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Spicy Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

Spicy Slow-Cooker Beef Tacos with Cranberry Salsa

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Easy, slow cooker beef tacos topped with seasonal cranberries!MORE+LESS-

Updated December 10, 2015


packet Old El Paso™ mild taco seasoning mix (I used spicy)

1-2 tablespoons sriracha (I used 2)


(12 ounce) beer or beef broth (I used pumpkin beer to add to the seasonal taste)


cup sweet Thai chili sauce

6-8 Old El Paso™ flour tortillas, warmed

cheddar cheese or cajita cheese, for serving

diced avocado, for serving



jalapeño, seeded and chopped


cup fresh cilantro, chopped

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  • 1

    Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar, salt and pepper. Sear the ribs on all sides for about 1 minute per side. Remove the ribs and place them in the slow cooker crock.

  • 2

    To the crock, add the Old El Paso taco seasoning, sriracha, beer, sweet Thai chili sauce and soy sauce. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4 to 6 hours on high). Remove the short ribs from the slow cooker and shred them with two forks. Return the meat to the slow cooker to keep warm until serving.

  • 3

    To make the salsa, add the cranberry sauce to a mixing bowl. Add the jalapeno, cilantro, lime juice and a pinch of salt if needed. Taste and adjust to your liking.

  • 4

    When ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave or over the stove. Stuff with short ribs and top with the cranberry salsa. Add a sprinkle of cheese and some diced avocado and serve immediately.

Expert Tips

  • If you do not have a slow cooker, the ribs can be cooked in the oven instead: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium high-heat and add the olive oil. Add the ribs to the skillet and sprinkle with brown sugar, salt + pepper. Remove from the stove and add the remaining ingredients minus the tortillas, cheese and avocado. Cover the pot and place in the oven for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until the ribs are tender. Shred with a fork and serve as directed.

No nutrition information available for this recipe

More About This Recipe

  • The taco meat makes itself in the slow cooker. Top with cranberry salsa and you've got one yum of a dinner.

    So, can we chat for a little about Thanksgiving leftovers?

    You see, my family almost never has any. And if we do, the boys eat all the turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes before I can even get a chance to turn them into another fun meal.

    I guess this is good since all the food gets eaten, but still, every year I buy a bigger turkey, make extra gravy and double the mashed potatoes in hopes of having a ton of leftovers – and every year it’s the same deal.

    Everything goes at lightning speed ... except the cranberries.

    I mean, what do you expect? I live in house full of boys. They could care less about the cranberry sauce, so I almost always have some left over. Then I started thinking: tacos are a staple meal around here and the boys love them. I love the combo of savory and sweet ... maybe I could combine some sweet cranberry salsa with some spicy beef short rib tacos.

    The result is a sweet-heat recipe made in taco heaven.

    Ok, so let’s make some! Gather up your ingredients.

    Heat a large heavy-bottom skillet over medium high-heat and add the olive oil. Remove the ribs and place them in the slow cooker crock.

    To the crock, add the Old El Paso taco seasoning, sriracha, beer, sweet Thai chili sauce and soy sauce. Cover the crock and cook on low for 7 to 8 hours (or 4-6 hours on high) stirring once or twice if possible.

    After 8 hours, remove the short ribs from the crockpot and shred them with your hands or two forks. Return the meat to the crockpot and keep warm.

    Gather the ingreidents for the salsa.

    Add the cranberry sauce to a mixing bowl. Taste and adjust to your liking.

    When ready to serve, warm the tortillas in the microwave or over an open flame. Add a sprinkle of cheese and some diced avocado.


Cranberry Salsa--put it up or give it away

I have a confession and an apology. Apology first. When I shared the Cranberry Chicken Swiss Chard Leek Enchiladas I was unaware that one of the ingredients I used, cranberry salsa, was not always available. I'm sorry.

Now for the confession--I often work ahead, posting recipes made up to a year in advance. See, I'm slow as the molasses in my cold kitchen in the wintertime. If I were to get recipes written, photographed and typed and published in order I'd be sharing tomato recipes in November, pumpkin recipes in January, and butternut squash recipes in April.

Nobody wants that--not even the folks Down Under?! Instead of missing the seasons by a mile, I opt to save posts until they are seasonally ripe. I've got some flexibility that way, so I can toss in a Beef and Venison Sloppy Joe recipe or a Slow Cooker Apple Chai for a crowd when the spirit moves me [and I'm asked].

Most of the time this method--of working ahead and taking my time, works fine. Sometimes I screw up. Royally. In this case I tried to find the same brand of cranberry salsa in the store and even contacted Ocean Spray only to learn that they don't make cranberry salsa each year. Instead of just saying 'oh well, you're on your own', I grabbed a bag of cranberries from my freezer stash and some hot peppers from my Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm share and made a batch.

If you've ever made cranberry sauce from the bag of berries, you can make cranberry salsa. It's just boiling and stirring, after all. If your cranberry sauce involves opening a can from both ends, let's talk and explore your options.

I canned this cranberry salsa. In fact I've canned so many things that my shelf support broke! Luckily the shelf fell onto the jars of salsa verde and Cantina Style Strawberry Salsa, so nothing slid to the floor. Although I did get 7 jars to fill up my canner, I did have a wee bit left over and it has been in my fridge for 2 weeks and tastes delicious. I'll bet it's good for at least 2-3 weeks in the fridge, and that's plenty long for Thanksgiving turkey sandwich leftovers. That means you don't have to process this before using.

Salad greens from the farm share and kohlrabi pickles make this sandwich amazing.

If you have a Thanksgiving gift-giving urge you could whip up a batch of this and ladle into half pint jars (you'll have about 10) then cover with reusable lids and refrigerate. Encourage the lucky recipient to spread this on a Thanksgiving turkey leftover sandwich (may I suggest Multigrain Cereal Buns or the Multigrain Sourdough Bread?).

This recipe is adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation's one. That recipe calls for red onion and serrano peppers and I had neither, so I used what hot peppers I had from our farm share and my garden--mostly jalapeños with a couple of spicier ones thrown in. This made about 80 ounces. Because it's late in the canning season for me, I cobbled together an assortment of 8 to 16 ounce jars. I used the same processing time for all of the jars, but if you're not a canner it will keep in the refrigerator for several weeks.

Cranberry Salsa
By Kirsten Madaus

Sweet and spicy, this gluten free condiment of honey-sweetened cranberries, onions, and peppers is terrific on a leftover turkey sandwich or in a host of recipes. Total time does not include 20 minutes processing time if you choose to can this salsa.

Prep time: 00:15
Cook time: 00:10
Total time: 00:25

Yield: about 5 pints
4 cups chopped onion (I used the food processor for this)
⅔ cup chopped hot pepper (ditto--don't forget to wear gloves)
1 cup water
1 cup cider vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons honey
8 cups whole cranberries (can be thawed from frozen)


Reality check--I can't cook and can in the same day. This was my canning fuel and the kids' after school snack.

For more cranberry recipes, please see my Cranberry Recipe Collection. It's part of the Visual Recipe Index by Ingredient, a resource for folks like me eating from the farm share, the farmer's market, the garden, the neighbor's garden, and great deals on ugly produce at the grocery store.

I'm sharing more recipes on my Pinterest boards, follow me there. If you like a good peek behind the scenes like I do, follow me on Instagram. Need a good read? I'm sharing articles of interest on my Facebook page, follow me there. Want to know How to Use This Blog?

Slow Cooker Beef with Salsa

  • Author: Deborah
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1 x


It’s so easy, you won’t believe how much flavor is packed into this Slow Cooker Beef with Salsa!


  • 2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 3/4 -inch cubes
  • 2 cups salsa*
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups cooked rice
  • cilantro


  1. Combine the beef, salsa, brown sugar, soy sauce and garlic in a 3-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  2. Serve the beef over rice, topped with cilantro.

Recipe Notes:

*Make sure you use a salsa that you love. It will make a big difference in the final dish.

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Meet Deborah

Welcome to Taste and Tell. Here you will find easy, fast and family friendly recipes. I am a believer that anyone can cook and that dinner doesn’t have to be complicated. Come join me in my kitchen! Read More

How to Make It

Rinse beef and trim off excess fat. Put in a slow-cooker (at least 5 qt.). Add tomatoes (with juice), chipotle sauce or salsa, jalapeños, onion, garlic, ground chile, honey, salt, and cumin pour broth over the top.

Cover and cook on low until beef is very tender when pierced, 8 to 10 hours. If desired, remove lid for last 30 minutes to allow sauce to reduce and thicken.

With a heavy fork, transfer meat to a rimmed board or plate. Shred with two forks. Ladle out half the sauce and reserve (see notes). Return shredded beef to the remaining sauce in slow-cooker, cover, and let warm. Serve in sandwiches.

Slow Cooker Ground Beef Tacos

*Recipe has been updated with Instant Pot directions.

If I have somehow given anyone the impression that dinner time around my house is always quiet with happy compliant kids eating every morsel on there plate, I guess I should paint a picture of what reality is around the table. Often times my kids like to negotiate. Something like, “If I eat just one more carrot can I be done? Do I really need to try those tomatoes? How about if I eat everything I get some chocolate?” I am sure it sounds familiar to you.

There is an exception to this banter. It’s called taco night. We often joke that it’s the quietest dinner night in our house. The kids are so happy with their food, they don’t make a peep. The plates are always clean, often there are seconds, sometimes thirds. It’s perfect really. I should just consider eating them every night.

I have a few different variations on tacos, but I love the simplicity and “easy button” of the slow cooker. My homeade taco seasoning is simple and you probably have everything in your pantry. I do like to add some chipotle powder (surprise surprise), but this is definitely optional. You can easily double or triple this recipe for taco seasoning and keep it in a jar to use for future taco nights.

This recipe is so dang easy that you may just be adding taco night as a regular dinner around your house too. I mix up the spices. I add ground beef, tomato paste, and onion to the slow cooker. I then add the spices and top with a little chicken broth. Done. Easy button. Dinner is ready in about 4-6 hours. Don’t forget all of the fix ins. Tacos are best served with tomatoes, lettuce, cilantro, onion, sour cream, avocado, and I do love me some hot sauce and salsa.

Watch the video: Φιλέτα μοσχαρίσια με σάλτσα πιπεράτη (August 2022).