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Cola Shredded Beef Tacos

Photo: Annabelle Breakey; Styling: Randy Mon
Total time 4 hrs, 15 mins
Yield Serves 6 (makes 12 tacos) (serving size: 2 tacos)
This recipe is adapted from one in the book Amor y Tacos (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, May 2010; $19) by San Diego–based chef Deborah Schneider and features shredded beef chuck roast flavored with cola, tomatoes, chiles,  and cumin.


  • BEEF
  • 3 medium dried ancho chiles*
  • 2 large dried guajillo chiles*
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried Mexican oregano*
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 2 pounds chuck roast, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican Coca-Cola* (cane-sugar sweetened) or another cola (not diet)
  • 12 to 24 warm corn tortillas (6-in. size; use 24 if they're thin and floppy)
  • Accompaniments: chopped avocado, red onion, and cilantro; thinly sliced pickled jalapeños; and crema Mexicana* or regular sour cream

Nutrition Information

  • calories 587
  • caloriesfromfat 54 %
  • protein 32 g
  • fat 35 g
  • satfat 11 g
  • carbohydrate 40 g
  • fiber 6.5 g
  • sodium 607 mg
  • cholesterol 107 mg

How to Make It

  1. Make sauce for beef: Wipe chiles clean with a damp cloth, stem and seed, and tear into pieces. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add chiles and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water, the cumin, tomatoes, oregano, and 1 tsp. salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chiles are softened, about 10 minutes. Purée sauce in a blender until very smooth.

  2. Meanwhile, season beef with the remaining tsp. salt. Heat the remaining tbsp. oil in a 5- to 6-qt. pot over medium-high heat. Brown beef, turning occasionally, 10 to 14 minutes. Discard fat, if any.

  3. Pour sauce into pot and add bay leaf, cola, and a little water if needed to barely cover meat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until beef is very tender, 3 hours.

  4. With a slotted spoon, transfer beef to a plate. Let cool slightly, then tear into shreds, discarding any fat or gristle. Meanwhile, boil sauce over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened and reduced to about 3 cups, 10 to 30 minutes. Stir in beef and heat a few minutes until hot. Remove bay leaf.

  5. Make tacos: With a slotted spoon, transfer beef with some sauce to a bowl. Spoon beef into tortillas (double tortillas if they're thin), tuck in accompaniments, and serve with remaining sauce if you like.

  6. *Find in the Latino foods aisle or spice aisle of a supermarket, or at a Latino market.

  7. Make ahead: Through step 3; chill, covered, up to 2 days.

  8. Note: Nutritional analysis is per serving.