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Barbacoa Beef Tacos in serving dish with toppings

Barbacoa Shredded Beef (Instant Pot or Slow Cooker)

  • Author: anita | wild thistle kitchen
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: varies
  • Total Time: varies
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x


My Barbacoa Shredded Beef is spicy, deeply savory, and perfect for piling on tortillas or rice. Easily made in the Instant Pot, Slow cooker, or in the oven!


  • 3 pounds of beef, trimmed and cubed in about 3-4 inch cubes*
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 chipotle peppers in adobo, or 1-2 tablespoons chipotle chile powder*
  • 1 teaspoon dried, ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried, ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves (just a pinch!)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 tablespoons white or red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup beer (or simply use water or broth if you want to skip the alcohol)


Instant Pot instructions:

  • Place all ingredients in your instant pot and give a really good stir.
  • Place lid on instant pot and set the vent to "sealing." Press "manual" and set timer for 60 minutes.
  • After 60 minutes, manually (and carefully!) release pressure according to your pressure cooker's instructions.
  • Remove lid as soon as you are able and set Instant pot to sauté mode.
  • Allow sauce to bubble and reduce, stirring occasionally and breaking up and shredding the meat as you stir, until it is nice and thick and glossy. It will coat the meat. Serve and enjoy!

Slow Cooker:

  • Place all ingredients in slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Place lid on slow cooker and cook on high for 6-8 hours or until meat is tender and easily shredded.
  • If you'd like to thicken the sauce, strain sauce from slow cooker into a saucepan and allow to reduce on stove top over medium high heat until thick and glossy. Add back to the meat, shred, serve, and enjoy!

Oven instructions:

  • Place all ingredients in a dutch oven or large baking dish. Cover with lid or tightly with aluminum foil.
  • Place in a 350 oven for 3-4 hours or until beef is very tender and easily shredded.
  • Carefully place pot on stove top and allow sauce to reduce over medium high heat, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat as you stir, until the sauce is thick, glossy and coats the meat. Serve and enjoy!

That's it! Serve with all of your favorite taco toppings or in big bowls with rice.


I've used flank steak, skirt steak, and chuck roast for this; they are all really good! Any good stewing meat or even brisket would work nicely here.

feel free to dial the spice up or down. Chipotle peppers can have quite a kick, but I love their spicy, smoky flavor. If you really dislike spice, add a couple teaspoons of smoked paprika to get the smoky flavor without the spice.

Keywords: Barbacoa Beef recipe, Instant Pot (pressure cooker), Slow cooker, Instant Pot Barbacoa Beef, slow cooker barbacoa beef