Make this easy copycat recipe for Instant Pot Barbacoa in less than an hour and watch it disappear!

The Instant Pot makes tender barbacoa beef that’s infused with the bold and robust flavors of chipotle peppers and adobo sauce with a pinch of cloves!

plated Instant Pot Barbacoa with lime slices

Instant Pot Barbacoa

  • Barbacoa is the process of slow-cooking tougher cuts of beef, sheep, goat, or lamb with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce and a handful of savory herbs until it’s tender and flavorful.
  • Versatile barbacoa is a popular dish in Mexico and is almost always seen at large gatherings and celebrations, but can also be found at one of the many outdoor food stalls.
  • Perfect for a party, make a DIY taco bar and serve it with taco toppers like diced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, onions, black olives, green chiles, jalapenos, sour cream, and salsa!

Ingredients and Variations

Beef – This is the time to go for the biggest, cheapest cut you can find because it will be transformed into a tender, juicy, south-of-the-border specialty you’ll want to make again and again! Choose a beef chuck roast, cheek meat (most popular barbacoa choice) brisket, a package of beef tips, or stew meat. Even a large cut of pork can be made barbacoa style.

Sauce – Almost all barbacoa recipes contain broth or stock, onion, cumin, and oregano along with peppers or chipotle peppers. Feel free to add extra heat by tossing in some jalapenos (or the juice from the jar) or green chiles.

beef stock , onion , seasonings , bay leaves , garlic , beef and chipotle pepper with labels to make Instant Pot Barbacoa

How to Make Instant Pot Barbacoa

  1. Blend all of the ingredients except the beef and bay leaf in a blender until smooth.
  2. Pour the sauce into the Instant Pot and stir in the beef and bay leaf, making sure the beef chunks are coated evenly.
  3. Cover and pressure cook on manual for 45 minutes, then allow venting for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bay leaf and shred the beef before serving.

PRO TIP: When cutting the meat into cubes, cut it against the grain. This shortens the fibers making it easier to shred and chew.

How to Use Barbacoa

Serve barbacoa in the traditional way over a corn tortilla with a little chopped onion and fresh cilantro or add it to tacos, quesadillas, or nachos. Make hearty barbacoa sandwiches with thick pieces of homemade bread, perfect for a picnic or to take camping! Make a protein salad and scoop some onto a bed of greens with marinated onions, or fold some into an omelet, both variations are delicious and keto!

top view of Instant Pot Barbacoa

Storing Leftovers

Keep leftover barbacoa in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and reheat portions on the stovetop or in the microwave. Freeze portions in quart-sized zippered bags for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator and reheat as desired or enjoy it cold in a wrap, sandwich, or on a salad!

More Beef Recipes

top view of Instant Pot Barbacoa
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Instant Pot Barbacoa

Instant Pot barbacoa will turn even the toughest cuts of meat into tender juicy morsels!
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4
Author I Don’t Have Time For That



  • ½ cup beef stock
  • 1 sweet onion chopped
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 pinch ground cloves about 1/16th of a teaspoon)
  • 1 pound beef chuck roast cut into 2" cubes
  • 2 bay leaves


  • Add the beef stock, onion, chipotle peppers, garlic, lime juice, cumin, oregano, salt, smoked paprika, and ground cloves to a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds on high speed. 
  • Add the sauce to the Instant Pot, along with the beef and bay leaves. Toss to combine, making sure each piece of beef is evenly coated with the sauce. 
  • Attach the instant pot lid and ensure the valve is in the “sealing” position. Set the Instant Pot to Pressure Cook Manual for 45 minutes. 
  • Once the Instant Pot has finished cooking, allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then turn the valve to the “venting” positon to release any additional pressure. 
  • Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef. 
  • Serve in corn tortillas and top with onion, cilantro, or toppings of your choice.


Barbacoa is traditionally served on a corn tortilla and topped with chopped onion and cilantro, although it is also delicious on nachos or in quesadillas! 
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. 
5 from 1 vote↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Nutrition Information

Calories: 259kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 7g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 78mg | Sodium: 746mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 155IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Mexican

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