Skip to Content

Shredded Beef Tacos

Sharing is caring!

You can also cook these shredded beef tacos in a slow cooker.

This shredded beef taco recipe will get you taco truck quality results! You can’t get any better that taco truck tacos and now you can make them at home. You can garnish these shredded beef tacos how you like and you won’t find any better.

So if you’re eager to try one of the best taco recipes on the planet, just read on. I promise you are going to love them.

Shredded beef tacos

About these famous street tacos.

Shredded beef tacos are a delicious Mexican dish consisting of seasoned and slow-cooked shredded beef served in warmed or grilled tortillas and topped with various condiments and garnishes. The beef is typically cooked until tender, allowing it to be easily shredded. The seasoning may include a variety of spices such as cumin, chili powder, garlic, and onion powder.

Here’s a basic overview of how these shredded beef tacos are prepared:

  1. Seasoning the Beef: The beef is seasoned liberally with salt, pepper and garlic powder. This can be done a day ahead of cooking for best results.
  2. Searing the Beef: You then sear the beef on all sides to char. This is an important and necessary step for optimum flavour.
  3. Preparing the Spice Blend: Although you can use a good chili powder, you will get better results by roasting and blending whole dried chilies and then adding them with the other spices. All is explained in the recipe card below.
  4. Slow Cooking: Then you slowly cook the beef in the spice broth to allow the flavors to meld and the meat to become tender. You can do this in a Dutch oven, slow cooker or on the stovetop .
  5. Shredding the Beef: Once the beef is so tender it is falling apart, you transfer it to a clean surface and shred it using your hands or forks. The slow cooking process makes the meat tender enough to easily shred.
  6. Assembling Tacos: The amazing beef is then placed in warm tortillas. Toppings can include shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges.
  7. Serving: Shredded beef tacos are typically served as an open-faced dish, allowing you to customize their tacos with their preferred toppings.

How many will this shredded beef tacos recipe serve?

You will see that there is a lot of meat in this recipe. The reason for this is that it takes a long time to cook. 

You will easily be able to serve 10 hungry people with this recipe. 

How long can you keep this beef taco mixture in the fridge?

You can keep this in the fridge for at least 5 days. In fact, as it sits in the fridge, the flavors will develop and it will be even better.

If you are serving a crowd, this is a great dish as you can prepare everything days ahead of serving. Then all you need to do is heat it up and serve!

Can you freeze the cooked beef?

Yes! This beef freezes really well. So if you only want to serve a couple of people and have lots left over, don’t worry.

You can freeze the shredded beef in the sauce for up to 6 months. Be sure to freeze it in portion sizes that are convenient for you.

Pro Tips

  1. Choose the Right Cut of Beef:
    • For the best results, use a cut of beef that is well-suited for slow cooking and shredding, such as beef chuck, shank or brisket. These cuts have a good amount of marbling and connective tissue that break down during the slow-cooking process, resulting in tender, flavorful meat.
  2. Invest Time in Seasoning and Slow Cooking:
    • Take the time to season the beef well with salt and pepper. Do this at least an hour before cooking or for even better results, allow the beef to marinate in the seasoning for a day before cooking.
    • Opt for slow cooking methods like using a slow cooker or braising in a Dutch oven. Low and slow cooking allows the flavors to develop, and it ensures that the beef becomes tender enough to easily shred.
  3. Customize Toppings for Texture and Flavor:
    • Offer a variety of toppings to enhance the overall experience. Shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, cheese, salsa, guacamole, sour cream, and lime wedges are popular choices.
    • Consider adding some contrasting textures, like a crunchy slaw or pickled onions, to complement the tender shredded beef.

Remember that the beauty of tacos lies in their customizability, so feel free to experiment with different seasonings and toppings to suit your taste preferences.

Step by step photographs

Ingredients for shredded beef tacos.

Get all your ingredients together before you start. It’s a lot easier that way.

Cooking the beef on the bone.

You will see above that I used beef shanks on the bone along with some chuck. The marrow in the bones adds a delicious flavor so try to get meat on the bone. 

You could also just add some beef marrow bones with the beef when cooking. For extra flavor, be sure to get all the soft marrow out of the bone. You don’t want to miss any of it!

Toasting dried chilies in a dry frying pan.

Remove the stems and seeds from the chilies. Toast the dried chilies for a couple of minutes each side. Be careful not to burn the chilies. Dry fry until the chilies are fragrant and become soft.

Soaking the dried chilies.

You want the dried chilies to be really soft before blending. Once you have toasted them in the pan, cover them in a bowl with water and let them soak while you prepare the rest of the dish.

Searing the beef in a hot pan.

Sear the meat in batches until you have a nice char. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Frying the onions, garlic and spices in a pan.

Fry the chopped onion for about 7 minutes to brown. Add the garlic and fry for another 2 minutes and then stir in the spices.

Simmering the sauce to make the paste.

Stir in the chipotle chilies in adobo, the vinegar and 2 cups of stock or water and reduce by half.

Chilies soaking in water.

Then return the soaked chilies to the pan and allow to cool some. 

Blending the onions, chilies and spices into a paste.

Place the cooled contents of the pan in a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Set aside.

The meat in a pan covered with the paste and stock.

Return the meat to the pan. I used a slow cooker instead. Either will do. Add the paste and just enough water or stock to cover along with the bay leaves and oregano.

The cooked meat ready for shredding on a clean work surface.

Once the beef is tender, transfer it to a clean work surface to cool some.

Simmering the beef in the pan with the paste and stock.

Reduce the broth in the pan by half. 

Shredded beef for the tacos.

Shred the meat with your hands or two forks. It should look like this.

Returning the meat to the reduced broth in the pan.

Return the shredded beef to the reduced broth and continue cooking until you are happy for it to go on your tacos.

shredded beef tacos

Top your beef tacos with your condiments of choice.

Shredded beef tacos.

You are going to love these tacos! Enjoy!

Have you tried this shredded beef taco recipe?

If yes, please be sure to give it a star rating in the recipe card below. Also please leave a comment. I love getting your feedback and I’m sure other readers of my blog do too. Thank you.

Yield: 10

Shredded Beef Tacos

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Total Time 5 hours 15 minutes


  • 3 dried guajillo chilies, seeds and stem removed (see notes)
  • 2 whole dried ancho chilies, seeds and stem removed (see notes)
  • 4 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. beef shanks
  • 5 lbs. beef chuck roast, sliced into about 6 to 8 easy to cook pieces.
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed whole
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, preferably Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 chipotle chiles in adobo, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup (70ml) apple cider vinegar
  • 1 quart low sodium store-bought or homemade chicken stock, divided
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • Warm corn tortillas, onions, cilantro, salsa, limes, and other condiments for serving


  1. Heat a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the dried chilies. Press them down in the pan and dry fry for a couple of minutes or until fragrant but not smoking. Turn the chilies over to roast the other side. Be sure not to let the chilies smoke. They should naturally go a couple of shades darker and smell amazing.
  2. Transfer the roasted chilies from the pan to a bowl and cover with water and let them soak to soften while you are preparing the rest of the dish.
  3. Season the beef shanks liberally with salt and pepper and then heat 2 tbsp rapeseed (canola) oil in your sauce pan over a medium-high heat.
  4. When the oil begins to glisten, add the beef shanks and fry to brown on one side for about 3 minutes. Turn the shanks over to brown the other side for a couple of minutes. Flip them again and continue cooking for about four more minutes or until you have a nice char on the exterior. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  5. Brown the chuck roast pieces in the same way and set aside.
  6. Add more oil to the pan if needed and add the chopped onions. Fry the onions for about 7 minutes or until soft, translucent and just beginning to turn a golden brown. Stir in the garlic and continue frying and stirring for a further 2 minutes.
  7. Add the cumin, cloves, paprika and oregano and stir it all into the onion mixture. Then stir in the chipotles in adobo, vinegar and 2 cups (500ml) of the water or stock. Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half. Add the soaked, dried chilies.
  8. Taste the water the dried chilies was soaking in. If it is bitter, discard it. If not, keep it to add to the meat later.
  9. Allow everything in the pan to cool some and then pour it all into a blender. Blend to a smooth paste and set aside.
  10. Place the chuck roast pieces and shanks back into the pot and cover with the paste and add just enough chicken or beef stock to cover. You can also use plain water and/or the soaking liquid from the chilies if it's not bitter.
  11. Cover and simmer over a medium heat for about 4 to 5 hours or until the meat is so tender, you can shred it easily with your hands.
  12. Turn off the heat and transfer the meat to a clean work surface and let it cool some. Then shred it with your hands or a couple of forks. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir it into the sauce. Keep warm.
  13. Now all you need to do is heat up some tortillas and get a few tasty garnishes together to wrap into your tacos with the meat. You'll find lot of ideas in the notes.


FOR THE DRIED GUAJILLO AND ANCHO CHILIES: You need to remove as many of the ancho and guajillo seeds and membranes as possible. Don't worry too much about it as the remaining seeds will come out when you soak the chilies after dry frying.

For best results, be sure to tear the dried chillies open. This will help remove the seeds and will also ensure even roasting in the pan.

FOR THE TORTILLAS: Warm the tortillas in a dry frying pan or if you like, you can fry them in a little oil. Keep warm to serve.

The tortillas can also be warmed in small batches in your microwave. Dampen them with a little water and heat about 5 at a time.

Stack the warmed tortillas and cover with foil so that they are nice and hot at the table.

TO GARNISH: You can keep it simple and just add a salsa or two to your shredded beef tacos. The more garnishes the better though. Stack your tacos with lettuce, chopped onion, cheese, sour cream, pickled onions or jalapeño chilies. If it sounds good, it will be!

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 704Total Fat: 40gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 2gUnsaturated Fat: 21gCholesterol: 227mgSodium: 421mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 5gProtein: 75g

Did you like this recipe?

Please join me on Facebook where I share all my latest recipes and videos. Just click that Facebook icon on the left and let's get to know each other!

Skip to Recipe

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!