Slowcooker Shredded Beef for Tacos (or Burritos, or Nachos, or Tostadas…)

March 29, 2011 · 59 comments

in beef,crockpot,dairy-free,mexican/tex-mex

You probably don’t know this about me, but I love Mexican food.  What’s that, you say? I only have 4 less Mexican recipes on this blog than I do Greek ones? Hmmph. I had no idea.

We eat chicken tacos so often that I often forget about beef ones entirely.  And while I have a soft spot in my heart for the crunchy ones made with ground beef and a sodium-laden taco seasoning packet (aka my husband’s “specialty”), we haven’t had them in years.  With a roast in the freezer and a craving for Mexican (because, let’s be honest—when do I not have a craving for Mexican?) shredded beef tacos seemed like the perfect solution.

The  beef was every bit as delicious as it smelled when I came home.  These tacos are so easy and good, in fact, that I’m pretty sure I’ll be serving them at my son’s  birthday next weekend.  They’re a good option because it’s totally hands-off when guests are here and sides, like rice and beans, are also easy to make with very minimal prep, so I’m not stuck in the kitchen.  And, of course, salsa can be made ahead of time, too.   As a side note, can you believe I have an almost-one year old? Sheesh!

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{ 51 comments… read them below or add one }

Peter March 29, 2011 at 5:02 am

Gorgeous…I want tacos for brekkie now! You love Mexican, Tex-Mex and it shows in the food you present to us.


Ivy March 29, 2011 at 5:17 am

These look so good! I could crunch into one right now!


Joanne March 29, 2011 at 5:28 am

I swear I laughed out loud at that first sentence. When I think Mexican food, I think of you and Bayless, hands down. :P These tacos are awesome! That meat looks so juicy pull-apart delicious!

And NO I can’t believe you almost have a one-year-old! Feels like just yesterday that he was born!


Joan March 29, 2011 at 6:59 am

What type of beef roast do you use? I don’t eat red meat but I have family coming to visit and they would love these.


elly March 29, 2011 at 7:43 am

Hi Joan. This time I used a chuck roast but I’ve used other cuts too. You want something with a little fat on it, but if there is a lot of excess fat around the edges, I trim it.


Joan March 29, 2011 at 11:26 am

Thanks Elly! It’s on the menu for tomorrow.


Amy Moore March 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

Can’t wait to make this!!


Elvia March 29, 2011 at 8:48 am

i love your recipes :)


bellini March 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

Mexican is more readily available than my favourite Greek food although here in my town we have 4 Greek restaurants to 7 Mexican. Aren’t we glad we live in such a melting pot of cultures!


katie March 29, 2011 at 9:20 am

These look amazing. I make chicken tacos in the crockpot all the time, I cannot wait to try it with beef.


Kelsey March 29, 2011 at 11:31 am

This looks so delicious. I know exacty what I’ll be making next time roasts are on sale!


ErinsFoodFiles March 29, 2011 at 2:33 pm

WHAT?! You don’t have the menu for your child’s first birthday finalized yet?! Have you even booked the clown? What about the donkey rides? And the children’s face-paint artist? You better get ON IT! You don’t want your son to have memories of a lousy first birthday! ;)

(I do hope you get my joke….)

Back to the food, these look delicious, and would probably pair perfectly with the Grilled Corn & Poblano Rice I just bookmarked on Foodie Bride’s blog.


elly March 29, 2011 at 2:55 pm

I know, I’m pretty much the worst mom EVAR! I also bookmarked that rice today. Hah.


gourmet March 30, 2011 at 4:35 am

I Think I have to try this one. Looks very delicious!


Laurel March 30, 2011 at 8:46 am

This recipe sounds (and looks!) excellent. I’d love for you to submit this to the M&T Spotlight at


Katie March 30, 2011 at 9:57 pm

I’ve had a huge craving for tacos lately. This would definitely fit the bill to fulfill that hunger! Yum!


Karla March 31, 2011 at 10:48 pm

This was delicious! A very nice change-up from ground beef taco meat! I used a combination of jack cheese and pepper jack cheese–fabulous pairing with this meat!


elly April 1, 2011 at 7:27 am

So glad you liked it, Karla!


Rachel April 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I just made this for dinner and it was SO good! It reminded my husband and I of the “Barbacoa” meat at Chipotle. I’m definitely going to making it again – frequently :)


elly April 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm

So glad you liked it, Rachel!


Anne April 10, 2011 at 2:23 pm

We made this last night for tacos and it was delicious! It’s very similar to the Cuban dish ‘Ropa Vieja’ , which I used to eat a lot growing up in FL. So it was a nice taste of home here in the UK. :)


elly April 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm

So glad you liked it, Anne!


Ashley Jordan April 18, 2011 at 11:46 am

I hope this isn’t a completely dumb question but are slow cookers and crock-pots not the same thing?


elly April 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Yes, they are the same thing! Slowcooker is technically the generic term and crockpot was coined by a company – I want to say Rival.


Carrie May 4, 2011 at 9:49 am

This is fantastic! I think it’s going to be my go-to shredded beef recipe. Thank you for sharing!


elly May 4, 2011 at 10:26 am

So glad you liked it, Carrie!


Anyuta Chervonyuk May 17, 2011 at 9:05 am

Thank you so much for this great recipe!!!!! I´ve tried it and the result was wonderful. The only thing is that I couldn´t wait for 8 hours and passed 4 hours I turned it down (besides all the liquid was absorbed). Anyway, it was fantastic!
You can see my work here-


elly May 17, 2011 at 10:16 am

Glad you liked it, Anyuta!


Eric May 24, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Just got it all in the crockpot minutes ago!! starving already. I plan on shredding it after six hours then high for 1 one. I also used a bit more broth and cayenne for some KI-YAW. great way to break in my new pot. thanks from Richmond, VA


elly May 24, 2011 at 9:24 pm

Let me know how it turns out, Eric! Last time I did it on high for a couple hours and then on low for another 2-3, which worked out fine.


Eric May 24, 2011 at 9:37 pm

so its been for about six hours and the meats done however its hard to shred. is there a technique, or do i need bigger forks, or should i cook it even longer?


elly May 24, 2011 at 10:24 pm

Hmm, I haven’t had that problem before. Usually it just falls apart. I guess I would give it a little more time, and if it looks like there’s too much broth, maybe remove some so the beef is not essentially boiling (which could make it tougher).


Lisa June 18, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Best recipe for shredded beef EVER!!! Was so tender & full of flavor! We all loved time I may have to half the chili & cayenne pepper cus it was a bit too spicy for my 1 & 2.5yr old girlies. Can’t wait for taco night time I’m going to try chicken!


Lisa June 18, 2011 at 1:12 pm 2.5 yr. old is gobbling up the left overs and even wants seconds!


elly June 18, 2011 at 2:55 pm

So glad it was a hit, Lisa!


Amy July 4, 2011 at 11:03 am

This looks awesome! But since it’s just me and one roommate here, do you think the leftovers would freeze well for use at a later date? I’d hate to make a big, delicious roast and have it go to waste!


elly July 4, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Yes, I definitely think it would freeze great! I’ve frozen similar things before (pulled pork, chicken tacos, etc.) with no issues.


Natalie Elwell July 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I am making this for a dinner party I am hosting tonight! It looks delicious!


Dori November 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I’m going to try this for sure,Im living in Australia now and I’m Mexican food deprived coming from California where the spices and tortillas are authentic. I have one question could you tell me will any roast do they call there cuts of beef by different names here. any suggestions would be helpful.

Dori(Mexican food deprived)


elly November 16, 2011 at 7:37 am

You can use top round or bottom round, or chuck. Hope that helps.


melanie May 1, 2012 at 11:36 am

what size crockpot do you use with this amount of meat/liquid?


elly May 1, 2012 at 1:15 pm

Melanie, I have a 6 qt. oval crockpot.


Krista June 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm

Do you think stewing beef would work with this recipe?


elly June 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Yes, definitely. You will probably just have to skim the fat off the top when you’re done cooking.


Phoebe W. September 2, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Do you think it’s possible to use a rice-cooker instead of a crockpot?


elly September 2, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I’ve never used a rice cooker, so I really have no idea. You can put it in the oven for a few hours at a low temp (~300F).


Papaduck November 18, 2012 at 3:10 pm

Great flavor and we had everything we needed on hand. It took the full 10 hrs of cooking time for a 2 lb. chuck roast. We’ll definitely use this recipe again and look forward to trying others. Thanks!


david baker November 26, 2012 at 11:34 pm

omg made them tonight, so good!


david baker November 26, 2012 at 11:35 pm

yum, so good!


Rachel January 10, 2013 at 9:33 am

Hi Elly,

Just LOVE this recipe! Wondering if you have any idea about how many people this serves? Or how many servings it makes?

Thank you :)


elly January 10, 2013 at 9:43 am

Tough telling Rachel, since it depends on the type of eater, but I’d say about 6. The three of us usually have it for dinner, and then Tom & I have lunch leftovers for a couple days.


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