18 ratings

Slow Cooker Short Rib Taco Soup

Skip the hard taco shells
Slow Cooker Short Rib Taco Soup
Abel Uribe/Chicago Tribune; Shannon Kinsella/food styling

Nothing tastes better than some soup in the fall, and what better way to use taco seasoning and green chiles for an extra kick?

Ready in
6 h 30 m
30 m
(prepare time)
6 h
(cook time)
Calories Per Serving


I like to use a sauce-based taco seasoning made from tomatoes and onions rather than powdered seasoning. If taco sauce pouches are not available, substitute the dried seasoning pack (1 ounce) along with an 8 ounce can of tomato sauce.

Dutch oven method: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Brown meat as directed in Step 2 in the bottom of a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven. Then remove browned meat to proceed with step 3. Return meat to Dutch oven and add remaining ingredients as directed in step 3, but increasing water to 4 or 5 cups. Bake, tightly covered, stirring once or twice, until meat is fall-apart tender, about 2 hours. Add black beans. Proceed with steps 5 and 6 to serve.


  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 1/2 Pounds bone-in beef short ribs
  • 1/2-3/4 Pound flank steak or skirt steak, cut into 3 pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil or safflower oil
  • 1 large poblano pepper, cored, seeded, diced
  • 1 large yellow onion, quartered, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 pouch (8 ounces) ground beef taco seasoning sauce
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, undrained
  • Crumbled seasoned tortilla chips, for garnish
  • Shredded cheese such as Monterey jack, Chihuahua or brick, for garnish
  • Diced ripe avocado, for garnish
  • Diced canned or fresh tomatoes, for garnish
  • Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
  • Green hot sauce, for garnish
  • Lime wedges, for garnish


Step 1: Mix 1/4 cup flour, 1teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in large bowl. Add 2 1/2 pounds short ribs; toss to coat. Add 1/2-3/4 pound flank steak; toss to coat.

Step 2: Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet with deep sides over medium heat until hot. Add meat in a single uncrowded layer. Cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer meat to a 4- or 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat to brown all meat.

Step 3: Add 1 diced poblano and 1 chopped onion to pan drippings in skillet. Cook and stir until onion is golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic; cook, 1 minute. Scrape into slow cooker. Add 1 can tomatoes, 1 pouch taco seasoning sauce and 3 to 4 cups water. (Meat should be barely covered with liquid.)

Step 4: Cook covered on low setting, 6 hours. Add 1 can black beans in the last hour or so. Use tongs to remove meat from slow cooker to a cutting board. Discard bones from the short ribs. Use two large forks to pull meat into shreds.

Step 5: Return shredded meat to slow cooker. Taste and adjust seasonings. (If desired, refrigerate covered for several days. Scrape off and discard solidified fat from surface of soup before reheating. After reheating, adjust consistency with water and then adjust seasonings with salt.)

Step 6: Serve in wide soup bowls topped with garnishes as desired. Pass hot sauce and lime wedges for guests to add to taste.