Beef makes the cut – tenfold!! In fact, I adore it so much I’ve recently published another version – Beef Barbacoa. This version is slightly tangy and punching through with flavour from chipotle chillies!

The sauce for this Mexican Shredded Beef is loaded with big flavours – and there’s PLENTY of it!

Close up of Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef

What goes in Slow Cooker Mexican Beef

There’s a ton of spices in this that makes up the flavour of the braising liquid which becomes the sauce!

The secret ingredient is orange juice – it’s actually quite a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine. For example, it’s used in Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork) and the marinade for Chicken Fajitas.

It doesn’t make the broth taste orangey at all – it totally transforms when slow cooked, and adds a touch of sweetness and flavour into the sauce.

Mexican Shredded Beef ingredients

How to make Slow Cooker Mexican Beef

The making part is very straightforward and mostly hands off time:

  1. Cut beef into big pieces and sprinkle with spices
  2. Sear aggressively: browning = flavour on both the beef and in the sauce (from the brown stuff on the base of the pot)
  3. Add everything else into the pot
  4. Slow cook on the stove, oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker until fall apart tender
  5. Shred
  6. Toss back into the sauce
  7. Transfer to serving platter
  8. Devour in desired form! (Tacos in this case  )
How to make Slow Cooker Mexican Beef

What to make with Mexican Shredded Beef

The beauty of this Mexican Beef is that it’s 100% freezer friendly and can be used for dozens of dishes, making it a brilliant standby for quick meals. Here’s just a few ideas:

OBVIOUS USES

  1. Tacos (this recipe)
  2. Nachos – switch out the chicken in this Shredded Chicken Nachos recipe
  3. Burritos – freezer friendly!
  4. Quesadillas – switch out one of the fillings for this beef
  5. Beef Enchiladas – skip the ground beef/mince filling and spices, just use this beef instead. (Still make the Enchilada Sauce, use the refried beans etc)
  6. Mexican Plates – Piled beef over Mexican Red Rice with a big dollop of Guacamole, Pico de Gallo and sour cream, corn on the cob, finish with lime wedges and fresh coriander/cilantro
What to make with Mexican Shredded Beef

SOME LESS OBVIOUS, MIGHTY TASTY IDEAS

  1. Sliders – stuffed into bre rolls to make sliders!
  2. Mexican Toasties  – toast bread → smear with avocado → pile on shredded beef → top with cheese → MELT → devour 
  3. Mexican “Empanadas” – make triangles/parcels (like this)using puff pastry, seal with egg, brush with egg, bake until golden. Try adding corn and black beans to fill it out!
  4. Mexican Cottage Pie – mix through sautéed onion, capsicum/bell peppers, zucchini, corn and other chopped veg of choice. Pour into casserole dish, then top with mashed potato and bake per this Cottage Pie recipe. Or try Mexican Beef Chicken Pot Pie!
  5. Mexican Beef Lasagna – layer this beef with tortillas in a baking dish, top with loads of cheese and bake! I’d fill it out with veggies.
  6. Fully Loaded Mexican Breakfast! – make Shakshuka (Middle Eastern Baked Eggs) which, really, is made with thoroughly Mexican flavours, and serve with a generous pile of this beef and warm tortillas. OMG….
  7. Breakfast Enchiladas – skip the bacon, use this beef instead
Overhead photo of Mexican Shredded Beef taco spread - tortillas, sour cream, avocado, lime, pico de Gallo
Close up of 3 Mexican Shredded Beef Tacos on a plate with pico de Gallo, avocado, and sour cream

Shredded Beef Tacos

Here’s what I use to make a simple Shredded Beef Tacos spread- something that’s super quick to assemble:

  • This Mexican Shredded Beef
  • Warmed or charred tortillas
  • Pico de Gallo (Mexican Salsa)
  • Sour cream
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh lime wedges
  • Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, whole or finely chopped

You won’t need a separate sauce because this shredded beef is so juicy and saucy.

So really, if you have a batch of this Mexican Beef on hand, then you’re just 15 minutes away from the taco spread pictured above because all you have to make is the Pico de Gallo (and if that’s all too hard, just slice some tomatoes!!)

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos have been on of my go-to regular recipes for 5+ years! These easy, restaurant quality Mexican tacos are perfectly flavorful and oh so tender. Load them up or serve them street taco style with just onion, cilantro and lime.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Shredded Beef Tacos

I actually shared this recipe back in January of 2012 (and I’ve made them probably 100 times since) but I wanted to update the photos and also the method a little.

Back then I just added the beef into the slow cooker without browning it first, which yes you can do, but those 6 minutes of browning are a game changer I tell you.

It makes such a difference that it’s the only way I’ll make these shredded beef tacos anymore.

Ingredients for This Recipe

  • Chuck roast or cross rib roast
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Beef both
  • Spices including chili powder, cumin, onion powder and garlic powder
  • Fresh lime
  • Tortillas and toppings, for serving

Scroll below for printable recipe.

How to Make These Tacos

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Dab both sides of beef dry with paper towels.
  • Season beef with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper) and sear in pot until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
  • Transfer beef to a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker. Pour beef broth over roast.
  • Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powder evenly over roast. Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat 8 hours (high heat cooking is not recommend here).
  • Remove roast from slow cooker, shred beef (remove fat) and return shredded beef to slow cooker (season with a little more salt if needed).
  • Add in lime juice, cover with lid and cook on low an additional 5 – 10 minutes while preparing toppings and tortillas.
  • Remove beef from slow cooker with tongs to remove juices when plating or drain in a colander.
  • Serve in warmed tortillas with desired toppings.

Can I use Fresh Onion and Garlic?

You can also go use fresh onion and garlic here if preferred. To do so after browning roast, saute 1 small onion halved along with 3 or 4 cloves of garlic (in place of the garlic powder) in that same oil in the pot after you’ve browned the roast.

Then pour the broth into the pot with the onion and garlic and scrape up those browned bits at the bottom, and finally pour that mixture over the beef in the slow cooker.

This recipe yields perfectly tender, wonderfully seasoned and flavorful beef. You’re whole family will love these tacos, trust me!

Any left over beef from this recipe can also be used for tacos, enchiladas, taquitos, nachos or burritos.

I hope it becomes a favorite for your family too

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

These tacos have been a family favorite and a reader favorite for 5+ years! They’re so easy to make and so flavorful! They taste just like the tacos you order at Mexican restaurants. The shredded beef makes great leftover too.

Servings: 6

Prep20 minutes

Cook8 hours

Ready in: 8 hours 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 (2.5 – 3 lb) chuck roast or cross rib roast
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (14 oz) can beef broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cumin
  • 1/2 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • Juice of 1 lime

For serving

  • Warmed corn tortillas or fresh flour tortillas
  • Chopped romaine lettuce
  • Shredded monterey jack or cheddar cheese
  • Guacamole or diced avocados
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh pico de gallo or diced tomatoes
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Hot sauce

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Dab both sides of beef dry with paper towels. 
  • Season beef with salt and pepper (about 1 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp pepper) and sear in pot until browned on both sides, about 3 minutes each side.
  • Transfer beef to a 6 or 7 quart slow cooker. Pour beef broth over roast.
  • Sprinkle chili powder, cumin, onion and garlic powder evenly over roast. Cover slow cooker and cook on low heat 8 hours (high heat cooking is not recommend here).
  • Remove roast from slow cooker, shred beef (remove fat) and return shredded beef to slow cooker (season with a little more salt if needed). 
  • Add in lime juice, cover with lid and cook on low an additional 5 – 10 minutes while preparing toppings and tortillas.
  • Remove beef from slow cooker with tongs to remove juices when plating or drain in a colander. 
  • Serve in warmed tortillas with desired toppings.
  • Recipe source: Cooking Classy

Notes

Tortillas and toppings not included in nutritional value.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

These slow cooker shredded beef tacos is summer slow cooking at its best! Pair it with your favorite toppings for a hands-free, fun, family and friends meal!

These slow cooker shredded beef tacos are summer slow cooking at its best! Pair it with your favorite toppings.

How about some summer slow cooking?  We want something easy and hassle-free but good enough to feed a crowd or a family for a couple of days. So today we’re gonna be doing some slow cooker shredded beef tacos with some chuck roast seared lovingly before it’s slow-cooked for hours in a spiced tomato sauce.

The toppings are entirely up to you. Lettuce, cheese, beans, rice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, or hot sauce. And don’t be limited by the title of the recipe. You can use this beef for burritos or enchiladas too.

There’s some cayenne and jalapeno in here, but when all was said and done, I didn’t find it spicy at all so don’t be turned off by those two. And if you want it super spicy, just add in more peppers or cayenne. Or some hot sauce. We always have a bottle of Cholula handy at home for this.

Alright, let’s cook!

How To Make Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos (1 Min Video)

SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF TACOS RECIPE TIPS

Use a cheap cut of beef for this, something perfect for slow cooking like a chuck roast. I seasoned it with salt and pepper and seared it for a while cause searing before braising is good. You can skip this step if you don’t want an extra pan to wash but read this before you do so you can make an informed decision!

Then in the slow cooker it goes and you top it with the diced onions and sauce mixture, which is beef broth spiced with cayenne, ground cumin, smoked paprika, garlic, tomato paste, lime juice and diced jalapenos.

If you want less heat, remove the seeds from the jalapenos. I did this, so my beef wasn’t too spicy. If you want more heat, leave the seeds in. And if that still isn’t enough, add more peppers or more cayenne.

It’ll look like a slab of beef with very little juices to go around before you start cooking. Don’t worry about this because after 8 hours of braising, the beef will break down you’ll end up with more than enough juices to coat your shredded beef. Slow cook for 6-8 hours on low or 3-4 hours on high and that’s it! I did mine on low for 8 hours. Then serve with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

slow cooker shredded beef tacos

  •  Total Time: 8 hours 10 mins
  •  Yield: 22–25 tacos 1x

These slow cooker shredded beef tacos are summer slow cooking at its best! Pair it with your favorite toppings.


INGREDIENTS

UNITS USMSCALE1x2x3x

  • 2–3 lb. chuck roast
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • jalapeno pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Season the chuck roast with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. In a skillet over medium-high heat, sear the chuck roast on all sides in some oil until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  3. Combine cayenne, cumin, smoked paprika and garlic with the beef broth.
  4. Add tomato paste, jalapeno and lime juice and stir to mix.
  5. Transfer the roast to a 6 qt. slow cooker and top with diced onions.
  6. Pour the beef broth mixture over the roast and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
  7. Shred the beef with two forks and toss to coat with the juices.
  8. Dish and serve hot with tortillas and your favorite toppings.
  9. Enjoy!

NOTES

Toppings: Lettuce, cheese, beans, rice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, or hot sauce.

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