Honey Chipotle Shredded Beef Tacos – flavor packed sweet and spicy shredded beef tacos with pickled onions and creamy avocado sauce.
Honey Chipotle Shredded Beef Tacos
Ultra tender shredded beef tacos slow cooked in a sweet and spicy mixture of honey and chipotle pepper in adobo and absolutely loaded with flavor. Top them with quick pickled red onions and a creamy avocado sauce for an elevated taco night. Start the slow cooker taco meat in the morning and prepare the pickled onions and avocado sauce. When the slow cooker has done the work and the chuck roast is fork tender, all you have to do is warm tortillas and top with onions and avocado sauce. This shredded beef recipe uses the slow cooker, but I’ve included instructions for using a Dutch Oven or Instant Pot in the post as well.
Ingredients for Honey Chipotle Shredded Beef Tacos
- Oil – any neutral oil like vegetable oil, canola oil, or avocado oil is good for searing.
- Chuck Roast – look for a good quality chuck roast.
- Honey – to easily measure honey, spray measuring cup with non stick cooking spray before measuring.
- Chipotles in Adobo – you will need one small can of whole chipotle peppers in adobo. Remove 1 to 2 chipotles and dice them, then use a tablespoon to measure out some of the remaining sauce. You can divide the remaining chipotles and sauce into freezer safe baggies and freeze for next time.
- Spices – Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Cumin
- Kosher Salt – Adjust kosher salt amount depending on size of chuck roast. I use Morton’s Coarse Kosher Salt. The recommended seasoning for beef is about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound. For a 3 pound roast, I recommend using 2 1/2 teaspoons in the recipe to account for the sodium in the beef broth. If using a smaller roast or larger roast, you should decrease or increase the amount of kosher salt accordingly. If using table salt, reduce the suggested amount by half to account for the different size of salt crystals.
- Black Pepper – freshly ground black pepper is preferred.
- Low Sodium Beef Broth – Use canned low sodium beef broth or beef stock. You can also use beef bullion cubes and water. If using beef bullion, reduce salt used in recipe to account for extra sodium.
- Tortillas – flour or corn depending on preference.
- Limes – fresh limes to finish shredded beef.
- Cilantro – fresh chopped cilantro. I’ve also been loving having lightly dried cilantro on hand in the refrigerator. It’s a nice shortcut!
- Pickled Onions – these are so fun and packed with flavor!
- Creamy Avocado Sauce – for adding to soft tacos or dipping crispy tacos!
- Queso Fresco – a sprinkle of queso fresco is so pretty and fresh!
How to Make Honey Chipotle Shredded Beef Tacos
- Start by searing Chuck Roast on both sides over medium high heat.
- In a slow cooker, stir together honey, chipotles in adobo, chipotle in adobo sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt, and black pepper. Add chuck roast to honey chipotle mixture and turn to coat. Pour in one cup of low-sodium beef broth to slow cooker. Cook on low for about 8 hours or until beef shreds easily. Squeeze fresh lime juice over shredded beef and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
- Prepare pickled onions and creamy avocado sauce.
- To serve, warm flour tortillas or fry corn tortillas. Fill tacos with shredded beef, creamy avocado sauce, and pickled onions.
Dutch Oven Instructions
- To use a dutch oven instead of a slow cooker for this recipe, preheat oven to 275 degrees.
- Sear chuck roast in hot vegetable oil on stove top in dutch oven.
- Remove chuck roast and set aside. Use beef broth to deglaze pot, scraping up any bits from the bottom.
- Stir in honey, chipotles in adobo, adobo sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, kosher salt, and pepper.
- Return chuck roast to dutch oven, cover and slow cook in oven for about 3 hours, or until beef is fork tender and shreds easily.
- Depending on how tightly the lid fits the dutch oven, the cooking liquid may start to evaporate. Check the chuck roast halfway through cooking time and add additional beef broth if needed.
- Once meat is fork tender, shred. Squeeze fresh lime juice over shredded beef and top with fresh cilantro.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Start with a slightly smaller 2.5 pound chuck roast. Keep all seasonings the same except for salt.
- Use a 6 quart Instant Pot to heat vegetable oil via sauté mode set to high.
- Sear chuck roast on both sides. Remove chuck roast and set aside.
- Use beef broth to deglaze Instant Pot, scraping up any bits from the bottom.
- Stir in honey, chipotles in adobo, adobo sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and pepper.
- Return chuck roast to Instant Pot and turn to coat roast in honey chipotle mixture.
- Lock Instant Pot lid into place and pressure cook on high for 90 minutes (1.5 hours). Let Natural Pressure Release and shred beef. Squeeze fresh lime juice over shredded beef and top with fresh cilantro.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What Cut of Beef is best for Shredded Beef Tacos?
Chuck Roast is an ideal cut of beef for shredded beef tacos. It’s easy to find, affordable, and very tender when cooked slow and low. After 8-9 hours in a slow cooker on low, the beef is usually fall apart tender and very easy to shred.
Why isn’t my beef shredding?
There are a few reasons why your beef might not be shredding easily:
- It needs more time. If you are using a chuck roast on low and it’s not shredding easily, it may just need more time to render the fat and become fork tender. Continue cooking on low for another hour and check again. Cooking time in a slow cooker is usually 8-9 hours on low but can be more for a larger cut of meat.
- The cooking temperature is too high. If you tried to cook the beef on high to speed the cooking time, you may have a harder time shredding the meat. High temperature causes the meat to seize up and will result in a tougher finished dish. If you are short on time, try cooking on high for the first two hours, then reducing to low. In addition, you can turn off the slow cooker and let the roast rest in the juices for about 20 minutes and see if it shreds easily after resting.
- It’s the wrong cut of beef. Avoid using leaner cuts of beef like tri-tip roast or flank steak. These will become stringy instead of fork tender and are better suited to quick cooking methods like grilling.
Can Shredded Beef be frozen?
Yes, to freeze shredded beef, divide cooled shredded beef into preferred serving size. Place in freezer safe storage baggies and press out any extra air. Write the date on baggie and store in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw shredded beef overnight in the refrigerator and warm in a skillet over medium low heat to serve.
More Shredded Beef Taco Toppings to Try
- Sour Cream
- Shredded Cheese
- Fresh Tomatoes
- Pico de Gallo
- 3 pound chuck roast boneless
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- 2 chipotle pepper in adobo minced, use 1 pepper for less spice
- 4 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt adjust salt depending on size of roast. See recipe notes.
- 1 teaspoon black pepper freshly ground
- 1 cup low sodium beef broth
- 1 small red onion
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- pinch kosher salt
- pinch red pepper flakes
- 2 medium avocados ripe
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup cilantro
- 2 limes juiced
- 1 clove garlic
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat until it starts to shimmer. Pat chuck roast dry and sear on both sides.
Add honey, diced chipotle pepper in adobo, chipotle in adobo sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, kosher salt, and freshly ground black pepper to slow cooker and stir together. Place chuck roast in slow cooker and turn to coat in honey chipotle mixture. Pour in beef broth. Cover and let slow cook for 8-9 hours on low or until tender.
Once beef is fork tender, shred and mix with juices to keep moist. Squeeze fresh lime juice over meat and sprinkle with fresh cilantro.
Thinly slice a small red onion and place in a pint sized (16 oz) mason jar. In a small pan, bring 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to a boil. Add sugar, salt, and crushed red pepper to pan and stir to dissolve. Remove from heat and carefully pour over red onions. They can be served right away, or let cool, cover with mason jar lid and store in refrigerator.
In a small blender or food processor, combine avocado, water, olive oil, cilantro, lime juice, garlic clove, and kosher salt. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Warm flour tortillas or fry corn tortillas. Fill tortillas with shredded beef and top with pickled onions, creamy avocado sauce, and queso fresco, if desired.
Adjust kosher salt amount depending on size of chuck roast. I use Morton's Coarse Kosher Salt. The recommended seasoning for beef is about 1 teaspoon of kosher salt per pound. For a 3 pound roast, I recommend using 2 1/2 teaspoons in the recipe to account for the sodium in the beef broth. If using a smaller roast or larger roast, you should decrease or increase the amount of kosher salt accordingly. If using table salt, reduce the suggested amount by half to account for the different size of salt crystals.
If you are looking for a more traditional tasting Mexican shredded beef taco, you might try my Easy Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef. It’s also a chuck roast, but instead of a sweet and spicy mix of honey and chipotles, it uses, chili powder, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and fresh lime juice. You can use both of these recipes to make shredded beef for tacos, burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, or taquitos.
MORE MEXICAN RECIPE FAVORITES
- Easy Mexican Rice Recipe
- Instant Pot Mexican Rice
- Slow Cooker Refried Beans
- Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas
- Skillet Enchiladas
- Loaded Sheet Pan Nachos
- Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa
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