Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe

Rich and spicy Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe, served with warm tortillas and lime wedges!

Spicy Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |
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There are dishes we make that come and go with very little impact. Then there are dishes we eat that strike us so intensely we think about them for days following. Some are so dynamic, we think about a single meal with reverence, for years.

Beef Barbacoa is one of those life-altering dishes for me.

It’s earthy, ultra spicy, dripping with saucy goodness, and as decadent as a meaty dish gets.

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

Contrary to popular belief, barbacoa is not originally a Mexican dish.

It was originated in the Caribbean islands and became so popular it spread across the mainland. The way we see it on menus today served with corn tortillas, onions, and cilantro, shows the progression of beef barbacoa from a roasted island recipe to a saucy Mexican taco filling.

Making Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

However modern beef barbacoa still incorporates Caribbean island spices for that deep earthy flavor that makes this dish a standout!

Make: Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

How to Make Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

Today we’re making my Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe, which takes much less effort than stovetop and oven methods.

To make this Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe simply puree chiles and veggies in the blender and pour the chile mixture over a large beef chuck roast in a slow cooker. Add spices, then cover and slow cook until the meat is so tender it pulls apart easily.

Amazing Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

This Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe is one of those recipes that is better with time.

Start it in the morning and let it simmer all day long. Better yet, start it two or three days before you plan to serve it. Complete the recipe, and chill the shredded barbacoa until you are ready to serve it. Then rewarm the barbacoa in the slow cooker and serve.

Love this Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

With so many chiles and spices, the flavor only improves and deepens with time. My Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe tastes amazing on day one, but is nearly a religious experience on day 3 or 4.

Caribbean Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

P.S. Slow Cooker Barbacoa is spicy. Really spicy. 

The tortillas and toppings help neutralize the flavor a bit, but if you are sensitive to spicy heat, try making it with only 1-2 chipotle peppers.

Dazzling Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe |
4.91 from 22 votes

Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe

Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
4 hrs
Total Time
4 hrs 15 mins
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe - Traditional Caribbean Beef Barbacoa made in the crockpot! This simple recipe takes little time to prepare and is so delicious.
Servings: 10
Nutrition Facts
Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe
Amount Per Serving (2 tacos)
Calories 369 Calories from Fat 189
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 21g 32%
Saturated Fat 9g 45%
Cholesterol 125mg 42%
Sodium 927mg 39%
Potassium 752mg 21%
Total Carbohydrates 9g 3%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 6g
Protein 35g 70%
Vitamin A 5.9%
Vitamin C 34.8%
Calcium 6.9%
Iron 27.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.



  1. In a large pot or bowl, soak the dried chiles in 2 cups of boiling water. Place a small dish over the top to help keep the chiles submerged. Soak for 10 minutes, until tender. Carefully remove the stems and seeds. Reserve the chile water.

  2. Place the softened chiles, chipotle chiles, onion, garlic, vinegar, and brown sugar in the blender. Pour the chile water over the top. Puree until smooth.
  3. Place the chuck roast in a large slow cooker. Add the bay leaves, cumin, salt, oregano, pepper, allspice, and cinnamon. Pour the chile puree over the top. Cover the slow cooker and turn on high for 4-6 hours, or on low for 8-12 hours.
  4. Once the roast is fork-tender. Shred the beef into the chile sauce. Cover and keep warm until ready to eat.
  5. To serve: Spoon beef barbacoa onto two layered corn tortillas. Top with diced onions and cilantro and serve with a lime wedge.

Recipe Notes

This recipe freezes well!

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29 comments on “Slow Cooker Barbacoa Recipe

  1. Porsha Rooksposted April 8, 2019 at 11:51 am Reply

    This was extremely spicy to the point of being almost inedible. I spent 15 dollars on a roast so Im gonna try to find ways to eat it still. Im shy of spice. I usually love spicy food but this is on a whole bother level. I know it said it was spicy but I didn’t think it would be this spicy. Beware when you make this. 

    • Deboposted May 2, 2019 at 4:36 pm Reply

      Is it possible you used another pepper? Anaheim peppers have less heat than jalapeños.

      • Sommer Collierposted May 9, 2019 at 12:04 pm

        Hi Debo,

        You can use any pepper you like. :)

  2. Jocelynposted January 8, 2019 at 12:19 pm Reply

    This dinner always makes the house smell amazing, and my family devours it!

  3. Allyson Zeaposted January 7, 2019 at 1:59 pm Reply

    I love making this in the slow cooker- makes the house small AMAZING!

  4. Julie Blannerposted January 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm Reply

    I love slow cooker recipes! Can’t wait to make this!

  5. Rachael Yerkesposted January 7, 2019 at 11:32 am Reply

    Barbacoa is one of our family favorites! This tastes fantastic!

  6. Becky Hardinposted January 7, 2019 at 10:40 am Reply

    Oh man this looks so delicious. Definitely going to try. 

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  10. Jo Kposted February 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm Reply

    Wondering if anyone has made this with pork?

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  16. Laurie Pearsallposted August 16, 2016 at 11:04 am Reply

    What do you think using different chiles will do to the taste? I have pasillas and anchos and smoked serranos, but no chipotles,

  17. [email protected]'s Recipesposted August 10, 2016 at 6:31 pm Reply

    The meat looks so juicy and tender. Slow cooked dishes are my recent addiction. 

  18. Jenny Flakeposted August 10, 2016 at 9:16 am Reply

    Great recipe, love this for back to school cooking!

  19. Marla Meridithposted August 9, 2016 at 6:31 pm Reply

    Gotta love that slow cooker!

  20. Emily @ Life on Foodposted August 8, 2016 at 7:38 pm Reply

    I can feel my tongue tingling already. Marvelous! And it is even better that it is a slow cooker.

  21. Yvetteposted August 8, 2016 at 6:22 pm Reply

    Holy moly this looks beyond spicy and delicious! My mouth is seriously watering. YUM!

  22. Sharon Murrayposted August 8, 2016 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Hi , I am wondering if the allspice is too overwhelming? What do you think?

  23. Heather Christoposted August 8, 2016 at 2:09 pm Reply

    One of my very favorite dishes!!! so delicious Sommer.

  24. Julie @ Table for Twoposted August 8, 2016 at 12:56 pm Reply

    I love a good slow cooker recipe!!

  25. Kevin @ Closet Cookingposted August 8, 2016 at 11:30 am Reply

    So nice an easy and so tasty!

  26. Mariaposted August 8, 2016 at 10:55 am Reply

    I love when the slow cooker can do all the work for me!!

  27. Laura @ Laura's Culinary Adventuresposted August 8, 2016 at 8:40 am Reply

    I need to make this stat! These are one of my favorite tacos!