This Mexican shredded beef recipe is super juicy, full of flavor, and perfect for tacos, enchiladas, or burritos. It's an easy recipe that involves making a dry rub for the beef and slow-roasting it for several hours until you can shred it with a fork.
🌟 Why this recipe works
If you want tender beef for dinner, try this slow cooker Mexican shredded beef flavored with chili and lime. Shredded Mexican beef is perfect for Mexican recipes like beef quesadillas, shredded beef tacos, and burritos.
The recipe is easy to make for any home cook with a slow-cooker, crockpot, or oven, and the spicy rub is made up of pantry spices like chili, cumin, and garlic.
Slow cooking at low temperatures is the best way to ensure your meat stays nice and juicy during cooking for easy shredding. It helps lock in all the delicious flavors, resulting in tender meat every time.
There's no need to watch the meat or spend your time worrying about whether it is cooked. Simply brown the beef in a skillet and let the slow cooker do all the work.
Whether you're on a budget or want the best-shredded beef for your Mexican dinner, this shredded beef recipe is exactly that and more!
🍽 Key ingredients
Most of the spices used for the rub are common pantry ingredients, and the touch of lime makes the beef really tender.
Beef - Ask your butcher for an inexpensive cut for roasting. I like to use top round for quality and price, but bottom round or boneless beef chuck roast are great options.
Spice rub - A mixture of chili powder, salt, cumin, cilantro, and garlic is all you need to give the beef its signature flavor.
Marinade - The marinade of lime and beef broth helps to keep the beef juicy while it slowly cooks.
You can substitute the lime juice for lemon juice and the beef stock for vegetable or chicken broth.
You can adjust the rub to be sweeter or spicier to match your taste buds.
For a sweeter rub, add a tablespoon of brown sugar and after it is sealed, rub a teaspoon of tomato paste on top of it along with the rest of the seasonings.
For a spicier rub, chop 1 jalapeno/chipotle or use 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes and rub it onto the meat after it's sealed.
🔪 How to make
Mexican shredded beef is full of flavor and easy to make in the slow cooker. All you need to do is coat the beef with the rub, seal it in the pan, and let it slow cook with the lime marinade for 4 hours until it's fork-tender.
- Minced the garlic and set it aside.
- Trim the beef of the outside fat.
- Mix the dry rub ingredients in a bowl.
Thoroughly coat the beef with the avocado oil and salt, and place it in a closed container for 10-15 minutes. In the meantime, preheat a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Sear the meat on both sides, roughly 1-2 minutes per side. Once nicely browned, place the seared meat in the slow cooker.
Coat the top of the beef with chili powder, then flip and coat the other side. Rub in the minced garlic, cumin, and cilantro to the top of the meat.
Slowly pour the lime juice and beef broth around the sides of the meat, trying to keep the seasonings on top.
Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Remove the meat from the slow cooker and shred with two forks. It should shred easily.
Serve the shredded beef on warm tortillas or taco shells with shredded lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese, and sour cream.
💭 Cooking tips
Sealing the beef
Allow the skillet to get really hot before sealing the beef. The hotter the skillet, the better the caramelization on the outside.
📖 Rub variations
Slow cooking is the best way to ensure the rub infuses into the meat, and there are so many flavorsome rubs to choose from to make the Mexican shredded beef even tastier. Try some of these easy rubs to enhance the flavor of your pulled beef.
A typical seasoning for any Mexican beef recipe is taco seasoning. It's easy to prepare, and the only major difference is the addition of smoked paprika, which gives it a wonderful smokey flavor and darker color.
Coffee and chili
Although the recipe is made with brisket, you can still make the spiced coffee rub for this tender pulled beef recipe. The coffee and chili really work together here to create a wonderful rub that deeply infuses the meat with notes of cinnamon and thyme.
🥗 What to serve with
This Mexican shredded beef recipe is perfect for serving with other classic Mexican recipes and comforting casseroles.
Some of my favorites are:
Beef enchilada casserole: Swap the ground beef for shredded beef and skip the adobo seasoning as the beef is already seasoned.
Corned beef hash: This recipe is easy and quick in just 25 minutes and uses 4 ingredients. Swap the corned beef for this Mexican shredded beef.
And if burritos, shredded tacos, nachos and quesadillas are not good enough, have a look at these 25 top recipes to use ground beef. Although you'll be using shredded beef instead of ground beef, the recipes will not change.
🙋 Frequently asked questions
What cut of beef is best for shredded beef?
Top or bottom is the most popular choice for shredded beef because they are lean, budget-friendly, and flavorsome. Saying that eye of chuck, rump, and sirloin tip are all good options for price and quality.
What temperature do I cook the beef in the oven?
If you're using the oven to cook the beef instead of the slow cooker, preheat it between 150 - 170 degrees Fahrenheit (70 - 80 degrees Celsius) and cook the beef for 4 to 6 hours.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ reheating
Mexican shredded beef is perfect for storing and reheating at a later date.
Fridge - Once the beef has cooled, transfer it to an airtight container with the juice and place it in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer - Place the juice and the leftover beef in separate freezer-safe containers and keep frozen for up to 4 months. Defrost the containers in the fridge overnight.
Reheating - To reheat the Mexican shredded beef, preheat the oven to 170 degrees Fahrenheit and reheat the beef for 10 minutes until warm.
Alternatively, you can use a microwave to reheat the beef and the sauce together in a microwaveable bowl for a few minutes until the juice has warmed.
Easy Dessert Paring
If you're in the mood for Mexican food, why not add one of the best Mexican desserts. Not to brag, but my Mexican flan recipe is one of the best you'll find.
Surprising easy to make and only requires 5 ingredients. And I love how flan is light, not too sweet, and tastes amazing.
🍳 Related Recipes
If you like this mexican shredded beef recipe, you must try one of these easy mexican recipes in your next party. My caldo de res is insanely good!
If you like sour cream, check out my recipes with sour cream
👪 Serving size
For a 2 - 3 lb top round beef joint, you can expect to get 8 - 10 servings out of it. However, you could scale the Mexican shredded beef recipe to cater for more or less.
I love making shredded beef to use throughout the week on sandwiches and taking it to work with me. It's perfect for any lunch or dinner, the kids love it, and it's a budget-friendly recipe to help save those extra dollars on the weekly meal plan.
🎥 Related video how to make it
Chili Lime Mexican Shredded Beef (Slow-Cooked)
- 2 ½ lbs round steak - I used top round
- 2 tablespoon avocado oil - or other healthy oil
- 2 tablespoon Kosher salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon cumin
- 1 tablespoon dried cilantro
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ cup lime juice
- 2 cups beef or vegetable stock
- Rub 1 tablespoon avocado oil on both sides of steak and coat with kosher salt.
- Let sit in a closed container for 10-15 minutes.
- In the meantime, preheat a skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
- Sear meat on both sides, 1-2 minutes per side.
- Place seared meat in slow cooker.
- Coat top of steak with chili powder, then flip and coat the other side. Add garlic, cumin, cilantro and minced garlic to the top of the meat.
- Slowly pour lime juice around the sides of the meat, trying to keep the seasonings on top.
- Slowly add broth around the meat, again trying to keep the seasonings on top of the meat.
- Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
- Remove meat from slow cooker and shred with two forks. It should shred easily. Place meat back in slow cooker or put meat and sauce in another container to serve.