This Easy Mexican Shredded Beef is made in the instant pot and results in tender, flavorful beef that's perfect for your favorite Mexican meals.
Easy recipes that take minimal time to prep but come out tasting like you spent hours cooking are absolutely the best! I used the instant pot, but a slow cooker works just as well.
This shredded beef reminds me of Chipotle’s version of Barbacoa, but I’m not going to label it that since the spices and meat used are different. I do have a more traditional recipe for Barbacoa using beef shank, but it’s still not 100% authentic since barbacoa traditionally uses tongue and cheek meat.
What kind of Beef to Use
Chuck Roast- This is what I used and have tested the recipe with this cut of beef. I trim some of the excess fat, if there’s a lot, but keep most of it on for flavor and moisture.
The chuck roast I used was 5lbs, so a big size. Cut it into large chunks so that the seasoning can coat each piece and the meat can cook evenly. The cooking time I used for 5 lbs was 75 min in the Instant Pot. For a slow cooker, do 10 hours on Low.
Most chuck roast portions found in the store are about 3 lbs. So the cooking time can be decreased for the Instant Pot as follows:
- 3 lbs- 65 min
- 4 lbs- 70 min
- 5 lbs- 75 min
Other options for the cut of beef included: Beef Roast, Rump Roast, Eye Round Roast, Stew Meat, or Chuck Shoulder. Any of these ‘tough’ meats will work since we are cooking it for a long time to break down the tough tissue.
What makes this shredded beef ‘Mexican’ inspired, are the spices. Don’t be afraid to use spices! They really help to bring out the flavor in the beef.
Ancho Chili Powder- I love the sweet and smokiness in ancho chili powder, but you can use regular chili powder.
Cumin- Some people may not like cumin, and you can omit if you really don’t care for it. But cumin gives it warmth and earthiness.
Smoked Paprika- Similar to Ancho chili powder, smoked paprika delivers notes of sweet and smokiness. Regular paprika can be substituted.
Garlic Powder- You can also use fresh minced garlic or granulated garlic.
Onion Powder- Granulated onion or onion powder will work, but we are also adding a half onion for even more sweet onion taste.
Mexican Oregano- Mexican Oregano is actually a different plant than regular oregano and the flavor profile is more robust. If you can’t find Mexican oregano, you can sub regular oregano.
What can the Shredded Beef be used in?
This Mexican Shredded Beef turns out so flavorful and tender, and can be used in any of your favorite Mexican Dishes. Here are some of my favorites:
Tacos and Quesadillas- Pile the shredded beef on tortillas for tacos or load up with some cheese for a filling quesadilla. Add other toppings like salsa, avocado, or cilantro.
Salad or Bowls- A great healthy option is a taco salad using crisp romaine or iceberg lettuce, chopped tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and jalapenos for spice! Instead of dressing I just add salsa and a squeeze of lime. You can also make a bowl with rice or cauliflower rice and your favorite toppings.
Breakfast- Whether it’s a weekend breakfast or breakfast for dinner, this shredded beef goes really well with eggs. You can make scrambled egg and beef tacos, or Huevos Rancheros with some of the beef on top.
You can also make the shredded beef crispy by using a slotted spoon to drain the juice and place on a greased baking sheet. Then place under the broiler for 5 min or until it gets some crispy edges.
I recommend making a large batch and saving leftovers in a zip top bag in the freezer. Freeze the beef with it’s juices to keep it moist and flavorful when re-heating. To re-heat, simple thaw overnight and heat on a skillet or microwave.
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Instant Pot Mexican Shredded Beef
- Instant Pot
- Slow Cooker
- 3-5 lbs Chuck Roast
- 2 Tbsp Oil
- 2 tsp Salt Add more later if needed.
- 1 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 Tbsp Ancho Chili Powder Can sub regular Chili Powder
- 1 Tbsp Cumin
- 1 tsp Smoked Paprika Can sub regular Paprika
- 1 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Mexican Oregano Can sub regular oregano
- 1 Cup Water
- ½ White Onion Placed on top of the beef with the cut side up.
- 1 Tbsp White Vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar, or Lime Juice Added after Beef is done. This helps add some acidity to the meat.
- Cut chuck roast into large chunks. Add oil to beef and toss to coat. Season chuck roast with all the spices and salt, stir to coat.
- Pour water into Instant Pot or slow cooker, then add seasoned chuck roast, and halved onion with cut side up. (This makes it easier to remove after cooking).
- Instant Pot- High Pressure and see times based on weight of beef.3 lbs- 65 min4 lbs- 70 min5 lbs- 75 min. Once timer is done, carefully (I use a kitchen towel) release valve to venting.
- Slow Cooker- Low for 10 hours
- Add vinegar or lime juice, then shred the meat with 2 forks in the pot with the juices. Taste and see if additional salt is needed.