Instant pot barbacoa beef tacos feature a fall-apart-tender, spicy barbacoa beef made entirely in the instant pot and a sweet roasted pineapple tomatillo salsa for topping tacos.
With Cinco de Mayo later this week, I figured we could use some fresh taco inspiration around here!
Bonus points if said tacos are made entirely in the instant pot and come adorned with a killer pineapple tomatillo salsa.
No judgement if you start the fiesta a little early and make these bad boys today.
What’s barbacoa? Barbacoa is a slow-cooked meat originating from Mexico that typically uses beef, lamb, or goat. It’s a very flavorful braised meat that’s cooked with chili peppers and lots of spices.
Our version features a cut of tender beef chuck roast that’s made conveniently in the instant pot in only a little more than an hour. None of that simmering-all-day nonsense here today!
This Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef features…
- Incredibly tender pulled beef braised in spicy chipotles and seasonings.
- A sweet and tangy roasted pineapple tomatillo salsa.
- Charred corn tortillas and traditional taco toppings for serving.
Making the Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Beef chuck roast
- Chipotles in adobo sauce
- Bay leaf
- Olive oil
- Beef broth
- Lime juice
- Yellow onion
- Jalapeno pepper
- Corn tortillas
How to Prepare Beef
You will need a 2 lb boneless beef chuck roast for this recipe. We have found that this cut makes for the juiciest, most tender beef for barbacoa!
To prepare the beef for the instant pot, remove any fat from the meat and cut into 2-in cubes. By cutting the beef into smaller pieces, this speeds along the braising process in the instant pot and makes it fall-apart-tender in only 35 minutes.
Tips for Perfect Barbacoa Beef
- Sear beef cubes – this helps get some color on the beef cubes and builds a flavor base.
- Use canned chipotle – we use chipotle in adobo sauce, typically found in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store. You can easily adjust the amount of chipotle, depending on your spice level preference.
- Cook beef on high pressure 35 minutes – we found that 35 minutes is the sweet spot for getting the perfect cook on the beef.
- Release pressure naturally 20 minutes – this time will allow the beef to reach a fall-apart-tender texture.
- Reserve instant pot juices – set aside about 1 cup of juices from instant pot and discard the rest. Once the beef is shredded, toss a few splashes of the liquid into the beef until the beef is moistened.
- Keep beef warm in instant pot – you can keep the beef on the “warm” setting in instant pot up to 3 hours.
- Roast pineapple and tomatillo – a quick roast of the pineapple and tomatillo adds so much incredible flavor to the salsa.
- Char corn tortillas – whatever you do, don’t skip this step! It will help the corn tortillas become malleable and adds a lot of flavor. Simply heat a cast iron skillet and char corn tortillas a minute or two on each side.
Serving Suggestions for Barbacoa Beef
We recommend serving barbacoa beef in charred corn tortillas with a few spoonfuls of salsa, diced onion, and cilantro on top. Make sure you have a few lime wedges nearby for squeezing on top!
While we love this beef served the traditional way in tacos, it also makes an incredible meat for nachos, quesadillas, taco salad, and more. There’s really no going wrong!
These tacos are the REAL DEAL, you guys. The beef is perfectly spicy and sooo tender, while the pineapple tomatillo salsa provides the perfect punch of tangy sweetness. It’s a solid high five in a taco and you won’t be able to get enough.
We aren’t messing around in the taco department this week to say the least!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
Watch these tacos made step-by-step on Google web stories!
Try these other instant pot favs next!
Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef Tacos with Pineapple Tomatillo Salsa
Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef
- 2 lbs boneless beef chuck roast, cut into 2-in chunks
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1-1/2 cups beef broth
- 3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo sauce, minced (plus 2 tablespoons sauce)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 bay leaf
Pineapple Tomatillo Salsa
- 2 cups fresh pineapple, cut into 1-in cubes
- 6 medium tomatillos, husk removed and tomatillos cut into 1-in pieces
- 1 medium jalapeno, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 1/2 cup firmly-packed fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice (or more to taste)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Warmed corn tortillas, fresh cilantro, and chopped onion for serving
Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef
- Pat beef dry and season all over with salt and pepper. Heat a 4-qt instant pot using BROWN/SAUTE function. Place olive oil in instant pot and swirl to coat bottom.
- Sear beef cubes in instant pot, turning occasionally until golden brown on all sides. Turn off instant pot and add beef broth, chipotle, reserved adobo sauce, garlic, lime juice, cumin, cloves, oregano, and bay leaf.
- Seal instant pot lid into place and close vent. Cook beef on high pressure 35 minutes, then let release pressure naturally 20 minutes.
- Release any remaining pressure and open instant pot. Discard bay leaf and transfer beef roast to a large cutting board. Reserve 1 cup of liquid from instant pot and discard remaining liquid. Use two forks to shred beef, then add back to instant pot, tossing in 1/2-1 cup reserved liquid until beef is moistened. Keep beef warm in instant pot until ready to serve.
Pineapple Tomatillo Salsa
- Preheat oven to 400F. Lightly grease a large sheet pan and arrange pineapple and tomatillos in a single layer. Bake at 400F 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and softened.
- Combine pineapple, tomatillos, jalapeno, onion, cilantro, lime juice, and salt and pepper to taste in a blender or food processor. Pulse several times until salsa is smooth or semi-chunky. (whichever consistency you prefer)
- To assemble tacos, spoon beef into tortillas and top with salsa, cilantro, and chopped onion. Serve tacos immediately and enjoy!