Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa Beef

Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa BeefI just love barbacoa beef. Mexican barbacoa is meat prepared in a way that allows it to be very tender when it’s cooked, and shred oh-so easily. The traditional way to make it is with lamb or goat meat, but you will also find it commonly to be made using meat from the heads of cattle, like the cheek. Today, we are keeping it simple with this Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa Beef using an easy to find boneless beef chuck roast along with spices and other ingredients that you will likely find at all local grocery stores. 

Okay, so you get it. Easy ingredients BUT, do you know what makes this even easier to make and more tender than ever before? Cooking it in a good old Instant Pot. The Instant Pot is all the rave right now and there is a reason why. It’s easy to use and it makes food come out way more tender than the old crockpot. I am not going to lie, I kicked and screamed before I bought one and I honestly only did it to keep up with all of my lovely reader demands for Instant pot recipes. But I finally bought one during Amazon Prime week and I couldn’t be happier that I did. If you don’t own one, let me tell you what it is real quick: The Instant Pot is a multi-cooker that does the job of a slow cooker, electric pressure cooker, rice cooker, steamer, yogurt maker, sauté/browning pan, and warming pot. It’s a single appliance that does the job of seven different kitchen appliances or tools. Which first off, is great as far as storage space goes but it is also most fantastic for making cooking faster and more convenient. Stews that take all day long to cook? Done in 30 minutes. Barbacoa beef that would take 8-12 hours in the crockpot to be pull-apart tender? Done in 90 minutes! It’s a dream. I am for sure a believer in this thing and highly recommend everyone buy one. 

Anywho, back to the barbacoa. This Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa Beef is easy to make and great shredded meat to prepare at the beginning of the week and use all week long. Throw it on top of salads, make tacos, put an egg on it. You get the picture! Yes, the cooking time might be longer than most Instant Pot meals, but if you want perfect, fall-apart tender meat… just trust me, okay? 

Instant Pot Whole30 Barbacoa
Serves 8
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
  1. 4 lbs. boneless beef chuck roast
  2. Kosher salt, to taste
  3. 2 tbsp. olive or avocado oil
  4. 1 white or yellow onion, sliced thinly
  5. 1.5 cups beef broth
  6. 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  7. 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  8. 1 tbsp. chipotle chili powder
  9. 1 tsp. ground cumin
  10. 4 cloves garlic, minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
  11. 1 tsp. dried oregano
  12. 2 bay leafs
  1. Cut roast into 5-6 hunks of meat. Season generously with kosher salt.
  2. Press the 'saute' button on the instant pot.
  3. Add the oil to the bottom of the instant pot. Now, sear the meat in batches until all of the meat is browned on all sides. About 3 minutes per side. Set meat on aside on a plate until all meat is browned.
  4. When meat is browned and set aside, add the onions to the bottom of the IP with 1 more tbsp. of oil. Saute for 4 more minutes.
  5. Hit 'cancel' on the IP. Now, Nestle the meat back into the pot and try to get it all in one layer.. even if you have to cram it.
  6. In a bowl, whisk together the tomato paste, beef broth, apple cider vinegar, chipotle powder, cumin, oregano, and garlic. Whisk until well combined.
  7. Pour sauce over the meat in the IP. Throw in the 2 bay leafs. Cover and lock on the lid.
  8. Now, hit 'manual' and press the '+' button until you see '90'. Walk away from the IP. It will now pressurize and cook.
  9. When cook time is complete, the Instant Pot will switch automatically to a “Keep Warm” mode.
  10. Release the pressure automatically by CAREFULLY flipping the switch at the top to "vent".
  11. Once Instant pot is done venting, open carefully (beware of steam).
  12. Using tongs, transfer meat to a rimmed cooking sheet (this helps the juices not get everywhere). Using to forks, shred the meat.
  13. Serve immediately or place meat back into the juices until ready to serve.
  14. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, serve meat so that you drain it from the juices.
  1. For Crockpot: Brown meat, add remaining ingredients and cook on low for 8-10 hours.
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  • Reply
    November 30, 2021 at 5:36 pm

    Hi! I love this recipe – Quick question – I didn’t put it in early enough to do 8-10 hours in the crock pot on low. Is doing it on high for 3-4 hours an option? Thanks for any thoughts!

    • Reply
      November 30, 2021 at 6:30 pm

      hi!! you can definitely do this– I sometimes just find cooking it on high makes the meat a little tough– and a low cooking temp is ideal!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2021 at 3:17 am

    I have made this twice! If it’s too spicy you can cut down chipotle and add smoke paprika. I use the slow cooker recipe. This is such an easy wonderful meal!

  • Reply
    Juliana von Lassberg
    June 28, 2021 at 11:01 pm

    Can you substitute with chicken broth instead of beef?

    • Reply
      July 6, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      yes! that will be fine.

  • Reply
    May 24, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    Looks so good! Could you substitute chicken breast or thighs for beef?

    • Reply
      May 24, 2021 at 7:54 pm

      Yes, but I would decrease the cooktime.

  • Reply
    Kylynn Whetham
    March 5, 2021 at 1:21 am

    How many people can i serve with this recipe?

    • Reply
      March 11, 2021 at 12:13 pm

      it serves 8

  • Reply
    January 6, 2021 at 1:44 am

    If I have 2.68 pounds of meat instead of 4, will 60 minutes be ok?

    • Reply
      January 6, 2021 at 2:32 pm

      45 should likely be plenty of time

  • Reply
    February 7, 2018 at 7:59 pm

    what sauce did you put on these?

  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 6:00 am

    What size of IP do you have? I purchased the 8 and it seems so big! And, I love your intasta stories.

  • Reply
    January 19, 2018 at 1:18 am

    Do you used a red or yellow onion? Thanks!!

    • Reply
      January 19, 2018 at 1:51 pm


  • Reply
    January 17, 2018 at 1:58 am

    Is there any way to do this in a regular stock pot?

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