This is the tastiest instant pot shredded beef, with Mexican flavored spices like chipotle. It comes together so easily with an electric pressure cooker, and is tender, packed with flavor, and perfect for topping rice bowls or tacos with. Instant pot shredded Mexican beef is going to be your new favorite weeknight dinner!
- What’s so good about instant pot shredded beef?
- What is beef barbacoa?
- What’s the best cut of meat to use for Mexican shredded beef?
- Ingredients you need for this recipe:
- How to make this easy instant pot beef:
- Slow cooker method:
- Stove top method:
- How to serve instant pot barbacoa:
- Storing leftover instant pot pulled beef:
- Recipe tips and tricks:
- Recipe FAQs:
- For more instant pot recipes:
- Instant Pot Shredded Beef
What’s so good about instant pot shredded beef?
- It’s really simple to make, and tastes like your favorite restaurant beef barbacoa. Best of all, most of it is hands off time.
- Everything is made in one pot, you can use saute mode to sear the beef and saute the onions, pressure mode to cook, and keep warm mode to keep the beef hot until ready to serve!
- The flavors are perfectly balanced- there’s a hint of spice, but it’s not so spicy that kids can’t enjoy this. The chipotle peppers give a wonderful deep smoky flavor, and you can adjust how much you add to your preference.
- You can take a cheap cut of meat like chuck, round, or brisket, and transform it with the power of high pressure cooking to the most tender, shredded and delicious meat.
What is beef barbacoa?
This recipe can also be referred to as instant pot beef barbacoa. Beef barbacoa is a commonly consumed dish in Mexican and Tex-mex cuisine (my go to at Chipotle!). It typically refers to slow cooked beef cooked in a variety of spices and with chipotle peppers, just like this recipe. The only difference is we use an electric pressure cooker to tenderize the meat instead of the slow cooking method.
What’s the best cut of meat to use for Mexican shredded beef?
Any tough cut of meat with marbling, like the chuck I prefer, or round, or brisket. They all work really well, you don’t need expensive meat whatsoever in this!
Ingredients you need for this recipe:
Chuck roast: (or round or brisket): trim any obvious excess fat off of this or have the butcher do it, and cut into 3-4 large pieces to help it sear/cook better.
Olive oil: for searing the meat and sautéing onion and garlic.
Spices: salt and pepper, both for seasoning the meat before searing, and for enhancing the flavor of the broth the shredded meat sits in. Dried oregano, cumin powder, paprika powder, and bay leaves.
Soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce: optional, but both add a great umami flavor to the dish.
White vinegar: A touch of vinegar adds that necessary acidity to the sauce. You can also substitute with apple cider vinegar.
Beef broth: You can use the liquid ready stuff, homemade broth, or a beef bouillon cube dissolved in hot water.
Adobe chipotle peppers and sauce: Mince the pepper that you get out of the jar, and scoop out some of the sauce from the jar. If you are worried about heat, add just 1 tbsp, otherwise add in the 2 tbsp.
If you can’t find jarred chipotles, substitute with 2 tablespoon tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder!
How to make this easy instant pot beef:
- Heat the olive oil on Instant Pot’s saute mode. Once hot, season the beef chunks all over with salt and pepper, and brown on each side, a few minutes a side, then remove and set aside on a plate.
- To the same oil, add the onion. Saute 2-3 minutes until browned, then add the garlic cloves and all the spices. Stir and cook a minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the beef broth as well as the chipotle pepper and sauce, lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, white vinegar and bay leaves. Scrape the bottom of the Instant Pot for any residue (to avoid getting a burn notice), and stir to combine well.
- Select high pressure and cook for 60 minutes Once cooking time is over, either wait until pot naturally releases all the pressure before opening, or wait 15-20 minutes and force release the pressure.
- Use two forks, and shred the beef. It should shred very easily. Serve in the sauce, either over rice, or in tacos
Check the video in the recipe card to see the steps in action!
Slow cooker method:
Sear the beef in a large skillet, then transfer to slow cooker. Add all the remaining ingredients, and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours. Beef should shred easily, if it doesn’t, continue cooking until it does.
Stove top method:
Sear the beef in a large pot until browned, then set aside onto a plate. Add the onions into the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to brown. At this point add the garlic, and all the spices and cook another minute.
Add in all the remaining ingredients, and bring mixture to a low simmer, then cover and cook for 2.5-3 hours until meat is very tender and can be shredded easily with two forks.
How to serve instant pot barbacoa:
This makes the best beef tacos! Just serve with tortillas, shredded lettuce, jalapeños, black olives, diced tomatoes, and homemade guacamole.
I also often have this served over brown rice as burrito rice bowls for a healthier option. Load it up with the same toppings you’d put on tacos.
Storing leftover instant pot pulled beef:
Leftover instant pot pulled beef will last tightly covered in the fridge for up to 5 days (making this great for meal prep). Store with the cooking liquid to avoid the beef drying out.
You can also freeze the leftover shredded beef and sauce in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months- thaw overnight in the fridge, and it tastes just as good as fresh!
Recipe tips and tricks:
- Make sure you cut the beef into large chunks. It’ll brown more easily, and cook through more thoroughly in the instant pot.
- If you want the sauce to be thicker, you can add a cornstarch slurry. Once the beef is done cooking, switch to saute mode. In a small bowl, stir together 1.5 cornstarch with 2 tablespoon water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring often until thickened.
- You can make this in a slow cooker, or on the stovetop too! See above, or in the recipe card for instructions on how to do so.
- Store any leftovers with the sauce to keep this from drying out!
Substitute for 2 tablespoon of tomato paste and 1/2 teaspoon of chipotle powder.
Try round roast or brisket.
Yes! It’s a great source of protein, and you can enjoy this low carb using low carb tortillas, cauliflower rice or quinoa. Pile on the veggies for extra nutrition.
If you cut the beef into large chunks, 60 minutes of cooking time should be perfect! It should shred easily and fall apart.
For more instant pot recipes:
Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟rating in the recipe card and a comment!
Instant Pot Shredded Beef
- Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker
- salt and pepper to season beef
- 2.5-3 lb chuck roast, fat trimmed and cut into 3-4 big pieces 1-1.5 kg
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 teaspoon cumin powder
- 2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika powder
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1 chipotle pepper in adobe sauce, minced see notes for substitutions
- 1-2 tablespoon chipotle sauce from the can
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 2 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire
- 2 bay leaves
- Turn Instant Pot onto saute mode, and add the olive oil. Once hot, add the beef pieces, and brown on each side, a few minutes a side. Once a brown crust forms, remove and set aside on a plate.
- To the same oil, add the onion. Saute 2-3 minutes until browned, then add the garlic cloves and all the spices (cumin, oregano, salt, pepper, paprika ). Stir and cook a minute or so until fragrant.
- Add the beef broth, scraping up the bottom of the Instant Pot for any residue (to avoid getting a burn notice) as well as the chipotle pepper and sauce, white vinegar, lime juice, soy sauce, Worcestershire, and bay leaves. Stir to combine well.
- Select high pressure and cook for 60 minutes (make sure valve is sealed before you start). Once cooking time is over, either wait until pot naturally releases all the pressure before opening, or wait 15-20 minutes and force release the pressure.
- Use two forks, and shred the beef. It should shred very easily. Serve in the sauce, either over rice, or in tacos.
- Once the beef is done cooking, switch to saute mode. In a small bowl, stir together 1.5 cornstarch with 2 tablespoon water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot and cook for a few minutes, stirring often until thickened.