Beef Barbacoa (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

This barbacoa recipe can be made in the Instant Pot or slow cooker. It makes a super flavorful Mexican shredded beef that’s perfect in tacos or burritos. 

This Instant Pot beef barbacoa is perfect in tacos or burritos! So tender and full of flavor.

Do you guys remember that time I moved to a new state and hated every second of it?

That was the worst.

The only saving grace was that the town we moved to had both a Chipotle and a Qdoba. The truth is, I’m a Qdoba girl. I’ll pretty much always choose it over Chipotle, but I do have a thing for that Chipotle barbacoa.

So good!

The Mexican shredded beef is so tender and flavorful. It really makes taco night extra special.

Beef Barbacoa in the slow cooker or Instant Pot!

Thankfully, it’s really simple to make beef barbacoa at home! And it’s quick, if you use an Intant Pot!

How many of you got Instant Pots for Christmas? I heard they were one of the hottest gifts to give this year. I’m not a total Pot-head, but I do use mine often enough.

I use it most for cooking perfect rice and boiling eggs that peel like a dream. I also use it a lot when I’m making a big hunk of meat and want it to cook quickly.

The Instant Pot is perfect for this barbacoa recipe.

Mexican shredded beef- so good in tacos and burritos!

You’ll also need a blender or a food processor to make the sauce for this recipe. It’s really easy though – just dump everything in and give it a whirl. Super quick.

Here’s the blender that I use (though any will do).

I’ve recently upgraded my food processor and love it. I started out with a Cuisinart, moved to a KitchenAid, and now I have the Breville and I have to say that the Breville is a BEAST. It is right up there with my KitchenAid mixer as the most used and loved appliance in my kitchen. (None of this is sponsored, though those are affiliate links which means I earn a few pennies at no extra cost to you, if you purchase from those links.)

The sauce is full of Mexican flavors.

After you whip that up, you cut a chuck roast into chunks and then sear it. I love that you can sear right in the Instant Pot, so no need for an extra dirty dish.

Once the meat is seared, you’ll stir in the sauce and a bit of beef broth. High pressure for 35 minutes and a natural release and you are good to go!

Such an easy dinner.

Try this beef barbacoa in place of the chicken in my chicken enchilada casserole. Can you even imagine how amazing that would be??

We like to serve this in corn or flour tortillas, with all of our favorite taco toppings – lettuce, tomato, Cholula, and shredded cheese.

But, this beef barbacoa is also really good inside a burrito. Add in my guacamole, restaurant style salsa, and cilantro lime rice and you’re good to go. Serve my sopapilla cheesecake bars for dessert!

We can't get enough of this barbacoa recipe!

If you don’t have an Instant Pot, this beef barbacoa is great in a slow cooker, too!

Of course, a slow cooker takes a bit more time, but it’s just as easy and flavorful.

Every slow cooker is different and some cook faster than others. In mine, I can cook this on high for 5 hours or low for 9 hours to get meat that easily shreds. Yours might take a bit longer and that’s okay. Just keep cooking it until it shreds. It’s about impossible to overcook roast in the slow cooker!

I hope you’ll give this Mexican shredded beef a try and report back! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

We can't get enough of this barbacoa recipe!
5 from 1 vote

Beef Barbacoa

Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr 35 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: easy Instant Pot recipes, party recipes, slow cooker recipes, weeknight dinner recipes
Calories: 480 kcal

 Such a simple and flavorful barbacoa recipe! You can make this in the Instant Pot or a slow cooker. Use this Mexican shredded beef as a filling for tacos or burritos.


  • 3 pounds chuck roast
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup salsa verde
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • 3 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tablespoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro chopped


  1. Cut the chuck roast into 2 inches pieces. Set aside.
  2. Add the salsa verde, onion, chipotle peppers, garlic, cumin, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and process until smooth. 
  3. Turn the Instant Pot to saute and wait for the pan to heat. Once hot, add the oil and let heat.
  4. When the oil is hot, add the chuck roast and sear, stirring occasionally to brown all sides. 
  5. Add the salsa verde mixture and the beef broth to the Instant Pot and turn to manual pressure. 
  6. Close the lid and set to sealing. 
  7. Cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Let pressure release naturally, about 20 minutes.
  8. Remove the meat from the Instant Pot and shred with forks. 
  9. Sprinkle with cilantro before serving.

Recipe Notes

To make this in a slow cooker, sear the beef on the stove in a heavy bottomed pot. Add to a slow cooker along with the sauce as directed above. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 9 hours, until the meat is easily shred with a fork. 

Nutrition Facts
Beef Barbacoa
Amount Per Serving
Calories 480 Calories from Fat 279
% Daily Value*
Fat 31g48%
Saturated Fat 15g94%
Cholesterol 156mg52%
Sodium 1299mg56%
Potassium 893mg26%
Carbohydrates 5g2%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 44g88%
Vitamin A 310IU6%
Vitamin C 3.2mg4%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 6.4mg36%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on should only be used as a general guideline.