Slow Cooker Garlic Beef Tacos with Slaw

Recipe for slow cooker garlic beef tacos. Tender short ribs full of flavor and topped with white cheddar and a slightly creamy slaw!

Two Garlic Beef Tacos on a white plate with beer in the background.

I know what you are thinking. More tacos.

But, I have my reasoning, and don’t worry, it is perfectly sound.

You see, last week we talked about some of my new favorite vegetarian tacos. And today, I have the complete opposite – i.e. so not even remotely vegetarian! See, I’m covering all sides!

I am also firmly of the belief that there can NEVER be enough tacos in your life! So there’s that too. And today we are using our trusty crockpot. Which is always a win in my book.

So there is a little backstory to this recipe. The garlic beef component here was an attempt on my part to recreate one of the delicious fillings from an awesome little local taco shop.

Except after several tries, I don’t think it tastes anything like their version. Copycat recipe fail?

But we still loved it so much that we are obviously discussing today. I’m rolling with it, it’s cool. I’ll pretend it was the plan all along. Make it taste as little as possible to theirs!

Two white plates filled with Short Rib Tacos and slaw to the side.

How To Make Garlic Beef Tacos

But anyway, let’s chat tacos.

For the main part of the filling we have short ribs that are slow cooked with plenty of garlic, a touch of brown sugar, broth and a bit of beer. The beer really adds a ton of flavor here (without making the meat taste overly beer-y).

And since we cook them low and slow, they get super tender. Awesome.

Now, while you can certainly just make the beef, please please don’t! The combination of the meat with the white cheddar and the slightly creamy slaw is where it is at! It just makes it really work. So just do it, okay?

So the slaw. I like to make it right after I put the short ribs in the crockpot. That way it has plenty of time to chill all day long and get all groovy together.

To make it, we saute (very briefly! like 2 minutes or less!) some sliced red cabbage in a skillet, just to get it to soften slightly but still retain its crunch. There are also some carrots involved, some apple cider vinegar and a touch of greek yogurt and milk to give it a hint of creaminess.

And combined with that slow cooked beef, the cheddar and cilantro all rolled up into a happy little tortilla?? Oh is it good. You’ll be smiling from ear to ear.

A white plate with two Short Rib Tacos and beer in the background.

Additional Taco Recipes You Might Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Rate and review it down below! I’d love to hear from you.

Slow Cooker Garlic Beef Tacos with Slaw

Slow Cooker Garlic Beef Tacos with Slaw

Yield: about 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 9 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 9 hours 25 minutes

Recipe for slow cooker garlic beef tacos. Tender short ribs full of flavor and topped with white cheddar and a slightly creamy slaw!


For the beef:

  • about 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3 to 3 ½ pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • salt and pepper, for sprinkling

For the crockpot:

  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons lightly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup low-sodium broth (beef, chicken or veggie)
  • 1 cup beer (I like something darker here)

For the slaw:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cups shredded red cabbage (about half a head cabbage)
  • ½ cup shredded carrot (about 1 to 2 carrots)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 ½ teaspoons apple cider vinegar

For serving:

  • flour or corn tortillas, warmed
  • shredded white cheddar cheese
  • chopped cilantro (optional)


To prep the beef:

  1. Set a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. When hot, add in as many short ribs as will comfortably fit in the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Brown both sides of the short ribs (about 1 to 2 minutes per side). Remove from the pan to a plate and repeat with the remaining olive oil and short ribs (using the additional olive oil only if needed - you may not need to add any to the pan).

For the crockpot:

  1. Add the browned beef to a crockpot, then sprinkle with the garlic, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Pour in the broth and beer. Place the lid on the crockpot and cook on low for about 8 to 10 hours, until the beef is really tender and falls easily away from the bones.
  2. Transfer the beef to a cutting board and shred / cut the meat (discarding the bones), then transfer back to the crockpot. I usually discard any really big chunks of fat as well. Toss the beef in the juices and let sit covered for 15 minutes (with the crockpot turned off). This gives it time to really soak up all that flavor in the juices!

To make the slaw:

  1. Set a large skillet over medium heat. Add in the olive oil. When warm, add in the cabbage, carrot, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 ½ to 2 minutes, tossing almost constantly, until the cabbage starts to wilt down a bit (you want to soften it up a little with this process but not so much that it loses its crunch). Turn off the heat and stir in the greek yogurt, milk and vinegar. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until chilled (I like to give it a few hours and usually make this when I put the beef in the crockpot).

To serve:

  1. Add some of the beef to a tortilla (using a slotted spoon to get rid of excess liquid). Top with a little bit of cheese, then some slaw and cilantro. Serve with extra slaw on the side.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 575 Total Fat: 36g Saturated Fat: 13g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 23g Cholesterol: 142mg Sodium: 776mg Carbohydrates: 13g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 7g Protein: 45g
Nutrition data shown is an estimate provided by an online calculator and is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered a substitute for a medical professional’s advice. Nutrition info does NOT include tortillas, cheese or cilantro for serving.