Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Recipe

Published on Aug 06, 2019

  by   Kristina Stosek

2 reviews

Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: 75 minutes Serves: 4 - 6
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This Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef recipe is made entirely from scratch and captures the authentic flavor of traditional Mexican barbacoa beef. The best part is that this naturally gluten-free recipe is super simple to make. Just add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot and let it cook to perfection in a fraction of the time it would take with traditional methods.

barbacoa beef on a plate with parsley garnish

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Recipe


  • Beef (chuck roast or brisket)
  • Chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Lime juice
  • Beef broth
  • Spices (cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper)
  • Liquid smoke (optional)


  1. Prepare the Meat: Cut the beef into chunks for even cooking.
  2. The Sauce: Whisk chipotle peppers, onions, garlic, lime juice, beef broth, and spices until smooth.
  3. Cook in Instant Pot: Add the beef and sauce to the Instant Pot. Cook on high pressure.
  4. Shred the Beef: Once cooked, shred the meat with a fork and mix it with the sauce.

barbacoa beef stew in a bowl

Serving Suggestions

There are many ways to serve barbacoa beef:

  • Over Lettuce Leaves with Fresh Tomatoes: A light and refreshing option.
  • Over Rice with Black Beans and Salsa: A heartier, more filling meal.
  • In Gluten-Free Hamburger Buns with Veggies: Perfect for a casual lunch or dinner.
  • With Soft Gluten-Free Tortillas: Ideal for making wraps.
  • With Light Pasta Salad: A light summer meal, combining tender barbacoa beef with nutritious ingredients.


Tips for Perfect Barbacoa Beef

Choose the Right Cut of Meat: 

Chuck roast or brisket works best for barbacoa due to their marbling and tenderness when slow-cooked.

Adjust Spice Level: 

If you prefer a milder flavor, use fewer chipotle peppers.

Marinate for Extra Flavor: 

For deeper flavor, marinate the beef in the sauce for a few hours or overnight before cooking.

Make Ahead: 

Barbacoa beef can be made in advance, the flavors intensify each day, adding bold delicious flavor.



Can I use a slow cooker instead of an Instant Pot?

Yes, you can use a slow cooker. Cook on low temperature for 8-10 hours or high for 4-6 hours until the beef is tender.

What can I substitute for chipotle peppers?

If you don’t have chipotle peppers, you can use smoked paprika for a similar smoky flavor, although it won’t be as spicy.

Is barbacoa beef spicy?

Barbacoa beef has a moderate level of spice from the chipotle peppers. You can adjust the spice level by adding more or fewer peppers according to your preference.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftover barbacoa beef in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. For longer storage, freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.


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 barbacoa beef stew in a bowl

Recipe Review

This Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef recipe is a game-changer. The flavors are rich and authentic, and the beef comes out perfectly tender every time. It’s incredibly versatile and fits well into various dishes, making it a staple for gluten-free cooking. The ease and speed of preparation in the Instant Pot make it a go-to recipe for busy weeknights. Whether you’re serving it in a salad, over rice, or in a bun, this barbacoa beef is always a hit.

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