Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa. Juicy, tender Mexican barbecued beef that's perfect for tacos and pizza. An easy recipe to adapt to serve a crowd and a definite party pleaser.

Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa and Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe

This super easy slow cooker barbacoa beef recipe makes the perfect meat for a taco or nacho bar at parties.


super easy slow cooker barbocoa beef nachos closeup on a plate. makes the perfect meat for a taco or nacho bar at parties


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I had Chipotle Restuarant’s barbacoa tacos and thought they were fantastic. Then I found this Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa recipe on Coupon Crafty’s blog a couple years ago. My husband loved it and when you luck out to get chuck roast on sale, it’s an inexpensive and easy recipe. I could write a whole post on how much I love my slow cooker*, it even made my list of 8 Must Have Tools in the Kitchen.

Three chipotle peppers was too spicy for my kids but Superhubby and I liked it. I had read in one of the blog’s comments to put the whole can of chicken broth in so that’s what I did and it came out fall apart tender and juicy! The extra broth helps keep the meat tender should you have leftovers that you need to keep (keep some of the broth too).

The recipe below shows how I’ve adapted it and I make this pretty often. This is one of our family favorites and as you can see by the serving suggestions, a very versatile and tasty meat. This is a great dish to make for company or to feed a crowd where guests can build their own soft tacos, rice bowls, nachos or salad. I even put leftover meat and loads of fresh veggies on top of my homemade pizza and it is our favorite way to eat pizza. This Slow Cooker* Chipotle Barbacoa is a definite party pleaser and so easy to make it only tastes like you slaved all day making it! 


slow cooker Mexican barbacoa beef is perfect for a taco or nacho bar at parties


Family Yumminess Rating: 5 of 5 stars
RA Ease of Prep Rating: 4 of 5 stars (the hardest part of this recipe is handling the roast, squeezing the lime juice and getting the lid on my mini food processor secured properly. Otherwise it’s very simple and only tastes like you’ve slaved over it all day!) 

* Tip: To make this recipe even easier or if you are rushed for time, don’t worry about blending ingredients in food processor (save yourself another thing to clean). Chop the chipotle peppers as fine as you can and distribute the peppers and seasonings evenly over the browned pieces of meat in the slow cooker. Carefully pour the broth in the spaces between the meat so that the spices aren’t washed off when you pour it. The slow cooker* melds the flavors together beautifully as it cooks and the taste is amazing! 

Cilantro-Lime Rice 

Family Yumminess Rating: 3 of 5 stars
RA Ease of Prep Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chipotle-style Barbacoa and Cilantro-Lime Rice
Author: Tanya M, Adapted from Coupon Crafty
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
  • For Barbacoa:
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, canned (for mild flavor. Add more peppers if you like it spicy)
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 lbs chuck roast
  • 1 10-ounce can chicken broth
  • 3 bay leaves
  • For Cilantro-Lime Rice:
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2-3 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup fresh cilantro, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  1. For Barbacoa:
  2. Make adobo sauce by combining vinegar, lime juice, peppers, garlic, cumin, oregano, black pepper, salt and clove in a blender or food processor and puree on high-speed until smooth.
  3. Trim the fat from the meat, and then slice the roast into 6 smaller pieces.
  4. Sear all sides of the chunks of meat in olive oil until browned.
  5. Put meat in the crockpot.
  6. Add the adobo sauce on top of the meat, pour in the chicken broth, and add the bay leaves.
  7. Cover the crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  8. At the five-hour mark, take the lid off and shred the beef with two forks. Cover and cook for the last hour.
  9. Topping suggestions: pico de gallo, salsa, shredded cheese, sour cream, jalapeño
  10. Serving suggestions: in a warmed tortilla for a taco, on top of yellow or white rice for a rice bowl or on top of tortilla chips for nachos or on top of lettuce with corn, tomatoes and black beans for a fantastic Tex-Mex salad! It’s a very versatile and tasty meat.
  11. For the Cilantro-Lime Rice:
  12. Combine water, rice, olive oil and salt in a large saucepan.
  13. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat to low, cover saucepan, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  14. Turn heat off and let sit for 10 more minutes.
  15. When the rice is done stir in the cilantro and lime juice. Keep covered until ready to eat.

[bctt tweet=”Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa is perfect for tacos, pizza and a definite party pleaser! #recipes”]


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Slow Cooker Chipotle Barbacoa. Juicy, tender Mexican barbecued beef that's perfect for tacos and pizza. An easy recipe to adapt to serve a crowd and a definite party pleaser.

What are your favorite recipes to serve a crowd? What are your favorite slow cooker recipes? I always like to try new things, so please share your recipes with me! 


  1. What a great recipe I can’t wait to try it! Hope you are having a great week and thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday,456. We look forward to seeing you again very soon!
    Miz Helen

  2. I need to remember to do more slow cooker recipes! This one looks really delicious and different from what I usually make! I’m saving this recipe!

  3. That looks amazing! Wonderful idea of making one meat then using it for both my favorite foods…tacos and pizza! Love co-hosting with ya’ #SmallVictories

  4. Hi Tanya. Thanks for linking at Pintastic Pinteresting Party!

    This looks fantastic. I too have RA so I really appreciate the tips on how easy or difficult it is with RA. I was a little scared when you said it was Barbacoa because I really don’t care for Barbacoa, at least not the way it was prepared when I tried it. I think using the chuck roast, though, it would be wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks Regina. I was so happy that you featured my post on the party this week, thanks so much! I am glad you find my RA ease of prep rating useful. It always takes me longer to make recipes and then factoring in clean up time. It feels like I am in the kitchen most of the time I am awake. The Chuck roast comes out really tender and just falls apart (really I can shred it with a spoon). My husband’s family is from Mexico. When they’ve bought barbacoa at restaurants it comes with a lot of fat. Trimming the fat and cooking in chicken broth really helps, even my in laws love it when I make this for them. Score!

    1. Oh I could write an ode to my slow cooker like I did for my kindle. I highly recommend the Hamilton beach stow n go. I think its either $40 or $60 so not overly expensive but fantastic!! I use mine at least once or twice per week.

  5. Tanya,
    This recipe looks tasty! I’ll definitely have to give it a try.

    After reading your recipe, I was drawn to the about me section of your site. I too am a young arthritis sufferer. I have psoriatic arthritis and appreciate your comment about celebrating small victories 🙂

  6. My husband would love this recipe, I’m pinning this!!
    Stopping by to show an old post some new love, thanks for hosting.

    Ps. Thanks for stopping by A Chicago Mom

  7. Oh, how I love barbacoa! What a great recipe. I can’t wait to try it!
    Visiting from Throwback Thursday! Great party too!

    1. My husband’s family is from Mexico too. The biggest complement is my in-laws love when I make it too (and my hubby likes it more than the one his mom buys premade from the meat market). Its leaner too since I trim the fat from it and it cooks in chicken broth. I hope you try it out!

    1. Hi Becca, it’s pretty good. I’ve only eaten at Chipotle once and I gotta admit this recipe is even better. I used a whole can of chicken broth so it stays tender and the leftovers with the flavors all melded together are even better. Still my hubby’s favorite dish I make. Whenever chuck roast is on sale at Food Lion I stock up and make one roast fresh and freeze the other.

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