Crockpot Mexican-Inspired Barbacoa Beef

This Crockpot Mexican-Inspired Spicy Barbacoa Beef is the perfect meat to make a big batch of at the beginning of the week to then serve in all kinds of ways for easy meals throughout the week.


Crockpot Spicy Barbacoa Beef

The beef is deliciously flavored and cooked until perfectly tender! And not to mention, so simple to make with very few ingredients. Simply sear the beef, saute the onions, then add everything to your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or 4-6 on high, but I always recommend slow and low if your schedule allows it to really let all the flavors meld together even more beautifully. 

Once the beef is cooked, you can add it to pretty much any meal at any time — breakfast, lunch or dinner! I’ll stuff it in some bell peppers and bake, use in lettuce wraps, make tacos or tostadas, top it on some salad as your protein, make burrito bowls, stuff it in mini bell peppers to make healthy “nachos”… the possibilities are really endless! For a more exciting breakfast option, we will even top our scrambled eggs with it on their own or in breakfast tacos.

So make this week’s meals easier and get a big batch of this Crockpot Spicy Barbacoa Beef cooking so you can easily use it to spice up your everyday meals!

And if you don’t have time for the crockpot, you can also try my Instant Pot version!

Crockpot Spicy Barbacoa Beef

Crockpot Spicy Barbacoa Beef
Serves: 6 People
5 from 2 votes


  • 2 lbs boneless chuck roast beef
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 white onion diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce + 1 tbsp. of the adobo sauce [If you are Whole30 use 2 tbsp. of Chipotle chili powder here instead and rub all over the beef]
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ground clove
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tsp salt [plus more for seasoning beef]
  • freshly cracked black pepper [for seasoning the beef]


  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over med-high heat. Trim excess fat off of roast, then season the roast on all sides with salt and pepper. Sear all sides in the hot skillet (about 2 mins per side). Place seared roast into the crockpot.
  • In the same skillet, add the diced onions and saute for 3-5 minutes, until slightly tender. Place in the crockpot with the roast.
  • Finely dice/mince the chipotle chiles. Place in a bowl with 1 tbsp. of the adobo sauce. In that same bowl, add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, chicken broth, cumin, ground clove, oregano, garlic and salt. Mix until well-combined.
  • Add the sauce to your crockpot and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours.
  • When cooking time is complete, using two forks shred the beef until shredded finely (or to your liking).


Serving Suggestions: make tacos, serve over a salad, stuff bell peppers and bake, serve over cauliflower "rice," quinoa, or regular rice to make burrito bowls. No matter which way you decide to serve, don't forget the pico!



  • Reply
    Kelly M
    October 2, 2022 at 5:11 pm

    5 stars
    Delicious!! I made this for a group of friends and got so many compliments on it. I will definitely be making it again!

    • Reply
      October 2, 2022 at 6:20 pm

      Glad you enjoyed it!!

  • Reply
    February 12, 2022 at 6:55 pm

    Also, if I have 4lbs does the cook time change?

  • Reply
    February 10, 2022 at 5:31 pm

    If I am needing to make for 12, and am using 4 lbs of meat, do I just double the recipe?

  • Reply
    Renee Knight
    October 26, 2021 at 2:39 pm

    Would it be possible to make ahead and freeze?

    • Reply
      October 27, 2021 at 1:52 am

      yes definitely!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Good morning,
    This looks delicious! Any recommendations to make it ‘kid-friendly?’ Would you just omit the adobe chili and replace with the 2 tbsp of chili powder as you recommended above? Thanks!

  • Reply
    May 27, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    One of my favorite recipes! I do drain the extra liquid, otherwise I found it a bit too soupy. I save the liquid, discard the fat, and use it as the dip when I use the meat for ‘French dip’ sandwiches on toasted French bread with melted cheese, and it’s delicious! I’ve also used this in tacos, burritos, rice bowls, quesadillas, and scrambled with eggs. This recipe makes enough for several days, and with all the different ways to use the meat the leftovers don’t get tiresome.
    I did try to make this with a shoulder roast once and it wasn’t nearly as flavorful, so would recommend sticking with the chuck roast!

  • Reply
    May 23, 2021 at 10:44 pm

    5 stars
    Amazing recipe! Super easy to get in he slow cooker, house smells INCREDIBLE all day, and it’s delicious!

  • Reply
    Lindsey Cooper
    January 9, 2021 at 11:06 pm

    Can you do this in a pressure cooker?

  • Reply
    January 3, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Alex! Would this recipe work in a Dutch oven? If so, what temp/time do you think?

    • Reply
      January 4, 2021 at 1:39 pm

      I would do 300 for 3.5 – 4 hours.

  • Reply
    December 21, 2020 at 10:09 pm

    I don’t do spicy, so could I leave out the chili’s? Anything else I should omit or add? Thanks!

    • Reply
      December 21, 2020 at 11:51 pm

      yes, for a not spicy version– omit the chiles in adobo and, instead, rub the meat with 2 tablespoons of regular chili powder. It will add great flavor without heat! 🙂

      • Reply
        January 15, 2022 at 2:17 am

        Do we still “add the lime juice, apple cider vinegar, chicken broth, cumin, ground clove, oregano, garlic and salt. ” if we are making the non-spicy version?

        • Reply
          January 16, 2022 at 6:37 pm

          yes I would still add all of those things!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    This is honestly one of your best recipes of all time. We make this for all special occasions. I’ve made it so much that I have it memorized. We love to have it as tacos one night, pot roast style with mashed potatoes another, on top of a homemade pizza the next, and loaded nachos after that. They are the flavorful leftover gift that keeps on giving. It’s currently making our home smell phenomenal as it cooks for thanksgiving dinner.

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