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Truly melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy, this beef barbacoa is loaded with bold flavors and ready for your tacos, burritos, bowls, or nachos!  Directions for pressure cooker, slow cooker, and the oven! #barbacoa #beef #mexican #shreddedbeef #cincodemayo #instantpot #pressurecooker #easyrecipe
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4.95 from 40 votes

Ultimate Instant Pot Beef Barbacoa

Tender beef cooked in a spicy chipotle sauce
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mexican
Keyword: barbacoa, mexican beef recipe, shredded beef
Servings: 8 - 10 people
Calories: 476kcal
Author: The Chunky Chef



  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (individual peppers in the can - NOT the whole can)
  • 2 tsp adobo sauce (from the can)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice (fresh is best)
  • 1 Tbsp better than bouillon beef base (optional but recommended)
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 5 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp oregano (mexican oregano is amazing if you have it)
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (reduced sodium is best)


  • 4 lb. beef chuck roast
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 yellow onion diced
  • 4 oz can diced green chiles drained
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth (reduced sodium is preferred)
  • 2 bay leaves



  • Add all chipotle sauce ingredients to a food processor or blender, and process until smooth. Set aside.


  • Trim visible large sections of fat from roast, then cut roast into 6-8 large pieces. Season beef with 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper.
  • Add vegetable oil to Instant Pot and select "Saute". When hot, add beef and cook for a minute or so on each side, until browned. Depending on the size of your beef, you may need to do this in batches.
  • Remove browned beef to a plate and add onion. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until soft.
  • Add in 1 cup beef broth and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove any browned bits. Add in tomato paste, green chiles and bay leaves.
  • Press "Cancel - or Keep Warm/Cancel". Return browned beef to the pot and pour pureed chipotle sauce over the top. Top with both halves of the lime.
  • Close lid securely and make sure the valve is set to "sealing". Select "Manual" or "Pressure Cook" and adjust the +/- button until it reads 60 minutes.
  • When finished cooking, carefully turn the valve to "venting" for a quick pressure release. When the steam has all escaped, and the pin has dropped, remove the lid and discard bay leaves.
  • Remove beef pieces to a large bowl and shred, discarding any purely fat parts.
  • Toss shredded beef with as much of the cooking liquid as you'd like.


  • In a small bowl, stir together 2 Tbsp cornstarch with 3 Tbsp water until smooth. Pour this mixture into the pot with the sauce and select "saute".
  • Cook for several minutes, stirring often, until thickened to your tastes.
  • Toss shredded beef with as much of the thickened sauce as you'd like.


  • Line a baking sheet with foil, and preheat broiler to high, adjusting oven rack to the upper third position.
  • Spread shredded beef into an even layer, then broil several minutes. Stir. Continue broiling and stirring until crisped and charred to your liking.





  1. Process sauce ingredients.
  2. Sear beef in a skillet on the stove.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients to slow cooker, top with seared beef, top with chipotle sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, until beef is tender enough to shred easily.


  1. Preheat oven to 325 F degrees.
  2. Process sauce ingredients.
  3. Sear beef in a large dutch oven on the stove.
  4. Add in onion, tomato paste, green chiles, and bay leaves.
  5. Reduce beef broth to 1/2 cup and pour in chipotle sauce.
  6. Cover and bake for 3 - 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender enough to shred easily.


  1. Process sauce ingredients.
  2. Sear beef in a large dutch oven on the stove.
  3. Add in onion, tomato paste, green chiles, beef broth, and bay leaves.
  4. Pour in chipotle sauce.
  5. Cover and simmer for 2 - 2 1/2 hours (removing the lid the last 30 minutes of cooking), until beef is tender enough to shred easily.
  6. If desired, remove beef, shred, and continue simmering sauce for 10-15 minutes until thickened.


Calories: 476kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 45g | Fat: 30g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 156mg | Sodium: 1132mg | Potassium: 934mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 437IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 6mg