Mexican cuisine is one of my all time favourites and it’s been a while since I shared a recipe so here we have one from my short list of goto recipes, slow cooker Mexican shredded beef. This recipe is so easy! It’s a slow cooker recipe so all you have to do is season the beef, toss it into the slow cooker all day and then shred the beef before serving. The long and slow cooking process makes this the perfect way to enjoy some cheaper cuts of beef like the chuck or eye of round roast where the long and slow braise will make the meat super tender and leave it nice and moist, not drying it out. The base seasoning for this beef is ground chili peppers and I like to go with a combo of chipotle and ancho cili powders for the smokey heat and flavour. The rest of the seasoning includes cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, orange and lime juice along with garlic and onions. I like to add a hint of cocoa and cinnamon, kind of like a mole sauce, but a more subtle addition that brings that special hit of flavour that you can’t quite put your finger on! This Mexican shredded beef is so easy to make in the slow cooker that you will want to be making it all the time and that’s good since there are so many way to enjoy it from tacos to burritos, quesadillas, sandwiches, etc! (See below the recipe for some ideas on what to use it in!)
Pour the juices back into the shredded meat to get the most flavour and keep the meat nice and moist, tender and good!
Mexican Shredded Beef
A super easy Mexican style shredded beef cooked in a slow cooker with smoky chipotle chilies with a hint of cocoa and cinnamon.
- 2-3 pounds beef roast (such as chuck, eye of round, etc.)
- 1 tablespoon ground chipotle chilis
- 2 tablespoons ground ancho chilis
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon oregano
- 2 teaspoons cocoa powder (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- Rub the mixture of the chipotle chilis, ancho chilis, cumin, oregano, cocoa, cinnamon, salt and pepper all over the beef before placing it along with the remaining ingredients into a slow cooker and cook on low until the beef is pull apart tender, 8-10 hours.
- Remove the beef and onions from the slow cooker, retaining the juices, and shred the beef.
- Skim the fat from the juices, transfer to a pan and simmer oven medium-high heat on the stove to reduce to 1 cup before mixing into the shredded beef.
Option: Use your favourite ground chilies instead of the chipotle and ancho!
Option: For oven: Place the seasoned beef and the remaining ingredients in a pot along with 1 cup beef broth or water, cover and braise in a preheated 275F/140C oven until the meat is pull apart tender, about 3-4 hours.
Option: Cook the beef the day before, place the juices from the slow cooker into the fridge over night so that the fat solidifies and you can easily skim it off before reheating and mixing into the shredded beef.
Barbacoa and Avocado Cilantro Lime Rice Burrito Salad Bowl
Mexican Shredded Beef Tamale Pie
Mexican Shredded Beef Nachos
Mexican Shredded Beef Enchiladas
Tacos al Pastor
Slow Cooker Chicken Carnitas Tacos
Tinga de Puerco (Pork Tinga)
Pork Tinga Tacos
Carnitas (a Lighter Version)
Slow Braised Chili Con Carne
Tagliatelle Short-rib Bolognese
Pollo Pibil Tacos with Citrus Salsa
Slow Cooker Balsamic Glazed Roast Beef
Jamaican Jerk Beef Tacos with Pineapple and Banana Salsa
Braised Short Rib Ragu
Chipotle Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas
Slow Cooker Mongolian Beef
French Style Braised Short Ribs
Taco Seasoned Ground Beef
Carne Guisada Tacos
Korean Grilled Steak Tacos with Pineapple Gochujang Salsa
Chicken Tinga Tacos
Mexican Beef and Bean Skillet Rice
Birria de Res con Consome
Karen Cure says
This looks amazing … is it very spicey?
Karen Cure: It has some heat and you can control the amount by reducing the amount of chili powders (or increasing it).
think this could convert well for an Instant Pot?
Augustina Linsky says
All look delicious.
Amber gray says
Im about to try out this recipe once i go to the store. I just wanted to ask is there a specific type of chuck roast or? Because i dont want to mess this up
Chuck roast works well, or eye of round, etc. Enjoy!
My 4lb toast is pretty thick. Do you recommend cutting in half before placing into slow cooker?
You certainly can! Enjoy!
This is absolutely delicious! I made a small change. I didn’t have cocoa powder so I substituted one tsp of expressly powder. Ialso needed to add a little more salt after the beef was shredded and the reduced sauce was added back. Husband said it was very flavorful. Served with cilantro lime rice and seasoned black beans. Definitely asking again!
Renee Quintana says
We absolutely love this recipe. It’s amazing and we can eat it in many different ways for days!! This meat is delicious in burritos, tacos, quesadillas and salads. You could also make eggs with it. The spice level is good. The recipe is easy.
I’m curious about the small amount of liquid for cooking this in a slow cooker. I thought you needed at least 1 cup of liquid for slow cookers. I see that for using an oven you do say to add 1 cup of beef broth. Is the recipe for slow cookers correct with just the 1/4 c. orange juice & 1 T. lime juice? Or did the beef broth get dropped from the ingredients list? Thanks in advance for clarification.
In general, you do not need to add liquid to a slow cooker for a roast. The lid traps all of the moisture in the slow cooker and by the end you will have a nice amount of juices from the roast in the slow cooker! In the oven, those juices with quickly evaporate and you can be left with a completely dry pan. Extra water/broth in the pan in the oven helps to keep the roast moist and to ensure that we will still have juices for the sauce in the pan at the end.
Catherine M says
Are the ground chili’s the same as powders in the spice aisle? That’s what I am planning to use but I wanted to be sure. Thanks!
You should be able to find the ground chipotle chilis and ground ancho chilis in the spice aisle. If they do not have those then you can use plain ground chili powder instead. Try to find one that is JUST ground chilies; some chili powder has other ingredients mixed in (cumin, paprika, etc) If you cannot find, plain ground chili powder then you could use the chili powder blend.
Angie W says
What does coca0 powder do? How does it enhance the flavor!? Will it make the meat takes chocolate? I have Droste Cocoa powder @ home it is Dutch from the Netherlands, I have noticed it is strong, does the type of cocoa powder matter!?
The cocoa powder adds a little complexity to the flavour without making it taste like chocolate. I use natural/regular cocoa powder rather than Dutch processed but Dutch processed will work! If you feel like 2 teaspoons will be too strong you can start with less, or omit it completely. Enjoy!
At one place you say 5-6 lb roast and then the recipe says 3 lbs for 12 servings. I’m thinking it should be 5-6 for 12 servings? Thanks
Yes! I often double the recipe to a 5-6 pound roast for about 12 servings, where the 2-3 pound roast makes about 6 serving. (I have updated the recipe to note this!)
I just put a roast in, to cook over night.
I bought a bigger roast because we didn’t have enough last time.
I’ve made this like 4 times now .Love it!
So funny that today’s email has Mexican Shredded Beef as the first recipe. I made a batch earlier in the week, split in half and froze, and used half for your tamale pie last night! First time using both recipes and we really enjoyed it. I am not a fan of creamed corn but it works great in the cornbread base of the pie. I follow several people on Pinterest and have probably thousands of recipe pins, and I think yours are the ones I use most. Thank you Kevin (and your closet-sized kitchen too)!