Beef Barbacoa is so easy to make in the slow cooker! Chuck roast is cooked low and slow until it’s impossibly tender and easy to shred. A medley of bold spices, adobo sauce, chilis and more make this beef as flavorful as can be. Thanks to the Crockpot, won’t believe how easy this recipe really is!

Limes, onions and tomatoes are placed around a small pot filled with barbacoa.

Beef Barbacoa

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If you’ve ever been to Chipotle, you likely already know the wonders of beef barbacoa! Tender, shredded, ridiculously flavorful beef is easier to make than you may think. And I may be a bit biased… but I do think that this homemade beef barbacoa recipe is even better than the stuff at Chipotle! Plus, it’s a really inexpensive recipe that’s wonderfully easy to make in the Crockpot.

When I say this is a real set it and forget it recipe, I mean it! You do need to blend up a paste in the food processor first, but that’ll just take a minute or two. Once you’ve got your paste ready to go, you just toss it in the slow cooker with your quartered chuck roast and let it cook until it’s ready to easily shred with two forks. The only hard part is smelling how amazing it is and having to wait!

With that being said, I promise it’s well worth the wait. Cooking beef barbacoa low and slow does a few things. First off, it ensures that the meat gets really infused with all of the bold flavors from the paste. Secondly, it gets the beef to that perfect tender, shred-able consistency. If you tried to cook this meat at a higher heat, you wouldn’t accomplish the same desired texture.

A white Crockpot is filled with cooked beef barbacoa.

How to Make Beef Barbacoa

Plug in the Crockpot and prepare to make your new favorite Chipotle copycat recipe!

  1. Make the paste. Add the onion, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, salt, and oregano to a food processor. Pulse until a smooth paste is formed.
  2. Cook the beef. Quarter the beef and add it to the Crockpot along with your paste. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 hours. The goal is to have your beef tender and easy to shred with a fork.
  3. Shred it. Remove the meat from the Crockpot and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded beef to the Crockpot and stir it with the sauce before serving. Enjoy!

We love this programmable slow cooker with auto warm setting by CrockPot! It’s a great way to make dinners easy and keep them warm until you’re ready to eat. We pull this one out at least once a week and the price can’t be beat!

Several beef barbacoa tacos are garnished with avocado slices.

What to Serve with Beef Barbacoa

Serve your beef barbacoa on tortillas as tacos or wrap it up in big tortillas to make some burritos! In true Chipotle fashion, you could also toss some barbacoa on top of white or brown rice and make it a bowl. Or, spread the shredded meat across a plate full of tortilla chips with some queso and pico de gallo for the best nachos ever!

No matter which way you plan on serving beef barbacoa, be sure to add a little fresh lime juice on top just before you eat it for the best pop of tangy flavor. Cilantro is also great if you’re a fan!

Storage Tips for Beef Barbacoa

Once cooled to room temperature, you can store any leftover beef barbacoa you may have in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. To reheat, just pop it in the microwave and zap it for 30 seconds at a time, stirring each time it stops, until warmed all the way through. Be careful not to overheat it or you risk drying it out.

I don’t recommend freezing Crockpot beef barbacoa.

Fresh cilantro garnished a silver bowl filled with beef barbacoa.

Make more of my favorite hearty beef entrees for dinner this week!

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Limes, onions and tomatoes are placed around a small pot filled with barbacoa.

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Beef Barbocoa Recipe

Tender, melt in your mouth Beef Barbacoa is easy to make with just minutes of hands on time. The perfect way to enjoy a beef taco, stuff an enchilada or make a burrito bowl.
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  • 1 sweet onion, peeled and cut into quarters
  • 5 large garlic cloves
  • 6 chipotle chilis
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2-3 pound chuck roast


  • 1 slow cooker


  • In a blender or food processor, pulse together the onion, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, tomato paste, vinegar, lime juice, salt, dried oregano and slices until smooth.

  • Pat the roast dry and place it in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the beef and cover with the lid.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours until the beef is tender and can easily be shredded with a fork.

  • Remove the roast from the slow cooker and shred. Return to the slow cooker and stir into the sauce.
  • Serve on tortillas taco style or on rice like a burrito bowl.


Beef Barbacoa can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
To freeze, transfer to a freezer safe container and freeze up to 3 months.
Calories: 248kcal, Carbohydrates: 9g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 6g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 7g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 78mg, Sodium: 807mg, Potassium: 522mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 102IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 57mg, Iron: 4mg