This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Skip the chain restaurants and make your own Barbacoa Beef in the Instant Pot! This delicious spiced Mexican shredded beef involves easy prep, and in less than two hours you’ve got the tastiest filling for tacos, burritos, and salads!

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef with tortillas, cilantro, and lime


I love taco night! We aren’t a family that restricts ourselves to Tuesdays alone – we’re down for a fiesta any night of the week. My husband and I are huge fans of Chipotle Mexican Grill, and we usually find ourselves torn between their carnitas and barbacoa beef on top of our burrito bowls.

Sadly, our closest Chipotle is 25 minutes away and is always super crowded. Luckily, though, our house is well-stocked with cuts of beef, and making our own homemade versions of our favorite items from their menu is as easy as tossing a few ingredients in our Instant Pot!

Shredding beef with two forks


Barbacoa is an authentic Mexican dish typically made with goat, lamb, or beef. It is traditionally cooked in a clay pot underground overnight, seasoned with spices, herbs, and dried chilies.

Of course, there are much quicker and easier ways to get a delicious Barbacoa on the table for your family, like this Instant Pot version! The spicy, juicy beef is a delicious filling for tacos, burritos, salads, and any other tasty Mexican recipes you can think of.


The stuff that goes into Barbacoa is all simple ingredients that you likely already have in your pantry:

  • Beef roast – a well-marbled chuck or shoulder roast is best.
  • Beef broth – or chicken broth.
  • Chipotle chilis – for that smoky heat; cayenne pepper can be substituted to taste.
  • Lime juice – essential in most Mexican cooking.
  • Apple cider vinegar – adds a bit more tang to the juicy beef.
  • Garlic – fresh or pre-minced.
  • Brown Sugar – optional, but balances the spicy heat nicely with a bit of sweetness.
  • Spices – Salt, pepper, cumin, cloves, oregano, and bay leaf.


As with most Instant Pot beef recipes, this Barbacoa needs a tougher cut of beef for maximum tenderness. Look for a shoulder or chuck roast with great marbling, and be sure to trim off any big chunks of excess fat before cooking.

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef tacos topped with onions and cilantro


  1. Prep & brown beef. Cut the beef roast into chunks and season them, then sear meat in your Instant Pot in batches. Transfer the meat to a plate to rest.
  2. Make the barbacoa sauce. Create your Barbacoa sauce by combining garlic, chipotle chilies, beef broth, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, cumin, oregano, and cloves in a food processor. You may also add a bit of brown sugar here for a bit of sweetness if you’d like.
  3. Add ingredients to the Instant Pot. Splash some beef broth into the pot to deglaze it, scraping any browned bits of beef from the bottom because that’s where a ton of flavor is. Return the beef to the pot, pour the sauce over the top, and add a bay leaf or two.
  4. Cook. Secure and seal the Instant Pot lid and pressure gauge. Press the Manual-High button and cook for an hour, then allow a full natural pressure release which will take about 15 minutes. Remove the lid carefully and remove the bay leaf. Shred the barbacoa beef with two forks while tossing it with the sauce.


Because Barbacoa is intensely flavorful, simple toppings are plenty. Chopped red onion and cilantro tucked into tortillas with the beef are delicious, but you may also consider adding cheese, tomatoes, radishes, or guacamole for even more unique flavors.

Barbacoa can also be stuffed into burritos and quesadillas or served on top of Mexican Rice bowls with your favorite toppings. Make ahead for parties and warm in the oven or slow cooker.


Store leftover barbacoa within 2 hours of cooking. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 4 months.

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef tacos topped with onion, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime

More Beef Recipes:

More Instant Pot Dinners:

A bowl of shredded Barbacoa Beef

Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef

5 from 2 votes
Skip the chain restaurants and make your own Barbacoa Beef in your Instant Pot! This delicious spiced Mexican shredded beef involves easy prep, and in less than two hours you've got the tastiest filling for tacos, burritos, and salads!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 6


  • 2.5-3 pounds beef chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 4 chipotle chilis in adobo
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar optional
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
Save this recipe
Get this sent to your inbox, plus get new recipes from us every week!


  • Set your Instant Pot to Saute. Drizzle oil inside and heat until displays reads HOT.
  • Cut the roast into 3 pieces and season with salt and pepper. Sear the chunks of beef in the Instant Pot on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Press Cancel. Remove beef to a plate and splash some beef broth into the pot and deglaze.
  • Add the remaining ingredients (except the bay leaves) to a food processor and blend until mostly smooth.
  • Return beef to pot. Pour chipotle sauce over the roast and turn to coat; add bay leaves. Secure lid and pressure valve. Cook on Manual High for 60 minutes, and allow a full natural release.
  • Remove and discard bay leaves, then shred beef with two forks, tossing well in the sauce to coat.
  • Serve in tacos or nachos, or in burrito bowls.
Keyword barbacoa beef


Calories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 37gFat: 26gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 130mgSodium: 355mgPotassium: 655mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 525IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 36mgIron: 4mg

Nutritional Disclaimer Kristin Maxwell of "Yellow Bliss Road" is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. For accurate calorie counts and other nutritional values, we recommend running the ingredients through your preferred online nutritional calculator. Calories and other nutritional values can vary depending on which brands were used.


Erica is a Florida-bred, Dominican-wed, nerdy foodie with an eye for pretty photos and incurable wanderlust, who learned everything she knows in the kitchen and about life from her Nana. She discovered her love of food at a young age and launched The Crumby Kitchen in 2014, where she shares her kitchen triumphs with a bit of sass and panache.

Free Email Series
5 Secrets to Dinnertime Sanity
Free email series with tested, tasted & terrific dinner recipes!

You Might Also Like

Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

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


  1. Allison galeucia says:

    Hi! Do you have any suggestions for making the sauce without a food processor?

    1. Kristin Maxwell says:

      You could use a blender.