The Best Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Recipe
This Slow Cooker Shredded Beef makes the juiciest fall-apart-tender pulled beef. We use this versatile recipe to make dozens of different meals, including shredded beef sandwiches, tacos, pasta, and more!
This post is sponsored by Ohio Beef. As always, all opinions are my own.
Shredded beef is my back to school BFF. When I’ve got a busy week ahead, I know this recipe has my back. It’s meal prepping MAGIC that makes a whole week of meals a breeze.
My favorite part about this pulled beef is just how easy it is! It takes less than 10 minutes to prep and only requires a few seasonings, onions, garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. I don’t add any broth to the slow cooker, so the meat cooks in its own delicious juices. The resulting pulled beef is rich, savory, and accented by caramelized onions and garlic. In other words, it’s AMAZING.
What to Make with Shredded Beef
Ok wait, I changed my mind. My actual favorite part about shredded beef is alllll the delicious things you can make with it.
Today, I’m thrilled to be starting a a series of big batch recipes, where we meal prep one recipe, then repurpose it into new recipes throughout the week. Cook once, eat 3 (or 4!) times.
This Slow Cooker Shredded Beef makes enough for at least three dinners, and it’s the perfect protein-packed anchor for so many different meals.
The first night we make it, we keep it simple and serve the pulled beef over homemade egg noodles (store bought noodles are also 100% on the level) or creamy mashed potatoes.
You can even get crazy and do noodles AND mashed potatoes in a beef-inspired version of this Amish Chicken and Noodles. The juices from the crock pot meld into the noodles and mashed potatoes and make the most amazing silky, savory sauce. I’m getting excited just talking about it, you guys. It is so darn good.
More Shredded Beef Recipes
Alright, but what about night 2 and 3 and 4? Well, my friends the choice is yours.
- Make it a Taco Tuesday with some Shredded Beef Tacos.
- Shake things up a bit by adding pulled beef to a sweet and spicy Beef Ramen Stir Fry!
- Toss it with your favorite BBQ Sauce for some BBQ Shredded Beef Sandwiches.
- Sub ground beef for shredded beef in these Quick Greek Gyros.
- Use the beef as a filling for Easy Shredded Beef Enchiladas.
- Layer pulled beef with tomato sauce, ravioli, and cheese to make a Ravioli Lasagna.
- Or impress the pants off all of your teenage son’s friends (or, let’s be real, your husband’s grown man friends), and make a whole bunch of Pulled Roast Beef Sliders for them to devour in a disturbingly short amount of time.
How To Make Pulled Beef in the Crock Pot
Now that you’re dreaming of all the delicious beefy recipes that await you, let’s break down how to make this easy shredded beef!
When I make roasts, I usually recommend browning the meat in a skillet before adding it to the crock pot. However, with shredded beef, this extra step really isn’t necessary. That makes this a truly dump-and-go recipe. HOORAY!
To make the pulled beef:
- Place your chuck roast (or roasts) on a cutting board and use a knife to stab a few holes on all sides of the meat.
- Whisk together some olive oil and red wine vinegar then rub it all over the meat.
- Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and garlic powder.
- Cut a large onion into wedges, placing half of it on the bottom of the slow cooker, followed by the roast. Sprinkle with sliced garlic cloves and top with the remaining onion.
- Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beef shreds easily with a fork.
How do I know when roast is done?
If you test the roast after 8 hours and it doesn’t easily pull apart, it needs a little longer to cook. It’s a common misconception that a tougher roast is overcooked. In most cases, the opposite is actually true! Give the roast an extra hour or two, and it should shred easily with a little help from two meat forks.
What is a good cut of beef for shredding?
It may sound counterintuitive, but the best cuts of meat for tender, juicy shredded beef are actually the toughest cuts. Tough cuts like chuck roast stand up well to slow cooking, and become succulent and pull-apart-tender after hours in the crock pot.
My favorite cut is a chuck roast, which may also be labeled as a shoulder roast, chuck eye roast, or arm chuck roast. Look for a roast that has good marbling (or white fat) running through it.
Brisket is another great choice for shredded beef. In fact, I use brisket to create these amazing Slow Cooker Shredded Beef Brisket French Dip Sandwiches.
Because I like to have enough beef for several meals, I always use at least 4 lbs. of boneless meat. You likely won’t find a single roast this big at the grocery store, so I usually just pick up two 2-3 lb roasts at a time. Look out for deals to save money! Our local grocery store often runs Buy One-Get One sales on roasts. Learn more ways to save when buying beef here.
Slow Cooker Shredded Beef, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
So we already know this slow cooker shredded beef is:
- unbelievably tender
- crazy flavorful
- perfect for meal prepping
- great in all kinds of different recipes
Did you know it’s also packed with nutrition? Just a three ounce serving of beef provides 25 grams of protein, iron, zinc, and B vitamins to fuel busy parents and their even busier kids. Beef is an excellent source of protein, which is one of the most satisfying nutrients. It also promotes focus, helps build muscle, and provides sustained energy for busy days.
Oh, and shredded beef also happens to be gluten free, dairy free, and Keto and Whole 30 friendly!
Visit www.OhioBeef.org, and follow the Ohio Beef Council on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more beef nutrition facts, cooking tips, recipes and to meet Ohio’s beef farming families. Use #OhioBeef to share photos of your healthy meals this school year!
Slow Cooker Pulled Beef Recipe
This juicy, tender Slow Cooker Pulled Beef makes the ultimate shredded beef for sandwiches, tacos, and more.
- 4-5 lbs. boneless chuck roast (or 2 2 lb. roasts)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Kosher salt
- Fresh cracked pepper
- 3 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 really large (or two small) yellow onions, sliced
- 5 garlic cloves, sliced
- Preheat your slow cooker to low heat.
- Remove the chuck roast (or roasts) from their packaging and use a knife or fork to stab a few holes on all sides.
- Whisk together the olive oil and red wine vinegar then rub it all over the meat.
- Sprinkle evenly with salt, pepper, basil, parsley, and garlic powder on all sides.
- Place half of the onion on the bottom of the slow cooker followed by the roast. Sprinkle with garlic cloves and top with the remaining onion.
- Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until the beef shreds easily with a fork. If you check it after 8 hours, and it's not easy to pull apart, continue cooking for another 1-2 hours.
- Remove the roast from the crock pot and transfer to a cutting board. Pull the beef apart using two meat forks. Beef can be served immediately with juices over noodles or mashed potatoes. It also makes a great sandwich, taco, or burrito!
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I’m going to try with a pressure cooker, I wonder if it will burn since no liquid.
You can always add some beef broth if it’s a concern! I haven’t personally tried this in an instant pot.
So easy, so good. I put this on high for four hours, and it came out delicious.
Is there any liquid aded to this recipe? Why did you say to put holes into the roast? Did you stuff your roast with garlix?
No, there’s no additional liquid. The holes just allow the herbs, spices, and red wine vinegar to soak in. We don’t stuff the roast with garlic, but you certainly could! We find the flavor is great with just sprinkling the roast with sliced garlic.
This is delicious!!! So easy to make and it’s typically all ingredients I have on hand. I have typically made it with bees but today I am trying it with bison. Hopefully it turns out just as good!
Can I add a little paprika for smokeyness?
This was so easy to make! I cooked it overnight and woke up to the wonderful smell of garlic! Total time was about 11 hours, and I shredded it right in the crockpot using 2 forks – no need to dirty a cutting board! Next time I will probably cut the amount of salt in half, but it was absolutely delicious!
I’ve made this before and it was incredible! I’m wondering if I could use a pork shoulder butt roast instead of beef to create a type of pulled pork. Would you change anything?
I’ve actually tried this before and it does work! The flavor is not as rich as it is with the beef, but still very good. I like to add banana peppers.
I don’t have kosher salt. Can I use something else as a substitute? I have Redmon Real Salt/Fine Sea Salt and Pink Himalayan salt.
I would use the fine sea salt or pink himalayan salt.
I am trying this tonight. Hope it is as good as it sounds
Can I make this in an oven, instead of a slow cooker? And if so, on what temperature and for how long? (Assuming covered the whole time…)
Do I flip it over at any point?
I haven’t made this in the oven, but I think it could work! I would do it at 300 degrees for 3-4 hours, and put a little more liquid in–maybe a cup of beef broth. And yes, keep covered the whole time.
Hi there, I’m gonna make this recipe for dinner tomorrow night. I have a bag of egg noodles id like to serve along the shredded beef. Can I add the noodles to the crockpot at some point or does this change the recipe?
Yes! You can follow the instructions for these Slow Cooker Beef and Noodles, and add the noodles 30-40 minutes before the end of the cooking time. Add 3-4 cups of beef broth to the shredded beef recipe if you plan to do this. https://neighborfoodblog.com/slow-cooker-beef-and-noodles/
Very flavorful. I tried the instant pot version. Will certainly make again!
This recipe is the best! My toddler can’t get enough! I want to make it with a smaller (2-2.5lb) piece of meat, would this change the cook time in the crock pot?
Not really. I would still recommend 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. So glad you love the shredded beef!
This was excellent! It cooked for just under 8 hours and basically fell apart as I shredded it. We had it on bread with brown gravy. This one will go into our list of regular meals! Thanks!
Can’t wait to try this tomorrow! What is the benefit to poking a few holes in the meat before cooking? I’ve never used this technique in the past when cooling roasts in a crockpot.
It just allows the marinade to soak in a bit more. I hope you enjoyed the shredded beef!
I wanted to share that we think this is THE BEST beef/roast recipe ever written! I mean it! We use it 10 ways from Sunday and love it every time🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
Thank you for sharing it😆
Thanks so much for this kind review! It always makes our day. We’re so glad you love the shredded beef!
I live with my daughter’s family and I was thinking of using this recipe – half for my daughter and family for tacos and half for me as a mashed potatoes and gravy meal. I love slurpy meat on potatoes! But I’m worried about how strong the onion flavor is and what the vinegar brings to the dish. I’m afraid the yummy picture is making me want to make something I won’t like.
I think you’ll find this is pretty versatile for tacos or over mashed potatoes. The vinegar is not strong, but it does give the meat a little tang. If you’re worried about the onions, you can omit them!
An absolutely amazing recipe. I did a 2.5 lb chuck roast in my instapot in slowcooker mode (on low, vent open after the 1st hour or so) and it worked beautifully. Very flavorful, amazingly tender, not mushy, onions caramelized beautifully, garlic still very flavorful). Made about 20 taquitos. Thank you!!
So glad you enjoyed the shredded beef! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let us know!
Wow wow wow!!! I stumbled upon your recipe about a week ago and my husband suggested a brisket point. I cooked it overnight and I honestly got a little nervous around 8 hours when it didn’t shred easily. Thought I had done something wrong. Waited a couple hours and it started to pull apart. Then I turned the crock pot off and let it rest for about an hour til after breakfast. Haha. Wonderful! We chopped the onions and stored it with the juices in the fridge. Reheated in some juices in the toaster oven at 300 for 10-15 min stirring halfway through. Tonight, we had brisket tacos with homemade tortillas. The children (even my non-meat ester) ate it so fast! Husband said it was one of the best meals he’s ever had. Thank you so much!! I love how there’s very little work and I can have it all week for our family of 5
Maybe this is too obvious to ask, but is the oil/vinegar mix supposed to go into the slow cooker or just used for rubbing?
You can put whatever remains of the oil/vinegar mixture in the crock pot with the meat.
Wow! This recipe is fantastic! I wouldn’t change a thing!
First go with it – I misread the salt. Oops. Still fine.
Second go – perfect.
I prepared as written in my instant pot with one cup of water.
I served it the first time as beef and noodles. I used 3 cups of liquid from my instant pot, post-cooking. Whipped up a gravy by adding Worcestershire sauce, salt, garlic powder, and flour until the taste and thickness were as desired. Served with a pound of Amish noodles and a side salad. YUM! Crowd pleaser!
The second go, again in the IP. But now I have the shredded meat to do a thousand ways. Last night was on a fresh soft hoagie bun with caramelized onions and cheese. Skip the bun for gluten-free or THM “S” meal. I’ve already shared with a dozen and a half friends.
This comment made my day! Thanks so much for sharing! I’m glad to hear it works perfectly in the instant pot too!
I’m going to make this for 11 people for serving on sandwiches. How many lbs of beef do you suggest? Its for a weekend cabin trip so I really don’t want very much leftover. By the way, these are very big eaters:)
I’m sorry for the delayed response. I would plan on 1/4-1/3 pound of meat per person, so around four pounds.
Can the meat be prepped and seasoned the night before for more of a dump and go the next morning?
Absolutely. That should work just fine.
Hello! I just got my first slow cooker as a gift and was going to try your recipe. The slow cooker manual however states that “all ingredients should be immersed in the cooking liquid” and your recipe doesn’t mention any liquids. Will I burn my meat? Or slow cooker? 🥴 I’m a bit scared to try it without liquid. Thanks!
It will be fine! I’ve made it a lot of times and never had a problem. The meat renders a lot of juice. If you’re concerned, just put 1/2-1 cup of broth in the bottom. Good luck and enjoy your new slow cooker!
I made this for dinner last night. Yummm! I used butter to sauté onions and garlic in a cast iron Dutch oven, then put them in the instant pot. Next I cut the chuck roast into four chunks and browned it in some olive oil in the same Dutch oven.
I do not have red wine vinegar. I have rice vinegar, pure sesame oil, Worcestershire sauce and apple cider vinegar. Will any of these work to replace the red wine vinegar?
I apologize for the delay. I would use the rice vinegar as a substitute.
Can I make it the day before and reheat the next day for pulled beef sandwich? How would you reheat?
Absolutely! This is one of our favorite ways to use leftover shredded beef. You can reheat it on the stove top over low heat or in a microwave safe bowl in the microwave (for smaller portions). Here’s our favorite recipe for pulled beef sandwiches: https://neighborfoodblog.com/leftover-pot-roast-sandwich/
I’m using sirloin tip roasts. Should I add beef broth to the crock pot?
I haven’t tried it with sirloin tip roasts before. I know that’s a leaner cut, so it probably wouldn’t hurt to add a cup of broth to the slow cooker.
Hi does it have to be beef chuck I have a beef roasting joint with not much fat? Thanks
I think a roasting joint should work well!
Absolutely the best! So moist and yummy! Think I’ve found the best recipe out there for pulled beef! Thank you so much! 69 yrs. old and finally made the best meal ever!
Wow. Thank you so much for this comment! It made my day! I’m so glad you loved the shredded beef!
I have made this recipe several times now. The first time as written and figured out it was way too much for just the 2 of us, lol but so good we just ate the leftovers all week. The second time I cut it in half, it was more the correct amount. We had a good meal with gravy made with the juices over creamy mashed potatoes. And we have at least one more meal. We enjoy it so much we have it at least twice a month. I pass the recipe on to everyone as easy and delicious! I have not changed anything or substituted. It is perfect as written.
Thanks for sharing,
I’m so glad you love the shredded beef recipe! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know and for sharing with your friends!
This looks amazing! Can you freeze it after its cooked?
Absolutely! We regularly freeze the leftovers!
This is my GO TO roast recipe. It is so delicious and flavorful! I love that there is a slight tangy-ness to it. Making it again for Christmas Day to serve over homemade mashed potatoes. I will add carrots and celery about 1/2 way through cooking time, for a complete meal!
Thank you so much for this amazing recipe! I’ve made the sliders from your blog (that use this beef also) and it was fantastic as well! I will definitely be reading more of your blog and trying more of your recipes out. 🙂
I love this! So glad you enjoyed the shredded beef. Thanks for taking the time to let me know and Merry Christmas!
Thank you. I shredded it and then put it in a cast iron skillet and browned the meat. I then added three cans of roasted tomatoes and an onion chopped up and simmered until all the juices evaporate. Then I add two cans of green chili’s. Trust me a little burnt on the meat is a MUST!!
I made this last night for my husband and I with a 2.5 pound beef chuck roast. I did not have red wine vinegar so I used white wine and I used dried thyme instead of dried parsley.
It was AMAZING!!! So easy, so delicious, and so versatile! We used it to make nachos and tonight I will make pinto beans to go with it. My husband keeps talking about how much he loves this shredded beef and even made his own beef and cheddar sandwich for lunch today!
I will definitely make this again!
This makes me so happy! Thank you for sharing, it makes my day!
Thank you so very much!
That helps immensely! Thank you…one more question, please–can or would you add carrots & potatoes to the recipe or cook/roast separately? Want to make the meat the day before (for an earlier dinner with toddlers) and hoping I can store the meat with juices in fridge to reheat the next day and either cook potatoes/carrots with the meat in the slow cooker or the next day and add to the meat when reheating. Thank you for the additional answer.
You could do either! You can cook the potatoes and carrots along with the roast the first day, but I would probably add a cup of beef broth. If you do it the next day, I would add the carrots and potatoes to the slow cooker along with the juices and a cup or two of broth and cook on low 8 hours or high 4 hours. Add the beef for the last hour or so. Hope that helps!
This sounds delicious! If you choose to sear first, would you do the liquid rub and dry spices first? or just the liquid rub? or save both for after the searing? Can’t wait to try this.
I would salt and pepper the roast, then sear in oil. Transfer to the slow cooker and rub with the oil/vinegar and remaining seasonings. Hope that helps!
Made this to eat as BBQ pulled beef with homemade coleslaw and it was 👌
So perfect, in fact, I’m making it again for the Amish inspired beef and egg noodles over mashed potatoes. (I’m from the Midwest and grew up having this at nearly every family get-together)
I’m wondering if you have a link to how to adapt this… 🤔 The chicken recipe doesn’t seem to be very transferable to this as I won’t have massive amounts of liquid. And even though I did a whole lot of eating, I’ve never attempted to make this myself!
Thanks in advance!
I’m so glad you enjoyed the shredded beef! You’re in luck, because I actually just adapted this recipe to make classic beef and noodles! It’s a favorite around here too. Here’s the link: https://neighborfoodblog.com/2020/09/slow-cooker-beef-and-noodles.html
I don’t have a slow cooker or Dutch oven. I do, however, have an Instant Pot. What would be the recommended setting to cook this on and for how long? Thank you.
I’ve never tried this in the Instant Pot, but it should be done in 35-40 minutes, cooked on manual setting on high. Doing it in the Instant Pot will also require that you add more liquid so it doesn’t burn–I would add 1 cup of beef broth. Please let me know if you make it and how it works for you!
Do you thaw the roast first? Or can i putit in frozen?
I always use a thawed or fresh roast.
I made this tonight and it was delicious, the meat was so tender and flavorful, the whole family enjoyed it! I had about 4 cups of liquid left so I transferred it to a pan on the stove and added cornstarch to thicken into a gravy. When the gravy was done I tasted it and it was very salty! So I turned the heat down to low and added about a cup of lactose free sour cream to it and whisked until creamy. The flavor reminded us of beef stroganoff, it was so good! I’m allergic to mushrooms or I would have thrown those in too, for a true stroganoff flavor. Thank you for the recipe, tomorrow I will add taco seasoning to left over beef and make shredded beef tacos. I love getting two meals out of one dish! Thanks again!
Yay! This comment makes me so happy. I’m so glad you enjoyed the shredded beef and were able to make multiple meals out of it! That was our goal for sure!
Delicious! I had one roast, just under 3 pounds (my slow cooker is on the small side so more would not have fit). I skipped the olive oil and reduced the salt to 3 tsp. Otherwise followed the recipe except I didn’t have enough dried parsley so I added some dried oregano to make up the difference. I served with barbecue sauce on top, and sides of mac&cheese and baked beans for a few days then made what was left into an enchiladas casserole. Love the versatility. Thanks!
So glad you enjoyed the pulled beef recipe! Thanks for coming back to let me know!
I was wondering if anyone has added carrots to this? If so, when to add them and how they taste with the meat?
Hello! If I only have a 3 pound roast, how should I adjust the other ingredients?
Just reduce everything by about 1/3– 1 1/2 T Olive oil, 1 1/2 T vinegar, 1 T kosher salt, pepper, 1 teaspoon parsley, 1 1/2 teaspoon and garlic powder. The onion and garlic can be the same.
I dont have red wine vinegar could I use apple cider vinegar??? I did see for a brisket people were using apple cider vinegar with it
I would probably use balsamic or white wine vinegar if you have it, but the apple cider vinegar could work in a pinch!
This sounds delicious. Bonus it’s Keto! Do you know what serving size is? How many carbs?
Hi Ann, Unfortunately I’m not super familiar with the keto diet. I’ve listed how many servings you get out of this recipe, along with the total fat and carbs in the nutrition box in the recipe card. I hope that’s helpful! Enjoy the shredded beef recipe!
Thank you for this recipe. What if I don’t have 8 hours? Can I turn the slow cooker to High for maybe an hour or two and then turn down for another 4 or so?
Hello, I’m sorry for the delayed response. This should also work on high for 4-5 hours or high for 2 and low for 4.
I have made this several times and it is wonderful. Easy and sooo flavorful. The only thing I tried this time was to cover the roast with sliced mushrooms (aLOT of them!). What an excellent recipe. I find that it cooks even faster when I cut my roast into three chunks and rub the oil/wine vinegar over each one – and that wine vinegar? I think that’s a magic ingredient! Next day leftovers are even better. . . thank you for an excellent recipe.
We are big mushroom fans around here, so we might have to try that next time! It sounds fantastic. I am SO glad you love the Slow Cooker Shredded Beef!
This was so delicious! I served it with a tahini sauce and we used the leftovers for salads and sandwiches. I will definetely be making this one again.
Wonderful! So glad you enjoyed the Shredded Beef. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!
This was a success thanks. I strained the liquid after cooking and added a thin cornstarch slurry and made a gravy. Will def make this again. Ty.
Yum! I’m so glad you enjoyed the shredded beef!
I have a 6 pound beef, not very fatty. Is this recipe still good as is?
Yes, this should still work fine! If there’s very little fat, you may want to add a 1/2 cup broth to the bottom.
Would you recommenced cooking noodles in this? I like Reames noodles that are found in the frozen food section of the super market. Do you think that would work? Thank you.
I wouldn’t recommend cooking the noodles in the crock pot with the beef. I would cook them separately then serve the beef and juices over top! Sounds delicious!
No liquid is necessary. I know it’s hard to believe, but every drop of juices in these photos came from the roast itself (nothing added other than what’s listed), so as long as you use a nice fatty chuck roast (and keep that lid on), you should be fine. The slow cooker’s heat is gentle.
Should I add water to this? I feel like the roast will burn if I don’t.
If I want to half the recipe and I use one 2 lb roast, do I have to adjust the cooking time?
No, you’ll probably still want to cook it on low for 8 hours!
Wonderful, easy recipe. Can’t wait to use the leftovers.
This was a big hit with my Main Squeeze! So easy and it’s great to have so many options of ways to use the left-overs. I think next time I will only use 1 1/2 Tablespoons of the Kosher salt though. It was just a tad salty for me. So far we’ve had it on mashed potatoes, in pita wraps and on nachos. Awesome in each instance.