Shredded Beef Tacos

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Deliciously rich and hearty tacos loaded with melt-in-your-mouth tender shredded beef are just a slow cooker recipe away!

Plate of shredded beef tacos garnished with jalapeño slices, diced tomatoes, and crumbled cheese with a side of green salsa.
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Three shredded beef tacos with jalapeños, crumbled cheese, and diced tomatoes, served with a side of green salsa and lime wedges.

Slow Cooker Beef Tacos

Taco night just got a whole lot easier (and tastier) thanks to the magic of the slow cooker!

Who says you can’t have restaurant-worthy tacos at home? Toss some beef, spices, and a few other goodies into your slow cooker, and let it work its magic while you go about your day.

By dinnertime, you’ll be rewarded with melt-in-your-mouth shredded beef that’s perfect for piling onto warm tortillas and customizing with your favorite toppings!

Close-up of shredded beef tacos garnished with diced tomatoes, cheese, and a slice of jalapeño.

How to Make Shredded Beef Tacos

To make this recipe, we will need the following ingredients:

  • Beef chuck roast: The chuck roast provides the main protein for the tacos. It’s a flavorful and tender cut of meat that becomes succulent and easily shreddable after slow cooking.
  • Onion: Finely chopped onion adds depth of flavor and sweetness to the beef. As it cooks, it melds with the other ingredients, enhancing the overall taste of the dish.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic contributes aromatic and savory notes to the beef. It adds complexity and richness to the flavor profile.
  • Ground cumin: Cumin is a key spice in Mexican cuisine, imparting a warm and earthy flavor to the beef. It enhances the overall depth and complexity of the dish.
  • Chili powder: Chili powder adds a spicy kick and a rich, smoky flavor to the beef. It also provides a vibrant red color to the dish.
  • Paprika: Paprika adds a subtle sweetness and a mild peppery flavor to the beef. It also contributes to the dish’s vibrant color.
  • Dried oregano: Dried oregano brings a robust and herbaceous flavor to the beef. It complements the other spices and adds a touch of freshness.
  • Salt and black pepper: Salt enhances the overall flavor of the beef, while black pepper adds a subtle heat and depth of flavor.
  • Beef broth: Beef broth serves as the cooking liquid for the beef, infusing it with savory flavor and ensuring it remains moist and tender during cooking.
  • Tomato paste: Tomato paste adds richness and depth of flavor to the beef. It also helps thicken the sauce and provides a hint of sweetness.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice adds brightness and acidity to the beef, balancing out the rich and savory flavors. It adds a refreshing contrast to the dish.
  • Warm tortillas: Warm tortillas serve as the base for the tacos, providing a soft and pillowy vessel for the flavorful shredded beef.
  • Toppings: Diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and Cotija cheese are classic toppings that add freshness, crunch, heat, and tanginess to the tacos. They enhance the overall texture and flavor profile, allowing you to customize your tacos to your liking.

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients, we will use the following process:

  • Season the beef chuck roast generously with salt and black pepper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, and dried oregano. Rub the spice mixture all over the beef, ensuring it’s evenly coated.
  • Place the seasoned beef in the slow cooker. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic around the beef in the slow cooker.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, and lime juice until well combined. Pour the beef broth mixture over the beef in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on high heat for 4-5 hours or on low heat for 8 hours or until the beef is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  • Once the beef is cooked, use two forks to shred it. Allow the beef to marinate in the juices for another 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the beef and place in a dish to assemble tacos.
  • Serve the shredded beef in warm tortillas, topped with your favorite toppings such as diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, Cotija cheese, lime wedges and salsa.
A wooden board with a selection of beef tacos filled with shredded beef, topped with jalapeños, cheese, and garnished with lime wedges, accompanied by salsa and cilantro.

Tips and Tricks for Perfect Shredded Beef Tacos

Choose the right cut of beef: Opt for a well-marbled cut like beef chuck roast for maximum flavor and tenderness. It’s perfect for slow cooking and shredding.

Sear the beef: Before slow cooking, sear the beef on all sides in a hot skillet to develop a flavorful crust and enhance the overall depth of flavor.

Use aromatics: Cooking the beef with onions and garlic adds layers of flavor to the dish. Sauté them until they’re soft and translucent before adding the beef.

Don’t skimp on spices: Use a generous amount of spices like cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano to season the beef. Adjust the amount to suit your taste preferences.

Add liquid: Beef broth adds moisture and flavor to the beef as it cooks. It helps keep the meat tender and prevents it from drying out.

Slow cook for tender results: For the most tender and flavorful shredded beef, cook it low and slow. Use a slow cooker or Dutch oven and cook until the beef is fork-tender and easily shreds apart.

Shred the beef properly: Once the beef is cooked, use two forks to shred it into bite-sized pieces. Remove any excess fat or connective tissue for a more enjoyable eating experience. You can also use a stand mixer with the paddle attachment to shred meat – it really works!

Season to taste: Taste the shredded beef and adjust the seasoning as needed with salt, pepper, and additional spices. Add a squeeze of lime juice for brightness.

Warm your tortillas: Warm the tortillas before serving to make them soft and pliable. You can heat them in a dry skillet, microwave, or oven for a few seconds on each side.

Serve with fresh toppings: Offer a variety of toppings like diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and Cotija cheese. Let your guests customize their tacos to their liking.

FAQs

Can I use a different cut of beef?

While beef chuck roast is ideal for shredding, you can also use other cuts such as beef brisket or beef short ribs. Just ensure the cut has enough marbling and connective tissue to become tender when slow-cooked.

How long does it take to cook shredded beef in a slow cooker?

Cooking times can vary depending on the size and thickness of the beef. Generally, it takes about 6-8 hours on low heat or 3-4 hours on high heat in a slow cooker for the beef to become tender enough to shred easily.

Can I make shredded beef tacos in advance?

Yes, shredded beef tacos are great for meal prep. You can cook the beef in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Reheat it gently on the stove or in the microwave before serving.

How should I store leftover shredded beef?

Allow the shredded beef to cool completely before transferring it to an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze it for longer storage. To freeze, portion the beef into freezer-safe bags or containers and remove as much air as possible.


Can I make shredded beef tacos in a pressure cooker?

Yes, you can use a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot to cook shredded beef tacos more quickly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cooking times and release methods. Generally, it takes about 60-90 minutes on high pressure to cook the beef until tender.

What are some alternative toppings for shredded beef tacos?

In addition to the traditional toppings like diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, and Cotija cheese, you can also add avocado slices, pickled onions, shredded lettuce, or sour cream for extra flavor and texture.

A hand holding a shredded beef taco filled with shredded beef, cheese, and vegetables.

What to Serve With Shredded Beef Tacos

Mexican Rice: Fluffy and flavorful Mexican rice seasoned with tomatoes, onions, and spices makes a classic side dish for tacos.

Beans: Creamy and savory refried beans or spicy garlicky beans add protein and richness to your meal. Serve them as a side dish or use them as a taco filling.

Corn or Flour Tortillas: Offer a selection of warm corn or flour tortillas for guests to create their tacos according to their preference.

Guacamole: Creamy avocado guacamole adds richness and freshness to the meal. Serve it as a dip or as a topping for tacos.

Salsa and Chips: Provide a variety of salsas, such as pico de gallo, salsa verde, or mango salsa, along with tortilla chips for dipping.

Mexican Street Corn (Elote): Grilled corn on the cob coated with mayonnaise, cotija cheese, chili powder, and lime juice makes a flavorful and vibrant side dish.

Cilantro Lime Slaw: Light and refreshing cilantro lime slaw adds crunch and zesty flavor to complement the richness of the tacos.

Grilled Vegetables: Seasonal vegetables such as bell peppers, onions, and zucchini can be grilled and served alongside the tacos for a nutritious addition.

Try my favorite acorn squash wheat salad next! Or my Carne Asada Nachos!

Try these other Tex Mex Favorites:

Beef Tacos with shredded beef and toppings, partially dipped in a bowl of broth.

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Row of beef tacos with toppings in a promotional image highlighting them as an easy and delicious crockpot dinner featuring shredded beef.

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A plate of four shredded beef tacos topped with diced tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and crumbled cheese.
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Shredded Beef Tacos

These Shredded Beef Tacos feature juicy shredded beef, slow cooked with warm spices. The beef becomes incredibly tender, soaking up the flavors from the sauce. Layered onto warm tortillas and topped with your favorite toppings, like tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeño peppers and salsa. These tacos are perfect for a fun weekend meal and will get rave reviews.
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beef, beef tacos, carne asada tacos, easy tacos
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours 30 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 240kcal
Author Courtney ODell
Cost $10

Equipment

  • 1 Crock-Pot SCCPVL610-S-A 6-Quart Cook & Carry Programmable Slow Cooker with Digital Timer, Stainless Steel

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast trimmed of excess fat
  • 1 onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 lime juiced
  • Warm tortillas for serving
  • Toppings: diced tomatoes sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, lime wedges, salsa, Cotija cheese

Instructions

  • Season the beef chuck roast generously with salt and black pepper.
  • In a small bowl, combine the ground cumin, chili powder, paprika, and dried oregano. Rub the spice mixture all over the beef, ensuring it’s evenly coated.
  • In a large pan, heat olive oil, then add beef and sear on all sides just to brown.
  • Place the seasoned beef in the slow cooker. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic around the beef in the slow cooker.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the beef broth, tomato paste, and lime juice until well combined. Pour the beef broth mixture over the beef in the slow cooker.
  • Cover and cook on high heat for 4-5 hours or on low heat for 8 hours or until the beef is tender and easily shreds with a fork.
  • Once the beef is cooked, use two forks to shred it. Allow the beef to marinate in the juices for another 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the beef and place in a dish to assemble tacos.
  • Serve the shredded beef in warm tortillas, topped with your favorite toppings such as diced tomatoes, sliced jalapeños, chopped cilantro, Cotija cheese, lime wedges and salsa.

Nutrition

Calories: 240kcal | Carbohydrates: 4g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 254mg | Potassium: 501mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 510IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 3mg

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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