This Mexican Shredded Beef has incredible depth of flavour! The sauce is really rich and thick, and there is PLENTY of it. Fantastic for tacos, burritos, enchiladas and quesadillas, piled high on Mexican Red Rice or stuffed in rolls to make sliders!
Make this on the stove, oven, slow cooker OR pressure cooker (Instant Pot). 100% freezer friendly!
Mexican Shredded Beef
I have a “thing” about shredded meats. I just love how it acts like a mop for sauces, so every mouthful is so juicy.
From Shredded Chicken Tacos to Pulled Chicken Nachos, Shredded Beef Ragu Pasta and Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken and Rice Soup to Crispy Chinese Shredded Chicken, if the eating experience is better when the meat is shredded – I shred it.
And Mexican Shredded Beef makes the cut – tenfold!!
The sauce for this Mexican Shredded Beef is loaded with big flavours – and there’s PLENTY of it!
What to make with Mexican Shredded Beef
The beauty of this Mexican Beef is that it’s 100% freezer friendly and can be used for dozens of dishes, making it a brilliant standby for quick meals. Here’s just a few ideas:
- Tacos (this recipe)
- Nachos – switch out the chicken in this Shredded Chicken Nachos recipe
- Burritos – freezer friendly!
- Quesadillas – switch out one of the fillings for this beef
- Beef Enchiladas – skip the ground beef/mince filling and spices, just use this beef instead. (Still make the Enchilada Sauce, use the refried beans etc)
- Mexican Plates – Piled beef over Mexican Red Rice with a big dollop of Guacamole, Pico de Gallo and sour cream, corn on the cob, finish with lime wedges and fresh coriander/cilantro
Some less obvious, mighty tasty ideas
- Sliders – stuffed into bread rolls to make sliders!
- Mexican Toasties – toast bread → smear with avocado → pile on shredded beef → top with cheese → MELT → devour
- Mexican “Empanadas” – make triangles/parcels (like this)using puff pastry, seal with egg, brush with egg, bake until golden. Try adding corn and black beans to fill it out!
- Mexican Cottage Pie – mix through sautéed onion, capsicum/bell peppers, zucchini, corn and other chopped veg of choice. Pour into casserole dish, then top with mashed potato and bake per this Cottage Pie recipe. Or try Mexican Beef Chicken Pot Pie!
- Mexican Beef Lasagna – layer this beef with tortillas in a baking dish, top with loads of cheese and bake! I’d fill it out with veggies.
- Fully Loaded Mexican Breakfast – make Shakshuka (Middle Eastern Baked Eggs) which, really, is made with thoroughly Mexican flavours, and serve with a generous pile of this beef and warm tortillas. OMG….
- Breakfast Enchiladas – skip the bacon, use this beef instead
What goes in Slow Cooker Mexican Beef
There’s a ton of spices in this that makes up the flavour of the braising liquid which becomes the sauce!
The secret ingredient is orange juice – it’s actually quite a common ingredient in Mexican cuisine. For example, it’s used in Carnitas (Mexican Slow Cooker Pulled Pork) and the marinade for Chicken Fajitas.
It doesn’t make the broth taste orangey at all – it totally transforms when slow cooked, and adds a touch of sweetness and flavour into the sauce.
How to make Slow Cooker Mexican Beef
The making part is very straightforward and mostly hands off time:
- Cut beef into big pieces and sprinkle with spices
- Sear aggressively: browning = flavour on both the beef and in the sauce (from the brown stuff on the base of the pot)
- Add everything else into the pot
- Slow cook on the stove, oven, slow cooker or pressure cooker until fall apart tender
- Toss back into the sauce
- Transfer to serving platter
- Devour in desired form! (Tacos in this case )
Shredded Beef Tacos
Here’s what I use to make a simple Shredded Beef Tacos spread- something that’s super quick to assemble:
- This Mexican Shredded Beef
- Warmed or charred tortillas
- Pico de Gallo (Authentic Mexican Salsa)
- Sour cream
- Lime wedges
- Fresh lime wedges
- Fresh coriander/cilantro leaves, whole or finely chopped
You won’t need a separate sauce because this shredded beef is so juicy and saucy.
So really, if you have a batch of this Mexican Beef on hand, then you’re just 15 minutes away from THIS taco spread because all you have to make is the Pido de Gallo (and if that’s all too hard, just slice some tomatoes!!) – Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Mexican Shredded Beef (and Tacos)
Recipe video above. This is how I make Mexican Shredded Beef. The sauce is rich, thick and full of flavor, and the beef is very tender and juicy. I use this shredded beef for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and even to make sliders – see in post for list of ideas and directions!
- 2 tbsp chipotle powder ((Note 5))
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp All Spice powder ((ground All Spice))
- 1 tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp onion powder or garlic powder (OR 1 tsp of each)
- 1 tsp salt and pepper (, each)
- 1 – 2 tbsp olive oil
- 3 lb / 1.5kg beef chuck or brisket ((or gravy or any other slow cooking beef) cut into 4 pieces)
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 onion (, diced (yellow, brown or white))
- 3/4 cup (185 ml) orange juice
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 14 oz / 400g can crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups (500 ml) beef or chicken broth/stock
- Salt and pepper
- Combine the Spice Mix ingredients in a bowl. Sprinkle 4 teaspoons over the beef and pat so it sticks.
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy based pot over high heat. Add the beef (in batches if necessary) and brown well on all sides. Remove onto a plate.
Turn the stove down to medium. If the pot looks dry, add more olive oil.
Add the garlic and onion and cook for 3 minutes until soft.
Add the orange juice and lime juice, and scrape the bottom of the pot so the brown bits mix into the liquid.
Add remaining ingredients, mix, then return beef into pot.
Put the lid on, bring to a simmer then turn the stove down so it is bubbling gently, not rapidly.
Cook for 2 hours, then remove lid and simmer for another 30 minutes until beef is tender enough to shred. (Note 1).
Remove the beef from sauce, shred with 2 forks.
Leave the sauce to simmer with the lid off for 10 to 15 minutes to reduce and thicken to your taste. Adjust salt to taste. Optional: puree with stick blender to make it smooth (I do this for company)
Toss beef back into the sauce (can reserve some Sauce for drizzling on tacos if you want, there’s plenty).
Transfer beef into large dish and serve. See notes for suggestions.
To make tacos, serve the beef with warmed small tortillas, avocado slices, Pico de Gallo, shredded cheese, sour cream, lime wedges and extra cilantro/coriander leaves.
1. Cook time – The cooking time will vary depending on what cut of beef you use, how heavy based your pot is (dutch ovens cook faster because they retain heat better) and also how thick your cut of beef is. This recipe is very forgiving so even if you leave it 1 hour too long, it will still be great! Check it at 2 hours and every 30 minutes thereafter to see if it is “shreddable” tender.
2. Other cook methods – slow cooker for 8 hours on low, pressure cooker on high for 50 minutes.
For Slow Cooker and Pressure Cooker – after deglazing the pot in step 4 with the orange juice and lime juice, pour the liquid and onions into the slow/pressure cooker and add all remaining ingredients + beef. Cook per above. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan to reduce the sauce on the stove, as required by the recipe.
Oven – after completing step 4, cover and place in 325F/160C oven for 3 – 3 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender enough to shred. The liquid should reduce enough to make a thick sauce. If not, just simmer it on the stove until thickened to your liking.
3. Quantity – This makes enough for 20 – 25 tacos, 12 – 15 burritos. It is enough to serve 8 to 10 people.
4. Storage – To freeze or refrigerate, keep the sauce and beef separate. Reheat the beef in the microwave or in the oven (covered with foil), heat the sauce then toss. It’s best to keep it separate because otherwise I find the beef gets quite soggy (especially when defrosting).
5. Chipotle powder can be annoyingly difficult to find in Australia. Now sold in Harris Farms. It is not sold in the major supermarkets (yet) but you can find it in fruit & veg stores, delis and gourmet/speciality stores. It does not cost much more than ordinary spices. If you can’t track it down, I think the best substitute is 1/2 tbsp each SMOKED paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper.
6. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings.
Originally published September 2015, updated July 2019 with new photos, new video, new step photos and Life of Dozer section added. No change to recipe!
Life of Dozer
Bushwalking with Dozer – best done in winter when it’s snake free!