Amazingly Delicious Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos

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This dish is all about bringing a cozy, comforting vibe with a fun Mexican twist. It’s super easy to whip up and is so versatile. It’s perfect for laid-back family nights and impressing dinner guests.

These slow cooker shredded beef tacos use an affordable chuck roast, and they make a lot, so it’s a great budget-friendly dinner.

Close-up of soft tacos with shredded beef and fresh toppings like guacamole and tomatoes, displayed on a white plate with a side of lime.

Shredded Beef Tacos

So flavorful and versatile, this recipe lets your slow cooker do all the hard work.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes
Serving Size 6 people

Equipment

  • 6 Quart or larger slow cooker

Ingredients 

  • 3 pound boneless chuck roast
  • ½ yellow onion sliced
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 2 ½ teaspoon salt divided
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon pepper divided
  • ¼-1 teaspoon cayenne to taste
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • tortillas
  • additional toppings if desired cilantro, avocado, guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce or cabbage, sour cream, avocado crema, salsa, cotija cheese, shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese, scallions, lime wedges

Instructions 

  • Layer onion in slow cooker. Place the sliced onion at the bottom of the slow cooker.
    Sliced onions placed at the bottom of a black slow cooker, ready for the chuck roast to be added for cooking
  • Add broth and seasonings. Mix in the slow cooker crushed tomatoes, beef broth, chili powder, cumin, ¾ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and ¼-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, according to preference.
    A slow cooker before cooking, showing a chuck roast in a thickened, reduced tomato sauce with onions, garnished with fresh herbs.
  • Season meat. In a small bowl, combine 1 ½ teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Place roast on a cutting board or large plate and rub spice mixture all over the roast.
    A raw chuck roast on a white plate, seasoned with salt, pepper, and spices, ready to be cooked.
  • Sear. In a large heavy-bottomed skillet or cast iron pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Sear roast for 2-3 minutes on each side.
    A chuck roast seared to a golden brown in a cast iron skillet, showing a crust formed from spices.
  • Cook. Carefully place roast in the mixture in the slow cooker and cook on high for 4 1/2 to 5 hours.
    A slow cooker filled with a chuck roast in a rich, tomato-based sauce before cooking, with onions and spices visible on top.
  • Shred. Carefully remove the roast from the slow cooker and place on a cutting board. It should be very tender and may break into chunks when removing from the slow cooker. Using two forks, shred the beef into bite size pieces. Remove and discard any fatty pieces.
    Shredded beef on a wooden cutting board, pulled into strands with two forks, ready for serving
  • Remove some liquid. Remove about 3 cups of liquid from the slow cooker and place in a separate bowl, refrigerating if needed. Return shredded beef to the crockpot with remaining liquid in the slow cooker and keep beef warm until time to serve, adding additional liquid if desired. Remaining sauce can be pureed and used for other uses or discarded.
    A white oval dish filled with shredded beef in a tomato-based sauce, garnished with chopped parsley, accompanied by a bowl of guacamole and lime wedges.
  • Serve. To serve, using a slotted spoon or tongs, place beef in tortillas with any of the optional toppings listed. Beef can also be used for nachos, enchiladas, tostadas and other Mexican dishes.
    An overhead view of soft tacos filled with shredded beef, topped with guacamole, diced tomatoes, and finely chopped onions, presented on a white platter with lime wedges on the side

Notes

  • A boneless chuck roast is best for this dish.  It has the best marbling and fat that makes it ideal for pulled beef and flavor.  A round steak or blade steak could be substituted if needed.
  • Premade taco seasoning could be used as a substitute for the seasonings listed for faster preparation although the final taste may differ.  
  • This beef does not have to be cooked in a slow cooker, but could also be cooked in an oven for a few hours.

This Chuck Roast recipe is perfect for those who love rich, deep flavors. It’s slow-cooked meat that falls apart with a fork.

A white oval dish filled with shredded beef in a tomato-based sauce, garnished with chopped parsley, accompanied by a bowl of guacamole and lime wedges.

🥣 important tools and ingredients

Remember, the quality of your meat and topping are super important! Get a nice quality pico and guacamole or make your own.

  • Boneless Chuck Roast. Chuck roast, found in the meat section of the grocery store, is ideal for this recipe. It has rich marbling, which results in tender, flavorful meat after slow cooking.
  • Cumin. Cumin, found in the spice aisle, adds a warm, earthy flavor. It’s essential for achieving an authentic Mexican taste in the dish.
  • Cayenne Pepper. Cayenne pepper provides a spicy kick. You can adjust it to taste or substitute it with chili flakes for a different type of heat.
  • Crushed Tomatoes. Crushed tomatoes are available in the canned goods section. They create a rich, saucy base for the roast. You can replace them with diced tomatoes for a chunkier texture.
  • Beef Broth. Found in the soup aisle, beef broth adds depth and enhances the savoriness of the dish. A good quality broth makes a noticeable difference in flavor.
An assortment of ingredients laid out on a white marble surface including a raw boneless chuck roast, beef broth, a yellow onion, crushed tomatoes, and various spices in white bowls

  • Slow Cooker. The slow cooker is a must-have for this recipe. The chuck roast ensures it’s cooked and. This results in tender, flavorful meat.
  • Large Heavy-Bottomed Skillet or Cast Iron Pan. Essential for searing the roast, which adds a rich depth of flavor and color to the meat before it is slow cooked.
  • Cutting Board. A cutting board is important for seasoning the chuck roast before cooking.
  • Measuring Spoons. Accurate measuring spoons are important for adding the correct amount of spices. They ensure the perfect balance of flavors.
  • Mixing Bowl. A medium-sized mixing bowl is useful for combining the spices. Then, you can rub them onto the roast.
  • Tongs or Slotted Spoon. You will need these tools to remove the cooked roast from the slow cooker. This is especially important if the roast is very tender and could fall apart.
  • Two Forks. This is a crucial step in achieving the right texture for the dish. It’s used for shredding the cooked roast into bite-size pieces.

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Now, let’s move on to some pro tips. They will help you elevate this dish to its full culinary potential. This will ensure a delicious outcome every time.

✨ Tips for the best tacos

Note: I slightly char the tortillas when I make this.  To char edges of a tortilla, using tongs, place tortillas over a low/medium flame of a gas stove for 15-30 seconds and turn until charred to your liking.  Tortillas can also be warmed with a little butter or oil in a skillet for 30 seconds or a minute on each side, wrapped in foil in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or put directly under a broiler for a minute or two on each side.  Tortillas can also be wrapped in a damp paper towel and warmed in the microwave for 30 seconds.

  • Choose the Right Cut. We recommend chuck roast. Look for a piece with good marbling for extra flavor and tenderness. If chuck roast isn’t available, brisket or round roast are good alternatives.
  • Searing the Meat: Don’t skip the searing process. Searing the chuck roast on high heat before slow cooking creates a caramelized crust. It adds a deep, complex flavor to the dish.
  • Layering Onions: Place sliced onions at the bottom of the slow cooker. Then, add the meat. It also creates a natural rack, preventing the meat from sticking to the bottom.
  • If your slow cooker runs hot, check the roast earlier to avoid overcooking. , the meat should be tender but not falling apart too much, as it will continue to break down as you shred it.
  • Taste the broth before adding the roast. Adjust the spices, especially the cayenne pepper, to your preference. The spices will mellow out during cooking, so a stronger flavor at this stage is fine.
  • Managing Leftover Liquid: The leftover liquid can be very flavorful. Consider reducing it on

🥫 Storage and make ahead instructions

Using leftover liquid: For the remaining sauce leftover after cooking the beef, I have discarded it and also pureed it to use as enchilada sauce for beef enchiladas the next day.  The sauce is very flavorful, but to use as an enchilada sauce, I would recommend adding a little more spice, it is very mild.

For the leftover meat:

  • Store in the fridge: Once cooled, store the leftover chuck roast in an airtight container. Keep it in the refrigerator. It will stay fresh and tasty for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to include some of the cooking liquid to keep the meat moist.
  • Freezing Instructions: The chuck roast freezes well. Place the cooled meat in a freezer-safe bag or container. Add some of its cooking liquid again to prevent drying out. It can be stored in the freezer for up to 2-3 months. Label the container with the date so you can keep track.
  • Reheating. Put in a pan and cover with foil to reheat in the oven.  Warm at 250 for 30 min or so.  Add a little extra sauce from the roast or broth to keep from drying out.  You can also gently simmer over the stovetop with a little extra sauce or broth. Microwaving until warm in the microwave is also a possibility.  You can also reheat in the slow cooker for 1-2 hours on low.  You just don’t want too high of a heat for too long to avoid having the meat be dry. 
  • Avoid Repeated Reheating: Try to reheat only the amount of roast you plan to consume to maintain the quality of the meat. Repeated reheating can cause the meat to become dry and less flavorful.

Can I make this recipe in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker?

Yes, you can adapt this recipe for an Instant Pot or pressure cooker. Brown the meat using the sauté function. Then, cook it under high pressure for about 60-80 minutes with natural release. This method is great if you’re short on time.

Serving ideas:

❤️ More easy crockpot dinners you’ll love

There’s nothing like a crockpot dinner for a busy day. Here are some more of our favorites.

So, go ahead and give it a try – a delicious, flavor-packed meal awaits you!

A close-up of three tacos with shredded beef and fresh toppings like guacamole and diced tomatoes, garnished with finely chopped onions and cilantro.
Amazingly Delicious Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Tacos
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  1. 5 stars
    Katie!!!!!!!!!! These recipes are so amazing. You are one awesome and incredible human being for sharing your love for ALL THE THINGS with us everyday from tips on living frugally to canning to making great meals for our families. I just love your gift that you share with the world. I would be honored to someday meet you.