This Mexican shredded beef is easy to make in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot. Flavorful and tender pulled beef is perfect for serving as part of your favorite taco or enchilada recipe.
For another easy weeknight meal, try this slow cooker chicken cacciatore!
Mexican-Style Shredded Beef
We’ve all got a favorite Mexican food restaurant, right? If your menu item of choice includes tender and flavorful shredded beef, this homemade version is going to end up on your table regularly! It’s the perfect easy dinner, whether you opt to make it in the slow cooker or the Instant Pot.
Slow Cooker Method
The slow cooker — brand name crockpot/crock pot — is one of my favorite kitchen appliances for making meals easy. This is basically a “toss it all in and walk away” recipe. Put the beef roast and simple ingredients from the pantry into the slow cooker before you head to work and dinner will be ready when you walk in the door.
Tacos made with this tender beef are an easy weeknight dinner. You’ll just need to gather the toppings and warm up some tortillas and dinner is ready!
Instant Pot Shredded Beef
The big drawback to a slow cooker is that you DO need to remember to start cooking early in the day. If you forgot? That’s when to fall back on your electric pressure cooker! When you pressure cook this roast with all of the seasonings, it’s ready in about an hour and incredibly tender.
- Use this tender shredded beef to make beef enchiladas. Roll the beef up in corn tortillas, arrange in a baking pan, cover with enchilada sauce and cheese, and bake for 30 minutes or so.
- Serve alongside warm corn or flour tortillas with cheese, chopped red onions, tomatoes, pico de gallo, and sour cream for shredded beef tacos. Top them with homemade guacamole, natch!
- Spoon this seasoned beef over tortilla chips and sprinkle on some cheese for beef nachos.
- Serve it over rice and refried beans with your favorite toppings for easy burrito bowls.
- Make these hearty and easy shredded beef quesadillas.
Beef chuck roast – Slow cooking or pressure cooking chuck roast creates a tender, shreddable filling for tacos and enchiladas.
Yellow onion – Grab a medium sized onion and be sure to dice it before adding it to the other ingredients.
Jalapeño – Here’s where the heat comes in. Finely dice the jalapeño pepper to add some kick. Don’t like the heat? Skip this ingredient!
Lime – The bright flavor of lime makes the ingredients in this recipe stand out. No lime? Give lemon a try.
Tomatoes – Tomatoes canned with green chiles provide great flavor. If you prefer, you can use fresh tomatoes.
Other Seasonings – Ground cumin, garlic, chipotle chili powder, paprika, oregano, and fresh cilantro all come together to give this delicious recipe an authentic Mexican flavor. Season the beef with sea salt and black pepper before placing it in the Crock Pot. [Go here to learn about the difference between cumin and caraway.]
Season the beef with salt and pepper, and place in a slow cooker crock or Instant Pot. Add the beef stock and other ingredients, then cover and cook the dish. The time will depend on which method of cooking you choose.
Once the cooking is finished, remove the lid of the slow cooker or pressure cooker. Use two forks to shred the meat while it’s still inside the pot, and then let the meat marinate in the juices for about five minutes.
Finally, transfer the shredded beef to a serving platter with tongs, and be sure to allow the excess liquid to drain. Top with the additional seasonings and fresh lime wedges. Enjoy!
What cut of beef is best for a shredded beef recipe?
Chuck roast is the best cut of beef to use for any Mexican style cooking because it is the easiest to pull apart. This is because chuck roast is from the front shoulder of the steer, making it full of healthy fats and collagen.
What is the best way to cook shredded beef?
Shredded beef is easily prepared by cutting the beef into big pieces and sprinkling with spices. It is then thrown into a pressure cooker until the meat is tender enough to be pulled apart.
What is the Mexican term for shredded beef?
Shredded beef is also known as barbacoa.
What is the difference between carne asada and barbacoa?
Carne asada is typically marinated and grilled slices of beef, and it is generally tougher than beef barbacoa, which is flavorful and tender and a little bit saucy.
★ Did you make this shredded beef recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below! ★
- 2½ pounds beef chuck roast
- Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
- ½ onion, medium sized, diced
- 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
- 1½ teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon chipotle powder
- 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano, dried
- 10-oz. tomatoes with green chilies
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- 2 large limes, cut into 8 wedges each
Slow cooker Mexican shredded beef recipe:
- Generously season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides and place in slow cooker crock. Add all remaining ingredients, cover, and cook on low for 8 hours.
Instant Pot Mexican shredded beef:
- Generously season the beef with salt and pepper on all sides and place in the inner pot. Add all remaining ingredients.
- Put the lid on and turn the valve to sealing. Select manual (high pressure) and set the cook time for 60 minutes. When the cook time is over, turn the Instant Pot off and let the pressure release naturally for 20 minutes. Turn the valve to vent; once pressure is released, remove the lid.
Shredding the beef:
- When done cooking, remove lid of slow cooker or pressure cooker; use two forks to shred beef while still inside the cooking pot. Allow shredded beef to marinate in warm cooking juices for 5 minutes to absorb more flavor.
- Transfer shredded beef from slow cooker to a serving platter with tongs, allowing excess liquid to drain. Top with chopped cilantro and serve immediately with fresh lime wedges and additional cooking juices on the side, if desired. Enjoy!
If you can't find tomatoes with green chiles, use plain dice tomatoes and add a can of mild green chiles. Alternatively, you can use chopped fresh tomatoes.
No Mexican oregano? Use the plain oregano in your kitchen cupboard!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1 Servings
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 355Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 405mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 36g
Originally published in January 2020, this post has been updated.