Tri Tip Tacos Recipe: Zesty, Tangy, and a Flavorful Fiesta

Instant Slow Cooker Tri Tip Tacos Recipe
4 from 1 vote
Instant Slow Cooker Tri Tip Tacos Recipe
Savor the ease of Slow Cooker Tri-Tip—marinated, slow-cooked perfection for a hassle-free and flavorful taco experience.

Greetings from a gourmet experience that will surely up your taco game with the mouthwatering tri-tip tacos! Succulent tri-tip steak and a colorful variety of fresh ingredients come together in these zesty tri-tip tacos to create a symphony of sensations. Imagine juicy tomatoes, crisp lettuce, and a symphony of spices dancing on your tongue as you tuck into soft, grilled tri-tip slices wrapped in warm corn tortillas. Every mouthwatering bite of this recipe’s delectable blend of smokiness, spice, and freshness is a celebration of powerful tastes and simplicity.

These tri-tip tacos are the ideal answer if you’re craving a tasty and quick weekday meal or hosting a casual dinner. This recipe’s amazing flavor and effortless preparation is only two of its many wonderful qualities. You can quickly put together a fiesta on your plate that will have everyone requesting seconds. Come along as we explore how to make these delicious tri-tip tacos and transform your kitchen into a flavorful refuge!

Overview: How to cook Tri Tip Tacos?

Get ready for a flavor-packed fiesta with these Zesty Tri-Tip Tacos! This easy-to-follow recipe, much like my favorite Shrimp Tacos, begins with marinating tri-tip steak in a mouthwatering blend of spices, garlic, and lime juice, infusing the meat with a bold and savory essence. The magic happens on the grill, where the tri-tip sizzles to perfection, creating a smoky and tender centerpiece for your tacos.

Once the tri-tip is grilled to your liking, it’s time to assemble these delicious tacos. Warm corn tortillas provide the canvas for this culinary masterpiece. Layer on the grilled tri-tip slices, and then let your creativity shine as you add crisp shredded lettuce, diced tomatoes, and any other favorite toppings. Top it all off with a drizzle of zesty salsa or a dollop of creamy guacamole for an extra kick. These Zesty Tri-Tip Tacos are a quick and delightful way to bring the flavors of a Mexican-inspired feast to your table, making them a perfect choice for a festive gathering or a simple weeknight treat.

What is Tri Tip?

Tri-tip is a beef cut that originates from the primal bottom sirloin, which is situated close to the cow’s flank and sirloin. It is a triangular-shaped muscle that, when prepared correctly, has a rich flavor and is soft. Because of its popularity in the Santa Maria Valley of California, where it has long been a favorite for grilling, tri-tip is frequently referred to as the “Santa Maria steak“.

Although there are several ways to prepare this cut, it is often grilled or roasted. Remember that tri-tip can be very lean, so adding fat when marinating or grilling it will improve its flavor and juiciness. To keep the tri-tip delicate, it is usually sliced against the grain before serving. Barbecue aficionados and home cooks alike have come to love this cut due to its mouthwatering flavor and simplicity of preparation.

Grilled v/s Roasted v/s Slow Cooker

Cooking MethodDirect heat on a grill.Dry heat in an oven.Slow-cooked in a crockpot.
TextureTypically has a charred exterior and juicy interior.Tends to have a roasted crust with a slightly different texture.Slow cooking results in a tender and often more shredded texture.
Flavor ProfileIntense, smoky, with grill marks.Rich, roasted flavors.Deep, melded flavors due to slow cooking.
Preparation TimeRelatively quick, usually under an hour.Longer cooking time, often around 1-2 hours.Extended cooking time, usually several hours.
Ease of PreparationQuick and straightforward.Requires monitoring but still manageable.Very hands-off, set-it-and-forget-it approach.
Recommended OccasionsGreat for outdoor gatherings, barbecues, or quick meals.Suitable for family dinners or special occasions.Convenient for busy days or when you want a hands-free cooking experience.
Recommended Seasoning/ MarinadesOften marinated with bold, savory flavors suitable for grilling.Can be marinated with various herbs and spices for roasting.Works well with liquid-based marinades for added moisture during slow cooking.

If asked to pick only one, I’d go for slow cooker tri-tip. The method results in a tender and flavorful dish that requires minimal effort. It’s perfect for busy days when you want a set-it-and-forget-it approach, and the extended cooking time allows the flavors to meld, producing deliciously moist and succulent tri-tip tacos.

Instant Slow Cooker Tri Tip Tacos Recipe

Instant Slow Cooker Tri Tip Tacos Recipe

Savor the ease of Slow Cooker Tri-Tip—marinated, slow-cooked perfection for a hassle-free and flavorful taco experience.
4 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours 10 minutes
Shredding and Serving Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 12 hours 50 minutes
Calories: 400kcal
Author: Austin Carter
Servings: 6


  • Slow Cooker
  • Skillet
  • Cutting Board and Knife
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Measuring Spoons and Cups
  • Shallow Dish
  • Tongs
  • Serving Platter


  • 3 pounds tri-tip roast
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (for searing, optional)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (optional, for thickening)


  • In a bowl, whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, rosemary, thyme, smoked paprika, salt, and black pepper. This creates a flavorful marinade for the tri-tip.
  • Place the tri-tip in a large resealable plastic bag or a shallow dish. Pour the marinade over the meat, ensuring it is well-coated. Seal the bag or cover the dish and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight for optimal flavor absorption.
  • Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the marinated tri-tip on all sides until browned. This step is optional but enhances the overall flavor.
  • Transfer the tri-tip and marinade to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours or until the meat is tender and easily shreddable.
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce, mix 2 tablespoons of flour with a small amount of water to create a smooth paste. Stir the paste into the slow cooker during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  • Once cooked, shred the tri-tip using two forks. Serve the tender meat on warm tortillas with your favorite taco toppings or alongside your preferred sides.


    1. Marinate for Flavor: Enhance taste by marinating tri-tip with soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and herbs.
    2. Optional Searing: Consider searing in a hot skillet before slow cooking for added flavor.
    3. Low and Slow: Cook on the slow cooker’s low setting for 6-8 hours for tender results.
    4. Thicken if Desired: Add a flour-water paste in the last 30 minutes for a thicker sauce or gravy.


Calories: 400kcal
Keyword santa maria tri tip tacos, slow cooker tri tip tacos, tri tip tacos, tri tip tacos recipe, tri tip tacos recipes, tri tip tacos slow cooker


Calories300-400 kcal
Protein25-35 g
Fat15-25 g
Carbohydrates5-10 g
Fiber1-2 g
Sugars1-3 g

Substitutions and Variations

Instant Slow Cooker Tri Tip Tacos Recipe


  1. Tri-Tip Alternatives: If tri-tip is unavailable, you can substitute with other beef cuts like chuck roast or brisket for slow cooking. Adjust cooking times accordingly.
  2. Marinade Variations: Customize the marinade with your preferred herbs and spices. For example, try adding cumin, chili powder, or a splash of citrus juice for a different flavor profile.
  3. Gluten-Free Option: If you need a gluten-free option, use tamari or coconut aminos instead of soy sauce, and ensure other ingredients are gluten-free.
  4. Vegetarian Option: For a vegetarian version, consider using large portobello mushrooms or tofu and marinate them with the same flavorful marinade.


  1. Smoky Twist: Add a smoky element to your tri-tip tacos by incorporating smoked paprika or using chipotle peppers in adobo sauce in the marinade.
  2. Herb Infusion: Experiment with fresh herbs like oregano, thyme, or cilantro to create a herb-infused flavor in the marinade.
  3. Asian Fusion: Infuse an Asian flair by adding ginger, sesame oil, or teriyaki sauce to the marinade, and serve the shredded tri-tip in lettuce wraps with an Asian slaw.
  4. Taco Bar: Set up a taco bar with various toppings like shredded cheese, salsa, guacamole, and sour cream, allowing everyone to customize their slow-cooked tri-tip tacos.

Feel free to get creative and tailor the recipe to your taste preferences or dietary needs.

Best Served With?

  1. Reuben Sandwich
  2. Cucumber Salad
  3. Beets and Goat Cheese Salad
  4. Red Beans and Rice Bowl

Storage Tips!

  1. Refrigeration: Store leftover slow-cooked tri-tip in an airtight container in the refrigerator once it has cooled.
  2. Reheating: Safely reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop, ensuring it reaches a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  3. Freezing: Freeze leftovers in a labeled freezer-safe container for up to 2-3 months.
  4. Thawing: Thaw frozen tri-tip in the refrigerator overnight or using the microwave’s defrost function.
  5. Creative Use: Repurpose leftovers into new dishes, such as omelets, wraps, or stir-fries, to avoid food waste and add variety to your meals.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: What kind of salsa goes good with tri-tip tacos?

A: Upgrade tri-tip tacos with diverse salsas: Pico de Gallo for freshness, Roasted Tomato for smokiness, Mango for sweetness, Avocado for creaminess, and Charred Corn for a grilled twist. Elevate your taco game with these quick flavor boosts.

Q2: Can I use a different cut of beef for these tacos?

A: Certainly! While tri-tip is recommended, cuts like chuck roast or brisket can be great substitutes for slow cooking.

Q3: How long can I store leftover slow-cooked tri-tip?

A: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for 3-4 days. For longer storage, freeze in a labeled container for up to 2-3 months.

Q4: Can I prepare the marinade in advance?

A: Absolutely! Prepare the marinade ahead and refrigerate. The longer the tri-tip marinates, the more flavorful it becomes.

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