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Delicious Mexican barbacoa-style beef on a weeknight is possible with this simple recipe for Instant Pot! Instant pot Authentic Barbacoa – Incredibly juicy and tender, and absolutely full of bold mouthwatering flavors, this beef barbacoa is the best I’ve ever tasted!  This beef is not just amazing in tacos, but in quesadillas, taco salads, chimichangas and taquitos, or just eaten with a fork!

Thanks to the genius of an Instant Pot or other pressure cooker, you can absolutely make this delicious Mexican beef any night of the week. It’s perfect for feeding a large group, or for having leftovers to use throughout the week. It’s simple, budget-friendly, irresistible, and feeds a crowd or a family for dinner + leftovers.

MAKE AHEAD – As with most braised meats, this barbacoa beef tastes even better the next day!  Those flavors sit and meld together. To store, I find it best to store the beef in one container, with a little bit of the cooking liquid, and the rest of the cooking liquid in another container. This way, when the fat in the liquid cools, you can easily scrape it off the top. Reheat with the beef and the liquid together.

FREEZING – Cooked, this recipes can be frozen for up to 3 months.

STORAGE – Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 4 days.

Serve this Authentic Barbacoa-style beef with some of these great accompaniments: Classic Mexican Guacamole, Mexican Salsa and some Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars or Mexican Molten Chocolate Cakes for dessert.


Authentic Barbacoa

Authentic Barbacoa

Instant pot Authentic Barbacoa – Incredibly juicy and tender, and absolutely full of bold mouthwatering flavors, this beef barbacoa is the best I’ve ever tasted! 

  • Author: The Chunky Chef
  • Prep Time: :20
  • Cook Time: 1:00
  • Total Time: 1:20
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican


  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (individual peppers in the can – NOT the whole can)
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 Tbsp better than bouillon beef base (optional but recommended)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano (mexican oregano is amazing if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (reduced sodium is best)


  • 4 lb. beef chuck roast
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles drained
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth (reduced sodium is preferred)
  • 2 bay leaves



  • Add all chipotle sauce ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside.


  • Trim visible large sections of fat from roast, then cut roast into 6-8 large pieces. Season beef with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
  • Add vegetable oil to Instant Pot and select “Saute”. When hot, add beef and cook for a minute or so on each side, until browned. Depending on the size of your beef, you may need to do this in batches.
  • Remove browned beef to a plate and add onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  • Add in 1 cup beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits. Add in tomato paste, green chiles and bay leaves.
  • Press “Cancel – or Keep Warm/Cancel”. Return browned beef to the pot and pour pureed chipotle sauce over the top. Top with both halves of the lime.
  • Close lid securely and make sure the valve is set to “sealing”. Select “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” and adjust the +/- button until it reads 60 minutes.
  • When finished cooking, carefully turn the valve to “venting” for a quick pressure release. When the steam has all escaped, and the pin has dropped, remove the lid and discard bay leaves.
  • Remove beef pieces to a large bowl and shred, discarding any purely fat parts. Toss shredded beef with as much of the cooking liquid as you’d like.



    • In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot with the sauce and select “saute”.
    • Cook for several minutes, stirring often, until thickened to your tastes.
    • Toss shredded beef with as much of the thickened sauce as you’d like.


    • Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat broiler to high, adjusting oven rack to the upper third position.
    • Spread shredded beef into an even layer, then broil several minutes. Stir. Continue broiling and stirring until crisped and charred to your liking.
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