Tender, juicy shredded beef, in a flavorful spiced sauce. Perfect for tacos, burritos, salads, and more. This instant pot barbacoa recipe is cooked in the pressure cooker which gives it a cooked-all-day flavor but it is made in about an hour. Serve them up with a side of pinto beans and Mexican rice for a meal you won't forget!
Why This Recipe Works
Traditionally barbacoa is a preparation of meat (usually beef - or sometimes goat or sheep) that is steam cooked in an underground oven until it is falling apart tender. We are going to achieve this in a fraction of the time using an electric pressure cooker. This barbacoa beef recipe is going to knock your socks off! If you've had the barbacoa at chipotle, this has a very similar flavor.
About The Ingredients
All of the ingredients for this recipe can be purchased at your local grocery store. Here are a few things to note:
- Beef roast - You can use a beef chuck roast, beef rump roast or a beef brisket for this recipe. Choose a nice cut of beef that has some marbling.
- Canned chipotle peppers - these can be located in the ethnic food aisle at your grocery store. Purchase the whole chipotle peppers in adobo. We are going to be using both the peppers and the adobo.
- Rice vinegar - this is the secret ingredient. It tenderizes the beef and makes it all apart tender. You can also sub apple cider vinegar if you prefer. Both will do the same thing.
A complete list of ingredients is located in the recipe card below.
How To Make Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa?
Step 1: In your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, add olive oil. Select the saute setting and heat oil.
Expert Tip - browning your meat adds flavor, and a depth to the dish. Don't skip this step! The 10 minutes it will take you are well worth it in the end.
Step 2: Season beef with salt and pepper. Sear both sides of your roast in oil.
Step 3: Add diced onion and garlic.
Step 4: Add in 1 diced chipotle pepper and 1 tablespoon of the adobo sauce from the can.
Step 5: Add lime zest and lime juice.
Step 6: Add cumin, chili powder, chipotle, and paprika
Step 7: Add tomato sauce, vinegar, and beef broth. Using the manual mode, cook for 90 minutes and allow a natural pressure release. As a general rule, when cooking beef roasts in a pressure cooker, assume 20 minutes of cook time for every pound of meat.
Expert Tip - if you have a thicker cut of meat, it may take longer to cook in the pressure cooker. If you are in a rush, cut your roast in to smaller chunks.
Step 8: Remove beef from pressure cooker and shred. Return shredded meat to liquid.
How Do I Serve Barbacoa?
This shredded meat can be served up inside of tacos, burritos, on nachos, or in salads. Each are so so delicious. Here are a few suggestions:
Burritos - serve on a warm burrito sized flour tortilla with jack cheese, diced onions, and cilantro.
Nachos - serve on corn tortilla chips with melted cheddar cheese and homemade guacamole.
Salads - serve on a crisp bed of greens with black beans, cilantro lime rice, tortilla strips, lime wedges and our creamy jalapeno dressing.
Tacos - serve on a taco sized corn tortilla with cheese. Brush one side with olive oil. On the dry side add barbacoa and cheese, fold in half. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with guacamole and red onions.
Instant Pot Barbacoa FAQ
Birria is made by submerging barbacoa in a sauce that is prepared in, almost treating it like a gravy or au jus. Barbacoa is served without the cooking liquid.
You can use a beef chuck roast, rump roast or a brisket for this recipe. Choose a nice cut of beef that has some marbling.
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa will last 5 days in your fridge in an airtight container.
Usually the answer to this question is that you haven't cooked it long enough. If you want your meat to be more tender, put back in the pressure cooker for an additional 30 minutes cooking time.
Absolutely, sear your beef roast in a skillet, and then add all ingredients to your slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Browning your beef - this step adds a huge punch of flavor, and is definitely not something you want to skip. It will take 5-7 on each side to get a nice crispy edge.
Shredding beef roast - To shred instant pot barbacoa beef, place two dinner forks, with their backs facing each other, adjacent to each other in a portion of the meat. Pull the forks in opposite directions, breaking up the meat into shards as you pull. Discard any bits of gristle or fat remaining in the shredded meat. Repeat until all your meat is shredded.
Cooking Times - As a general rule, when cooking beef roasts in a pressure cooker, assume 20 minutes of cook time for every pound of meat. If you have a thicker cut of meat, it may take longer to cook in the pressure cooker. If you are in a rush, cut your roast in to smaller chunks.
Other Recipes You May Enjoy
If you enjoyed this recipe, you are gonna love:
Instant Pot Carnitas - this is another pressure cooker recipe that you don't want to pass up. Tender, mild pork that is served browned with lots of toppings.
Baja Fish Tacos - these guys are a copycat of the Rubios tacos. Beer battered fish with a dreamy creamy white sauce.
Chipotle Cream Sauce - this stuff makes all tacos magic! I promise. It uses adobo sauce to season creamy sour cream and mayo for a sauce you'll crave over and over.
Let's Be Besties!
If you tried beef barbacoa recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t be shy! Let us know! Rate the recipe and leave us a comment below. You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest to see what else we’re getting up to!
Instant Pot Barbacoa
- Pressure Cooker
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 lb beef chuck roast, rump roast, or brisket
- salt and pepper
- ½ onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- zest from 1 lime
- juice from 1 lime
- 1 canned chipotle pepper minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground chipotle
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 cup beef broth
- In your Instant Pot or pressure cooker, add olive oil. Select the saute setting and heat oil.
- Sear both sides of your roast in oil.
- Add onion, garlic, lime zest, lime juice, chipotle pepper, spices, tomato sauce, vinegar, and beef broth.
- Using the manual mode, cook for 90 minutes and use a natural pressure release.
- Remove beef from pressure cooker and shred.
- Meanwhile set pressure cooker to saute and reduce liquid by about a third.
- Return shredded meat to liquid.
- Serve on tacos, burritos, quesadillas, or salads. Serving suggestions in notes.
- Burritos - serve on a warm burrito sized flour tortilla with jack cheese, diced onions, and cilantro.
- Nachos - serve on corn tortilla chips with melted cheddar cheese and homemade guacamole.
- Salads - serve on a crisp bed of greens with black beans, cilantro lime rice, tortilla strips, lime wedges and our creamy jalapeno dressing.
- Tacos - serve on a taco sized corn tortilla with cheese. Brush one side with olive oil. On the dry side add barbacoa and cheese, fold in half. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 425 for about 5 minutes. Flip and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve with guacamole and red onions.
I made this for a family gathering and it was super delicious!! I got a lot of compliments! I loved the flavor with a little kick but not too spicy!! It was pretty quick and easy and I had everything on had except the chipotle peppers! I'll be making this one again! Thanks!
Brooke Aguiar says
No salt & pepper?
There is plenty of saltiness in the broth, but feel free to add to taste. :)
The instructions in the post say 60 minutes and natural release, but the recipe says 44 minutes and quick release. Which one is correct?
That is a typo. It has been corrected. Thanks for the heads up.
Cyndi hench says
Have you ever tried marinading the meat before cooking? I am going to make this today and was just wondering if the flavors would be richer with marinade.
I've not marinated the meat before cooking. I get plenty of flavor without marinating. Let me know how it turns out.
Emily Kemp says
I love that I can make these in the instant pot, so easy!