Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

in Beef, Cinco de Mayo, Crockpot, Cucumber, Mexican & TexMex, Pantry Staples, Tacos, Enchiladas & Quesadillas

Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

How often do you use your crockpot? A while back, mine actually broke. The safety glass in the lid exploded into eleventy billion perfect little squares that scattered across the kitchen and pantry floor. And none of us were wearing shoes.

I wasn’t that sad. Aside from pulled pork and french dip sandwiches, it saw little action. I didn’t really miss it at first. A covered dutch oven and a 275 degree-oven produces the same fall-apart, amazingly tender meats as a crockpot. But I couldn’t leave to run errands with the oven on. And heating up the oven for 6-8 hours seems less energy-efficient. So I begrudgingly replaced it a couple of weeks ago.

These tacos were one of the first things I made in the new crockpot (which is digital! And programmable! And has a tiny hole in the lid for a digital thermometer!). I saw them on My Life as a Mrs last week – she combined Joelen’s Korean beef short rib recipe with Jaden’s pickled cucumbers to make a taco so flavorful, it gives my beloved smoked brisket taco a run for its money. For real.

The meat is cooked in a mixture of soy, brown sugar, garlic, fresh ginger – and the sriracha I added for extra heat. 3 hours into it, if you’re home, your house will smell amazing! Because I used quite a bit less brown sugar than the original recipe called for and I added extra water that the original recipe didn’t call for, I reduced some of the liquid in a sauce pan while I was shredding the cooked beef. This concentrated the flavors and made a thicker glaze that nicely coated the beef. Certainly not required if you’re in a hurry. But totally worth it if you’ve got time.

We served the tacos topped with a cucumber slaw, bean sprouts, cilantro, additional sriracha, and a dollop of Greek yogurt.The cucumber slaw adds a cool, tangy, fresh crunch to the tacos. They’re also loaded with water so I took the extra step of salting them to pull out some of the excess moisture since I was making the slaw ahead of time.

Tina noted that short ribs were quite pricey in her area and used back ribs instead. I have successfully used chuck roast (which is what I use for french dip sandwiches). As for the leftovers? If you get tired of tacos, tuck the leftovers and a couple of mango slices inside a spring roll wrapper.

Korean Beef Spring Rolls with Mango

Crockpot Korean Beef Tacos with Cucumber Slaw

Tacos filled with sweet, tender Korean-style beef and tangy cucumber slaw.


  • For the Korean beef:
  • ~5 lbs beef short ribs (can also use chuck roast or back ribs)
  • 1 bottle (10 oz) low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp ginger, grated
  • 6 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp dark sesame oil
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp sriracha
  • 1 cup water (optional)
  • For the Cucumber Slaw:
  • 1 cucumber (seedless recommended)
  • Thinly sliced red onion rounds
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • For the tacos:
  • 16 small wheat tortillas
  • cilantro
  • bean sprouts
  • Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
  • sriracha


  1. To make the cucumber slaw, slice the cucumber very thinly and sprinkle with salt. Place in a colander and let sit for up to an hour over a bowl or in the sink.
  2. Shake additional water from the colander or pat with paper towels.
  3. Transfer to a bowl and toss with red onions, rice vinegar, and red pepper flakes. Refrigerate until ready to use (leftovers get less and less crunchy as they sit but it can be made ahead, just pour off any accumulated liquid and toss with an additional 1-2 tsp vinegar to taste, if necessary).
  4. To make the Korean beef for the tacos, spray your slow cooker crock with non-stick cooking spray and add the ribs.
  5. Whisk soy sauce, sugar, and vinegar with the garlic, ginger, sriracha, and oils.
  6. Pour over the ribs in the crockpot. (I thought the liquid level looked a little low so I added ~ 1 1/2 cups of water.)
  7. Cook on low for 8 hours.
  8. (optional) Remove 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid and skim the fat from the top. Pour the liquid into a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer while separating the meat from the bones. Reduce the liquid by about half and pour over the shredded meat.
  9. To assemble, serve the shredded meat on warmed tortillas topped a spoon of cucumber slaw, cilantro, bean sprouts, sriracha and a dollop of yogurt.


Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from What's Cookin' Chicago and Steamy Kitchen via My Life as a Mrs.

Estimated time: 9 hours

64 comments… add one
  • These look and sound amazing – I would love my kitchen to smell like them! Going straight on the ‘to-make’ list, thank you!

  • These look so good. I dont use my crockpot that often either, but think I may dust the old girl off for these!

  • I don’t use my crockpot that often either, but I definitely appreciate it occasionally in the summer when I don’t feel like having the oven on for 4 or 5 hours. These tacos look amazing! I’ve never made short ribs in the crockpot, but need to remedy that soon.

  • Shawnda, these tacos look mouthwatering! What a great recipe and beautiful photos. I love the addition of cucumber slaw too. Great combination! Thanks for sharing.

  • Your photo and this recipe have inspired me to search into the black hole that is our kitchen cabinets and pull out our crock pot. It hasn’t been used in a couple years from a few botched experiments, but I get the feeling that these tacos have the power to change all that.

  • I LOVE my crock pot.

    I’ve been a little nervous to venture into Korean cuisine but this recipe looks like a great one to start with!

  • Oh so excited to try this!

  • I totally made these over the weekend too!

  • If my crockpot were digital and programmable…I might just use it more often.

    I love the flavors in this meat though! Now how to make it vegetarian…that is the question.

  • This looks so good! I’m always looking for new crockpot recipes, and this one looks fantastic. Gorgeous photos too! 🙂

  • Great recipe and stunning pictures! They make me wanna try this dish asap!

  • Oh man, Shawnda- these look unreal!!! We love Korean tacos so I’m definitely going to be making these!

  • I have this going in the slow cooker right now and it smells divine in this house! I cannot wait for dinner.

  • these look amazing! They look pretty healthy too. YAY! 🙂

  • Just getting back in town from a wedding and catching up on my google reader 🙂 SO glad you enjoyed! I looove me a good crockpot recipe!

  • Amy V.

    I made these last night. I think it is now in my top 10 favorite meals and my crock pot will finally be put to good use more often!!

  • Katie

    Made these tonight – they were amazing!! I used chuck roast instead of short ribs. Also I mixed a little chili paste with sour cream to top off the tacos. I cant wait to make them again!

  • These are next on my crockpot list for sure!

  • Shannon

    Make these. Make these now. I used a chuck roast and it was amazing!

  • CynthiaT

    I used a 3# chuck roast and I’m serving it with Alter Eco’s purple jasmine rice as we’re gluten free. I just sneaked a taste while the rice was still cooking as I was shredding the meat. I may have to cut back on the siracha next time for DD. We’re soy free too so I used coconut aminos (a whole bottle for the soy and ended up adding close to 2.5 cups of water to get the liquid up to almost the top of the meat. I know DS is going to LOVE it! I may have to try them as filling for summer rolls when I have the time to get that involved with it.

  • I ditto the others who have made these–they are absolutely one of my new favorite meals. Make them NOW!

  • Natalie

    I am always looking for crockpot meals. These are fabulous!

  • I made this recipe tonight and used back ribs like the recipe suggested for an alternative (short ribs are very expensive in my area.) I do not recommend this! The meat is verrryy fatty. I got less than 2 cups of fatty meat from the 5 pounds of ribs that I purchased… If you do use back ribs I would omit the 2 additional tablespoons of oil added to the sauce, you definitely don’t need it.

    Other than the fatty/greasiness caused by the back ribs, these were DELICIOUS. Next time I will use short ribs or a chuck roast, for sure.

  • Sandmeister

    Wow! These were super-easy and great….definitely a repeater!

  • Shannon

    These were sooo good and my house smelled amazing when I came home. I used Thai chili garlic sauce instead of siracha because that’s what I had on hand and it worked perfectly. I love that I can also use the leftover meat to morph into another meal as a stir fry with rice. Delicious!

  • Ahhhh, I could bathe in these!! Look incredible Shawnda! Btw, are you going to the Seattle, Blogher Conf?? I am!

    • Thanks, Katie! I’m not sure if I can make it to BlogHer yet – I hope so, though!

  • So. freaking. good. Not only was this easy to make, but it was delicious and I had tons of yummy leftovers! My husband used sour cream with his tacos and I opted to go dry but we both agreed we’d try some greek yogurt or a tzatziki-type sauce next time. I made lettuce wraps with the leftovers using romaine hearts, minced garlic, and kochujang and served it with a side of kimchi and rice.

  • This certainly has me wanting to take out my crock pot. Great recipe!

  • Shawnda, I discovered your blog and this recipe via Pinterest recently. I just had an opportunity to make these tacos for my family this evening. My father-in-law is visiting from California and I have 5 and 6 year-old girls. EVERYONE loved them! Instead of Greek Yogurt, we used sour cream and aside from pulling out some cucumber from the “salad” before adding the red pepper flakes for the girls, I followed your recipe to the T. This is going on our “favorites” list and I look forward to making it again very soon! Thank you for sharing.

  • jen

    Speaking of broken crock pots…. I just shattered the insert for mine. How long should I cook in the oven?

    also, should the short ribs have bones in them? mine do.

    • Bummer, sorry to hear that. You can fake a working crockpot by cooking them covered in the oven at 275 for ~5-6 hours. And they should have bones. Good luck!

  • Courtney

    Just found this recipe and have made it twice already. Once with a chuck roast and once with a pork loin. I loved both! I generally hate leftovers, but I’ve been eating these for lunch and dinner until they’re gone. You could easily serve next to steamed rice as well.

  • Liz Parker

    I get home tonight after about 2 weeks of travel. I have a chuck roast in the freezer and come hell or high water THIS is what we are having for dinner tomorrow night! So glad this popped up on the side bar. Thanks so much!

  • susette

    Just threw a chuck roast in the crock pot. I was going to leave out the water since you just reduce it anyway. It almost covered my roast so it seemed unnecessary. Am i making a mistake by doing that? I dont want to ruin this fab meal.

  • Missy

    I just wanted to say that I made this tonight, and it is BEYOND amazing! THANK YOU my family thinks I am a genius!…….suckers….

  • Missy

    I just wanted to say that I made this tonight, and it is BEYOND amazing! THANK YOU my family thinks I am a genius!…….suckers….

  • Vicki

    Can I put the short ribs in the crock pot frozen?

  • Wow, I just made this for dinner and it is incredible! We don’t have a slow cooker so I just put it in the oven on low heat for 6 hours… amazing 🙂

    Thanks for the recipe!

  • robert schimonitz

    i make these and there are other recipes for it but this is the best one for the base by far of course i alter the recipe for my taste and its a big hit at pot lucks! thank you for the recipe everyone loves them today is my third time cooking these and perfection will be set this time 😉

  • Made these last week–so easy and delicious! I especially liked the tangy cucumber slaw. Thanks!

  • Keri

    I am so excited to make these tomorrow night! Question – do you use seasoned rice vinegar? Or just rice vinegar? Thank you!!

  • Oh My Gosh—- this sounds soooooo good! I would cut down on the sugar a bit, but wow, I need this in my crockpot STAT!

  • We’ve been making these for a few months now and love them! In the words of my sister, they are “insanely good”. Thanks for sharing it!

    I wanted to let you know that I blogged about them today and linked back to your recipe here ( )

  • Brittany

    I make these ALL the time! They’re so delicious, thanks for sharing this recipe!

  • Melanie

    I tried this recipe once and it has become a staple in our house! Delicious!!!

  • Melanie

    I can never find short ribs where I am so I usually grab boneless country ribs
    LOVE it!

  • Jennifer

    Can you roll this meat with cucumber slaw into a spring roll wrapper with vermicelli noodles? Or would that be too much?

  • Danielle

    This sounds delicious. I am going to try it this weekend. Can you cut the recipe in half and still do it in the slow cooker for the same amount of time? There is only two of us so it may be too much.

  • Tara

    Just wanted to, after two years of making this, comment on how amazing this recipe is. We’ve only made it with beef once…we love to use elk or deer roasts cut into large chunks. We’ll usually serve it over brown rice and then eat the leftovers in tortillas the next day for lunch. We’ve fooled a lot of picky eaters into eating game meat with this one!

  • rebecca estep

    is this spicy? Looks amazing!!!

  • pamela

    Do you have any idea how many pounds of boneless chuck would be the equivalent amount? Also, would you cook for the same amount of time in the slow cooker? Thanks!

    • You’re fine using 4-5 lbs, that’s the size roast I typically grab. Same amount of time. It’s delicious!

      • pamela

        Thanks! I’ve made it before using the ribs, but I made the mistake of sending my husband to the market this time and he freaked out at the price of 5-6 lbs of ribs, so … chuck roast it is 🙂

  • Robert Schimonitz

    I saw the recipe and made them…. after that people ask me to make it for their parties. .. kind of expensive I usually spend 70$ total but I make 7 lbs…with that being said I only cook it on special occasions…. thanks for the recipe everyone loves it. BTW sometimes I put mine in spring rolls FYI it’s amazing

  • Melanie

    Tried this recipe over a year ago and I make it all the time! Sooooooooo good!

  • Rob Hoak

    I made these but instead I made Bulgogi…. Grilled and BOOM! Very good and my family loves them.

  • sandmeister

    has anyone tried this in an Instant Pot?

    • Mandy

      I have a stovetop pressure cooker. I browned the meat first but otherwise followed the recipe. I cooked the meat 15 mins per inch at high pressure & came out well. I used chuck roast.

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