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

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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


  • Mike: Hello. I am going to make this tomorrow. Can you please tell me how to use the Chiles? They come in a can with sauce. Do you just take three of them out of the can? Do you pour the sauce from the can in with them? Thank you for your reply May 9, 2017 at 5:26pm Reply

  • Tasha: By far my favorite pinterest find!! I have made this a few times and everyone loves it. Thank you for a great recipe! February 2, 2017 at 2:00pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: I’m so glad you love them Tasha! February 16, 2017 at 12:42pm Reply

  • Frida: I didn’t like the taste of cloves at all :(( September 18, 2016 at 3:33pm Reply

  • Linda: Just curious, what do you do with the leftover chipotle peppers you don’t use? Can I freeze them for later use? Seems a waste to throw them away.. September 6, 2016 at 9:13am Reply

    • Mary: I froze mine and seems to work! December 30, 2016 at 6:50am Reply

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