Instant Pot Barbacoa

Pulled roast beef on a black plate with half a lime on side

If You're actually a Mexican food lover, then you've come the right way up!

The simply delicious Instant Pot Barbacoa recipe will give your tacos or rolls, a street style filling with the taste that every person craves!

Pulled roast beef on a black plate with half a lime on side

This simple and easiest recipe will be a life-saver for you trust me 🙂 Make it in large quantity, store it and use it as a filling for tacos, sandwiches, or tortillas or with nachos anytime you want! A perfect solution for your sudden cravings or quick wanting meal!

Why This Recipe Works 

The fall-apart tender beef having the amazing taste of hot and tarty sauce would be the best filling to go with every snack item! Traditionally Barbacoa was cooked inside the fire pit and it was considered to be so time-taking but Instant Pot has now made it easy for you.

Now you can cook everyone's loving barbacoa in just an hour! And the plus point is that you can have it in many different ways 🙂

Recipe Video

Recipe Ingredients

Roast - Normally the cattle cheek is used to make barbacoa. Because it gains immensely rich flavor and a tender texture after being cooked! But you can also use brisket instead of it which is then cut from the lower breast of the cow. It also works perfectly fine with the recipe. We'll be using large pieces of roast. Make sure the excess fat has been trimmed.

Onion - I've used half of a White Onion in my sauce, cut into medium size chunks. It gives an amazingly delicious flavor to the sauce contributing to its liquid quantity. Yellow or Red Onion can also be used in this recipe.

Garlic - It always plays a central role in the meat recipes, bringing out the aroma having an Asian touch, and enhancing the flavors of other ingredients included!

Chipotle - These are dried and smoked jalapenos that give a hot, smoky, and a bit of sweet flavor to your dish making you fall in love with it! But if you're allergic to jalapenos, You can substitute it with Chilli Powder (for spice) and Cayenne Powder (for heat).

Lime juice - It adds in the refreshing and sweet-sour flavor to the barbacoa, giving it a more strong taste as compared to lemon juice.

Spices - I am using Oregano Leaves and Cumin Powder to give my sauce a bit savory and more rich flavor! I am also using Cloves in my recipe but most of the people don't seem to be its fan. Skip it if you are not 🙂 I've also used Salt and Black Pepper as per taste to season the roast.

Bay leaves - It gives a very nice herbal aroma to the food, adding in some flavor like thyme or some other herb 🙂 There's no problem if you're habitual of picking leaves out of the dish, but just adding them during cooking worths the taste and aroma!

How to make  

Here is a step-by-step guide to this recipe for your ease!

Gather all the necessary ingredients as per the recipe card.

Take 5 Garlic Cloves. Peel them and cut them in half and set them aside.

Take ½ of an Onion and cut it into four pieces and set it aside.

Take 1 Lime and split it into half and set it aside.

Now, to prepare the sauce first, Take the blender machine and add Garlic to it.

Add Onion to it.

Add 4 tablespoons of Chipotle to it.

Squeeze the split Lime to it.

Add a tablespoon of Cumin Powder to it.

Add a tablespoon of Oregano to it.

Add ½ teaspoon of Cloves to it.

Add a cup of water to it.

Process until well combined and changes into a good smooth sauce. Set it aside.

Now, Take 3 lb of Roast and put it on a large dish.

Season each side of it first with ½ teaspoon of Kosher Salt.

Then with ½ teaspoon of Black Pepper.

Take an Instant Pot. Press Sauté at normal and add a teaspoon of Oil and seasoned Roast.

Sauté Oil and Meat for 5 minutes.

Then add a cup of prepared sauce and a handful of Bay leaves to it.

Cover the lid and pressure cook at high for 15 minutes. Now, Open the lid and release the pressure naturally through the steam vent. During this time, the meat will have gained a tender brown color.

Transfer the Barbacoa Roast to the chopping board.

Shred-it into big chunks with the help of a fork. Then transfer it back to the sauce.

You can fill it in taco shell or burrito, top it with some veggies and sauce, and SERVE!

How to Serve 

The best and habitual way to serve Barbacoa is to stuff it into the taco and add on some diced tomatoes, bell peppers, iceberg, cilantro leaves, cheese, salsa, onions, and sour cream or adobo sauce! Or any additional stuff you want on top.

You can also have it with steamed rice or nachos. Makes you a perfect dinner together!

Or to keep it simple, Spoon Barbacoa into a slider roll and melt some cheese on top!

Plus having it stuffed in burritos or using it as a beef filling for enchiladas also gives amazing and flavorful results.

Need more ideas? Check out What To Serve With Barbacoa Beef for 15 delicious side dishes.


What actually is the taste of Barbacoa?

Barbacoa is so soft, chewy, juicy, and edible in taste which contains soothing, tarty, and hot flavors of chipotle, lime juice, garlic, and herbs absorbed in it!

What to serve with Barbacoa?

If you want to serve Barbacoa simply on its own and want some side snack with it, Then serve it with some tortilla chips or roasted veggies like potatoes, broccoli, or zucchini. They actually look so elegant and delicious when paired together!

Can I store and reheat it?

Yes, you can! It can easily be stored in a refrigerator for 4-5 days, packed in an airtight box, and for 4-6 months in the freezer. For reheating purposes, Defrost meat first, in the refrigerator then reheat it in the pot on the stovetop or microwave it for 2 minutes only.

More Beef Recipes

Instant Pot Carne Asada

Instant Pot Beef Fajitas

Instant Pot Beef Enchiladas

Instant Pot Italian Beef

Instant Pot Mongolian Beef

Pulled roast beef on a black plate with half a lime on side

Instant Pot Barbacoa

A tender, juicy and mouthwatering beef dish packed with rich and bold flavors…
4.50 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Barbacoa, chipotle, easy recipe, instant pot
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: Corrie


  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 3 lb roast
  • ½ onion chopped in ¼
  • 1 lime juice
  • 4 tablespoon chiptoles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cumin powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano
  • ½ teaspoon cloves
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • bay leaves


  • Add garlic, onion, chipotle, lime juice, cumin powder, oregano, cloves, and water to the blender machine.
  • Blend it until the mixture becomes smooth. Set the prepared sauce aside.
  • Now, season the roast with salt and black pepper.
  • Press "saute" and add oil.
  • Add beef and saute for 5 minutes.
  • Add the prepared sauce and bay leaves.
  • Close the lid and cook on high pressure for 50 minutes.
  • When cooking time is complete, wait for a natural release (or for at least 20 minutes).
  • Open the lid and dish out the roast. Shred it using a fork.
  • Serve with the cooked sauce and enjoy 🙂


Calories: 294kcal Carbohydrates: 4g Protein: 50g Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 3g Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g Monounsaturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 129mg Sodium: 3612mg Potassium: 698mg Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Vitamin A: 32IU Vitamin C: 105mg Calcium: 668mg Iron: 6mg



  • If you're making it in large quantity, then put the roast in an instant pot in batches. Don't overfill the pot otherwise, the meat will not get tender as it should be.
  • You can adjust the spice level up a bit too.
  • Most people add vinegar too in the sauce. but it's up to you how much tarty flavor you want in your recipe.
  • Reserving it in the fridge after being cooked enhances its flavors!
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