Learn how to make shredded beef in a slow cooker with this easy 5-ingredient recipe for Mexican shredded beef. Thanks to beef shoulder roast, this pulled beef is a bit leaner than typical shredded chuck roast. That leaves you plenty of room to make awesome shredded beef tacos, enchiladas, nachos, burrito bowls, and more.
How to Make Shredded Beef in a Slow Cooker
If you’ve ever made a Mississippi pot roast, this Mexican beef draws inspiration from that. You’ll start by adding a can of crushed tomatoes to a slow cooker and seasoning a beef shoulder roast or chuck roast with beef fajita seasoning. Next, you’ll place the roast in the slow cooker and top with ranch seasoning and pickled jalapeño peppers.
Cook the beef roast for eight to ten hours until it’s fall apart tender. Start checking at the eight-hour mark and if it doesn’t easily shred when poked with a fork, continue cooking.
Additional cooking methods: I’ve included notes for pressure cooking and even smoking on a pellet grill in the recipe card’s notes section below.
You shouldn’t need to reduce or thicken the remaining tomato sauce. Simply toss the shredded beef in the sauce and it will absorb most of the juices.
If you’d like an onion-heavy base instead of tomato sauce, my slow cooker beef shoulder roast is essentially the same recipe with sliced white onion instead of crushed tomatoes at the base.
I like to add a few lime wedges and cilantro in the slow cooker while the beef rests in the juices for about 30 minutes before serving.
Making Shredded Beef Tacos and Quesadillas
Fill warmed corn tortillas with this beef, garnish with cilantro and onion (plus some homemade avocado salsa verde), and get ready to have some of the best slow cooker tacos you’ll come across. For a richer experience, throw some flour tortillas on a griddle with cheese to make awesome quesadillas. Both are great, but the serving possibilities go way beyond tacos.
Other Ways to Serve
To keep things lower calorie, make thin corn tortilla chips in the oven and top with this beef to make nachos. Cauliflower rice burrito bowls would also be a great fit for this beef. Not a fan of cauliflower rice? Check out my teriyaki ground beef bowls to see how I make a rice blend to hide it.
No matter how you serve your slow cooker shredded beef, I hope you enjoy it! If you do, I always appreciate recipe reviews. Just click the star rating in the recipe card below to let me know your thoughts.
- 2.5 pound Beef Shoulder Roast or Chuck Roast*
- 2 Tablespoons Beef Fajita Seasoning**
- 15 oz can Fire Roasted Crushed Tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoons Ranch Seasoning
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup Pickled Jalapeño Slices
- Add the crushed tomatoes to a slow cooker.
- Season the chuck roast with the fajita seasoning on all sides and place it on top of the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the ranch seasoning over the top of the roast, followed by the pickled jalapeños. Optional: Add 1-2 Tbsp of butter or beef tallow on top.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours until the roast is fall apart tender. (See notes below for additional cooking methods.)
- Transfer the roast to a bowl and shred with forks before returning back to the sauce. Set the slow cooker to its keep warm function. For best results, let the shredded beef rest in the sauce for 20-30 minutes.
- Serve on warmed corn tortillas and garnish with diced white onion, fresh cilantro, and lime wedges.
*To reduce the fat and calorie content, you can use an eye of round (115 calories, 23g protein, 2g fat per 100g raw) or bottom round roast (140 calories, 22g protein, 5g fat per 100g raw) instead of a chuck shoulder roast (175 calories, 19g protein, 11g fat per 100g raw).
**I used H-E-B beef fajita seasoning, which includes spices as well as a tenderizer, but any fajita seasoning will work. Bolner's Fiesta brand makes a similar product.
For Mexican Shredded Beef in a Pressure Cooker or on a Smoker
Using my smoked chuck roast tacos as a guide, season the roast with fajita seasoning and smoke at 200ºF for about 2 hours before adding to a Dutch oven or foil wrapped grill pan with the tomatoes and remaining ingredients. Cover and increase the grill temperature to 275ºF. Cook for 4-5 hours until the beef easily shreds.
To make shredded beef in a pressure cooker, you can season and sear the roast using a pressure cooker's sauté function before adding the remaining ingredients and cooking with high pressure for 90 minutes. (Source: Pressure Cooker Pot Roast) You can also cut the roast into smaller pieces for faster cooking. Four smaller pieces should cook in about 45 minutes. (Source: Pressure Cooker Barbacoa)
Nutrition Information:Yield: 13 Serving Size: about 4 oz
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 175Total Fat: 10gCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 16g