Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe

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Make this easy Mexican Shredded Beef recipe in your dutch oven or crockpot and use it for dozens of meals! It’s juicy, savory, and loaded with flavor!

bowl of Mexican shredded beef with pico de Gallo and limes on the side.
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A Versatile Mexican Dish!

One Pot Meal – make tender beef without having to sear it which saves time on preparation.

Easy Cleanup – using one pot will keep your kitchen cleaner. Use a dutch oven or crock pot so cleanup will be a breeze! 

Budget Friendly – Mexican shredded beef is easy to make with an inexpensive cut of beef such as chuck roast. It’s one of those slow cooker recipes that turns a tougher cut of meat into fork tenderness.

Many Uses – slow cooker Mexican shredded beef is perfect to serve with rice and beans, or makes the best beef tacos, burritos, taco salad, and tostadas. As a matter of fact, you can plan an entire Mexican Fiesta Menu around this easy recipe.

End Result – is a flavorful beef roast to enjoy in different ways to create many delicious recipes! It’s perfect for meal prep and freezing for later.

Mexican beef on white rice with pico de Gallo and avocado in the background.
Mexican Shredded Beef with Rice

Ingredient Notes

Shredded meat can be made spicy or mild to suit your taste. Just leave out the cayenne pepper or add more if desired.

Tajin seasoning (ad) is a mild chili powder blend found in your local grocery store.

Find detailed instructions with quantities in the recipe card. Here’s the ingredients you’ll need…

  • chuck roast
  • small onion
  • fire roasted tomatoes
  • beef stock
  • lime juice

SPICE MIXTURE

  • cayenne pepper
  • ground cumin
  • smoked paprika
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • Tajin seasoning
  • salt and black pepper
ingredients needed for Mexican shredded beef.

Instructions

1 – In a small bowl, mix spices together.

2 – Rub spice mix on both sides of chuck roast and place in a dutch oven or slow cooker (crock pot).

chuck roast after being rubbed with spices and onions added.

3 – Place quartered onions on the sides of the meat in pot.

4 – Add fire roasted tomatoes on each side of the beef.

tomatoes added to dutch oven.

5 – Pour beef stock and lime juice on the side until it covers the bottom of the pot and the cooking liquid rises to the top of the meat.

beef stock poured over roast and tomatoes.

6 – Cover the dutch oven and place in the oven for 3 hours on 350 degrees. If using a slow cooker, set it to 8 hours.

chuck roast after it comes out of the oven.

7 – At the end of the cooking time, uncover pot and shred meat directly in the pot by using 2 forks to pull it apart. It should pull apart easily if cooked properly.

two forks shredding the beef in a dutch oven.

8 – Remove excess fat from the meat and discard. Smash the onions and stir with cooked tomatoes and beef to create a tasty tomato sauce or gravy.

Recipe FAQS

Why does chuck roast have to cook a long time?

Since a chuck roast is made from the shoulder of the cow, it is generally tough since this area is prone to more activity. Cooking the connective tissue for long periods of time helps it release and create a tender cut of meat.

What can I substitute for chuck roast?

Rump roast comes from the hindquarters of a cow which tends to be less tough. Although it’s more expensive, rump roast is more tender than chuck and is a good substitute in this recipe.

What is shredded beef called at Mexican restaurants?

When you order beef at a Mexican restaurant it is often called barbacoa, which refers to its slow cooking style.

shredded beef after it is finished.

Uses for Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican food is a popular choice in our family! Some of our favorite Mexican recipes start with shredded beef which provides a ton of flavor from the zesty spice rub and fire roasted tomato gravy.

At your next Taco Night or Mexican Fiesta, plan to serve a variety of food that starts with this shredded beef recipe…

  • Stuff in a quesadilla, or make burrito bowls with rice.
  • Create your favorite tostadas.
  • Serve alongside shredded chicken tacos and beef barbacoa nachos.
  • Wrap it up in a burrito, or sprinkle it on a taco salad.
  • Turn it into a Sheet Pan Taco Bake.
  • Garnish with your favorite toppings like avocado, jalapeños, fresh cilantro, pico de gallo, green chiles, salsa verde, and sour cream.

Equipment

My favorite way to make Mexican Shredded Beef is to bake it in a dutch oven. It turns out tender every time. You can also use an instant pot or a slow cooker if desired, but I’ve had the best results with a dutch oven.

Freezing and Storage

The best part about this Mexican beef is that you can freeze it and store it after cooking. Divide into air tight containers or vacuum pack in plastic bags.

Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw and reheat in the microwave.

Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

blue bowl of Mexican shredded beef with peppers, limes and pico de Gallo.

Top Tips

  • Since chuck roast is an inexpensive cut of meat, watch for it to go on sale and cook several roasts at the same time for monthly meal prep.
  • There’s no need to sear the meat before cooking. Searing doesn’t make that much of a difference in the final outcome.
  • If you don’t have some of the seasonings on hand, it’s okay to leave them out. There will be plenty of flavor as long as you use most of what’s recommended.

Recipe Card

Mexican Shredded Beef in a white bowl with limes and pico de Gallo on the side.

Mexican Shredded Beef Recipe

Make this easy Mexican Shredded Beef recipe in your dutch oven or crockpot and use it for dozens of meals! It's juicy, savory, and loaded with flavor!
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 12
Calories: 219kcal

*See notes in blog post for detailed tips, photos and instructions.

Equipment

  • dutch oven with lid
  • small bowl and spoon

Ingredients

SPICE RUB

  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Tajin seasoning ad
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt

CHUCK ROAST

  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • 1 onion sliced in quarters
  • 1 can 14 ounces fire roasted tomatoes
  • 3 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 16 ounces beef stock
  • 2 or 3 mini sweet peppers optional

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a small bowl, mix spices together.
  • Rub spice mix on both sides of chuck roast and place in a dutch oven or slow cooker.
  • Place quartered onions on the sides of the meat in pot.
  • Add fire roasted tomatoes on each side of the beef.
  • Pour beef stock and lime juice on the side until it covers the bottom of the pot and the cooking liquid rises to the top of the meat. Add sweet peppers if desired. (optional)
  • Put a lid on the dutch oven and place it in the oven for 3 hours on 350 degrees. If using a slow cooker, set it to 8 hours.
  • At the end of the cooking time, uncover pot and shred meat directly in the pot by using 2 forks to pull it apart. It should pull apart easily if cooked properly.
  • Remove excess fat from the meat and discard. Smash the onions and stir with cooked tomatoes and beef to create a tasty tomato sauce or gravy.

Notes

  • There's no need to sear the meat before cooking. Searing doesn't make a big difference in the final outcome.
  • If you don't have some of the seasonings on hand, it's okay to leave them out. There will be plenty of flavor as long as you use most of what's recommended. 

Nutrition

Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 489mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 29mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition info is an auto generated estimate.

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4 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you for this great recipe! The flavor of the spices looks amazing. I like that you can use this shredded beef to make several different meals.

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