Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe {in the Slow Cooker or Oven}

Mexican Shredded Beef in a serving bowl with cilantro on top, lime wedge on side and wood serving spoon in bowl. it's incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or in the oven and can be used for quick and easy family weeknight dinners! 
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This Mexican Shredded Beef is incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or in the oven and can be used for quick and easy family weeknight dinners!  Add to tacos, pasta, rice bowls, and so much more!

Mexican Shredded Beef in a serving bowl with cilantro on top, lime wedge on side and wood serving spoon in bowl. it's incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or in the oven and can be used for quick and easy family weeknight dinners! 

Get ready for one easy, mouthwatering, hearty, and delicious Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe!  It’s smokey and peppery, but not spicy or hot, and utterly melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Ancho chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, and so much more cooked and then blended harmoniously. This beef cooks in the slow cooker until fall-apart tender, but you can also make it in the oven.  It tastes amazing nestled into a taco, topped over a salad, loaded in nachos, added to a rice bowl, or perfectly mixed into pasta.  Make one pot and eat for 2-3 family dinners to save tons of time!  

Easy Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe with Easy Ingredients

Okay, so this list looks long, but the ingredients are each easy and you likely have many on hand.

Fridge/Freezer or Fresh ingredients

  • Beef chuck roast
  • Fresh Cilantro Leaves

Pantry or Counter

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onions
  • Garlic cloves
  • Dried Ancho chiles – These are smoky and really take this from a boring to incredible sauce! You can find these in most grocery stores these days. If you cannot find these, then dried Guajillo peppers will also work. If you cannot find any of these dried peppers, you could use Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but go light, as they tend to be spicy. Then supplement with another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground Smoked Paprika.
  • Seasonings: Ground cinnamon, Ground Cumin, Ground Smoked Paprika (or Ground Chipotle Pepper), Dried thyme (ground or whole), Dried oregano, Salt, Ground black pepper, Bay leaves
  • Tomato sauce
  • Beef stock or broth

Want more tips for making busy family dinners easier?  Click here for my Free Printable 5 Simple Steps to Easy Family Dinners!

This Shredded Beef is Family Dinner Time-Saver!

What if I told you that you could spend 10 minutes prepping this recipe and then have 3-4 different family dinners during the week?? That’s right, talk about a time-saver!! Here are the different ways that you can use this shredded beef throughout the week!

(1) Shredded Beef Tacos – yes, this is an obvious one, but have you tried Birria Tacos with Consomme yet?? Oh my goodness, they are divine! Or simply layer them in corn or flour tortillas with your favorite toppings, such as Pickled Onions!

(2) Mexican Rice or Salad Bowls – This is a fun option for creating a bowl bar where you have all of the toppings out and then let everyone fill them to their heart’s content! Try adding Avocado Crema as one of the toppings, it’s creamy and utterly delicious!

(3) Hawaiian Bowls – This is similar to the Rice Bowls above, but with more tropical toppings. My favorite topping is my Zippy Pineapple Salsa with Avocado. And rather than just white rice, how about Green Rice?

(4) Sandwiches – load this delicious shredded beef into crusty bread sandwiches, turn into paninis, or add to a simply grilled cheese to take it up a notch!

(5) Nachos! – perhaps my favorite way to use this beef is to layer it into loaded Nachos! Or even Loaded Fries or Tater Tots….Yum!

Quick note!  This post contains affiliate links, which means I earn a commission (at no extra cost to you) if you purchase from them.  This commission is what helps me keep this blog afloat :).  I also share these links because I have used the products, genuinely love them, and want you to know exactly what I used. 

Equipment Needed for Mexican Shredded Beef

I love slow cooker recipes because they are so easy, so I made this Mexican Shredded Beef in a slow cooker. However, you could also make it in the oven in a dutch oven or small roasting pan with a lid. See the recipe notes for instructions for the oven.

Once the beef is cooked, you need a blender for blending the ingredients into a smooth and creamy sauce.

You could also use a food processor for this, such as this mini food processor.

Time Saving Prep-Ahead Steps for this Mexican Shredded Beef

We are all extremely busy and making dinner during the week can be overwhelming. Here are steps you can prepare ahead to save time on busy nights! (See the full recipe below) 

You cook the beef and shred in advance up to 5 days or freeze it up to 5 months. However, if you’re just looking to get ahead on the prep before cooking the beef, then you can dice the onions, rough chop the garlic, remove/discard the stems from the dried chiles and shake out the seeds. Discard the seeds and cut the chiles into 2-3 pieces each (will get pureed once cooked, so this is just to fit into slow cooker).

Hand shaking seeds out of dried ancho chile for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Preparing the Beef for the long cook

For this Shredded Beef recipe, I used a 3 pound boneless Beef Chuck Roast. This is a pretty economical cut of meat that comes from the shoulder and is great for slow or long cooking methods. It’s extremely flavorful and perfect for tender shredded beef recipes like these. See the below FAQs for other options if you don’t have chuck.

Sear all sides of the beef first in a large skillet or frying pan or Dutch oven. This is an optional step. Preheat a frying pan or skillet on high heat. Season your chuck roast with salt and pepper to coat all sides. Add the beef to oil in a hot pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side to brown evenly.

Tongs placing seasoned beef chuck roast in a pan for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Pour 1 cup beef broth or stock in the pan to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Slow Cooker Mexican Beef Instructions

Transfer the beef to the slow cooker and pour in the liquid from the pan.

To the slow cooker with the beef, add the onions, garlic, cilantro leaves, crushed tomatoes, chiles, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Pour in the rest of the beef stock until it reaches the top of the beef. Set the slow cooker to 8 or 10 hours, depending on your schedule.

Beef roast, onion, seasonings, dried ancho chiles, and pay leaves in a slow cooker insert for Mexican Shredded Beef recipe.
Fork pressing ingredients into liquid in slow cooker insert for Mexican Shredded Beef recipe.

Oven Mexican Beef Instructions

If you do not have a slow cooker, you can make this in a dutch oven in the oven. Make sure to sear the beef in an oven-safe dutch oven so you can move it to the oven.

To the dutch oven with the beef, add the onions, garlic, cilantro leaves, crushed tomatoes, chiles, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Pour in the rest of the beef stock until it reaches the top of the beef.

Cook in a 400 F degree oven for 3 hours until the beef is fall apart tender. Follow the same instructions for blending the sauce.

Finish the Sauce and Shred the Beef

When the cooking time is done, transfer the beef using tongs to a platter or cutting board.

Tongs pulling cooked Beef Chuck Roast from slow cooker for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Make sure to first fish out the bay leaves and discard them.  Then using a slotted spoon, scoop out all of the onions and ancho peppers and transfer to a blender. 

Blend the onions and the peppers until smooth. If needed, add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to the blender to help smooth it out. Once smooth, pour it back into the liquid in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

Blended sauce in a blender for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Shred the beef with forks and discard any string that may have been tied around the roast. Transfer the beef back to the slow cooker insert or dutch oven.

Two forks shredding beef chuck roast for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe FAQs

Are Ancho Chiles Spicy in this Shredded Mexican Beef Recipe?

The Ancho chiles are not spicy in this recipe.  Dried ancho chiles are more smokey and peppery than spicy.  By way of comparison, ancho chiles measure up to about half of the scoville units vs. jalapenos.

What can I substitute for Ancho Chiles in this Mexican Shredded Beef?

For this recipe, you really want smokey and peppery, but not spicy.  If you cannot find Ancho chiles, then look for dried Guajillo peppers.  If you cannot find any of these dried peppers, you could use Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but go light, as they tend to be spicy.  Then supplement with another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground Smoked Paprika or chili powder.

Are there other cuts of beef I can use for this Shredded Beef?

For cooking this Mexican Shredded Beef, a Chuck roast is best.  If you cannot find Chuck Roast, sometimes labeled as blade roast, arm roast, or pot roast, you can use tri-tip, top round, bottom round, or rump roast. 

Should I use Mexican Oregano or Regular?

If you can find Mexican oregano, that’s the way to go so that you get a more authentic flavor.  However, I used a regular dried oregano and it turned out delicious.

What if I don’t have a slow cooker?

If you do not have a slow cooker, you can make this in a dutch oven in the oven, cooking the beef at 400 F degrees for 3 hours until the beef is fall apart tender.  You could also use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker if you have one.  Refer to the equipment instructions for a beef roast or short ribs.

What can I serve with this Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe?

To go with this Mexican Shredded Beef, you can make a simple side salad with tomatoes and corn and a Vinaigrette or Roasted Cumin Carrots with Avocado Crema or even a Cilantro Lime Quinoa would all be perfect.  If you want more to bulk up the meal, you can also add Refried Black Beans!  

ENJOY!  😍 Carrie

Mexican Shredded Beef in a serving bowl with cilantro on top, lime wedge on side and wood serving spoon in bowl. it's incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or in the oven and can be used for quick and easy family weeknight dinners! 

Have you tried this recipe? If so, please leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ star rating in the recipe below! I love to hear your feedback and your rating helps others to find this recipe. Thanks so much!

Mexican Shredded Beef in a serving bowl with cilantro on top, lime wedge on side and wood serving spoon in bowl. it's incredibly easy to make in a slow cooker or in the oven and can be used for quick and easy family weeknight dinners! 
5 from 1 vote
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Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe {in the Slow Cooker or Oven}

Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe is smokey and peppery, but not spicy or hot, and utterly melt-in-your-mouth tender.  Ancho chiles, tomatoes, cilantro, and so much more cooked and then blended harmoniously. This beef cooks in the slow cooker until fall-apart tender, but you can also make it in the oven.  It tastes amazing nestled into a taco, topped over a salad, loaded in nachos, added to a rice bowl, or perfectly mixed into pasta.  Make one pot and eat for 2-3 family dinners to save tons of time!  

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword beef recipes, beef roast, crockpot, shredded beef, slow cooker
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 minutes
Servings 12 servings
Author Carrie Tyler

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds Beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons Olive oil
  • 2 Yellow onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 Dried Ancho chiles
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Ground Smoked Paprika or Ground Chipotle Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dried thyme ground or whole
  • 1 tablespoons Dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup Fresh Cilantro Leaves
  • 8 ounces Tomato sauce
  • 4-5 cups Beef stock or broth

Instructions

Prep-Ahead Steps

  1. Dice the onions, rough chop the garlic, remove/discard the stems from the dried chiles and shake out the seeds. Discard the seeds and cut the chiles into 2-3 pieces each (will get pureed once cooked, so this is just to fit into slow cooker).
    Hand shaking seeds out of dried ancho chile for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Cooking Steps

  1. SEAR BEEF. Preheat a frying pan or skillet on high heat. Season your chuck roast with salt, and pepper to coat all sides. Drizzle the olive oil in the hot pan and add the beef and sear for 2 minutes on each side to brown evenly. On the final side, pour 1 cup of the beef stock in the pan to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker and pour in the liquid from the pan.
    Tongs placing seasoned beef chuck roast in a pan for Mexican Shredded Beef.
  2. SLOW COOKER. To the slow cooker with the beef, add the onions, garlic, cilantro leaves, crushed tomatoes, chiles, cinnamon, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and bay leaves. Stir to combine. Then pour in the rest of the beef stock until it reaches the top of the beef. Set the slow cooker to 8 or 10 hours, depending on your schedule.
    Fork pressing ingredients into liquid in slow cooker insert for Mexican Shredded Beef recipe.
  3. BLEND SAUCE. When the cooking time is done, transfer the beef using tongs to a platter or cutting board. Scoop out the bay leaves and discard. Using a slotted spoon, scoop out all of the onions and ancho peppers and transfer to a blender. (alternatively, you could strain the liquid into another bowl, add then add onions and peppers to the blender.) Blend the onions and the peppers until smooth. If needed, add 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid to the blender to help smooth it out. Once smooth, pour it back into the liquid in the slow cooker and stir to combine.

    Blended sauce in a blender for Mexican Shredded Beef.
  4. SHRED BEEF. Shred the beef with forks and discard any string that may have been tied around the roast. Transfer the beef to the slow cooker.

    Two forks shredding beef chuck roast for Mexican Shredded Beef.

Recipe Notes

  1. What if I don’t have a slow cooker?  If you do not have a slow cooker, you can make this in a dutch oven in the oven, cooking the beef at 400 F degrees for 3 hours until the beef is fall apart tender. You could also use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker if you have one. Refer to the equipment instructions for a beef roast or short ribs.
  2. Are there other cuts of beef I can use for the Birria Beef?  For cooking this Birria Beef in the slow cooker, a Chuck roast is best. If you cannot find Chuck Roast, sometimes labeled as blade roast, arm roast, or pot roast, you can use tri-tip, top round, bottom round, or rump roast.
  3. What can I substitute for Ancho Chiles in this Birria recipe?  For this recipe, you really want smokey and peppery, but not spicy. If you cannot find Ancho chiles, then look for dried Guajillo peppers. If you cannot find any of these dried peppers, you could use Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, but go light, as they tend to be spicy. Then supplement with another 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of ground Smoked Paprika.
  4. Is there a cheese other than Oaxaca cheese that could go in Birria Tacos?  The best cheese to use for Birria Tacos for authentic Mexican melty goodness is Oaxaca cheese. You can find Oaxaca in the specialty cheese section of your grocery store. However, if you cannot find it mozzarella works great as a melty substitute. In fact, Oaxaca is made using the same pulling and stretching process as mozzarella which makes the texture so similar. Do not, however, substitute Cotija cheese as it is a hard cheese is great for sprinkling on top of tacos, but does not melt the way that Oaxaca or Mozzarella do. You could also use Jack cheese in a pinch!
  5. Should I use Mexican Oregano or Regular?  If you can find Mexican oregano, that’s the way to go so that you get a more authentic flavor. However, I used a regular dried oregano and it turned out delicious.
  6. Garnishes – You can garnish the dipping sauce and the tacos with fresh cilantro, diced onions, radishes, or roasted corn.

Halloween Dinner Recipes in the Slow Cooker

Halloween dinner recipes in the slow cooker! Guests serve themselves.
Halloween dinner recipes in the slow cooker!  Guests serve themselves.

Are you having a Halloween party or get-together this year?  Then easy recipes are in order so that you can enjoy the party and not be serving or slaving away!  And the Slow Cooker is just the thing to make your party-hosting life easier.  These Halloween Dinner recipes are delicious, fun, and easy for guests to help themselves so you don’t have to worry.

SLOW COOKER DINNERS ARE PERFECT FOR ENTERTAINING

The slow cooker is perfect for parties because it does most of the work for you, keeps food warm, and guests can serve themselves!  Here is my checklist for the recipes in this list.

  1. EASY – 90% of the Dinner is cooked in the slow cooker.  This means that the main protein and veggies are cooked in the slow cooker.  The only other parts of the dinner that may be needed are a starch or grain (sandwich bread, pasta, rice, etc.) and potentially a simple salad if you desire.  
  2. KID-FRIENDLY – these recipes are kid-tested and parents have confirmed to me that their kids enjoyed them!  Let’s face it, kids are finicky.  One day they love something and the next they don’t.  So, I don’t pretend that all kids will love these recipes.  However, there is nothing too spicy or too polarizing here.
  3. COMFORTING – It’s getting cold out, so all of these recipes are sure to warm your insides and give you a cozy and comfy feeling.  The slow cooker keeps the food warm so you don’t have to worry!

A SLOW COOKER IS A BUSY FAMILY’S BEST FRIEND

My slow cooker is one of my most beloved kitchen appliances.  Not only does a slow cooker make wonderful food, it helps to make your life easier and gives you peace of mind.  You can fill the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day while you are at work.  You come home to delicious and comforting aromas and have a warm dinner waiting for you.

I absolutely love love love my easy and simple (and not expensive) Crock-Pot.  I have the 6-Quart version with 5 settings (low 4-hour, low 6-hour, high 8-hour, high 10-hour, and warm).

There are other fancier versions and if I were in the market for a new slow cooker, I would want THIS one with a browning insert!  You can order this today and have it in a few days to start your Slow Cooker Cookin’!

So, here you go!

HALLOWEEN DINNER RECIPES IN THE SLOW COOKER

1. Smokey Pulled Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker

Pulled Beef Brisket Sandwich made in the Slow Cooker is smokey, savory, tender, moist, and full of flavor. In a delicious sauce, it goes great on a sandwich, over polenta, on rice, or potatoes. #slowcooker #crockpot #brisket #beefbrisket #pulledbeef #pulledpork

Smoky Pulled Beef Brisket in the Slow Cooker is crazy-delicious! Can I just tell you that there are good recipes and then there are OMG fantastic recipes. This Smoky Pulled Beef Brisket is OMG fantastic. It is smoky, savory, tender, moist, and full of flavor. There are so many ways to enjoy this amazing beef, but one of my favorites is loaded onto a bun to soak up all the fabulous juices. Then top with a melty cheese and some pickled onions for the perfect bite.

This Halloween dinner recipe goes a long way when you serve with sandwich bread or buns and other condiments.

2. Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Soup

Chicken and Mushroom Soup in a Slow Cooker Pot with wood spoon on counter with cutting board next to it and raw mushrooms and carrots around. This Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Soup is warm, hearty, comforting, earthy, and just devine. The mix of blended and chunky mushrooms with carrots, onions, celery, shredded chicken, and herbs gives you a perfect bite every time.

There is nothing better than the comforting aroma of a hearty soup cooking in the house. Actually, there is one thing better. Walking into your own house after trick-or-treating and smelling that comforting soup waiting for you! Slow Cooker Chicken and Mushroom Soup is that soup that can be waiting for you! This soup is warm, hearty, comforting, earthy, and just divine. The mix of blended and chunky mushrooms with carrots, onions, celery, and shredded chicken gives you a perfect bite every time. Oregano takes it over the edge with flavor giving this soup an herby taste that pairs just beautifully with the mushrooms.  For a Halloween party, you can serve this a couple ways.  First, you can serve it as soup.  However, if you’re guests will be standing and eating, soup can be messy and difficult to manage.  So, you can serve rice on the side and make it more of a stew and add in various yummy toppings, such as shredded cheese or grated parmesan, sour cream, scallions, croutons, tortilla or pita chips.

3.  Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs

Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs are always a show-stopper and the perfect main dish for entertaining.  I have made them for holiday dinner parties, for Sunday family dinners, visits from out-of-towners, and thank you meals for friends.  They are incredibly decadent and taste like you slaved away in the kitchen for your guests.  The flavors from the onion, carrots, demi-glace, thyme, and garlic all seep into the meat, which is fall-apart tender and absolutely delicious.  These Easy Slow Cooker Short Ribs taste amazing with Creamy Parmesan Polenta, so check out that recipe too!

4. Simple Weeknight Paprika Pork Stew Recipe

Paprika Pork Stew Recipe in a bowl with carrots, onion, parsley. It's an easy family dinner. 

This Paprika Pork Stew Recipe is loaded with flavor and texture.  With each spoonful you get a smokey and salty bite flavor from the pork, paprika, oregano, garlic and onion.  Carrots balance out this dish with a slightly sweet and tender bite.  Finally, the pork is so moist and fork tender.  You can serve rice or noodles on the side and serve various yummy toppings, such as shredded cheese or grated parmesan, sour cream, scallions, croutons, tortilla or pita chips.

5. Mouthwatering Slow Cooker Pork Tacos

Slow Cooker Pork Tacos with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled on top!  It's such an easy dinner since the pork cooks in the slow cooker to be perfectly seasoned and fall apart tender. #tacos #easydinner #glutenfree #dinner #mexican #pork

These Slow Cooker Pork Tacos are mouthwateringly fantastic and were a hit at my Halloween party 3 years ago!  Top them with with Pickled Onions, Shredded Cheese, and Cilantro Lime Crema drizzled all over!  You get the salty and smoky flavor from the perfectly seasoned and slow cooked pork, a sweet and tart bite from the pickled onions, with creaminess from the cheese, and tang from the cilantro lime crema.  Guests can build their own taco anyway that they want!

6. Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe

Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe with Pappardelle with a fork on plate with basil and parmesan on the table. It's so easy to make and has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.

This is my easy, made-for-busy-moms Shredded Beef Ragu Recipe!  It has a thick meaty texture and a super rich delicious flavor.  It’s made with beef chuck, so it’s affordable and easy to work with.  It’s made without wine, but instead gets that acidic backdrop from Balsamic Vinegar.  And it’s easy for busy moms because it’s made in a slow cooker!  Just toss all ingredients in, set for 6-8 hours, shred the beef, and that’s it!

7. Homemade Chicken & Veggie Soup 

5-Ingredient Chunky Chicken Vegetable Soup is creamy (but there is no dairy!) and chunky, and delicious!  With loads of chicken, carrots, and peas, t's full of flavor and texture even though it only has 5 ingredients. With a soup this chunky and hearty, who needs noodles!

This 5-Ingredient Homemade Chicken Soup is thick, creamy (but, no dairy!), and hearty.  It’s filled with flavorful broth, meaty shredded chicken, and sweet bursts of bright veggies.  But, this version is also the easiest ever because you prepare all of the ingredients ahead (even months ahead) and freeze them until you are ready to cook this wonderful meal.  Then you thaw, pour all of the ingredients into the Slow Cooker, set and forget.  Forget until those amazing and comforting aromas remind you that you have a Homemade Chicken Soup waiting for you!  This is a great option for serving with mini sandwiches!

8.  Brazilian Black Beans (Feijão)

Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans are thick, rich, and delicious! Serve as a side or main over rice.

These Slow Cooker Brazilian Black Beans, known as Feijão, are a traditional dish in Brazil. The slow cooker makes it incredibly easy to make these anytime and it allows all of the flavors from the meat, onion, cilantro, and garlic to cook into the beans for a distinctive, thick, saucy, and hearty dish. They are great as a side or a main dish. If you have never tried these beans, you really MUST and I promise you will love them.  While not traditional in Brazil, you could certainly serve lots of different toppings for these delicious beans, such as diced tomatoes, shredded cheese, lime wedges, scallions, etc.

 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

😍 Carrie