Rock Taco Night with this Salsa Verde Beef (Slow Cooker & Instant Pot Methods)

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This Salsa Verde Beef recipe is one of the simplest, yet it packs a ton of flavor. It cooks up in the slow cooker or the instant pot, making for the easiest of meals.

three tacos on tray

When dinnertime rolls around, what do you most want to do? 

Eat, right?

Sure, somedays you look forward to cooking, but at the end of a long day, most of us are looking forward to the eating part more than the cooking part.

If the Jetsons had been as prophetic as we hoped back when we were five, you’d have a machine that you could program to produce whatever you wanted whenever you wanted to eat. So far, that invention hasn’t made it to the pages of Amazon.

Well, no problem.

Yes, I’m serious. It’s no problem if you’re all set with a meal plan, particularly one that includes this Salsa Verde Beef. 

I developed this recipe almost ten years ago and it continues to be a fan favorite. And for good reason! Not only does it contain a mere five ingredients (oil not pictured below) but it can also be made super efficiently in the slow cooker or instant pot.

Boom! Dinner ready with very little effort on your part. It’s like having a Jetson-era contraption of your own.

ingredients for salsa verde beef

What is Salsa Verde Beef?

Salsa Verde Beef is a delicious dish of beef braised in salsa verde (green salsa) until it is fall apart tender. It’s great as a taco or burrito filling as well as for topping bowl meals or lettuce wraps.

What is a good cut of beef for shredding?

Chuck roast is one of the best cuts of beef for shredding. It’s marbled with fat that breaks down and makes for a very tender roast or meat for shredding. Rump roast works well, too.

What is salsa verde made from?

Salsa verde, “green sauce” in Spanish, is typically made from a base of tomatillos and chiles. It’s delicious as a topping for Mexican food, but goes wonderful as a sauce in dishes. 

I feature Salsa Verde in Chicken Enchilada Casserole, Poblano Chile Enchiladas, and Creamy Chicken Salsa Verde.

Can you make your own salsa verde? 

You absolutely can make your own salsa verde. I tried it once years ago but didn’t like fussing with the sticky tomatillo skins. Both Herdez and Trader Joe’s make such great bottled versions, that I’m okay with not making homemade in this instance.

Plus, making salsa for this recipe would kind of defeat the purpose of the almost instant meal, ya know?

Can I freeze salsa verde beef?

This is a great dish for freezing. In fact, I highly recommend it. Make a double batch, cool and freeze half, and enjoy a rocking taco night someday in the future.

how to make salsa verde beef collage

How do you make Salsa Verde Beef?

This is such an easy recipe! You can make it in either the slow cooker or the electric pressure cooker. Here’s the basic method:

  1. Cube the meat, chop the onion, and measure out your oil, taco seasoning, and salsa verde.
  2. Heat the oil in a skillet or in the pot of your pressure cooker on sauté. Brown the meat in the hot oil, turning to sear all sides. Don’t crowd the meat cubes in the pan; you may need to do this in batches.
  3. Transfer the meat to the slow cooker or to a bowl if you’re using the Instant Pot.
  4. Add the onion to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring, until tender. Add the taco seasoning and cook for another minute. 
  5. Stir in the salsa verde and cook, scraping up any bits on the bottom of the pan or pressure cooker.
  6. If using the slow cooker, add this mixture to the crock. If using an Instant Pot, add the meat back in. Stir well to combine.
  7. Cover the slow cooker and allow to cook 6 to 8 hours on low or until the meat is fall apart tender. If you’re using the pressure cooker, set it to manual high pressure for 45 minutes. Release the pressure when the cycle ends.
  8. Shred the meat with two forks and use as a taco or burrito filling.

Seriously, this recipe is bomb, as my sister in law would say. My kids’ eyes light up when I mention it, so that makes it officially a winner. I love it for its versatility. Use it as a taco or burrito filling or add 5 cups cooked pinto beans to make a delicious chili.

Over time this recipe has become one of my most popular. I haven’t met a person who didn’t love it. Unfortunately, there are rarely leftovers, so you definitely want to make that double batch I was telling you about.

salsa verde beef tacos

How to make this good and cheap:

Here are some of the strategies you can use to make this recipe more economical:

  • Meal plan around what’s on sale. Don’t decide to make this when chuck roast is $7/pound  and you have none in the freezer. Wait until the price is right.
  • Stock up on ingredients when they are on sale. For instance, when I see a great price on chuck roast as I mentioned before, I buy a lot. 
  • Price match. I track my prices so that I know the best prices on the items we use the most. That means I buy my cheese and lettuce at Costco because they’re super cheap there; my beef at Ralphs or ALDI on sale, etc.

Tools I use to make this recipe easy:

This is a pretty straight-forward dish. You don’t need any fancy equipment. However, having some good basic kitchen tools can really make your time in the kitchen more enjoyable. Over time, I’ve honed my collection so that they are perfect for my needs. Here are the tools that I like to use in this recipe.

three tacos on tray

5 from 1 vote
three tacos on tray
Salsa Verde Beef
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
6 hrs
Total Time
6 hrs 15 mins
 

This Salsa Verde Beef recipe is one of the simplest, yet it packs a ton of flavor. It cooks up in the slow cooker or the instant pot, making for the easiest of meals.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: beef tacos, salsa verde, salsa verde beef, shredded beef, shredded beef tacos
Servings: 8
Calories: 238 kcal
Author: Jessica Fisher
Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds rump or chuck roast cut into 1 1/2-inch chunks
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons taco seasoning
  • 1 cup salsa verde
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the beef chunks and brown on all sides to caramelize. Remove the meat to the crock of a slow cooker.

  2. Add the onion to the drippings in the pan and saute until lightly browned. Stir in the taco seasoning mix and heat about 1 minute. Add the salsa and stir, scraping up any browned bits. Transfer the liquid to the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours. Shred and serve.

Recipe Notes

Note: You can use any kind of salsa. It doesn’t have to be salsa verde, but we like the flavor it adds to the beef. To freeze: Wrap, label, and chill completely before freezing.

Nutrition Facts
Salsa Verde Beef
Amount Per Serving
Calories 238 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Fat 15g23%
Saturated Fat 5g31%
Cholesterol 78mg26%
Sodium 345mg15%
Potassium 448mg13%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 21g42%
Vitamin A 250IU5%
Vitamin C 2.1mg3%
Calcium 22mg2%
Iron 2.4mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Salsa Verde Beef | Good Cheap Eats

Originally published August 2009.

About Jessica Fisher

I believe anyone can prepare delicious meals—no matter their budget.

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Comments

  1. Mary Jo says

    I love beef with salsa verde. My favorite-of-all-time restaurant meal is at a place in Orlando called Taquitos Jalisco and it's called Puntas de Filete en Salsa Verde. Delish!

  2. Allyson says

    Okay so I’m new to all of this kitchen stuff and still trying to learn the ropes of what I can and cannot freeze. Is this freezable?

    • Jessica says

      Yes. Cool completely in the fridge in a covered container. I use Rubbermaid with a lid. Then freeze.

  3. Deb says

    Does the salsa verde you use in this recipe have “heat” to it?

    • Jessica says

      very little. I don’t think it’s spicy at all. The taco seasoning adds the heat, so just adjust that to your preferences.

  4. amyinaustin says

    This looks delicious. Can’t wait to try it! Thanks. 😉

  5. Lorena says

    very intrigued by this recipe! I think I’m off to try it. Have you tried this in a Pressure Cooker pot? I might want to try this tonight.

  6. Morgan says

    This is in the crock pot right now, I hope it’s a winner!

  7. karen says

    This is super yummy. We ate it on tortillas with tomato and sour cream. The leftovers were turned into chili with kidney beans and lots of onion. Not too spicy, my kids loved it. (or maybe they just love dinner that involves sour cream?)

    • Jessica says

      @karen, yeah! So glad to hear it. It is always a winner at our house. I need to get it back in rotation.

  8. Laura says

    Delicioso! Thanks for sharing a recipe that tastes amazing with very little effort on my part. My husband loved it, too.

  9. shannon says

    Yum. This is on the menu this week. Do you shred it when it’s done cooking?
    Thanks!

    • Jessica says

      @shannon, it gets so tender that it basically shreds itself when you stir it.

  10. Stacy says

    Your pico on this looks awesome as well!

  11. Davina says

    I am excited I just put this into the crock pot….. My dad is picky so I hope all turns out……

  12. Carla says

    I made this last night and I’ve been reminded repeatedly how much my guys enjoyed it. I went ahead and added a couple cups of black beans since I made up a big batch of those earlier in the week. My youngest ate his as tacos and the rest of us had ours over brown rice. I’ve never used salsa verde before–tasted great. 🙂

  13. This was so good – made it the other day when we had family visiting, and it was nice having something so easy & make-ahead. I modified the recipe a fair bit, but the bones of it was still inspired by this, so thank you for posting it!

  14. Christine says

    Made it. Family loved it. Made multiple meals from it. A keeper!

  15. Ellen says

    How would this be with other cuts of beef… like London Broil or flank steak? I used london broil in the slow cooker to make a tomato based burrito filling this week, and it had no flavor and was pretty dry. I’m trying to decide if it was the recipe or the meat….

    • Jessica says

      @Ellen, I think that was the meat. London Broil is supposed to be marinated like crazy and then grilled. At least that is my understanding. When I am cooking in the crockpot, I use chuck or 7-blade roasts.

  16. Robin says

    We are having lawnmower tacos as an after-church lunch! Thanks for such a quick, delicious meal idea! 🙂

  17. Robin says

    Oops I meant to post this on your 5 family friendly beef dinners page 🙂

  18. Carrie says

    Hi ! Thanks for the kitchen inspiration ! How would this do with pork loin ( that is what I happen to have ? Thanks !

    Carrie

    • Jessica says

      I think it would do fine. This is basically a braise. But, I’m not sure that the pork loin will shred. I usually use pork butt when I want it shredded.

  19. Jaime Norman says

    If you add pinto beans do you use ones you have cooked or canned?

    • Jessica says

      Either would be fine as long a they’ve been cooked and drained.

  20. Emily says

    really really yummy! Just had for lunch after church and it was a big hit with everybody! Husband raved. 🙂

  21. Holly says

    Tried this the other night and it was fantastic! The husband and picky kids loved it too.

    • Jessica says

      Isn’t that funny? It’s something that I just threw together one day and it turned into a huge hit.

      • Holly says

        You know, I think the browning step is really important. So much flavor developed in that. A lot of recipes just call for tossing it in the crockpot. It’s definitely worth that extra step.

        • Jessica says

          I agree. I see those bag it up slow cooker/freezer meals and cringe. They’re missing out on taste and texture by not browning the meat and aromatics first.

  22. Brooke Kingston says

    Unequivocally the most DELICIOUS thing that has ever come out of our slow cooker. I found the recipe in your book, wanted to be sure you got another rave review for this beauty. It is TO.DIE.FOR. I’m literally tearing up just thinking about it…it’s that good! Thank you thank you thank you! You made me look like a rock star in the kitchen this week!!

  23. This looks delicious and your tortillas always look so yummy…do you make them yourself?

  24. Jennifer says

    Soo good!! Definitely a keeper! 🙂 Just wish I wasn’t fresh out of Pico de Gallo – will definitely get some tomorrow for the next round because I think it would make it even more AMAZING.

  25. Julie Hooper says

    We have been making this for several years now and it is a winner! It is one of my husband’s favorite meals. I try and make a large batch and freeze a meal – problem is I can’t always keep enough to save, as the family devours it!!

  26. Tina says

    I tried this and there wasn’t enough liquid at all. The meat was hard because of it. There is only the one cup of salsa for liquid. I used top round. Any suggestions?

    • In a slow cooker you really should not need much liquid. However, round steak (top round) is not really the best cut for this. I think you’d have better luck with chuck roast.

  27. Heidj says

    This had been on my Pinterest board forEVER, but I just got around to actually making it tonight. I walked my daughter through the prep (on the phone while I was at work) and came home to an amazing dinner! It was so good, there are ZERO leftovers for lunches!
    Thanks so much! Everyone has already requested this again! 🙂

    • Yay! It’s a big favorite here, too. No leftovers unless you make a double batch. 🙂

  28. Becky says

    Curious what you used to create the salsa topping in your photo. Was it just basil, onion and chopped tomatoes?

  29. Kim Tasker says

    5 stars
    Dee-licious!

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