Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat)


Last night we drove 30 minutes to get to a Chipotle because I wanted to try making barbacoa beef like theirs but I had to remember what theirs actually tasted like first. 30 minutes isn’t much but it’s not really worth the drive for a chain restaurant, it’s a just better option to make it at home instead, right? Plus it’s cheaper and you get to enjoy it in the comfort of your own home.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat) | Cooking Classy

I didn’t do a side by side comparison, I forgot to bring some of it home, but this is very close to what I remember eating last night. It may be a little spicier, but maybe I just wasn’t noticing the spice in Chipotle’s beef because I had so much sour cream doused over my taco – one more nice thing about making these tacos at home, you control exactly what goes in them and how much.

These tacos are really easy to make, the slow cooker does most of the work. It does take a little while to get all the beef browned but the browning is worth it. It just brings that deep layer of flavor that you won’t get if you just toss it in the slow cooker and skip that step.


This beef would also be great for burritos or burrito bowls, salads, over nachos, or in quesadillas. If you aren’t a fan of heat, you could replace the chipotle chilies with chili powder and a little bit of vinegar, but your end result will definitely have a different flavor profile, still good, just different.

You can never have too many taco recipes, and this is one you should most definitely add to your list to try and soon!

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat) | Cooking ClassySlow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat) | Cooking Classy


Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat)

Yield: About 10 tacos


  • 3 lbs beef chuck roast
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 1/4 cups beef broth , divided
  • 3 - 4 chipotle chilis in adobo
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 3/4 tsp salt , then more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice

For serving:

  • Flour or corn tortillas , warmed
  • Shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Pico de gallo or diced tomatoes
  • Sliced avocados or guacamole
  • Crema or sour cream


  1. Cut roast into 6 portions while removing any large pieces of fat. Heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet. Once hot add 3 pieces of the chuck roast and sear until browned on all sides. Transfer to a slow cooker. Add remaining 1 Tbsp vegetable oil to skillet and repeat process with remaining 3 roast pieces. Nestle beef portions side by side in an even layer in slow cooker.
  2. In a food processor, pulse together chipotle chilies, garlic and 1/4 cup beef broth until well pureed, occasionally stopping and scraping down sides of processor. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup or in a bowl, whisk together remaining beef broth with chipotle mixture, cumin, oregano, salt, pepper and cloves. Pour mixture over beef in slow cooker, then nestle bay leaves between beef portions. Cover and cook on low heat 8 - 9 hours (I wouldn't recommend cooking on high, low cooking will achieve more tender results).
  3. Remove beef from slow cooker (leave broth) and shred. Stir lime juice into broth in slow cooker then return beef to slow cooker and cook on low or warm 20 - 30 minutes longer. Strain liquid from beef and serve in tacos with desired toppings.
  4. Recipe source: adapted slightly from

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Beef Tacos (Chipotle Copycat) | Cooking Classy


  • Sandra @ Heavenly Deviled Eggs: I can’t wait to try these! I love Chipotle and certainly don’t have a lack of these restaurants within driving distance, but I would love to make their food at home. The fact that it’s made in a slow cooker is a huge plus. Thanks! May 16, 2015 at 11:41am Reply

  • Joanna: I’m going to try this one it looks yummy x April 27, 2015 at 4:42am Reply

  • Shari Kelley: Chipotle’s barbacoa is one of my very favorite things! I am so happy you made a copycat version of this, Jaclyn. Thank you so much. I plan on trying this as soon as possible. April 26, 2015 at 10:52pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I hope you love it Shari :)! April 27, 2015 at 9:47am Reply

      • Shari Kelley: I have made this a couple times now, and our whole family just loves it. The lime really comes through and the smokiness from the chipotle chilis gives it such great flavor and the perfect amount of spice. Thank you so much for the recipe, Jaclyn! August 17, 2016 at 11:29am Reply

        • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed this recipe Shari, thanks for another review! August 17, 2016 at 10:52pm Reply

  • Jocelyn: This is absolutely delicious! I made a few adjustments to the spices to suit our preferences, but otherwise I followed your very clear and perfect directions. My daughter asked for the leftovers in her lunch tomorrow, which I take as a ringing endorsement. Thank you! April 26, 2015 at 7:47pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so happy to hear that Jocelyn! Glad it was enjoyed! April 27, 2015 at 9:55am Reply

  • Lindsay: I love Chipotle-and these look awesome!! Could you substitute round steak? April 26, 2015 at 8:22am Reply

    • Jaclyn: I wouldn’t recommend round steak for this recipe. A chuck roast will be best. I hope you try it and love it! April 26, 2015 at 10:55am Reply

  • Amy @ Eat Pray Workout: YUM! love the look of this!!! April 26, 2015 at 4:54am Reply

  • Cathleen @ A Taste Of Madness: Haha, now I don’t need to travel to one of the two Chipotle’s that Toronto has. This looks so good! April 25, 2015 at 8:17pm Reply

  • Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet: We are huge fans of Chipotle! I can’t wait to make this barbacoa! My Hubby will love it! April 25, 2015 at 8:45am Reply

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