Shredded Taco Beef

$12.48 recipe / $1.04 serving

So, my appetite has been pretty wonky lately and all I’ve wanted to eat is burritos. I love a good burrito. I mean I LOVE them… and it’s all to easy to waltz right down to the nearest burrito joint and pay $6-$8 for a super fancy burrito… and then another couple bucks for some chips and salsa… and then, you might as well get a margarita while you’re there… and so the story goes. Before you know it, you’re out $20 for one meal and you’ve just eaten way, way too much. Not good.

So, this weekend I decided to stock my freezer with some freezer burritos. Except this time, I wanted some shredded beef in there. So, Friday night I filled my slow cooker with some pinto beans and turned them into (not) refried beans the next morning. Then, the next night I tossed a big beef roast into the slow cooker with some spices and the next morning I had some incredible shredded taco beef for the burritos!

This taco seasoned shredded beef is seriously easy and you can put it on tacos, burritos, nachos, or just eat it bowl style like the taco chicken bowls that we all love so much! Who can resist slow cooked meat seasoned with taco spices? Not me, not me.

Shredded Taco Beef

shredded taco beef

5.0 from 1 reviews
shredded taco beef
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $12.48
Cost Per Serving: $1.04
Serves: 12
  • 3 lbs. boneless beef shoulder roast $11.60
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp cumin $0.15
  • 1 tsp oregano $0.05
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper $0.03
  • ½ tsp salt $0.05
  • 4-5 cloves garlic $0.30
  1. Combine the dry spices in a small bowl (chili powder, cumin, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt). Peel the cloves of garlic.
  2. Cut the beef roast into large chunks (2-3 inches square). Place the beef and spice mix in a large, gallon-sized zip top bag and shake to coat the meat in spices. Either move on to the next step or refrigerate the bag of seasoned meat until you’re ready to cook (up to one day).
  3. Place the seasoned meat in the slow cooker in a single layer across the bottom. Add just enough water to come up to the top of the meat (about 1.5-2 cups). Secure the lid, turn the heat on to low, and cook for 8 hours.
  4. After 8 hours of cooking, carefully remove the lid of the slow cooker. Use two forks to shred the meat – it should be tender enough to just fall apart. Taste the mixture and adjust the salt and other seasonings to your liking. Remove the meat from the liquid with tongs and serve immediately.


shredded taco beef

Step By Step Photos

beef shoulder roastThis is the beef roast that I used. There are many different cuts out there, but stick to the ones labeled “roast.” These cuts are good for cooking slowly at low temperatures. If the bone is still intact or it looks like there is a lot of fat, you’ll get less meat in the end,so keep that in mind when comparing prices.

mix spicesFirst, mix your spices. I tried to make them all visible in this little bowl, but you can’t see them all. I used chili powder, cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, and salt.

cut beefCut the beef into chunks so that it will lay in the bottom of the slow cooker in one layer. If the chunks sit on top of each other, you’ll have to add more water to cover the meat and it will be too watery. Also peel the garlic.

season beefPlace the beef, garlic, and spices in a large zip top bag and shake it up until the beef is completely coated. You can either cook the beef right away, or store this in the fridge until you’re ready to cook. For instance, you can season the meat the night before and then just dump it into the slow cooker in the morning before work. Then, the meat will be ready for dinner when you get home.

cookPlace the meat in the bottom of the slow cooker and try to get it in one single layer. Add just enough water to cover it. If you want more flavor you can use a can of diced tomatoes in place of the water.

cooked beefSecure the lid on your slow cooker, turn the heat on to low and let it cook for 8 hours. After 8 hours of simmering away, it will look like this.

shred beefUse two forks to gently pull the meat apart. It should be very tender and easily shredable. (Yes, I know shredable is not a word.)

Serve taco beefUse tongs to get the yummy shredded beef out of the flavorful broth. Pile it straight onto your tacos, burritos, or nachos!

assemble burritosAnd you’re ready to assemble a big, bad burrito! (I still want that margarita)

For an even easier version (for those of you without a well stocked spice cabinet), you can just add a couple packets of taco seasoning to the slow cooker in place of the homemade spice mix. …but that will cost you a couple extra bucks.


  1. Genie says:

    I make beef burritos every year when my in-laws visit and I blogged about it.

    There’s nothing better than homemade burritos!

  2. Stacey says:

    I’m thinking of making this with beef stock instead of water, should I make any adjustment to the seasoning? (I’m thinking I’ll use less salt)

  3. Can you freeze the Shredded Taco Beef?

  4. Could you freeze the meat after seasoning (in the bag) and later thaw and continue in the slow cooker? This would be great as a prep-ahead freezer meal.

    • I haven’t tried that method, but it might work. I’ve always read that you shouldn’t put frozen meat into a slow cooker, though, because it can take too long to come up to a safe temperature and may pose a food safety risk.

  5. Stephanie says:

    First of all, I LOVE your blog and am constantly on here looking for new ideas and trying your recipes. I have never cooked so much in my life until finding your site, so thank you for posting so many great recipes!!

    Second, I’m hosting a large family dinner next week and will be making this recipe… Other than doubling up on the ingredients, are there any other tweaks I need to worry about (i.e. cooking time, etc)? I have a pretty large slow cooker so space is probably not a major issue..

  6. Esther says:

    Oops, never mind, I found your original recipe for pulled pork:)

  7. Esther says:

    This is one of my favorite recipes. What if I tried it with, say, pork?

    • Oh yes, I use this technique with pork OFTEN. And these seasonings go great with pork, too, so it will definitely work.

  8. Mike says:

    Something of a food safety question here. Let’s say you make this and freeze some of the beef for future use. Could you thaw that beef and use it in a recipe and still refridgerate those leftovers?

    ie: would the process of cooking, cooling, freezing, thawing, reheating, cooling, and reheating again be bad in any way?

  9. Rouses! My mom always went there for her meats.

  10. Amy – I don’t have non-slow cooker instructions right now… I’d have to test it out to see what temperature/time to cook it for.

  11. Beth, are there don’t-have-a-slow-cooker-instructions?

  12. Tastes great…going to have to try it with beans and corn like the shredded slow cooker chicken bowls.

  13. This is absolutely the best shredded beef recipe to follow! I have made several and this by far was the best.

  14. holli says:

    Made this a couple days ago. Amaaaazing.

  15. Anonymous says:

    I made the sriracha mayo with salmon tonight. Tomorrow it’s this meat and I just think that I am going to serve it on a bed of shredded red cabbage w/ a drizzle of the sriracha mayo for a tanginess. I am salivating already!

  16. Delicious Recipe!!
    I really like it, I will try to make this recipe.Thanks for sharing such a yummy recipe over here.I really appreciate with it.
    Hope to see such a great info in future!! :)

  17. Anonymous says:

    throw in a cinnamon stick

  18. Anonymous says:

    Made this just last night and it was amazing! I added half a can of enchilada sauce for some extra oomph and it was great!

  19. Melanie – Yes, why yes I have :) Here is the link:

    But really, all you have to do is make the burritos, wrap them in plastic (or parchment) and freeze! Then just microwave to reheat, just like a regular freezer burrito. If you wrap it in parchment, keep them sealed tight in a ziplock freezer bag to keep air out.

  20. Melanie says:

    Beth, have you done a how-to post on freezing prepped stuff like burritos? I know I’d be interested!

  21. Anonymous says:

    I would recommend freezing it as a finished burrito. Wrap it up tight in the tortilla, and then wrap that up tightly in plastic wrap. Any time the craving strikes you, just pop the whole thing in the microwave! The only limitation is you must be a bit more choosy with what fillings you use. Haven’t tried it with lettuce or other fragile fresh ingredients…

  22. Anonymous says:

    What do you do with all that flavorful leftover broth?

    And thanks a lot for all your hard work… like Celeste C said – step by step pics and price breakdown are great!

  23. You can freeze it either way, but I made them into burritos and then froze those. I ate the first one yesterday at work and it was great :) If you freeze the meat by itself, I would recommend doing it in a little bit of that juice from the slow cooker.

  24. Anonymous says:

    You said you were going to freeze this, do you freeze it on its own or fashion it into a burrito and freeze the whole thing so you have a microwave burrito ready?

  25. Can’t wait to try this!!! I’m going to give that beer idea you shared in the comments section a go. Cheers!

  26. Mmmmmm. I know what I’m making for lunches next week, can’t wait!

  27. Anonymous says:

    I JUST made your taco chicken bowls tonight, and was instantly addicted- I realised that I really, REALLY need to start using my slow cooker more, and wondered what other kinds of delicious, Mexican-y meats I could make up.

    I think you’ve made my night twice now.

  28. you can definitely use beef broth…I just made something similar to this the other night and used a bullion cube and water and it was great!

  29. This looks seriously delicious. I’m excited that I just might have all the necessary ingredients on hand.

  30. I might love burritos as much as you, and now I will definitely be making this shredded beef. Thank you!

  31. Celeste C says:

    Beth M! Just wanted to say how much I appreciate your blog! I found it last week and have already made 3 or 4 things. I know that it takes a lot of time and energy to share so much of your work with us (step by step pics AND a price breakdown is great!)- thanks a bunch! It is rad! :)

  32. You could use some beef broth… maybe some mexican beer? Hmm, dunno about the beer but it’s worth a try!

  33. Anonymous says:

    I know you mentioned tomatoes but what other liquids could you sub in for the water?

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