Take Taco Tuesdays up a notch with this tender Mexican Shredded Beef recipe that cooks in the crock pot! The flavorful sauce and juicy meat make a great filling for tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and more!
This Mexican shredded beef is an easy recipe that can be used as the base for a number of other recipes. This tender beef works well in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and more.
It takes just a little more time than a dump-and-go slow cooker recipe, but it can still be prepped and in the slow cooker in less than 20 minutes.
- Ancho chile powder - This chile powder is milder and smokier than chile powder. If you can't find ancho chile powder, you may want to reduce the amount of chile powder.
- Onion powder - Be sure to use onion powder, not onion salt.
- Kosher salt - Kosher salt works well in spice rubs and seasonings. If you can't find kosher salt, sea salt makes a good substitute.
- Beef broth - Using reduced-salt or no salt broth will allow you to better control the salt level in this dish.
How to make slow cooker Mexican shredded beef
Step 1: Stir together spice rub ingredients in a small bowl. Rub spice mixture onto the surface of the roast.
Step 2: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, and cook until browned on all sides.
Step 3: Place beef in slow cooker insert. Reduce heat to medium.
Step 4: Add garlic and onion to now-empty skillet, and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until onions have just softened. Pour onions and garlic around roast.
Step 5: Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker. Pour in enough water so that the beef is about ⅔ covered with liquid.
Step 6: Cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours.
Step 7: Beef will be done cooking when it is fork tender. Remove the beef, and shred with 2 forks.
Step 8: Turn slow cooker to high and let the sauce cook with the lid off for about 20 minutes to thicken the sauce. Serve beef topped with sauce, or return beef to slow cooker and toss beef in sauce.
You can. Shoulder roasts work well for slow cooking. They take a long time to break down, which makes them ideal for slow cooking. Once cooked, the meat is lean and tender.
If you can't find a shoulder roast, another cut of meat that's well-suited for slow cooking, like chuck roast, will work.
If you don't have time to brown the meat, you can skip that step. Browning the meat does give the meat more flavor, but it isn't crucial.
Any leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. The meat will keep for up to 4 days when properly stored.
You can! The cooked beef freezes well.
More slow cooker beef recipes!
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Mexican Shredded Beef
- 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder*
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 pounds beef shoulder roast**
- 6 cloves garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ cups diced yellow or white onion
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- ¼ cup fresh lime juice
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef broth
- Salt and pepper
- Stir together spice rub ingredients in a small bowl.
- Rub spice mixture onto the surface of the roast.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef, and cook until browned on all sides.
- Place beef in slow cooker insert.
- Reduce heat to medium.
- Add garlic and onion to now-empty skillet, and cook 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly, until onions have just softened.
- Pour onions and garlic around roast.
- Add remaining ingredients to slow cooker.
- Pour in enough water so that the beef is about ⅔ covered with liquid.
- Cover, and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours. Beef will be done cooking when it is fork tender.
- Remove the beef, and shred with 2 forks.
- Turn slow cooker to HIGH and let the sauce cook with the lid OFF for about 20 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- Serve beef topped with sauce, or return beef to slow cooker and toss beef in sauce.
Originally published 4/5/18. Updated with additional photos and tips on 2/26/22.