Go Back
+ servings
Barbacoa tacos are served on a plate for a healthy dinner.
5 from 2 votes
Print

Barbacoa Tacos Recipe (Chipotle Copycat)

Skip the takeout lines and make Barbacoa Tacos at home that will rival even the best Mexican restaurants! Whether made in a slow cooker or Instant Pot, tender shredded beef simmered in a spicy chipotle sauce makes for the perfect meaty filling.

Course Dinner
Cuisine Mexican
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8 servings
Calories 438 kcal

Ingredients

Chipotle Sauce:

  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce if you’d like extra spice
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup lime juice freshly squeeze
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses or brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Barbacoa Beef:

  • 3-4 lb. chuck roast fat trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 T. oil divided
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup beef broth

Tacos:

  • Corn or Flour Tortillas toasted
  • Cilantro chopped
  • Red onion thinly sliced
  • Cotija cheese crumbled

Instructions

Instant Pot:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon oil to a Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add beef and sprinkle on salt and black pepper. Sear on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes. You may have to do this in two batches if all of the meat does not fit in a single layer.

  2. Remove the beef from the pot and add an additional tablespoon of oil and the diced onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Pour in the broth to deglaze the pot and scrape the bottom of it to release any stuck bits and pieces. Transfer the cooking liquid to the Instant Pot.

  3. Add all chipotle sauce ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth.

  4. Add the blended chipotle sauce and can of diced chiles to the Instant Pot. Stir to combine, and then add the beef, making sure to submerge it in the sauce. Place the bay leaves on top of the meat.

  5. Close the Instant Pot with the lid, ensuring the pressure release valve is set to sealed, and set to a manual pressure cook function on high pressure and cook for 60 minutes. Quick release the pressure as soon as the timer goes off.

  6. Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef using two forks. Stir it to completely coat it in the sauce.
  7. If desired, set the Instant Pot to the saute function and cook for 4-5 minutes to cook off some of the extra liquid.

Slow Cooker:

  1. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to a Dutch oven over Medium-high heat. Add beef and sprinkle on salt and black pepper. Sear on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes. You may have to do this in two batches if all of the meat does not fit in a single layer. Remove the meat and deglaze the bottom of the pot with ¼ cup of beef broth.

  2. Add all chipotle sauce ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth.

  3. Pour the blended chipotle sauce into the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker along with the beef broth from the Dutch oven. Give it a good stir and then place the pieces of seared beef down into the sauce. Add in the onions, diced chiles, and bay leaves.

  4. Cover the slow cooker with a lid and cook for 6-8 hours on low or until meat is tender and begins to fall apart.
  5. Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef using two forks. Stir it to completely coat it in the sauce.
  6. Serve barbacoa immediately in a toasted corn or flour tortilla with sliced red onion, avocado, cilantro, and queso fresco. Enjoy!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: The meat may be sliced, and the chipotle sauce prepared, both up to 3 days in advance.
  • To Store: Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Beef barbacoa may be frozen in a sealed freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Leftovers may be warmed in the microwave, or at a medium-low heat in a pot or the Instant Pot, just until heated through. To avoid the meat going tough, frozen barbacoa should be thawed in the fridge before reheating.

Nutrition Facts
Barbacoa Tacos Recipe (Chipotle Copycat)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 438 Calories from Fat 225
% Daily Value*
Fat 25g38%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Trans Fat 1g
Polyunsaturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 13g
Cholesterol 117mg39%
Sodium 1111mg48%
Potassium 812mg23%
Carbohydrates 20g7%
Fiber 4g17%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 36g72%
Vitamin A 529IU11%
Vitamin C 9mg11%
Calcium 110mg11%
Iron 6mg33%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.