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Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos are easy to make, hands off, and full of flavor. Cooking a chuck roast in a slightly spicy chipotle sauce results in tender and juicy shredded beef.

Stuff the shredded beef in fried taco shells and top with your favorite toppings. In addition to making tacos, you can also use the shredded beef filling to make burritos, burrito bowls, breakfast hash, and even stuff inside a baked potato

2 Tacos with shredded beef and pico de gallo.
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Why We Love This Recipe

My family loves shredded beef tacos. Whether I cook the meat in the slow cooker or in make Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef they are always begging for seconds.

I love that this recipe is so easy, and so flavorful! Plus I could cook it on my stovetop or in the oven, too. But honestly, the slow cooker is my favorite!

My favorite things about the recipe:

  • Set It and Forget It – Let your slow cooker do all of the work!
  • Fall Apart Tender – Cooking the beef low and slow gives super tender results.
  • Slightly Spicy Sauce – The chipotle sauce is the perfect level of spice.

Ingredients For Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

Pick up a budget-friendly chuck roast at the store and some other easy-to-find ingredients.

  • Chuck Roast – Trim off large chunks of fat, but this type of roast is well marbled with fat throughout.
  • White Onion
  • Canned Chipotle in Adobo
  • Canned Crushed Tomatoes
  • Minced Garlic – Freshly minced is best, but you can also use the kind in a jar.
  • Spices – Cumin, smoked or regular paprika, salt, chili powder, dried oregano.
  • Beef Broth – Low sodium.
  • Lime Juice – Fresh is best!

How To Make Slow Cooker Shredded Beef for Taco

See the recipe card below for full, detailed instructions

Blend up the chipotle sauce, sear the beef, add it all to the slow cooker, set it and forget it!

Ingredient for adobo sauce in blender.

Step One: Make the Sauce. In a blender, mix up the chipotles, adobo sauce, tomatoes, garlic, and spices until smooth.

Chuck roast in a cast iron skillet.

Step Two: Sear Chuck Roast. Heat a large heavy skillet to medium-high on the stove and add a little cooking oil. Sear the chuck roast, undisturbed, until deep brown on both sides.

Chuck roast, adobo sauce and onions in slow cooker.

Step Three: Add to Slow Cooker. Add the seared roast to the slow cooker along with the onion. Pour the beef broth into the skillet to deglaze the pan then pour it all into the crockpot. Finally, add the chipotle sauce and mix everything to combine.

Chuck roast, slow cooked in adobo sauce.
Shredded beef with cilantro in a slow cooker.

Step Four: Slow Cook. Cook on LOW until the beef is very tender and can be shredded easily. Remove the chuck roast, discard any large pieces of fat, shred, and return to the crockpot. Add the lime juice and cilantro.

Crispy taco shells lined up and filled with shredded beef topped with tomatoes.

Serve – Fill the fried tacos with shredded beef and serve with your favorite toppings.

Recipe FAQs

What cut of beef is best for shredded beef tacos?

A boneless chuck roast is best for shredded beef tacos as it becomes very tender and juicy. It is sometimes called a shoulder roast or chuck eye roast.

Why is my shredded beef tough?

If your shredded beef is tough then it likely needs to be cooked longer. The collagen breaks down while cooking and a low and slow cook time is important for this to happen.

Is it OK to cook beef on high in the slow cooker?

When cooking a chuck roast in the slow cooker, it’s best to cook on LOW for a longer period of time. You can cook on HIGH and get good results, but it won’t be quite as tender and juicy.

Variations

  • Other Cut of Meat – Chuck roast works best for this recipe, but you could also try using a flank steak, or eye of round roast for extra lean beef. Round roast will not be as tender as chuck, but it will shred when cooked for at least 8 hours. 
  • Tomatoes – The crushed tomatoes can be substituted with diced, whole tomatoes, or canned tomatoes with garlic and chilis. Try using fire roasted tomatoes for an added layer of smokiness.
  • Spice Level – If you like things spicier, you can add more chipotles or some of your favorite hot sauce or chili paste to the marinade. 
  • Swap Beer for Broth – The beef broth can be swapped with beer for a slightly different flavor profile. Or you can use water if you don’t have either on hand.

Alternative Cooking Methods

  • Cook in the oven – Sear the beef and transfer to a plate. Add the broth to deglaze the pan, then add the blended ingredients for the sauce and add the beef and onions. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn off the heat. Place in a 325℉ oven for 3-4 hours. Shred in the pan, add the lime juice and cilantro, and simmer on low for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Cook on the stovetop – Sear the beef and transfer to a plate. Add the broth to deglaze the pan, then add the blended ingredients for the sauce and add the beef and onions. Bring to a simmer, then cover and turn heat to low. Simmer for 2-3 hours, checking periodically and adding more liquid if needed. Shred in the pan, add the lime juice and cilantro, and simmer on low for another 10-15 minutes.
  • Instant Pot – Cut roast into a few pieces. Season meat and saute in a little olive oil for 4-5 minutes per side until brown. Switch to manual high and increase time to 70 minutes. Add the blended sauce and onions and half of the cilantro, add the lid and seal. Natural release after 70 minutes, then open the lid and shred the beef. Shred in the pan, add the lime juice and cilantro, and let sit for another 10-15 minutes.
Shredded beef taco standing up, topped with tomatoes.

Helpful Tips

  • Make Ahead – You can also brown and then marinate the meat in the sauce overnight in the slow cooker insert in the refrigerator. Just place the slow cooker insert in when you get up. This will give the meat even more flavor and tenderness.
  • Skim The Fat – A chuck roast is a fattier cut of beef which helps add flavor and makes the beef tender. After cooking, you can use a fat separator or a spoon to skim the fat off the top of the cooking liquid before mixing the beef back in. 
  • Storage – Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or can be frozen for up to 3 months. 

More Taco Recipes

Recipe
social media image for shredded beef tacos.

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

5
Learn how to make the most tender and juicy meat for shredded beef tacos. Slow cooked in an easy homemade adobo sauce for maximum flavor.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Servings 6 servings (2 tacos)

Ingredients
  

  • 3-4 pound chuck roast
  • 1 white onion sliced thin
  • 7 ounce chipotle in adobo
  • 12 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Cilantro for garnish
  • 12 6-inch flour tortillas
  • Oil for frying
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Instructions
 

Mexican Shredded Beef

  • In a blender, combine 3 of the chipotles from the can, along with 2 tablespoons of the adobo sauce from the can, crushed tomatoes, garlic, and spices. Blend until smooth, and set aside.
  • Heat a heavy skillet on the stovetop over medium high heat, add a drizzle of cooking oil and sear the chuck roast, undisturbed until deeply brown; about 3 minutes per side. Transfer the roast to your slow cooker and surround with the sliced onions.
  • Pour the beef broth to the hot skillet and scrape all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Pour the deglazed pan liquid over the meat and onions, then pour in the blender sauce and mix gently stir together.
  • Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours. Once the beef is fork tender, transfer to a cutting baord and shred, removing large pieces of fat. Transfer back into the slow cooker and add the juice of one lime (or more if you like) and the chopped cilantro and toss to combine. Turn the crockpot to the warm setting until ready to use.
  • How to Use: Stuff shredded meat into soft taco shells or crispy fried shells (instructions below), or use in burritos, quesadillas, taco bowls and more.

Fried Tortilla Shells

  • To fry the taco shells: Fold the flour tortillas in half and use 3 toothpicks to hold them in a taco shell shape. Heat a heavy bottom pan over high heat with enough vegetable oil to reach 2” deep. Lay the tortillas in the oil one side at a time and fry until crisp and slightly puffy, flip and cook the other side. Remove to a paper towel lined sheet pan.

Notes

  • Prep the night before: Brown and then marinate the meat in the sauce in the slow cooker insert and store overnight in the refrigerator. Place the slow cooker insert into the base and set to low in the morning. This will give the meat even more flavor and tenderness.
  • You can use a fat separator or a spoon to skim the fat off the top of the cooking liquid before mixing the beef back in, otherwise the finished meat will be greasy.
  • For alternative cooking methods, see the notes in this post.

Nutrition

Calories: 775kcalCarbohydrates: 36gProtein: 49gFat: 49gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 9gMonounsaturated Fat: 26gTrans Fat: 2gCholesterol: 156mgSodium: 1464mgPotassium: 1054mgFiber: 7gSugar: 7gVitamin A: 431IUVitamin C: 7mgCalcium: 150mgIron: 9mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of “Yellow Bliss Road” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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