Slow-Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

This slow cooker shredded beef tacos recipe is SO flavorful, and the shredded beef can be used in many other recipes as well.

I think I may be one of the only people in the world who’s not a Chipotle fan.  I know…judge away.

But.  I absolutely love shredded beef tacos.  They’re my absolute favorite thing to order at two of my favorite Mexican restaurants in town.  So when I saw one of my favorite bloggers post a delicious photo and recipe of her shredded beef tacos a few months ago, I knew I had to give them a try!

In the past whenever I’ve tried making shredded beef, the seasonings have always seemed too bland.  But sure enough, this recipe — rockin’ the chipotle peppers, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic and more — made for some totally flavorful tacos!!!  And for leftovers later in the week…it starred again in some quesadillas and sandwiches as well.  :)

So bring out your crock pot, and give this recipe a try!  It’s definitely a keeper!

Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

This slow cooker shredded beef recipe is packed with flavor, simple to make, and the beef is delicious in all sorts of other recipes as well.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 pounds beef (I used a boneless chuck roast)
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, minced (if you want extra flavor/heat, add an extra pepper)
  • 1 small white onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • Flour tortillas

Favorite taco toppings:

Directions:

Whisk together the chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika in a small bowl. Rub the spice mix into the beef, covering each side evenly.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Carefully place the beef in the skillet and sear on each side until browned, about 2 minutes per side. Remove the beef from the skillet and place in the bottom of a slow cooker.

Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and diced onion to the saute pan. Saute for an additional 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add the beef stock and stir the pan to deglaze it, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add tomato paste and minced chipotle, and whisk into the pan sauce until combined. Bring the sauce to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for a 3-5 minutes until the sauce has reduced and thickened slightly. Pour the pan sauce down over the beef in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours, until the beef shreds easily.

Shred the beef with two forks, and toss to coat with any of the remaining juices. Serve the beef in the flour tortillas, topped with your favorite taco toppings.

Recipe adapted from My Kitchen Addiction http://www.mykitchenaddiction.com/2009/10/shredded-beef-tacos/

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

Ali’s Tip:

If you’re like me and rarely make it through an entire can of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, would highly recommend chipotle powder!  It’s now available in most grocery stores, and is so fun to have on hand.  For one pepper, I usually substitute in around 1/2 tsp. of the powder.

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Comments

  1. Danette — March 12, 2012 @ 7:53 am (#)

    Freeze the leftover chipotle peppers in adobo sauce! We do a shredded chicken recipe that calls for 1-2 TB of the stuff, so we freeze it in premeasured baggies.

  2. Sara — March 29, 2012 @ 7:18 am (#)

    No judging here, I am not a fan of Chipotle either! I am going to go try out this recipe right now, thanks for the post!

  3. Rebekah — March 29, 2012 @ 7:56 pm (#)

    I did not have the chipotle so I made it without. Instead of having tacos, I rolled the meat in corn tortillas and made taquitos. We put guacamole on top and had spanish rice on the side. They were so good! My husband could not stop raving about them. Thanks for the yummy recipe. :)

  4. Kelly — March 30, 2012 @ 6:51 pm (#)

    I made these tonight, and they were delicious! I followed the recipe, and they turned out great. My grocery store now carries tiny little cans of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, so I bought one and it worked out perfect. Topped with white cheese and avocado slices, this recipe is a keeper!

  5. Kathy — April 9, 2012 @ 1:54 pm (#)

    Love this recipe, thanks! I also freeze the tomato paste in a baggie and break off what I need. Works great.

  6. Jenn — April 9, 2012 @ 2:54 pm (#)

    Do you know about how many servings this recipe will make? I need to make it for about 20 people. Thanks!

  7. cj — April 28, 2012 @ 9:35 am (#)

    How much beef do you need for a taco bar for 50 people?

  8. Genie — May 22, 2012 @ 5:36 am (#)

    I do something similar for burritos. It’s a 2 day preparation, but it’s worth it since they freeze so well.

    After I have cooked the chuck roast in the slow cooker, I take it out and shred it. While shredding, I remove any fat, gristle, etc. I pour the leftover juices in a measuring cup (anything will do really) and put everything in the refrigerator. The next day I throw away the fat that has hardened on the top of the juice. I then take the shredded beef and put it in a dutch oven (or similar large pot), pour the juices on top of that and turn the heat up. The liquid will reduce and this intensifies the flavor in the meat itself.

    After that I assemble my ingredients, Refried Beans, Shredded cheese, flour tortillas (the biggest I can find) and the beef. I heat up the tortillas in the microwave and get started. On the tortilla I put about 1/4 cup of refried beans, 1 – 2 oz of shredded beef and finally the shredded cheese. After I fold them up I dry fry them in a skillet or the flat side of a stove top grill. This will not only seal them, but it also helps melt the cheese.

    You can eat them with your fav salsa, or whatever. I individually wrap up the leftovers, put them in a freezer bag and throw them in the freezer. It’s a great quick meal after work when you don’t feel like cooking. I usually make about 40 – 50 burritos at a time this way.

    • loa — July 16, 2014 @ 7:51 pm (#)

      that sounds amazing! will try it for sure!

  9. allie m. — June 4, 2012 @ 1:58 pm (#)

    made this and it was AMAZING! im even making it for guests this weeks. i used stew meat and it worked great. beef literally just fell apart when i stirred it. no shedding needed! PS make extra, great leftovers for lunch. i threw it over a salad and mexican inspired coleslaw. thanks SO much for this yummy recipe. its a new staple in our house!

  10. Amy — June 17, 2012 @ 8:57 am (#)

    Mines cooking as we speak! Hope its yummy!!

  11. Jamie — June 28, 2012 @ 4:32 pm (#)

    Mine has been cooking for 5 hours now and my stomach is growling!! It smells sooooo good!! I can’t wait until my husband gets home and walks in and smells it. :) I know he is going to say something. He loves shredded beef tacos, and this recipe definitely sounds like something he will love. I used 2 chipotle peppers because we like spice. Especially him… if it tastes as good as it smells, I think my tastebuds will be having a party as soon as I take the first bite. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. :)

  12. Brandy — July 1, 2012 @ 10:45 pm (#)

    Really good! The first time I made this I followed the recipe. The second time I added more garlic, onion powder (along with the chopped onion) and seasoning salt. It was sooooo good.

  13. Kaysha — July 12, 2012 @ 12:13 pm (#)

    I made these last night and they were absolutely delicious! I only cooked them on low for about 5 hours because i still like the texture of beef and didn’t want it to be shredded too fine. My fiance is still raving about them. Definitely a keeper!

    • RK MacBride — July 31, 2012 @ 8:21 am (#)

      Just what I was looking for, to make Indian tacos!

    • J — December 17, 2012 @ 9:07 pm (#)

      This isn’t Indian.

    • Jess — January 15, 2013 @ 8:24 pm (#)

      Ummmm, “Indian Tacos” are not Indian food. They’re Indian as in Native American, so made with traditional fry bread. I’ve also heard of them being called Street Tacos. Either way, they’re delicious!

    • JudyL — October 21, 2013 @ 6:52 pm (#)

      Indian tacos are Native American. Basically meat on fry bread with taco-type toppings. In Arizona, I grew up knowing them as Navajo Tacos, one of my favorite foods! Here in Oklahoma, they are called Indian Tacos & usually have shredded beef & whole pinto beans with lettuce,tomato,salsa, sour cream, etc. I can see where this meat would be really good on them, I may just have to make some!

  14. Barb Marzan — September 30, 2012 @ 1:31 pm (#)

    I have now made the recipe several times and it always turns out amazing. I have it cooking as I am typing this and my house smells great. I add even extra chipotle peppers because my family really likes it spicey. This is a recipe that I will pass down to my daughters. Thank you for sharing!

  15. Kristen — November 19, 2012 @ 11:50 am (#)

    I made this last night and it was uh-mazing. I don’t think it needs any “fixins” though…white corn tortillas and the shredded beef were perfect on their own.

    Thanks for this recipe…it’s definitely a keeper!

  16. Datroubleshooter — December 16, 2012 @ 11:21 pm (#)

    I am Starting my shredded beef for my tacos tomorrow. I am following these instructions adding a little Cajun seasoning and a whole yellow onion.

  17. Lisa — January 16, 2013 @ 10:43 pm (#)

    Used this as a “starter” recipe and adjusted to our preferences. Used the basic spices listed – but replaced the paprika with a “piri piri” spice (which main ingredient is pequin chiles and spanish paprika), plus a 1/2 tsp of “Baker’s Brew Coffee spice”. Substituted an 8oz Heineken plus 1/2 cup of expresso in place of the beef stock. Used 4-5 chipotles and their adobe sauce, plus a whole onion instead of half. Excellent flavor and just enough heat for us. Served them topped with a homemade red slaw. Be sure to keep the sauce, as the beef re-heats really well in it and absorb the liquid and it’s flavor for next servings.

  18. jacqueline — January 21, 2013 @ 4:07 am (#)

    i will make these tomorrow. i just wanted to tell you, chipotles in adobo taste much better to me, and i also never get through a can. i freeze it in a ziplock then pull it out and chop off the amount i need while its still frozen. pop it back in the ziploc. freezer. voila.

    • Pam Jennings — February 2, 2013 @ 11:50 am (#)

      I put individual chipotle peppers and a little of their sauce in individual snack size zip lock bags and freeze. Usually I am blending them into a sauce or chopping them. I thaw them quickly in the microwave.

  19. Julie — February 1, 2013 @ 11:43 am (#)

    Ali mentioned that she never uses a whole can of chipotles. I freeze the rest (sauce and all) in a plastic bag. When I have a recipe calls for chipotles, I grate the frozen sauce and peppers into the dish.

  20. Mary — February 10, 2013 @ 12:52 pm (#)

    I was just going to mention the same thing as Julie abut freezing the chipotle peppers. I was in the middle of making this recipe and was rather fortunate to open the freezer drawer — and there was my frozen chipotles. Didn’t have to go for a hunt thru the freezer to find them. Just tear off some of the frozen section in the bag and you’re good to go. YUM — have to wait 6 to 8 hours now!

  21. Lori — March 11, 2013 @ 11:08 am (#)

    I’m making this tonight on my day off! Inviting some other foodie friends to try. I’m not worried about trying this recipe on them. It sounds like everyone loved it!

  22. Diana — April 10, 2013 @ 4:38 pm (#)

    How many does this feed?

  23. Marysol — April 14, 2013 @ 9:54 pm (#)

    I made these for dinner tonight, and had one friend over to share these with my husband and I. We all LOVED this recipe, it is definitely a keeper. Instead of flour tortillas, I used yellow corn tortillas, and I have to say they bring out the earthy flavors of the spices and the chipotle. Thank you for sharing the recipe!

    Also, I made tamarind margaritas to go along with them, and it was a perfect pairing. http://www.focusonmexico.com/Tamarind-Margarita-Recipes.html

  24. A — May 21, 2013 @ 8:09 am (#)

    I love adobo peppers too. What I do is buy the can, take what I need from it and then pour the remaining contents into a freezer ziploc bag and flatten it out. Into the freezer it goes. If I need some, I break the correct sized piece off of the frozen peppers. And it is easier to chop frozen as well! mmmmm! I use them more as a result of having some handy without the guilt of opening a can.

    For a veggie change try Thug Kitchen Blog’s Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Burrito (although I use blanched asparagus in place of the broccoli). Delish! http://thugkitchen.com/page/3
    A rude but fun blog! And great recipes!

  25. Mad Mike — June 24, 2013 @ 7:10 am (#)

    Sounds yummy but if u use flour tortillas it’s a burrito. Must have corn tortillas for tacos.

    • martin quezada — January 24, 2014 @ 9:10 am (#)

      Not true. If it’s anything in a corn or flour tortilla it is actually a taco. a burrito is a kind of taco. A meat filled open taco may be called a carnita, but it is still a taco.

    • Malena — August 6, 2014 @ 3:25 am (#)

      So true! In Mexico a taco is taco wether the tortilla is flour or corn. A burrito is an American invention just as Nachos, Chili, Margaritas and Taco Bell tacos. By the way I couldn’t find chili powder in Mexico, so just used adobo powder. I’ll post the results tomorrow morning.

  26. Sarah — July 5, 2013 @ 4:55 pm (#)

    I made this and it was a huge hit. First time ever using a slow cooker or making any form of pulled meat, and it worked a treat!
    I had a small issue with the fact that where I am from we have no chipotle related products (that I could find). So instead I used sliced and pickled Jalapenos (mashed up about 2tbsp worth) mixed with 1tsp of smoked paprika. Seemed to do the trick, with a medium level of spiciness.
    I have posted my results onto a slow cooking forum on reddit (http://www.reddit.com/r/slowcooking/comments/1hnxax/slow_cooker_shredded_beef_tacos_absolutely/) along with your awesome page, and it has been very popular there :)

  27. sharon — July 17, 2013 @ 7:44 am (#)

    Made this for supper last night. Yum!,

  28. Amanda — August 16, 2013 @ 9:31 am (#)

    I made this yesterday and it was fantastic! It had SO much flavor! Thanks!

    I did make some adjustments due to what I had on hand. I used 1 lb of beef tips and didn’t use the adobo peppers. I used all the rest of the ingredients and I was able to just throw it in the crockpot in the morning and come back that night and take it out and serve with taco fixings! It was a hit with my 5 and 6 year old also!

  29. Russ — September 12, 2013 @ 12:55 pm (#)

    I love canned chipotles, too!! I put the contents of the can into a mini food processor with one or two tablespoons of water and puree the heck out of it. Store in a tightly covered glass jar in the refrigerator–it keeps forever. It’s so easy to add chipotle “paste” without having to bother with chopping one or two peppers up individually when you need them.

  30. Melanie — October 24, 2013 @ 8:16 pm (#)

    This looks great and I can’t wait to try. Chipotle adds such depth to any Mexican dish. Just an FYI, you can freeze the chipotle peppers and use as needed :-)

  31. Eileen — November 25, 2013 @ 10:49 pm (#)

    Delicious! Wouldn’t change a thing; the kids and I gobbled it up.

  32. Gary — February 6, 2014 @ 7:12 pm (#)

    Made this recipe and just loved it. Going to use more chipotle peppers next time to get more kick.

  33. Leon Vilner — March 10, 2014 @ 8:38 pm (#)

    I am very excited to try this one out!!

  34. Christina — April 8, 2014 @ 9:34 am (#)

    I was surprised how well the shredded beef turned out. The beef turned out soft, and I was able to taste all the spices I used, especially the chipotle pepper. What I changed: I didn’t have beef stock so I used water instead, same measurement. I used ground paprika (not sure if it’s different than smoked paprika), and I used two chipotle peppers. I prefer this recipe over a recipe I found online using pork.

  35. Carol — April 8, 2014 @ 5:27 pm (#)

    Is there a way to make this without a slow cooker?

    • Ali — July 19, 2014 @ 4:35 pm (#)

      Sure, you can make them in a Dutch oven. At the step where it says to add the ingredients to the slow cooker, just add them all into a Dutch oven. Transfer it to a 200-degree oven and cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender and shreds easily. Good luck!

  36. Trish — April 11, 2014 @ 8:04 pm (#)

    I have made this several times now and we love it. I can’t get the chipotle peppers here in Australia but today I just mixed some smoked paprika with a teaspoon of bottle minced chilli and then into the sauce and I think it worked well. (Thanks to an earlier commenter who gave me the idea although they used pickled jalapenos.)

    • Tammy — September 1, 2014 @ 3:13 am (#)

      Trish,

      I’m in a Sydney and can get canned chipotle at Oriental and Continenal on Carlotte Street Artarmon.

  37. Lesley — April 29, 2014 @ 9:23 am (#)

    I’ve made this twice now and it’s absolutely amazing. Thank you!

  38. Doreen Schultz — May 1, 2014 @ 12:08 pm (#)

    chop the can of chipotle in adobo in your food processor and put in a freezer bag. Just break off a piece or grate into recipes

  39. Chris — May 18, 2014 @ 12:37 pm (#)

    I’ve used this recipe serval times. My family loves it! And im making it again for my son’s birthday. Thanks for the recipe, “it’s been adopted by the ParmFarm”.♡♡♡♡

  40. Megan — June 16, 2014 @ 11:25 am (#)

    I thought I was the only person who dint like chipotle! Nice to meet ya.
    When I go to Mexico I eat at this place called “tacos on he street.” You eat almost literally in the street because of how busy this place gets. But I wanted to try and bring their flavor here and share it with some friends. I’m hopping that this one is close. Ill let ya know if it turned out!

  41. Patricia Pursley — June 30, 2014 @ 4:28 pm (#)

    This is a great recipe. I serve it on Torta bread from a Mexican bakery, spread it with garlic aioli, and fill it with shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and red onion and cilantro. Rave reviews! Thanks.

  42. Tina Matteson — July 22, 2014 @ 2:44 am (#)

    Thanks for this recipe… can’t wait to try it. And, I’m not a Chipotle fan either, but everyone else I know is!

  43. Diane Lindall — July 27, 2014 @ 4:41 pm (#)

    if you drained most of the juices, could you put the meat in corn tortillas and fry them as in a taquito??? sounds delish!

    • Ali — August 27, 2014 @ 10:42 pm (#)

      Sure thing! Sounds delish!!

  44. Dawn — August 31, 2014 @ 11:13 pm (#)

    Have you ever tried to freeze the leftover meat? If so how did it turn out?

    • Ali — October 18, 2014 @ 7:05 pm (#)

      Yep! It freezes well for me. :)

  45. Carmen — October 11, 2014 @ 11:32 am (#)

    Just sat down after getting this started for a dinner party with friends tonight.  It smells so good already. My husband came out of his office just to comment on the awesome aroma. Very excited to taste these. Been wanting to try a recipe like this for years because I love beef tacos. Thank you for sharing your recipe. 

    • Ali — October 11, 2014 @ 11:38 am (#)

      That makes me so happy to hear. Thanks so much, Carmen! I hope you all enjoy it and have a great dinner party together! :)

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