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Our zesty, flavorful Mexican Shredded Beef is the delicious basis for so many different recipes! Cook up a batch tonight!

Mexican Shredded Beef

This Mexican Shredded Beef is an adapted version of the one that my husband Jack made many years ago, when he worked at the popular Edgewater Café, in Magnolia, Massachusetts.  At the restaurant, they used large, commercial pressure cookers to cook the beef, but our version is cooked low-and-slow in the oven, making it a recipe that anyone can prepare at home.

I’ve got to say – the aromas that fill our house when this Mexican Shredded Beef is cooking in the oven are pretty amazing!


How do you make Mexican Shredded Beef?

First, place a layer of sliced onions and peppers in the bottom of a baking dish or Dutch oven – this serves as a bed for the beef as it cooks.

Then, a wet rub made with tomato paste, honey, spices, chili sauce and our popular Rocket Fuel (or your favorite hot sauce) is slathered over the beef before it is cooked.

Roast in the oven for about 3 to 3 ½ hours* and your Mexican Shredded Beef will be fork tender and ready to shred for sandwiches or other recipes!

Mexican Shredded Beef

What kind of beef should I use?

We have made this recipe a number of times over the years with different grades of chuck roast – ranging from a really nice Angus beef to a less expensive, lower grade of beef known as “select”.

*The cooking times varied greatly as a result. The select grade of beef, for example, took almost five hours to become fall-apart tender, while the Angus beef was tender in a little over two hours. Depending on your cut of beef, you’ll need to check to make sure your beef is tender.  (It may even be easier to make this a day ahead of serving, or start it early in the day to make sure the meat is ready for your meal.)


Mexican Shredded Beef

What recipes can I make with this Mexican Shredded Beef?

Here are a few delicious options:

Can I make this in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Lots of readers have asked this question – and the answer is yes, although we do think the best caramelized flavor will come from roasting the beef in the oven as written in our recipe below.

Mexican Shredded Beef

Can I freeze the leftovers?

Yes – in fact, we often cook up a batch of this Mexican Shredded Beef, then freeze half for a recipe another day. Just seal the portions of beef in an air-tight bag to avoid freezer burn (a food saver bag sealing system like this works especially well.)

This Mexican Shredded Beef recipe originally appeared on A Family Feast in September 2013. We’ve updated the photos and post text.

You may enjoy these other Mexican dishes:

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Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 3 hours
  • Total Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings
  • Category: entree
  • Method: braise
  • Cuisine: Mexican


½ large onion, peeled and cut into large slices

½ large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into large slices

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon agave nectar or honey

1 teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon dried cumin

½ teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon Rocket Fuel, or your favorite hot sauce

½ teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce

2 ½ pounds chuck roast

1 cup beef stock


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. In a 9×13-inch glass baking dish or Dutch oven with cover, lay sliced onions and peppers on bottom.
  3. Mix tomato paste, agave or honey, all the dried spices, Rocket Fuel and the chili sauce. Smear all over the beef, then set beef over peppers and onions. Pour the beef stock around the sides of the beef.
  4. Cover with parchment paper and then foil, sealing tight. (Or place the cover on the Dutch oven.)
  5. Roast in oven for three hours or until fork tender. Check after three hours and cook for another 30 minutes if not falling apart tender. Depending on the size, grade, quality and cut of the chuck, this cooking time could be much longer, see notes. *
  6. With two forks, shred meat and mix with all liquid, cooked onions and cooked peppers.
  7. Use as a filling for a variety of Mexican or Southwestern-inspired dishes.


* We have made this a few times with different grades of chuck from a really nice Angus beef to a really low grade of beef known as “select”. The cooking times varied greatly as a result. The low grade of beef for example took almost five hours to become fall apart tender, where the Angus was tender in a little over two hours. Depending on all of the variables, you need to keep checking and cooking until tender. It might be easiest to make this a day ahead, or start cooking early in the day to ensure that your beef is ready for your meal.

Keywords: Mexican Shredded Beef

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Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

Mexican Shredded Beef

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  • Stacie wrote:

    Hi Martha!
    This is such a fantastic recipe I’ve made it so many times. However, I’m wondering if I can get this all prepared in advance and then pop in the oven next day? Thank you. Stacie

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Stacie – Yes you can!

  • Vivian G. Corollano wrote:

    Just came across your recipe for shredded beef–really like it. Don’t own a slow cooker so I’m very grateful to find a recipe that uses an oven. Wondering if beer could be used on the cut of beef with this recipe? If so, are there an modifications I should make? Thank you very much for this great recipe.

    • Martha wrote:

      Sure Vivian – you could add in a little beer if you’d like that flavor introduced. You can either add it or substitute beer for some of beef broth. Let us know how it comes out!

  • KG30 wrote:

    Will this taste like Mexican Restaurant style beef burritos that usually have cheese sauce covering them or is this a sweet flavor? Can I use crock pot?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi KG30 – This is not a sweet recipe – some agave is added to mellow the spicy flavors but it’s not overly sweet. We haven’t tried making this in a crock pot ourselves, but we noted in the post (right above the recipe) that you could use it.

  • Hungry wrote:

    It sounds tasty. but the “Bell Peppers” , “avave nectar /honey” , Siracha sauce” (beef stock?) Pears, Ginger, Tabasco/cayenne peper” Fish Sauce , sugar , Sound Distinctly NOT Mexican. Sounds Very pasty white Gringo Impressionistic. Or at least it definitely is not Sonoran Mexican. MAYBE Mexico City , new Avant guard Mexican food.
    Just really does not sound “Authentic Mexican” But then again I like “Tex-Mex/Arizona-Mex food, which is Not “truely” Mexican food han Taco Bell. 🙂 But so Yummy! . It is “close to Mexican food, Mexican Inspired”. Much More Mexican inspired than Taco bell. But this recipe Is Sounding Good! so probably worth Trying! Dang It, Now I Am Hungry!

    • Jack wrote:

      Thank you, I think.
      It is authentic Plymouth Massachusetts Mexican. “Gringo impressionistic” is pretty funny, I am totally stealing that line. Also love your email address.

  • Kriste Kanipe wrote:

    Hi, this recipe looks tasty and I will be making it soon. I bought a 4lb London and intended to make shredded beef like the one you have here. Should I just double the time or increase the temp. I am looking for the pull apart shredded texture. Thank you, Kristie

    • Jack wrote:

      A London Broil can be a name given to a few different cuts of meat. It may be from the round or flank. Either cut will be OK, just not as flavorful as the chuck because they are lean. Chuck is always the best bet for flavor. I would think that they may take a little longer to cook and suspect that they may be a bit dry and stringy compared to a chuck. So bottom line, it certainly can be used but will not be as good as a chuck.
      Hope this helps,

  • Maggie Unzueta wrote:

    This looks incredibly delicious. Yum!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Maggie!

  • stacie wrote:

    Made this Sunday 11/12/2017 and it was a grand slam! Husband and step son LOVED it! Still raving about it few days later. Thanks for the recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      You are very welcome Stacie – so glad the recipe was a hit!

  • Mark Stifler wrote:

    is it not too spicy because you use lot of chili stuff like chili powder,chili sauce,and another hot sauce that can make the shredded beef taste really really spicy?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mark – I wouldn’t describe this recipe as too spicy at all – but feel free to cut back on the chili powder and hot sauce if you’d like! You can always add more once it is cooked.

  • Mark wrote:

    Pulled beef looks great! – did a few of them this summer on the smoker..
    But what I really wanted to say was I have a ton of fond memories from the edgewater from back in the early 80s. Loved living in magnolia and loved the edgewater!

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Mark! You are one of several readers who have written to us to share very fond memories of the Edgewater (and Magnolia)! 🙂 So sad it is no longer there…. Hope you enjoy the recipes! Thanks for writing to us today.

  • Martha wrote:

    Hi Patricia – This would be a great second entree with the fajitas. Our Carnitas (pork) is another very popular Mexican entree recipe on our site in case you’d like to check that out too: Hope that helps!

  • Hyacinth wrote:

    In our very small town, a Mexican restaurant serves a dish with shredded beef, onions, pepper, tomato over cheese enchiladas. I came looking for a beef recipe that might work for me.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Hyacinth – We hope our shredded beef recipe is as good as the dish at your local restaurant. Enjoy!

  • Diane wrote:

    I make this very often since it is so versatile. But I salt and pepper it first then brown it before roasting. Add some broth or water and just put a lid on it. Bake at 325 for 3 – 4 hours, depending on the size of the roast. After it is done and shredded, it can be used in different ways. My personal favorite is to saute onion, garlic, jalapeno, fresh tomato and cilantro with the shredded beef.

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe Diana – great ideas!

  • Tracey wrote:

    when you say 300degrees, is that celcius or farenheit?

    • Martha wrote:


  • Erik wrote:

    Great recipe, mine turned out perfectly. Do you have any thoughts on adding achiote to the rub?

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Erik! We haven’t cooked with achiote! Please let us know how it comes out if you try adding it to the recipe!

  • Jenni wrote:

    I was wondering if I’m only using 1 1/2 lbs do I need to cut the cooking time down by half?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jenni – It will take less time with less beef, but probably more than 1/2 the original cooking time. I’d suggest start checking it half way through and then every 20-30 minutes until the beef is fork tender. Hope you enjoy the recipe!

  • Lina wrote:

    Hi Martha,

    Thank you so much for sharing this lovely recipe. I have done this meal in advance for lunch wih friends and I am a bit worry on how to reheat it. Would you recomend to heat it up in the oven a low temperature or high temperature or maybe better in a pan?



    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Lina – Assuming you’ve cooked it completely, I’d recommend simply reheating it in a pan on the stove top or even in the microwave – just enough to warm it up! Hope that helps and we hope you all enjoy the recipe!

  • Sandra Bee wrote:

    I made the Mexican shredded beef. I thought it was pretty flavorless and desperately needed salt. Also, it took a lot longer to cook than 3 hrs, it actually took over 5 hours. The consistency was wonderful, and it was a great base recipe, but it needed way more flavor. I did leave out the sriracha, as we do not like that, but I put extra regular hot sauce in. I will doctor it up tonight to give it some flavor, and will use the recipe as a base recipe, after I adjust the seasonings. Love the red pepper in it, gives it a beautiful and authentic look!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks for your feedback Sandra!

  • lawrence wrote:

    Hello Susan,

    This recipe looks amazing. If I were to make double the recipe, and cook side by side in separate pans, do you think it would affect the cooking time in any way?

    • Jack wrote:

      Yes, your oven’s heat is now dissipated which will extend the cooking time. I would cook to the directions, then test every 30 minutes to gauge the extended cooking time. With baked goods, you don’t want to do this but with non-baked goods, it is fine and just takes longer. Another option would be to boost the temperature by 25 degrees and still check it every 30 minutes after the full cooking time.

      • lawrence wrote:

        Thank you Jack for the swift reply. I am going to be making this tomorrow for a gathering, and appreciate the feedback.

        • Jack wrote:

          You are quite welcome. If you are worried about timing, you could make this ahead, refrigerate and reheat as needed. Pulled meat recipes are very forgiving.

  • Alma wrote:

    I am so happy I came across this recipe. Absolutely love it! I’ve already made this recipe three times. I’m obsessed!!

    • Martha wrote:

      So glad you are enjoying the recipe Alma! (You should try the chicken version too!) 🙂

  • Susan Lee wrote:

    Thanks for the great recipe, and thanks also for adding the feature that let’s you print off just the recipe! I will be back for more recipes.

    • Martha wrote:

      Thank you Susan!

  • Serena wrote:

    Hi in the recipe it states to use red pepper – but what kind? I’ve been to a farmers market, and 3 different grocery stores including a specifically hispanic one. The only red peppers I can find are either bell peppers or dried peppers, maybe if you can tell me more specifically the name of the red pepper I’ll have a better chance of finding it???? Thanks

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Serena – my huge apologies for the confusion. It should be red bell pepper – and we’ve updated the recipe to reflect the clarification. I hope you enjoy the recipe and sorry again for the confusion!

  • Bill wrote:

    In your instructions you say in number 3 to add chili paste-didnt you mean chili powder?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Bill – Thanks for catching our typo! We meant to say chili sauce! I’ll go update the recipe right away! Thanks again!

  • kinski wrote:

    Hi, I made this and cooked for the recommended 3.5 hours but my beef turned out a little chewy (I used very high quality organic chuck) to make it melt in the mouth would you recommend cooking further? Can I re-cook it after it’s been in the fridge overnight?

    • Jack wrote:

      Yes – you can definitely cook it further. Just make sure there is enough liquid as you start to reheat and cook further.

  • Jennifer wrote:

    This sounds delicious! In the description you say this is an adaptation of a recipe for the pressure cooker: if I wanted to make this in a pressure cooker (always looking for recipes to use the darn thing, hehe) are there any major changes or tips? Thank you.

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Jen – My husband used a commercial pressure cooker in the past – and unfortunately we haven’t tried making it at home using a pressure cooker (we don’t use ours very often either!). So…I’m afraid I don’t have cooking directions for you! I’m sorry! Martha

  • Gayle Matsumoto wrote:

    I cannot find dried coriander. Can ground coriander seed be substituted and if so, how much do we use?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Gayle – Yes – in fact, we meant to write ground coriander. I’m so sorry for the confusion and we will update the recipe! Thank you for writing to us!

  • Claire wrote:

    Oh my, it’s just gone in the oven & the smell is incredible!! I’ve gone for a larger piece of meat so I can freeze leftovers.. My husband loves tacos so after the smell of this I’ll never use mince beef & “packet tacos” again!!

    • Martha wrote:

      Thanks Claire – so glad you’re enjoying the recipe!

  • Steph wrote:

    Hi Martha,

    I’m a bit confused as to how I would wrap the parchment paper around the roasting pan–do I need to tuck it into the foil on the edges on the corners of the pan?


    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Steph – just lay the parchment over the pan and then the foil tightly over the parchment. Hope that helps!

  • Danielle wrote:

    Can I ask where you find the chili sauce?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Danielle – Sriracha is at most supermarkets! It is a red bottle with a rooster on it. Hope that helps!

  • Marianne wrote:

    Could you use brisket? Nif so, would the cooking time change?

    • Martha wrote:

      Hi Marianne – We really wouldn’t recommend using brisket for this recipe! Sorry!

  • Erin wrote:

    I have to say – I came across this recipe about 3 weeks ago and today is my fourth time making it! Normally I’m not even big on beef but this is absolutely my favorite since I can just throw it in the oven and forget about it for a few hours. I keep waiting for my boyfriend or myself to get sick of eating it, but it’s just not happening since the meat is so versatile (tacos, taco bowls, mexican omelets! It just doesn’t end) – thanks for my favorite recipe!

    • Martha wrote:

      We’re so glad you like the recipe Erin!! I agree – there are tons of ways to use this recipe! Thanks for writing to us!

  • Leann wrote:

    Did you intend to say plastic wrap? Would foil work as well instead of the plastic wrap. I worry about the melting and bpas dripping into the meat.

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      Hi Leann – If you’d rather not use plastic wrap, then we suggest parchment paper with the foil. You can use just foil, but you must be sure to avoid having the foil touch the meat since the acids in the tomato and pepper can also literally dissolve the foil in the heat and in addition to it getting in your food, you won’t have the tight seal when cooking! The plastic or parchment helps prevent that from happening – it’s a technique used in professional food service and is perfectly safe, but if you’d rather not use plastic, try to use parchment instead. Thanks!

  • Andrea wrote:

    How long do you think in the crockpot? Recipe sounds delish!

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      We haven’t tried this in the crockpot so I can’t say for sure…please let us know if you try it!

  • stephanie wrote:

    I love how you give great detailed recipes and then offer additional ones to use it up! Much appreciated!

    • Martha Pesa wrote:

      Thanks so much Stephanie – Check back over the next two days…we’ll be sharing some additional recipes using our Mexican Shredded Beef!

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