This shredded beef is such an easy recipe that takes minimal effort and gets rave reviews from the whole family. The meat is tender and juicy, oozing with bold spices and texture. You'll be tempted to grab a fork and eat it straight from the pot!
It lays out the most common portion cuts, best cooking method, and recipes for each cut of meat. Including chuck roast, which is the cut of beef for this shredded beef recipe.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy dinner: It's one of those easy meals that can be thrown together in just a few steps. Then you can go about your other business as it slow cooks and makes your kitchen smell incredible.
- Minimal cleanup: One of the best parts about this delicious beef recipe is how easy it is to clean up. Everything gets dumped into the same pot.
- Great way to meal prep: Cook it up when you have the time, store it in the fridge or freezer, and pull it out when you're ready. Your favorite meals will be ready in a fraction of the time.
- Versatile recipe: One of my favorite things about this easy shredded beef recipe is using it as a base for new recipes. Read on for more ideas on how to incorporate it into different recipes.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients for this shredded beef. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find at the grocery store. Jump down to the recipe card for exact measurements.
- Chuck roast: The best cuts of beef for slow cooking are large, tougher cuts of beef like chuck roast. The low-temperature, slow-cooking process allows the fat to break down resulting in a rich, tender flavor. You can substitute any chuck roast for chuck eye roast. Other great cuts are round steak, blade steak, and topside and skirt steak.
- Seasoning: Smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, dried oregano, kosher salt, garlic powder, and onion powder
- Avocado oil: Use avocado or olive oil.
- Onion: We used white onion for this recipe, but sweet, yellow, or purple onion will all work.
- Garlic: Opt for fresh garlic cloves if possible.
- Beef broth: You can substitute with beef stock.
- Tomato paste: Helps to thicken the broth and add a little flavor to the beef.
- Crushed tomatoes: These add a little sweetness and authentic Mexican flavor.
- Lime juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds a slightly tangy flavor.
How to Make Shredded Beef
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This shredded beef is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure it turns out every time.
Note: this recipe shows you how to braise the beef on the stove top with a large pot and low heat. The recipe card below includes Instant Pot and Slow Cooker instructions.
Mix the spice seasonings together in a medium bowl. Pat the beef dry and use your fingers to rub the spice mix evenly into all sides of the beef.
Add the cooking oil to the bottom of a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, work in two batches to sear each side of the beef until it’s crisp, about two minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a cutting board.
Reduce heat to medium-low, add the sliced onion, and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
Pour in the beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.
Place the meat back into the pot in a single layer. The meat should sit just above the liquid line.
Pro tip: For a good braise, you don't want it fully immersed in the liquid.
Bring it to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down low and simmer, covered for 3 - 3 ½ hours. The meat should gently fall apart with a fork when it’s done. Internal temperature for a rump roast, chuck roast, or round roast should be 170°.
Open the lid and carefully shred the beef with two forks. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Taste and season with more salt as needed.
Slow Cooker and Instant Pot Instructions
This recipe is easy to prepare on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot. The Slower cooker is ideal to "set it and forget it" during the day. Use the Instant Pot if you want Mexican shredded beef in an hour and a half or less.
Slow Cooker Mexican Shredded Beef
Follow the same instructions to season and sear the beef. Mix the beef broth with the tomato paste and tomato sauce in the Crock Pot. Add the beef and slow cook on low heat for 8-10 hours.
Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
It's also an easy instant pot recipe if you have less time to prepare. If cooking with an instant pot or pressure cooker, follow the same seasoning instructions, then sear the beef on the saute setting. Add the cooking liquid. Close the lid, make sure the vent is in the sealing position, and pressure cook on high pressure for 50 minutes then natural release for 15 minutes before releasing the remaining pressure.
Note: this is a very similar cooking technique to our Instant Pot Carnitas. Use those step-by-step photos to help. Then try that delicious recipe next!
Beef chuck roast is arguably the best cut of beef for shredding. This cut of beef comes from the lower neck and upper shoulder of the cow. It’s a very flavorful region and can be cut in many different ways, including roasts and steaks.
It’s tough, but very flavorful because of all the connective tissue. This makes it an ideal choice for cooking methods that are low and slow including the slow cooker method and braising.
Shredded steak is commonly known as pulled beef and refers to beef that's been cooked and then torn or shredded into thin, long pieces. The meat is typically slow-cooked or braised until it becomes tender and easily separable into shreds.
If you want to smoke a chuck roast that is tender enough to fall apart and shred, smoke it at 255 degrees Fahrenheit until the internal temperature reaches 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit (roughly 4-5 hours).
Expert Recipe Tips
- Make sure you look for a boneless chuck roast. This recipe calls for a chuck roast that's about 2.5 - 3 pounds. You'll want one with lots of good marbling because that's where all the yummy flavor comes from.
- When cooked low and slow in the slow cooker, the chuck roast gets so tender you can use just one fork and it will fall apart. The natural marbling from the meat gets melted down and adds so much flavor.
How to Serve
The best part about this easy shredded beef recipe is how easy it is to as a base for new recipes. You can create so many different meals with it that the whole family will love:
- One of my favorite ways to have it is in shredded beef tacos. Add taco seasoning during cooking time, wrap the flavorful beef in corn tortillas, and add your favorite toppings. We like pico de gallo, red onions, lettuce, shredded cheese, and sour cream. Serve it with a side of refried beans or black beans and Mexican rice. It's one of those quick meals the whole family will enjoy. (If you're not a fan of corn tortillas, swap them out and make taco salads, burrito bowls, or rice bowls with all of the same ingredients.)
- Another shredded beef taco recipe that has some Asian flair is this one for Korean shredded beef tacos. It's perfect for a fun weekend night in.
- You must try these delicious shredded beef enchiladas. The gluten-free enchilada sauce is rich and bold and so easy to make.
- Go simple and make your own classic roast beef sandwiches. If you'd like to season it differently for more of an Italian flavor, skip the paprika, cumin, and chili powder. Instead, use Italian seasoning. Serve the shredded, cooked beef on a hoagie and top with a slice of provolone cheese, pepperoncini peppers, and giardiniera.
Storing and Freezing Tips
Place leftovers in an airtight container or cover them in plastic wrap and store them in the refrigerator for up to a week. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months! Let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator or place it in the slow cooker on medium heat to melt and warm.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Beef Recipes
Our favorite shoulder roast recipe is these instant pot carnitas. For something cooked quickly over high heat, try cooking with beef plate, like in this braised short rib pasta or sheet pan steak fajitas.
- 2-3 lb chuck roast cut into 3-inch pieces
- 1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
- 3 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons EACH: chili powder and dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon EACH: kosher salt garlic powder, onion powder
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil or olive oil
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 2 ½ cups beef broth
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 15- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons lime juice 2-3 limes
- Dutch Oven See Notes for Instant Pot and Slow Cooker Instructions
- Mix together the spice seasoning in a medium bowl. Pat the beef try and use your fingers to rub the spice mix evenly into all sides of the beef.
- Add the oil to the bottom of a dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot and shimmering, work in 2 batches to sear each side of the beef until it’s crisp, about 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the meat to a cutting board or place.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the sliced onion and cook for 2-3 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Pour in the beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot to deglaze the pan. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Place the meat back into the pot in a single layer. The meat should sit just above liquid line. For a good braise, you don't want it fully immersed in the liquid. Bring it to a boil over high heat then turn the heat down low and simmer, covered for 3 - 3 ½ hours. The meat should gently fall apart with a fork when it’s done. See recipe notes for putting it in the slow cooker.
- Open the lid and carefully shred the beef with 2 fork. Stir in 2 tablespoons of lime juice. Taste and season with more salt as needed.