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!! In fact, I adore it so much I’ve recently published another version – Beef Barbacoa. This version is slightly tangy and punching through with flavour from chipotle chillies!
The sauce for this Mexican Shredded Beef is loaded with big flavours – and there’s PLENTY of it!
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 🙂 )
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)
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
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
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 the taco spread pictured above because all you have to make is the Pico 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)
- 1 1/2 tbsp chipotle powder , adjust spiciness to taste (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
- 1/2 cup (125ml) water
- 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 tomato, beef stock, water and remaining spice mix. 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 2 other cook methods).
- 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.
- Mild - reduce to 2 tsp to 1 tbsp, add 1 tsp extra coriander, plus add 1 tsp cumin
- Medium - use 1.5 tbsp per recipe (I do this for groups of friends, good mid point)
- Spicy, but not blow your head off spicy - increase to 2 tbsp (I like this)
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!