Slow Cooker Barbacoa is Perfect For Taco Tuesday

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This Slow Cooker Barbacoa is a delicious Chipotle copycat recipe that comes out just like the fall-apart tender beef you get at my family’s favorite take out burrito place. There are no complicated instructions, just add all the ingredients to your Crock Pot, and you end up with tender, flavorful beef.

The barbacoa beef is perfect for burrito bowls, burritos, or tacos. The magic of this slow cooker barbacoa is that it’s not only mouth-wateringly delicious, but it’s also effortless. It’s the kind of set-and-forget meal parents dream of for weeknights.

The last thing I want after a hectic day is to have to make dinner. With this in the slow cooker, you can skip takeout and come home to a delicious meal. And since everyone can add their favorite taco toppings, you know the kids will actually eat dinner!

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In this post, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of making this tasty barbacoa. We’ll discuss the ingredients and how to serve them to make your family think you’ve been working in the kitchen all day!

Looking for more Mexican cooking recipes? Try my Mexican rice, slow cooker chicken tacos, Mexican street corn soup, or air fryer carnitas for delicious meal ideas.

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🌮Ingredient Notes

For exact amounts needed see the recipe card below

  • Chuck Roast: Choose a good quality chuck roast weighing 3-4 pounds. This will be the show’s star, so get the best you can find.
  • Onion
  • Garlic cloves
  • Beef broth: If you don’t have beef broth, substitute water or chicken broth.
  • Lime juice: Fresh lime juice is best, but you can substitute bottled lime juice if you need to.
  • Seasoning: You will need classic Mexican spices, including oregano, ground cumin, garlic salt, black pepper, ground cloves, and bay leaves.
  • Liquid from a can of chipotle chiles in adobo: This gives it a fantastic depth of flavor.
Labeled ingredient photo for slow cooker barbaco.

🥣How to Make Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

  1. Place your chuck roast in the slow cooker.
  2. Add onions and garlic, then pour over the beef broth and lime juice.
  3. Sprinkle over all the spices and seasonings. Then, pour the chipotle adobo sauce over the roast and add the bay leaves.
  4. Sit back and let the slow cooker do its thing. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours.
  5. Once the meat is tender and falling apart, use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the beef from the slow cooker. Shred it using two forks or meat claws.
  6. Return the shredded meat to the slow cooker and serve it up.
Ingredients in slow cooker.
Before slow cooking
Top view of crock pot with slow cooker barbacoa.
After slow cooking with added limes

🍴Serving Ideas

My favorite way to serve this flavorful meat is as a filling for tacos. Just pile up the barbacoa on a warm corn tortilla, add a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lime, and a dollop of guac. Add some Mexican cheese or queso fresco to your tacos.

But don’t stop at tacos. It also pairs beautifully with rice, black beans, or pinto beans for a hearty meal. When I’m in a hurry, I use microwavable rice so I can serve up copycat Chipotle burritos bowls in no time at all. And let’s not forget about its potential for transforming an ordinary salad into a protein-packed meal.

If you’re feeding a crowd, set up a DIY taco bar with hot sauce and all your favorite taco and burrito toppings, and let your guests enjoy the Mexican flavors as they customize their own meals. It will be a hit every time.

Love Chipotle? Make a copycat chicken bowl for more easy at homemade goodness.

Slow cooker copy cat chipotle barbacoa served as tacos on a tray.

💭How to Store

The barbacoa keeps well in the fridge, ensuring I have lunch sorted for the next few days. It’s a win-win!

To store, allow the barbacoa to cool before transferring it to an airtight container. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 4 days. If you want to extend its stay, you can also freeze it. Just make sure it’s sealed tightly, and it’ll keep well for up to 3 months.

To reheat, drop it in a saucepan over medium-high heat or pop it in the microwave until it’s piping hot. Let it thaw overnight in the fridge before reheating if you’ve frozen it.

⭐Tips for Perfect Slow Cooker Barbacoa

Be sure to check out the step by step instructions

  • If you’re a fan of all things spicy, feel free to blend a chipotle pepper or two and add it to the slow cooker. This will give your barbacoa an extra kick! Or add a dash of smoked paprika or a pinch of cinnamon for a unique twist.
  • For melt-in-your-mouth barbacoa, go for a nice chuck roast. It’s rich in fat and connective tissue that breaks down over time in the slow cooker, giving you that juicy, tender meat we all crave.
  • Some folks swear by searing the meat before adding it to the slow cooker, but between you and me, it’s not necessary.
  • If you find too much cooking liquid left at the end, pour some off before adding the beef back to the slow cooker.
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Copycat Chipotle barbacoa in the crock pot with limes.


How much liquid should I add?

You don’t need to drown your meat in liquid for this barbacoa recipe. Just enough beef broth to cover the bottom of the pot should do the trick. The meat will release its own juices as it cooks.

Can I ake slow cooker barbacoa ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, it gets better with time. Make it a day ahead, store it in the fridge, and you’ll find the flavors have melded beautifully the next day. Just reheat it on low so it doesn’t dry out.

Can I freeze leftover barbacoa?

Yes, you can! Divide it into meal-sized portions, pop them into freezer bags, and it’s ready whenever you need a quick meal. Just remember to thaw it properly before reheating.

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Copycat Chipotle barbacoa in the crock pot with limes.
4.34 from 3 votes

Slow Cooker Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa

Published By Anne
Enjoy Copycat Chipotle Barbacoa at home with this mouthwatering slow cooker copycat recipe. Tender, juicy, and packed flavor, this homemade version will satisfy your taco cravings.
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time6 hours
Total Time6 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 8
Print Save Rate Pin


  • 3-4 pound beef chuck roast
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ cups beef broth
  • 2 limes, juiced about 4 tablespoons
  • ½ tablespoon ground oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Liquid a from 7 ounce can of chipotles in adobo
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Add the chuck roast to your crock pot.
    3-4 pound beef chuck roast
  • Top it with the slices onions and garlic.
    1 small yellow onion, 5 cloves garlic
  • Pour the beef broth and lime juice into the slow cooker.
    2 limes, juiced, ½ cups beef broth
  • Sprinkle the meat with spices, including oregano, cumin, garlic salt, pepper, and ground cloves.
    ½ tablespoon ground oregano, 2 teaspoons cumin, 2 teaspoons garlic salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper, ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Pour all the liquid from the can of chipotles in adobo sauce over the meat.
    Liquid a from 7 ounce can of chipotles in adobo
  • Add the 2 bay leaves.
    2 bay leaves
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours until the meat is tender and falls apart.
  • Remove the cooked beef from the slow cooker and shred it. The beef chunks should shred easily using meat claws or two forks.
  • Discard big pieces of fat and return the shredded beef to the slow cooker.
  • Serve this beef on burrito bowls or in tacos.


  • If you want this spicier, blend up a chipotle pepper or two and add it to the slow cooker.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • You can sear the meat before adding it to the slow cooker, but it is unnecessary.
  • If too much juice is left at the end of cooking, pour some off before adding the beef back to the slow cooker.

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Nutrition Information

Calories: 318kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 777mg | Potassium: 614mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 32IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 4mg

Nutrition facts are estimates.

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Top view of slow cooker barbacoa showing it as a burrito bowl and as tacos.

Hi, I’m Anne!

I love to cook and I want to share my recipes with you. I believe cooking should be approachable and fun, not a chore. I want to make simple recipes using everyday ingredients that you can make again and again, whether it is for a busy weeknight, a summer cookout or a special dessert. Read more...

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