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



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!

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

  • 10 minutes
  • 9-10 hours
  • 6-8 servings


  • 1 (2 lb.) boneless beef roast
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 3/4 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 tsp. chili powder (I use a hot version)
  • 1.5 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano


  1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed skillet over medium high heat, and add the oil.  Sprinkle the beef roast liberally with salt and pepper.  Once the oil is hot, add the roast to the pan and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side.  Place in the crockpot.
  2. To the pan, add the onion and cook for about 2 minutes before stirring in garlic and tomato paste.  After another minute, stir in the beef broth and spices.  Scrape up any browned bits, and then pour the seasoned broth and onions over the top of the roast.
  3. Cook on low for 9-10 hours.  Shred with two forks and allow to cook for a few minutes longer. (To soak up any extra liquid, you can turn the crockpot to high for a little bit after shredding the beef.)
  • Gorgeous…I want tacos for brekkie now! You love Mexican, Tex-Mex and it shows in the food you present to us.

  • Ivy

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

  • I swear I laughed out loud at that first sentence. When I think Mexican food, I think of you and Bayless, hands down. 😛 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

    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

      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

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

  • Amy Moore

    Can’t wait to make this!!

  • Elvia

    i love your recipes 🙂

  • 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!

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

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

  • 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

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

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

  • Laurel

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

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

  • 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

      So glad you liked it, Karla!

  • Rachel

    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

      So glad you liked it, Rachel!

  • Anne

    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

      So glad you liked it, Anne!

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

    • elly

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

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

    • elly

      So glad you liked it, Carrie!

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  • 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

      Glad you liked it, Anyuta!

  • Eric

    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

      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

        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

          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

    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 2.5 yr. old is gobbling up the left overs and even wants seconds!

      • elly

        So glad it was a hit, Lisa!

  • Amy

    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

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

  • Natalie Elwell

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

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  • Dori

    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

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

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  • melanie

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

    • elly

      Melanie, I have a 6 qt. oval crockpot.

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  • Krista

    Do you think stewing beef would work with this recipe?

    • elly

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

  • Phoebe W.

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

    • elly

      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

    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

    omg made them tonight, so good!

  • david baker

    yum, so good!

  • Rachel

    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

      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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  • Jamie

    Wow!!! This was so simple yet awesome!! My husband is in love! He informed me this was so good he could eat it by it’s self!! (We won’t be doing that 🙂 ) thank you for the great recipe this will be one we keep and repeat!!

    • elly

      So happy to hear that, Jamie!

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