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A hand is shown using tongs to dish tender Mexican barbacoa.
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5 from 2 votes

Instant Pot Barbacoa Recipe

Enjoy restaurant-quality Instant Pot Barbacoa anytime you like with this simple Chipotle copycat recipe! Beef chuck roast is pressure cooked in a flavorful chipotle sauce until tender enough to fall apart.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 8 servings
Author: London


Chipotle Sauce:

  • 3 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 1 Tbsp. adobo sauce if you’d like extra spice
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup lime juice freshly squeeze
  • 2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses or brown sugar
  • 5 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 Tbsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

Barbacoa Beef:

  • 3-4 lb. chuck roast fat trimmed and cut into large chunks
  • 2 Tbs oil divided
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. black pepper
  • 1 cup white onion finely chopped
  • 4 oz. can diced green chiles
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • ¼ cup beef broth


  • Add 1 tablespoon oil to a 6-quart Instant Pot set to the sauté function. Add beef and sprinkle on salt and black pepper. Sear on all sides for a total of 4-5 minutes. You may have to do this in two batches if all of the meat does not fit in a single layer.
  • Remove the beef from the pot and add an additional tablespoon of oil and the diced onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes, or until tender. Pour in the broth to deglaze the pot and scrape the bottom of it to release any stuck bits and pieces.
  • Add all chipotle sauce ingredients to a high-speed blender and blend for 30 seconds, or until smooth.
  • Add the blended chipotle sauce and can of diced chiles to the pot. Stir to combine and then add beef back in, making sure to submerge the it in the sauce. Place the bay leaves on top of the meat.
  • Close the pot with the lid, ensuring the pressure release valve is set to sealed, and set to a manual pressure cook function on high pressure and cook for 60 minutes. Quick release the pressure as soon as the timer goes off.
  • Remove the bay leaves and shred the beef using two forks. Stir it to completely coat it in the sauce.
  • If desired, set the Instant Pot to the saute function and cook for 4-5 minutes to cook off some of the extra liquid.
  • Serve barbacoa immediately in a toasted tortilla or over rice with sliced red onion, avocado, cilantro, and queso fresco. Enjoy!



Meal Prep and Storage

  • To Prep-Ahead: The chipotle sauce may be made and the meat cut and salted ahead of time, up to 3 days in advance. 
  • To Store: Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
  • To Freeze: Beef barbacoa may be frozen in a sealed freezer bag or freezer-safe airtight container for up to 3 months.
  • To Reheat: Leftovers may be warmed in the microwave, or at a medium-low heat in a pot or the Instant Pot, just until heated through. To avoid the meat going tough, frozen leftovers should be thawed in the fridge before reheating.


Calories: 381kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 117mg | Sodium: 1099mg | Potassium: 764mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 529IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 6mg