Slow Cooker Beef For Tacos

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Here’s where I share the most delicious slow cooker beef for tacos. Here are the ingredients and instructions. There are days where I just don’t have time to cook after work, but I’m too tired to go grab a meal out. This is when I pull out my trusty slow cooker and get to work chopping up the ingredients for this super simple beef for tacos recipe.

Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos

barbacoa tacos delish

Throw a beef chuck roast—which has a strong beefy flavor and needs time to tenderize—an onion, and some spices in the slow-cooker before you head out for work—and come home to a Tex-Mex masterpiece.

YIELDS:8

PREP TIME:0 HOURS 20 MINS

TOTAL TIME:8 HOURS 20 MINS

INGREDIENTS

1 small beef chuck roast (about 3 to 4 lbs.)

1 large onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, chopped

Juice of 3 limes

1 tbsp. chili powder

1 tbsp. ground cumin

1 tbsp. dried oregano

4 c. low-sodium chicken broth

20 small corn tortillas

Sour cream, green onions, red onion, and lime wedges for serving

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a 5-quart slow-cooker, combine chuck roast, onion, garlic, lime juice, chili powder, cumin, and oregano, then pour over chicken broth. Cover and let cook on low, 8 hours.
  2. When ready to shred, add roast and onion to a large bowl and shred with two forks. Pour over enough juice so it’s nicely marinated.
  3. Char tortillas over the flame of a gas burner, then top with beef and serve with sour cream, green onions, chopped red onion, and limes.

SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF TACOS

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos are made with tortillas filled with shredded roast beef stewed in enchilada sauce, onions, queso fresco, and cilantro. If you love meaty tacos, be sure to try my steak tacos, too!

Platter of Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos - Lazy Birria Tacos with Sauce and Queso Fresco

SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF TACOS

This recipe is based on Birria Tacos. Or, Lazy Birria Tacos to be exact. 😉 What are birria tacos exactly? At its most basic, birria is a meat stew bathed in a melange of chiles and spices, giving it a deep, red hue. Traditionally birria is made with goat meat and is served on corn tortillas. It is a Mexican dish (stew) from the state of Jalisco. These are a simplified version in that they have great flavor, but I didn’t use the traditional ingredients and I served them on flour tortillas. (just a personal preference)

I am going to warn you right away that these tacos are messy! But, they are messy in the best and most flavorful way. The tacos start with a chuck roast that has been smothered in enchilada sauce and slow-cooked to tender shredded beef. Then flour tortillas are dipped into the juices from the beef, fried in a skillet, and filled with the beef, onion, queso fresco, and cilantro.

Close up of a Plate of Shredded Beef Tacos - Lazy Birria Tacos

SHREDDED BEEF TACOS INGREDIENTS

Beef: Choose a cut of beef like a chuck roast for this recipe. While it slowly stews in the sauce, it will become nice and tender.

Beef Bouillon: Add a tablespoon of beef bouillon powder to the slow cooker. Or, add one bouillon cube.

Enchilada Sauce: Buy a can of sauce or make your own enchilada sauce.

Tortillas: I used the smallest sized taco flour tortillas, but corn tortillas would also be delicious. As this type of taco is traditionally served on corn tortillas, you can absolutely use corn instead.

Queso Fresco: Queso fresco or ‘fresh cheese’ is a white, milky cheese that is commonly associated with Mexican cuisine. You could also use mild feta cheese or cotija cheese (or any of your favorite kinds of cheese).

Adding Seared Beef to Slow Cooker and then Enchilada Sauce

SLOW COOKING THE BEEF

The first thing you will need to do for this recipe is to slow cook the chuck roast for about 10 hours. This means you could make it early in the morning and let it cook throughout the day. Or, you could even prepare it the night before and let it cook overnight; then, you could keep it set on warm until ready to eat.

Before adding the roast to the crockpot, sear each side for a few minutes. Yes, it is important to sear the meat to bring out the most flavor from the roast. Place the seared meat into the slow cooker and top it with bouillon powder and enchilada sauce. Cover and cook on low for 10 hours.

Shredding Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos - Lazy Birria Tacos

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER SHREDDED BEEF TACOS

Once the meat has been slowly cooked, it’s time to shred it and get the yummy and messy tacos made and devoured! Remove the beef from the crockpot and use two forks to shred it. After shredded, place the beef back into the crockpot, with the juices.

Dipped flour tortillas in a skillet and then adding Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos - Lazy Birria Tacos

Next, preheat a skillet to medium-high heat. Once the skillet is hot, dip one tortilla into the juices in the slow cooker and make sure it is completely covered in the juices. Place it in the skillet. Allow the torilla to heat and sear for 1-2 minutes and then flip it over and top the tortilla with shredded beef, onion, queso fresco, and cilantro. 

After 1-2 minutes, use a spatula to remove the tortilla from the skillet. Fold it over and serve with more juices from the slow cooker for dipping. As I stated, these are messy but so good!

Platter of Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos - Lazy Birria Tacos

CAN I COOK THE BEEF ON HIGH HEAT?

Well, technically you could, but the results will not be the same. Cooking the meat low and slow gives you tender, fall-apart beef, which is perfect for these tacos. 

CAN I MAKE ENCHILADAS WITH THE BEEF?

Yes, the beef would be perfect for enchiladas. In addition, you could use the beef for nachos, burritos, and quesadillas, just to give you a few more options.

Dipping Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos into the Sauce

CAN I MAKE THE TACOS SPICY?

Yes! If you want more of a kick to the tacos, simply add cayenne pepper or chipotle peppers to the slow cooker as you are cooking the chuck roast.

Crockpot Beef Tacos

These Crockpot Beef Tacos are so easy to make! You only need a few ingredients plus your favorite taco toppings for a festive dinner you can throw together in no time.

beef tacos on a tray with radishes

In our home, “Taco Tuesday” has become a main stay in our family’s weekly meal plan. It could mean we’re having chicken verde enchiladas, fish quesadillas, beef burritos, or any other Mexican dish that comes to mind.

We like to mix it up so it’s not our standard ground turkey tacos week after week. It’s become a fun tradition that our kids look forward to each Tuesday.

shredded beef in a crockpot

This Crockpot Beef Tacos recipe is very easy to make and would be perfect if you’re hosting a get together for a crowd, or just having “Taco Tuesday” at home with your family like we do.

To make this shredded beef recipe, just put a large seared beef roast in your slow cooker, top it with some seasonings and a jar of salsa, and let it cook all day. It’s really that simple!

beef tacos on a tray with radishes

Ingredients for Crockpot Beef Tacos

  • chuck roast
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • vegetable oil
  • garlic powder
  • cumin
  • onion powder
  • jarred salsa
  • tortillas, for serving
  • taco toppings, for serving
meat and seasonings on a counter top

How to Make Crockpot Beef Tacos – Step by Step

Step 1: Season chuck roast

Season the chuck roast on both sides with the salt and pepper. 

Step 2: Sear chuck roast

On the stove, heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Once hot, add the vegetable oil. Sear the roast for about 3-5 minutes per side, or until a deep golden brown.

Step 3: Slow Cook

Place the seared roast into a 6-8 quart crockpot. Sprinkle the garlic powder, onion powder, and cumin on top. Pour the salsa directly on top of the roast. Cook on low heat for 7-8 hours or high heat for 4-5 hours, until shreddable. The longer you let it cook, the easier it will shred.

Step 4: Shred and serve

Remove the roast from the crockpot. Shred the meat, discarding any fatty bits. Place the shredded meat back into the crockpot and stir it with the accumulated juices. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve your crockpot beef tacos immediately with tortillas, along with your favorite taco toppings.

shredded beef on a cookie sheet

Crockpot Beef Tacos – Tips and Notes

  • Searing: You can skip the searing step if time doesn’t allow. I do highly encourage searing the meat, however, as it adds a ton of extra flavor.
  • Salsa Recommendations: Feel free to use your favorite salsa in this recipe. I personally like to use a mild chunky salsa. Also be sure to taste the meat and add more salt if necessary right before serving.
  • Instant Pot option: You can also make this Crockpot Beef Tacos recipe in the Instant Pot! See my instructions for this step below.
a taco on a tray

Hot to Make Instant Pot Shredded Beef

Sometimes the day gets away from me and I forget to add my ingredients to the crockpot. On those days, I like to make Instant Pot Shredded Beef Tacos. All you need to do is add your ingredients to your Instant Pot, add about 1 cup of beef broth or water, then cook over manual high pressure for one hour. Let the pressure release naturally then open the lid and shred the meat.

a hand holding a tortilla filled with meat

Storing Leftovers

Store any leftover shredded beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. Reheat on the stove over low heat, in the microwave, or in your crockpot using the warm setting.

Freezing leftover Crockpot Beef Tacos

Because this recipe makes a lot of meat, I usually save about half of the meat for another meal like enchiladas, salads, etc.

Once your beef is cooled, add small servings to individual ziplock bags and squeeze out the air. Lay flat and place in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight then reheat on the stove over low heat, in the microwave, or in your crockpot using the warm setting.

beef tacos on a tray with radishes

Other Shredded Beef Recipe Ideas

Crockpot beef tacos would be delicious with tortilla chips and guacamole or a side salad. While it’s easy to serve this shredded beef recipe as tacos, you could also use it in many other ways:

  • Use shredded beef instead of ground taco meat in burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, or a Mexican casserole.
  • Serve it as a sandwich on a large bun with a slice of cheese and sautéed onions.
  • Put it on toasted bread. Cover with shredded or sliced cheddar cheese and bake in the oven for an open-faced shredded beef melt sandwich.
  • The meat from these Crockpot beef tacos also freezes well to save and use in future recipes for easy weeknight meals.

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