You can use this slow-cooked fall-apart tender, juicy, and flavorful Mexican shredded beef in all of your favorite Mexican food recipes. This crockpot beef recipe cooks all day for an easy weeknight meal or Sunday football party. Freeze the leftovers to make dinner later in the month.
One of my favorite staple recipes to make in the crockpot is Mexican shredded beef. It’s a huge time-saver, and my entire family loves it!
Every month or so, freeze cooked shredded beef into portions to use throughout the month in enchiladas, shredded beef tacos, burrito bowls, or nachos.
Reasons Why You’ll Love This Shredded Beef Recipe
- It comes together quickly. This is a no-fuss prep crockpot recipe that you can prepare the night before.
- It cooks all day in the slow cooker. Turn on the slow cooker in the morning and then plan to come home to having dinner on the table in less than 30 minutes.
- It can be used in various recipes. Our favorites recipes with Mexican shredded beef are tacos, burritos, and enchiladas. But really, the options are endless!
- It can be made ahead of time and frozen. Freeze shredded beef into portions to have ready to use in recipes. I’ll give more meal prep tips below.
In my experience, chuck roast works best for any shredded beef recipe. It has the most connective tissue (marbling) that melts away as it cooks low and slow in the crockpot. Chuck roast can also be called shoulder roast, chuck eye roast, or chuck arm roast.
If you can’t find chuck roast, then choose the roast that has a lot of marbling.
I know it’s tempting to use a leaner cut of beef when trying to eat healthy or reduce saturated fat. It will still be edible, but you’re not going to get that moist fall-apart tender beef that you get with a chuck roast.
My advice is to use chuck roast but purchase organic and high quality and pay attention to portions.
This Mexican shredded beef recipe has a cook time of 8-10 hours on low or 6-7 hours on high. If you struggle to shred the beef, that means it needs longer to cook. If it falls apart without much effort, then the shredded meat is done.
Slow cooker beef is very tender and will pull apart easily using two forks.
You sure can! After the shredded beef is cooked and cooled, then portion out into 1-2 cup portions and freeze.
Shredded beef can be frozen in freezer bags or freeze into blocks using Souper Cubes.
Cooked shredded beef will last up to 6 months in the freezer.
Mexican Shredded Beef Ingredients
- Chuck roast – I always purchase a 2.5 – 3lb high quality organic grass-fed chuck roast for this shredded beef recipe. A little smaller or larger chuck roast won’t make a difference.
- Onions and garlic – You can also add in some diced jalapenos for a little kick.
- Seasonings – I use a spice blend of chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. For a smokey flavor, you can add some smoked paprika or chipotle chili powder is delicious too.
- Tomato sauce – mixed with the onions, garlic, and seasonings, creates a thick delicious sauce. You can also add in a can of green chilis for extra flavor and spice.
My go-to favorite online source for high-quality organic meats is Butcherbox. You can learn more by reading my Butcher Box review. Or get your first box here.
I’ve made this Mexican shredded beef recipe 100s of times, so I’ve learned a thing or two over the years.
Salt and pepper at the end – Beef crockpot recipes often lose flavor from being slow-cooked all day. The best way to bring to life all the flavors is to add the salt and pepper at the end.
I start with one teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I give it a taste and then add more if needed. I usually end up adding 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons of salt and one teaspoon of pepper at the end.
Don’t forget the lime juice – This adds a delicious brightness to the shredded beef.
Cook the onions and garlic before adding to the crockpot – It’s tempting to add everything into the crockpot and turn it on. However, cooking the onions and garlic beforehand gives the aromatics a chance to bloom. Adding raw onions and garlic will result in them steaming and losing all their flavor.
I’ll show you how to quickly cook the onions, garlic, and spices in the microwave in this recipe. I learned this tip in the Slow Cooker Revolution Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen cookbook.
Leave the sugar out to make this recipe Paleo and Whole30 – The sugar balances the tomato sauce’s acidity and creates a nice flavor. However, if you want to include this Mexican shredded on your Paleo or Whole30 meal plan, leave the sugar out.
Supplies to Prepare This Recipe
- Slow Cooker – I have this 6-quart programmable Hamilton Beach slow cooker and it never fails!
- Mixing Bowls – I have this Pyrex set.
- Glass Storage Containers – This set by Ello comes in handy for storing beef in the fridge.
- Souper Cubes – I love these silicone trays for freezing shredded beef.
How to Make Mexican Shredded Beef
Start by mixing the onions, garlic, and spices in a glass mixing bowl and heat in the microwave on high for about 5-6 minutes.
While the aromatics are cooking, place the chuck roast into the bottom of the Crock-Pot insert.
Stir in the tomato sauce and sugar into the bowl after the onions and garlic finish cooking. Then pour the sauce mixture over the chuck roast.
Place the cover onto the Crock-Pot and set the cooking time to 8-10 hours on low or 6-7 hours on high. Remember, when the beef can easily pull apart using two forks, then it’s cooked.
Place the beef into a bowl and shred. Add in some liquid from the crockpot to add flavor and keep the meat moist.
Finally, squirt in the lime juice and then salt and pepper the shredded Mexican beef.
Now it’s ready for all of your favorite Mexican-inspired recipes.
How to Use Mexican Shredded Beef
Tacos – Add shredded beef into a corn tortilla with sour cream, pico de gallo, and taco cheese for the most amazing shredded beef tacos.
Nachos – Shredded beef can substitute taco meat in this easy sheet pan taco recipe.
Burrito bowls – fill a bowl with rice, shredded Mexican beef, and your favorite toppings for a filling dinner! You can also make meal prep bowls using these ingredients.
Enchiladas – This easy enchilada recipe comes together quickly when shredded beef is ready ahead of time.
Meal Prep Instructions
There are four different ways to make-ahead this shredded Mexican beef recipe.
Prep the ingredients the night before.
Put all of the ingredients into the slow cooker insert and it in the refrigerator. In the morning, place the insert back into the slow cooker and continue with the recipe.
Make the recipe entirely and store it in the refrigerator.
If you want a quick heat and eat dinner, then make this shredded beef ahead of time. This recipe keeps great in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. When you’re ready to use it in a recipe, heat it in the microwave and then continue with the recipe.
Freeze into recipe-ready portions.
Shredded beef freezes well for future recipes. I recommend freezing into 1 ½ – 2 cup portions. Store shredded meat in quart-size plastic freezer bags.
One of my favorite ways to freeze beef is using 1-cup Souper Cube trays. After the meat is frozen then remove the blocks and place them all into a labeled freezer bag.
Prepare a slow cooker freezer kit.
Follow the recipe instructions but instead of placing the ingredients into the slow cooker, put everything into a labeled gallon freezer bag instead.
Thaw the slow cooker freezer kit in the fridge before adding the ingredients to the slow cooker. Please note, this can take a couple of days. Then, continue with cooking instructions.
Mexican Shredded Beef
- 2 onions chopped
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup chili powder
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 3-pound boneless beef chuck roast
- Juice of 1 lime
- salt and pepper
- Mix the onions, garlic, spices, and oil into a microwave-safe bowl. Place the bowl in the microwave and heat on high for 5-6 minutes. The onions and garlic should be softened and the ingredients should be aromatic.
- While the aromatics are cooking place the chuck roast into the insert of the slow cooker.
- Stir the tomato sauce and sugar into the bowl after the garlic and onions finish cooking. Pour the sauce over the chuck roast.
- Tightly place the cover on the slow cooker and set the cooking time to 8-10 hours on low or 6-7 hours on high.
- Place the beef in a bowl and shred. Toss with 1/2 – 1 cup or more of the braising liquid left over in the slow cooker. This adds flavor and will keep the meat moist. Stir in the lime juice.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Start with 1 teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Then add more, if needed.
Nakitha Badon says
Hi, can I make it and then freeze it and heat it by popping it in the oven?
Tammy Overhoff says
Yes you sure can. It might take longer and you’ll need to keep an eye on it drying out.
This is the second time I made this recipe and it is such a big hit with my family. I prepared exactly as the recipe stated. My oldest daughter who is super picky said, “this is soooo good” and she doesn’t really like beef. My youngest is eating it right now and she’s said, “I don’t think I can ever go back to ground beef tacos, this is just too good”!
Tammy Overhoff says
Thanks so much for commenting and rating this recipe! When we can get our picky eaters to eat that’s always a huge win!
Greetings! Love the recipe. But before i make it.. would it be okay if i omit the sugar, or will that mess up the recipe? Im on a strict “no sugar intake”.
You could adjust the spices in a portion and get bbq beef sandwiches or roll ups for diversity when planning multiple meals.
prissy robbins says
This does look tasty but this link says Mexican Shredded chicken not beef
How long can this stay stored in the freezer?
Martha Gonzalez says
I made this today, it was delicious. The changes I made was because I was short on some ingredients. I added 8 oz tomato sauce, 14 oz petite diced tomatoes, cilantro(didn’t have coriander) and I had 5 lbs chuck roast. Also my family doesn’t like cumin so I only added 1 tbsp So so good. Thanks for sharing.