Slow Cooker Salsa Beef

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When you’re in need of the easiest ever dinner, this Slow Cooker Salsa Beef is just the thing! It’s naturally gluten free, dairy free, and paleo, and it takes just minutes to put together. You can also make this dish right on the stove top rather quickly as well, and it makes the tastiest taco bowls.

A large black bowl filled with Slow Cooker Salsa Beef with a small bowl of salsa on the side.

This is by far the easiest meal I’ve ever made. All the ingredients are placed into the slow cooker, turned to low for 8 hours, and that’s it! Also the whole house smells amazing as it’s cooking. In fact it’s almost better not to be home at all while it’s cooking. The second time I made this, I was home the entire day and the delicious smells were driving me crazy all day long.

The first time we had this salsa beef over sweet potatoes, and the second time we tried it over rice. Neither one of us can decide which is the better flavor choice. But we do know for sure that the more toppings, the better!

We’ve been making this super simple dinner for almost 8 years now and it’s still a go-to favorite. I’ve even taken to adding some different spices to the mix, so I knew it was time for an update to share my new tips.

Slow Cooker Salsa Beef piled into a taco bowl with avocado, chopped onion, and letuce.

The absolute simplest way to make salsa beef is with just 2 ingredients – salsa + ground beef. But I’ve found with a few extra ingredients, it’s even better. So below you’ll find a bit of onion and pepper along with some spices in the recipe that just add so much flavor.

This recipe is also great for meal prepping too. We like making taco bowls with this recipe. And having the salsa beef already done makes dinner a cinch!

Let’s talk about the super simple ingredients for this Slow Cooker Salsa Beef!

  • Ground beef – is my go-to choice here because it’s so simple and affordable. I know a lot of recipes use a tough cut of beef and allow it to slow cook. But by using ground beef it cuts down the prep time which was my main goal to make this as easy as possible.
  • Onions, garlic & peppers – These 3 add so much flavor to the finished salsa beef. But since I know so many have trouble with peppers, rest assured you can easily leave them out. The onions and garlic will carry you in the flavor department no problem.
  • Spices – I used to put just a bit of ground cumin in my original salsa beef recipe. But over time I’ve taken to adding the ground chipotle and the smoked paprika you see listed in the recipe. They add great smokey chili flavor that definitely levels up this recipe.
  • Salsa – use any kind of salsa you’d like to eat with chips. Salsa is the main flavoring ingredient in this recipe, so you definitely need to love the flavor of what you’re using. Also I listed mild salsa in the recipe because the chipotle adds just the smallest amount of heat. So the finished salsa beef is quite mild, what I would call ‘kid-friendly’. But feel free to use a medium to hot salsa or even add more chipotle if you like some spice.

Ok let’s jump in and make this Slow Cooker Salsa Beef recipe step by step!

Chopped up onions and peppers on a wooden cutting board.

Step 1:

First we’ll prep all the ingredients. Measure out the spices, mince the garlic, and dice up the bell pepper and onion.

Ground beef with chopped onions and peppers in a slow cooker bowl.

Step 2:

Add the ground beef to the slow cooker along with the onions and bell pepper. Using a wooden spoon or something appropriate for you slow cooker, break up the ground beef together with the onions and peppers.

Adding the salsa to the slow cooker bowl over the ground beef mixture.

Step 3:

Mix the spices and minced garlic into the salsa and pour it over the ground beef.

The salsa being mixed in to the ground beef and onion mixture.

Step 4 & 5:

Mix the salsa mixture into the beef mixture. And finally turn the slow cooker on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

A large bowl of Salsa Beef with a striped linen and wooden spoon.

How to serve Salsa Beef:

  • Build-a-taco-bowl – start with a base (lettuce, rice, roasted sweet potatoes) top with salsa beef, sliced avocado or guacamole, extra salsa, and grated cheese and sour cream if you can have dairy. For dairy free, try my Creamy Cilantro Chimichurri – so bright and tasty!
  • Quesadilla – start with tortillas of choice, (we love the grain free from Siete) fill with salsa beef and jalapeno jack cheese. Cook on both sides until melted and serve with salsa and avocado.
  • Omelet – pile some into and omelet and top with salsa and avocado.
A 'taco bowl' made with salsa beef piled over rice with toppings.

And of course even more Mexican recipe inspiration!

A bowl full of rice topped with Salsa Beef, lettuce, avocado, red onion, and salsa.

I hope you enjoy this salsa beef as much as we have! I never used to be a huge slow cooker fan. But this recipe was the beginning of a different way of thinking for me. There’s nothing quite like coming home to dinner already done, and the whole house smelling amazing.

So if you’re looking for some more easy slow cooker dinners, definitely let me know below what you’d like to see! And If you do make this, I hope you’ll leave me a comment/rating below, I always love hearing from you here.

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A 'taco bowl' made with salsa beef piled over rice with toppings.

Slow Cooker Salsa Beef

  • Author: Kari
  • Total Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


This super easy Salsa Beef is sure to become a new favorite go-to recipe for weeknight dinners!



1 large onion, diced into 1/4dice

2 bell peppers (I used red & yellow), cut into 1/2″ pieces

1 pound ground beef

1 clove garlic, minced

2 Teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon chipotle powder

116 ounce jar mild salsa, about 2 cups

Extras for serving:

Rice, Cauliflower rice, or Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Guacamole, Salsa, shredded lettuce, sour cream, grated cheddar cheese


Place the onion, bell pepper, and ground beef into the slow cooker bowl.  Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat into small pieces.

Mix the minced garlic and spices into the salsa. Then add the salsa mixture over top of the ground beef. Mix to combine, and turn the slow cooker to low for 8 hours, or high for 4 hours.

If you want the peppers to be firmer, check the slow cooker to see if they’re the desired doneness starting at around 5 hours on low.

Serve with any or all of the toppings.

To make this on the stove top, cook the ground beef in a large skillet breaking it up into small pieces. Add the onion, peppers, and garlic, cook stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Then add the spices and salsa to the pan. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer until the onions and peppers are tender, about 10-15 minutes. Add a touch of water or broth if at any point the beef mixture gets too dry.


Sodium content varies from brand to brand with salsa. To cut down on sodium, try making my Fire Roasted Blender Salsa and add salt to your taste, or none at all. This salsa freezes well and works beautifully in this recipe.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 8 hours
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican

Keywords: Salsa Beef, Crockpot Salsa Beef, Ground Beef Salsa Slow Cooker, Salsa Beef Slow Cooker

This recipe was originally published in 2013, but has been updated in 2021 with new tips, nutritional information, and new photos.

12 thoughts on “Slow Cooker Salsa Beef”

  1. I made this last night for dinner and put it over cauliflower rice with lots of toppings. It was great and so easy. Thanks for the dinner idea!

    • I’m so glad you liked it, it’s still the easiest most crowd pleasing Crock-pot recipe I’ve ever made! I love making extra and having Mexican Bowls all week long!

  2. I am also cooking for one. I gobbled down two bowls of this immediately when I got home. I turned most of the rest into enchiladas in disposable aluminum pans and froze two of them for later. The enchiladas were different enough that they were a whole new meal. Love how easy and tasty this was!

    • I love the idea of turning the leftovers into enchiladas 🙂 We used some of ours to make a taco salad one night and that was really good too!

  3. Ooo, I like the new display of posts on the bottom. And I had sweet potato tacos for dinner the last two nights. I’m kind of tired of sweet potatoes now. Cooking for one is lame.

    • I know what you mean, I made 2 recipes of Crockpot Salsa Beef and we ate most of it, but froze the rest because we didn’t want to wear out a good thing!

  4. I love coming home to a warm and ready-to-eat meal in the crockpot! Today I have a somewhat similar chicken dish in my crockpot, but I’ll have to try this one next.

        • You can if you’d like, there’s lots of speculation on whether or not you need to precook or at least brown your meat before slow cooking it! If you do brown the ground beef first, the cooking time might be a little shorter. Hope you enjoy the recipe, and be sure to let me know if you have anymore questions! 🙂


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