Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef

18.21 recipe / $2.60 per cup

Today I made a big batch of shredded beef as a “base recipe” for which I’ll provide various uses throughout the next week or two. This is a basic shredded beef with neutral, plain beef flavor, that will have other flavors added to it later on for each recipe. By keeping the flavor plain, I’ll be able to use this is Asian recipes, Tex-Mex recipes, or with any other flavor profile.

This is super simple to make and you can do it while you’re at work or even while you sleep. The shredded beef can then be frozen and quickly reheated for use in recipes any night of the week. Below I’ve provided cooking and freezing instructions. Shredded beef like this can be used for basic BBQ sandwiches, burritos, tacos, and more, but I’m going to post a few new ideas over the next week or two. Look for the first recipe using the shredded beef tomorrow!

Recipes Using Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef:

One word on portions – as with most of my meat recipes, I use meat in small portions combined with vegetables and grains to stretch it out across many servings. I estimate that I’ll use 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the shredded beef per serving in the future recipes. I’ll be freezing the beef in 2 cup portions, so that I can thaw/reheat one recipe’s worth at a time (or 4-6 servings of the beef).

Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef

Multi-Purpose Shredded Beef

5.0 from 4 reviews
multi-purpose shredded beef
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Total Cost: $18.21
Cost Per Serving: $2.60
Serves: 8
  • 4 lbs. boneless beef rump roast $17.91
  • 2 cups beef broth* $0.30
  1. Cut the rump roast into chunks approximately 3 inches each. This will allow the meat to cook evenly and come up to a safe temperature faster in the slow cooker. Place the beef into the bottom of the slow cooker. Pour the beef broth over the meat, place the lid on the slow cooker, and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until the meat is fork tender. The beef should be so tender that it shreds with the slightest pressure of a fork.
  2. Pull the chunks of beef out of the cooking liquid and shred it with two forks. Divide the shredded beef into freezer safe containers (approximately 2 cups of shredded beef per container) and pour some of the cooking juices over top. The juices will help prevent the beef from drying and getting freezer burn while stored in the freezer. Refrigerate the beef until completely cooled before transferring to the freezer. Always label and date packages before freezing. Keep the beef in the freezer for up to three months for best flavor and quality.
  3. To reheat the beef, simply transfer it from the freezer container to a small pot and heat over medium-low until fully thawed and reheated. Strain the shredded beef from the cooking liquid and season according to the recipe it is being used in.
*I use Better Than Bouillon brand broth concentrate because it’s less expensive than canned or boxed broths, it lasts just about forever in the refrigerator, and you can mix up any amount that you need. See photos below.


Step By Step Photos

boneless rump roastI bought this boneless beef rump roast because it was the least expensive (per pound) beef roast at my local store. Anything that is labeled “roast” is meant to be cooked long and slow to achieve a tender texture. Mine was about 3.75 pounds and yielded 7 cups of shredded beef. This will vary, of course, depending on how much fat your particular roast has.

beef chunksCut the roast into 3-inch chunks and place them in the bottom of the slow cooker. Cutting it into chunks allows the heat to distribute and cook more evenly than one large piece of beef. Don’t cut the chunks too small, though, so that your shredded beef isn’t in super small pieces. Also, I didn’t bother trimming the fat because that will mostly cook off into the juice, but you certainly could if you want to.

beef brothYou’ll need two cups of beef broth to help keep the meat moist and act as a heat conductor. You can use any brand, but Better Than Bouillon is my fav.

ready to cookPour the broth over the beef and wiggle the pieces down so that they’re as submerged as possible. It’s okay if they’re not totally submerged, though.

cooked beefPlace the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 4-6 hours, or until the beef is EASILY shreddable with a fork. I checked mine at 4 hours and it was still a little tough, so I let it go for another hour. At five hours I barely had to touch it for the beef to shred into nice strands. You probably could cook it on low for 8 hours, although I always suggest cooking raw meat on high for at least one hour to make sure it comes up to a safe temperature quickly.

shred beefPull the cooked beef chunks from the cooking liquid and shred them with a fork. Again, it should easily fall apart when pressure is applied with the fork. If not, put it back in the cooker and let it go for a little bit longer.

shredded beefI divided my shredded beef into two cup portions because I estimate that’s what I’ll use for recipes with 4-6 servings. I then poured a cup or so of the cooking liquid back over the shredded beef to ensure that it stays moist while in the freezer. Make sure to cool the beef completely in the refrigerator before transferring it to the freezer, and always label and date frozen foods.

Multi-Purpose Shredded BeefTo reheat your frozen beef, simply transfer it to a small pot and heat over medium-low until it is fully thawed and reheated. You can also freeze the beef in quart-sized freezer bags and lay them flat as they freeze to make nice “bricks” of frozen beef. Then, just cut the bag away and place the contents in a pot to reheat.

Stay tuned for uses for your Multi-Purpose Beef! I’ll update this post with the recipes as the’re posted!


  1. Meredith says:

    It seems that every other recipe on slow-cooker sites is for pulled beef/pork/chicken of some kind. I ended up with a free three-pound sirloin tip roast and came straight here to see the best way to use it! Like other posters, usually my slow cooker roasts are too tough, so I had some doubts. However, after an hour on high and then a long overnight on low, it’s crazy tender! Beef Ragout tonight; Beth wins again!

  2. Another option for slow cooking . . . buy the same inexpensive big hunk o’ meat and place it in a casserole dish,
    1) I sprinkle with Montreal meat/steak seasoning
    2) stab with knife and put whole cloves of garlic in the slices
    3) slice up an entire large onion and layer over the meat
    4) cover with foil and put in your oven at 200-220 degrees for 12 hours (plan ahead on this) the meat will melt in your mouth!

  3. Melissa says:

    Made this at the beginning of the week and froze it to use in three of the four recipes listed at the top of this post. The meat was perfectly cooked and flavorful enough to carry each dish. Even when freezing and thawing, the meat was still perfect. Another win!

  4. Wendy says:

    I wanted to make the mashed cauliflower and beef ragout this weekend but flank steak is all I have, so could I substitute the beef rump roast with that? And if so how would that change the recipe instructions?

  5. Maggie says:

    Ok…jaw got a heck of a workout!
    Had on low for 6hrs. Now putting it on hi for more hours and hope it shreds.

  6. fantastic recipe. Loved it.

  7. Thanks for this! Have been looking for a pulled beef recipe… yours has just been bookmarked….

  8. Tori says:

    I had a pound of stew meat languishing in my fridge, so I used this method to at least get it cooked. Then I took the meat and subbed it in for ground beef in your goulash recipe. Delicious!

  9. Aaren says:

    How long should I expect the beef to keep once frozen?

    • I try to use it up within three months. The quality will decline slowly over time and I find that it’s best when used before then.

  10. Thank you so much for sharing this idea/recipe! :)

    It’s so simple and yummy! I would give it 6 stars if I could. :)

  11. Kayla says:

    How exciting! I’m going to try all of these this week! Roast is on sale! :)

  12. Lauren says:

    I love this idea! I always have the problem of my meat turning out WAY too tough though… too tough to shred… even though I’m using my crock pot, with plenty of liquid, for 6-8 hours. Any ideas or tips???

    • Hmm, that is really strange. After that long of a cooking time it should definitely be tender. Perhaps your slow cooker is not as hot as mine? Are you cooking on high or low? If you’re cooking on low, try cooking on high for a couple of hours to get it going, then reduce to low for the remainder of the 8 hours.

      • Sally says:

        Mine does this too! I left mine going while I was at work for a full 7 hours on the auto setting (cooks on high for two hours, and then down to low until you turn it off). That wasn’t enough though and the beef definitely was tough. So I had to set it to high for another 2 hours before it was easily shreddable by fork.

        Am repeating the recipe this week but will be cooking no high for as long as I can before turning down to low. I also going to try adding garlic and onion (seeing as any other recipe I use the meat for is likely to have onion and garlic anyway)

        Thanks so much for the recipe. Really appreciate your time and dedication Beth.

        • Pteryxx says:

          The beef might be tough if there’s too much salt in the liquid, say if the liquid includes canned soup; maybe try with more water?

    • In general, some cuts of meat should be cooked low and slow, and some cuts of meat should be cooked quickly. Without any other information, it sounds like you may have overcooked the meat. It also helps to make sure the meat is completely submerged.

  13. teresa says:

    This is a foolproof go-to recipe. I use it all the time. What a great simple idea …. that I never thought of before on my own… THANK YOU

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