Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

This post may include affiliate links from brands we've partnered with. Please read our affiliate poilcy.

This Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa is a regular favorite around here. I also love that you can meal prep and freeze the shredded beef ahead of time.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

I think I could live on any kind of Mexican inspired taco bowl every single day of the week, (really this isn’t an exaggeration). In fact I’ve been known to make big batches of all the different taco components to do just that. It’s kind of like meal prepping, but with the intent to eat the same thing over and over again!

There’s just something so satisfying about bowl food. And when you combine that with Mexican flavors, well… that’s pretty much all I need.

Traditionally dishes like this Beef Barbacoa would be something I would only make on the weekends because it takes a long time to cook. But with the Instant Pot things are a whole lot quicker, and you could even pull this off on a weeknight.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

Even so, I still prefer this as a meal prepping kind of recipe where you make big batches to freeze for easy weeknight meals. Although it’s also the perfect party food because it does make quite a lot.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

How to make this Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa:

The sauce for this Beef Barbacoa couldn’t be any easier since it’s all blended up.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

Once the onion and garlic have been liquified, the seasonings are added in.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

Then you brown the cubes of meat, and pour the sauce over the top.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

From there the Instant Pot does all the work, and you come back to perfectly tender, shreddable meat. You can also do this in the slow cooker, but it does take a full 8 hours. This can be convenient depending on your work schedule to just let it cook all day long.

But for me, I prefer to make this quickly in the Instant Pot as part of my meal prepping. Then I just freeze it in portions for weeknight meals.

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

And the final touches are really all about the toppings. This dish is similar to my Chicken Tinga in that so many things go so well with it. Pictured here is cauliflower rice, Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and of course the beef.

But you can also pile this Beef Barbacoa into taco shells, lettuce wraps, or over roasted sweet potatoes. We’ve even made taco bowls with steamed rice which is really awesome too.

Then instead of the fresh salsa, you could sub in my Fire Roasted Blender Salsa, Mango Salsa, or Caramelized Pineapple Salsa. Really the sky is the limit, and anything taco related is probably going to be a good bet with this Beef Barbacoa!

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa Bowls (Whole30) | Get Inspired Everyday!

Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 13 reviews

  • Author: Kari
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: 810 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free


Super easy Mexican inspired comfort food in the Instant Pot!



1 cup chicken stock

4 cloves garlic

1 small white onion, roughly chopped, 2 cups

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 Teaspoon chipotle powder

1 Tablespoon dried oregano

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

1/4 Teaspoon ground cloves

2 Teaspoons sea salt, or to taste, see notes

1/2 Teaspoon ground black pepper

3 pounds beef chuck roast, cut into 2” cubes

2 Tablespoons avocado oil

2 bay leaves

1 Teaspoon dried oregano, (for the end of the cooking time)

To Serve:

6 cups frozen riced cauliflower, thawed

12 ripe avocados, sliced/diced, or 1 batch Homemade Guacamole

23 cups Pico de Gallo, or my Easy Fire Roasted Blender Salsa

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 lime, cut into wedges


Add the chicken stock, garlic cloves, onion, apple cider vinegar, and lime juice to the blender. Blend until smooth, then add the chipotle, oregano, cumin, cloves, sea salt, and pepper. Blend just to combine and set the sauce aside. 

Using the sauté function on the Instant Pot, brown the meat in the avocado oil in several batches. I prefer to brown the meat on the stove top which is messier, but so much faster than the Instant Pot.

When the meat is all browned, add it all to the Instant Pot, and pour the sauce over the top. Add the bay leaves, and set the Instant Pot to sealing and pressure cook for 1 hour.

After the cooking time is done, use the quick release function. When the Instant Pot is safe to open, use a slotted spoon to remove the beef for shredding. I put mine straight into the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, and use the paddle attachment to shred it. But you can also use 2 forks to pull apart the meat into shreds.

While you’re shredding the meat, turn the Instant Pot to sauté. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon dried oregano and reduce the sauce for 6-8 minutes.

Then turn off the Instant Pot, remove the bay leaves, and add the shredded meat back into the reduced sauce. Taste to adjust for salt, and serve with your choice of toppings.

If you’re serving this with the cauliflower rice, spread it evenly over a parchment lined baking pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and roast for 10 minutes at 425ºF.

To make this in a slow cooker, brown the meat on the stove top and place it in the slow cooker. Pour the sauce over the top of the meat, and add in the bay leaves. Cook on high for 4-6 hours or on low for 8-10 hours, or until the beef is shreddable tender. Then reduce the sauce a bit on the stove, and proceed as directed above to shred and season the beef.


You can always start with less salt, then just add it to your taste after the beef is done cooking.

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Category: Beef
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican

26 thoughts on “Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa”

  1. This looks so good! I would make a double batch and use it during the week. The instant pot makes life so much easier, doesn’t it?

  2. I made these for my family, I wasn’t going to eat them because I am not normally a beef eater. But wow! The meat was great! My daughter said it was better than Chipotle. We ate it on the roasted cauliflower rice, which my husband had never had before. He loved it too! Definitely a keeper, thank-you so much!


Leave a Comment

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.