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Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef

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Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef makes the best street tacos! This authentic Mexican beef recipe is easy to make and pairs well with a variety of toppings.

Barbacoa beef roast resting on white serving plate after being cooking in an Instant pot.

Traditionally, barbacoa is made from beef cheek meat. However, beef cheeks are not something most of us have in our freezers.

You can also make barbacoa with beef roasts, which most of us have access to. My recipe uses simple ingredients so you can easily recreate your favorite dish from Chipotle or a local Mexican restaurant.

It’s super flavorful and spicy (see tips below to adjust spice level). Whether you make it for Taco Tuesday or Sunday dinner, your whole family will love this delicious recipe.

Ingredients

  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 quartered and sliced onion
  • 1 bunch of chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 ½ tablespoons of taco seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon of sea salt
  • 6 cloves of minced garlic
  • 3 chipotle chili peppers in adobe sauce
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Tongs
  • Instant Pot

By the Numbers: How to Make Instant Pot Barbacoa

Step 1: Add Ingredients to Instant Pot.

The first thing you need to do is add all of ingredients to the inner pot of your Instant Pot, including a 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast; 2 cups of chicken stock; 1 sliced and quartered onion; 1 bunch of chopped cilantro; 1 ½ tablespoons of taco seasoning; ½ tablespoon of sea salt; 6 minced cloves of garlic; and 3 chipotle chili peppers in adobe sauce.

All ingredients for barbacoa beef in Instant Pot inner pan ready to pressure cook.

Step 2: Pressure Cook Beef.

Next, place the lid on the Instant Pot and make sure the valve is in the sealing position. Push the Pressure Cook button and set it on High Pressure for 1 hour. When the barbacoa is done cooking, use a full natural pressure release. Do not quick release the pressure. Open the lid once all pressure is dissipated.

Cooked barbacoa beef roast being removed from the Instant Pot with tongs.

Step 3: Shred Barbacoa.

Use tongs to remove the Barbacoa meat from the Instant Pot and transfer to a serving platter. It should be tender enough to pull apart with tongs or shred with a fork. If you want a milder Barbacoa, remove the chipotle chilis before shredding. If you want a spicier Barbacoa, shred the roast, allowing the chipotle pepper to break down into the shredded beef. You can even mix in a little extra adobo sauce from the can if you want more heat.

Barbacoa beef roast on white plate in front of Instant Pot after pressure cooking.

Step 4: Serve Barbacoa Tacos.

Serve your Instant Pot Barbacoa on warm corn tortillas with your favorite toppings like fresh lime juice, chopped cilantro and diced onion. See below for more ideas.

Barbacoa beef served in blue corn tortillas, topped with salsa, cilantro and onion and served with with black beans and Spanish rice.

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Tips for Making the Best Instant Pot Barbacoa

1. Can I use beef broth instead?

Yes, I love using beef broth when I make barbacoa. However, I always have chicken stock on hand (see my homemade chicken stock recipe), which is why I use it in this recipe.

Kettle and Fire has an amazing beef broth that tastes great in this recipe.

2. Cook time for larger or smaller roasts?

If you want tender meat, it’s important to use the right cooking time. For this particular cut of beef, you want to pressure cook it for about 20 minutes per pound.

  • If your roast is 3 pounds like mine, pressure cook it for 60 minutes.
  • If you have a 5 pound roast, cook it for 100 minutes, or 1 hour 40 minutes.
  • For a 2 pound roast, decrease the cook time to 40 minutes.

If your barbacoa still isn’t tender after cooking, you can cook it for longer. Beef roasts tend to get more tender the longer they are pressure cooked.

If your roast took longer than expected, take note of the final cooking time for the next time you make this recipe.

3. How to serve Mexican barbacoa?

We usually eat barbacoa in street tacos. However, it’s also great in burritos, burrito bowls, nachos, taco soup, taco salads and more. You can even serve it with cauliflower rice for a lighter meal.

Some of my favorite sides to serve with Instant Pot barbacoa tacos are:

  1. Refried beans
  2. Black beans (pictured above)
  3. Spanish rice (pictured above)
  4. Cilantro lime rice

4. Barbacoa taco topping ideas?

If you’re making barbacoa tacos, some of my favorite toppings are shredded cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole. I don’t find I need to add hot sauce to this recipe!

5. How to store leftover barbacoa?

Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container. Be sure to keep the cooking liquid! Use within 3-4 days.

6. How to reheat barbacoa?

We usually shred it, then put it in a covered pan on the stovetop with the reserved cooking liquid. Reheat on low so it doesn’t dry out.

7. Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?

Yes, just layer all of the ingredients in your slow cooker the same way shown in the recipe above. Then slow cook on low for 8 hours for tender slow cooker barbacoa.

8. Where to buy beef online?

I do a lot of online shopping to keep our freezer and pantry stocked so we always have beef chuck roasts to make this Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef recipe. Read more about where I buy meat online and also where I order produce online.

Barbacoa beef roast with chipotle peppers and onions on a white plate.

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Recipe

Learn how to make barbacoa beef in the Instant Pot in this easy recipe. It makes delicious tacos that are as good as most Mexican restaurants.
4.75 from 12 votes
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Recipe Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • 3 pound boneless beef chuck roast
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 onion - sliced into thin rounds and quartered
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro - chopped
  • 1 ½ tablespoons taco seasoning
  • ½ tablespoon sea salt
  • 6 garlic cloves - minced
  • 3 chipotle chili peppers in adobe sauce
  • 16 corn tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice - see below for ideas

Equipment

  • Knife
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Tongs
  • Instant Pot

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to the inner pot of your Instant Pot.
    All ingredients for barbacoa beef in Instant Pot inner pan ready to pressure cook.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot, then pressure cook on High Pressure for 1 hour. When it's done cooking, use a full natural pressure release. Open the lid after no more pressure remains and the pin drops.
    Cooked barbacoa beef roast being removed from the Instant Pot with tongs.
  • Transfer the Barbacoa to a serving platter. It should be tender enough to pull apart with tongs or shred with a fork. For a milder Barbacoa, remove the chilis before shredding. For a spicier Barbacoa, shred the roast together with the chipotle pepper.
    Barbacoa beef roast on white plate in front of Instant Pot after pressure cooking.
  • Serve your Instant Pot Barbacoa in tortillas with your favorite taco toppings.
    Barbacoa beef served in blue corn tortillas, topped with salsa, cilantro and onion and served with with black beans and Spanish rice.

Notes

Nutrition information does not include calculations for toppings or sides.

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 455kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 37g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 119mg | Sodium: 793mg | Potassium: 759mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 418IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 5mg

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