Easy Barbacoa Recipe

Barbacoa is so easy to to make in your slow cooker for a tender, delicious beef barbacoa recipe that rivals that restaurant favorite! So simple and full of flavor!

Barbacoa from addapinch.com

One of my favorite things to order when we happen to be in an area where we can visit a certain restaurant has always been their barbacoa. It always makes for a meal that is out of this world. But, even though restaurant barbaco may be readily available in most areas, they are few and far between in my neck of the woods. As in, I’d have to drive about 40 miles to the nearest one. 

Easy Barbacoa Recipe

Even though I love it, I’m not willing to drive 40 miles for many things outside of a little bit of Christmas shopping – and even that is a push sometimes.


So when I have a craving for something I’ve learned to figure out how to make it at home. And you guys, this barbacoa is absolutely amazing and couldn’t be easier to make either.

How to Make Easy Barbaco Recipe

To make my easy barbacoa beef recipe, I just toss a chuck roast into my slow cooker, along with the beef broth, apple cider vinegar, garlic, chilis, and spices and let the slow cooker do all the work for me!

I cook it on low for eight hours and then shred it with two forks so that it absorbs even more of that delicious sauce and serve it up.

How to Serve Beef Barbaco

Barbacoa is delicious in tacos, burritos, enchiladas, soups, and salads. That spicy kick is unmistakably delicious! We especially love to toast tortillas and then pile on our barbacoa with our favorite toppings of red onion and additional cilantro. Served with a side of salsa and a fresh squeeze of lime, it is a meal we always love!

Easy Barbacoa Recipe Video

Here’s my Easy Barbacoa recipe. I think you are going to make this again and again!

Yield: 6
Course Entree, Main Course
Cuisine American, Mexican
Keyword barbacoa, best barbacoa recipe, easy barbacoa recipe, slow cooker barbacoa recipe, slow cooker beef recipe, slow cooker recipe

Easy Barbacoa Recipe

Total Time 8 hours 5 minutes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Barbacoa is so easy to to make in your slow cooker for a tender, delicious beef barbacoa recipe that rivals that restaurant favorite!
4.91 from 10 votes
Did you make this recipe?


  • 1 (4-5 pound) chuck roast
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 2-3 chipotle chilis in adobo sauce chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 3 teaspoons cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Optional Toppings:

  • red onion
  • cilantro
  • lime


  1. Add chuck roast to the insert of slow cooker. In a 2 cup measuring cup stir together beef broth, apple cider vinegar, garlic, chilis, adobo sauce, cumin, chili powder, oregano and salt. Pour into slow cooker and cook on low setting for 8 hours.
  2. Shred beef in the slow cooker using two forks. Serve barbacoa with a drizzle of additional sauce.
  3. Store in an airtight container for up to a week in the refrigerator or in the freezer for a few months.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Barbacoa Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 356 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Cholesterol 153mg 51%
Sodium 343mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 2g 1%
Protein 51g 102%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All images and text © Robyn Stone for Add a Pinch

Robyn xo


From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2014.

42 comments on “Easy Barbacoa Recipe”

  1. We don’t have a Chipotles either and I have never had a chance to try it so I really appreciate this recipe. I love using my slow cooker and any kind of beef recipe so I am sure this will be a hit!

  2. Hello! Any ideas on what method to cook the chuck in, if you don’t have a crockpot? Maybe a dutch oven in the oven?

    • A dutch oven in the oven would work great! You might need to add just a bit more liquid during the cooking time as a slow cooker doesn’t allow as much evaporation during the cooking process.

  3. Oh my gosh…I can’t wait to make this, Robyn!!!

  4. Thank you Robyn. Sounds so good.

  5. I am with you on barbacoa! So crazy good! I need to make this slow cooker version this week!

  6. This is one of my favorite things to make for a crowd! Instead of the adobo sauce and then the chili.. I buy a small chile de adobo in the can.. Yup, open it and add about 3-5 with the sauce.. If you like it spicy.. Add the rest of the chiles.. Also, I add 3 bay leaves just before I close the crockpot..

  7. I’ve never eaten at a Chipotle. No idea what barbacoa is.But those pictures certainly do the job of making me want to make this soon.

  8. We don’t have a Chipotle close to us. . and even if we did, I’d want to make this at home anyway. . this looks sooooo good!!! can’t wait to try this!!!

  9. No need for Chipotle when you’ve got this deliciousness!!

  10. making this right now! Just threw everything in the crockpot. The sauce mixture tastes sooooo good. Can’t wait for dinner tonight! Thanks for the recipe Robyn 🙂

    • *update…dinner was good last night! I was worried that it would be too spicy for the kids, so I put some meat in a tortilla and topped with shredded cheese and they gobbled it up with no problem! I will be making this again. Easy and yummy 🙂

  11. This is absolutely delicious! I made a couple minor changes to the recipe, like searing the roast on the stove before adding it to the slow cooker. (I read somewhere that this deepens the flavor of the meat while it cooks. I don’t know if this is true or not. Maybe I just made more work for myself!) I also added a dash of cloves to the sauce. Finally, after I shredded the beef, I added 2 T lime juice. My daughter asked for the leftovers in her lunch tomorrow, which I take as a ringing endorsement. Thank you!

  12. Absolutely delicious. Good kick. My son, who loves spicy food, was in heaven. We had it with your broccoli slaw on the side.

  13. I was looking for something to feed a crowd and this fits the bill perfectly! There is no way we were going to get the hot grill going in August in Texas at NOON, and I was about to give up and have it catered in but this is perfect! Thanks for saving us $$$!

  14. Can u make this in a pressure cooker.

  15. I’m sorry that is not barbacoa that is shredded beef barbacoa is beef cheeks or a beef tongue also cooked in the slow cooker or in the oven the texture is totally different

  16. Robyn – I absolutely LOVE your Easy Barbacoa recipe!
    I made it a couple of weeks ago and my husband just couldn’t stop bragging on it! He asked right then if I’d add it to my menu plan rotation. I have it in the slow cooker as we speak for tonight’s supper!
    I really appreciate how simple it is to make, yet it is melt-in-your mouth delicious!
    Thank you for this wonderful recipe!

  17. These sound awesome. Great for a cindo de Mayo fiesta. Thanks for sharing.

    Wishes for tasty dishes,

  18. I really love your recipes and your website! It’s such an inspiration for this Southern gal who has lived in Washington state now for many years. I’m eager to try the barbacoa, but wonder how you and others may rate the spicy index of the dish? Mild? Moderate? We enjoy more mild than moderate, so hope someone can clarify!

  19. Would you be so kind as to recommend a slow cooker. I want to get the right one. My family is small; but there are times when I may want to cook for 8-10. I don’t want to purchase one that isn’t satisfactory.

  20. This looks spicy what do you recommend to make it on the mild side

  21. I made this last night in my slow cooker for a Cinco de Mayo potluck at work. It was so easy. Everyone enjoyed it, including me. Thank you for the recipe.

  22. I want to make this is it very spicy?

    • Chipotle chilis are a little spicy, but for that amount of meat I think they will only add flavour. Chili powder and adobo sauce aren’t spicy, so try it! Sounds yummy!

  23. Love your recipe. I make Mexican food all the time because my family loves it so much. I’m definitely going to have to try this. Thanks for sharing. It looks so much better than the restaurant version!

  24. Where would I find adobo sauce and chipotle chilis in the grocery store ? I know how to make Filipino adobo but don’t think that would work in a Mexican dish

  25. Do you have an instant pot recipe?

  26. I really enjoy all your recipes.  Unfortunately neither my husband nor I can eat spicy foods. If i left out all the spices do you think it would be good?

  27. Can I use a prime rib roast for this recipe?

    • Sasha, that would be a waste of your hard earned money. Barbacoa is a way of cooking a cheap cut of meat in a way that makes it melt-in-your-mouth tender instead of tough and flavorless. There are some GREAT prime rib recipes out on the webbernets, but they’ll all tell you the same thing- start your roast out at a high heat to lock in the juices, then turn down the temperature for the remainder of the cooking time. Good luck and happy cooking!

  28. This recipe is absolutely wonderful! The only thing I ever so slightly modified was that I didn’t pull the beef completely because I wanted it to be a little more “homestyle” over some cilantro flavored jasmine rice. I had some reservations about that much cumin but it was SO GOOD with the adobo! I’ll definitely be making this one again and again! Many thanks!!!

  29. This was delicious and easy! I’ve made so many of your recipes and they are all so wonderful. Thank you!

  30. Thank you for a beautiful barbacoa recipe. Made this tonight for my family and the kitchen smells divine. It tastes even better.

  31. This was a hit on a blustery fall day. My husband said it does taste just like that certain restaurant’s version. Thanks for a really easy meal.

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