Instant Pot Shredded Beef

This easy Instant Pot Shredded Beef is mild in spice yet loaded with flavor and boasts endless meal possibilities, from Mexican-inspired tacos and burrito bowls, to enchiladas, quesadillas, nachos, and more. Perfect for a crowd or quick family dinners with leftovers to freeze. Kid-friendly, budget-friendly, and cooks to tender perfection in about an hour!

closeup overhead photo of instant pot Mexican shredded beef on a black cutting board with cilantro lime and jalapeño and two forks and instant pot in the background

Favorite meals in life, in order:

  • Meals my kids eat
  • Meals that make leftovers
  • Instant Pot meals
  • Meals with leftovers that can be repurposed 
  • Burrito bowls with all 🙌 the 🙌 fixin’s 🙌

In my current season of life, I give bonus points to any recipe that I actually cannot mess up and that I can cook while wrangling two toddlers, checking email, and/or tidying up. Triple bonus points for recipes my kids love and also make enough leftovers to eat again and freeze for the future. 

Let’s just say that this Instant Pot Shredded Beef recipe is racking up all the bonus points right now.

overhead photo of a burrito bowl with shredded beef corn black beans lettuce tomatoes diced red onion sour cream jalapeños and avocado sauce on a concrete background

This tender, savory, saucy Instant Pot Shredded Beef is mild in spice but loaded with Mexican-infused flavors —diced tomatoes, spices, and just a hint of tangy lime. The meal possibilities are nearly endless, whether you’re craving a fully-loaded burrito bowl, saucy street tacos, or a quick, flavor-packed quesadilla, this versatile Instant Pot Shredded Beef can become all of those things, and more.

It has quickly become a go-to both for entertaining and no-fuss family meals because, not only does it practically cook itself, I can prep all of our extras —our favorite creamy avocado sauce, diced red onion, tomatoes, crispy corn tortillas— and clean up while the Instant Pot is doing its thing.  

45 degree photo of instant pot Mexican shredded beef on a black cutting board with cilantro lime and jalapeño and two forks and instant pot in the background

Ingredients in Instant Pot Shredded Beef

This simple shredded beef has just a handful of simple ingredients, most of which you probably already have on hand!

  • Top round roast or chuck roast (here’s the difference)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic 
  • Chili powder
  • Paprika 
  • Canned diced tomatoes 
  • Beef base or bullion
  • Lime juice
45 degree photo of a backlit burrito bowl with shredded beef corn black beans lettuce tomatoes diced red onion sour cream jalapeños and avocado sauce on a concrete background with a bowl of avocado sauce in the background

What is the best cut of meat for shredded beef?

Two great cuts of meat for Instant Pot shredded beef are either Top round roast or Chuck Roast. 

Both are large, budget-friendly, tougher cuts of beef — which makes them ideal for braising, slow-cooking, or pressure cooking in the Instant Pot. 

The biggest difference between the two is top round roast is cut from the hind leg and is more lean than chuck roast, which is cut from the shoulder and contains more fat.

Chuck roast contains more fat, collagen, and connective tissue. Pressure cooking, as well as braising or slow cooking, melts the collagen and tenderizes the meat yielding a silkier, more easily-to-shred result. If you’re looking for a richer shredded beef, chuck roast is the cut you want.

Because it’s far leaner, top round roast won’t yield the same silky, tenderness as chuck roast, but it is a healthier option particularly for those wanting to limit their saturated fat intake. Top round roast is most commonly used for deli roast beef, but it’s also good for shredding. This cut shreds a bit smaller and finer than the chuck roast — and admittedly seems a touch drier because it’s so lean — but once it’s mixed back into the cooking juices the difference is unnoticeable to most. If you’re looking for a leaner but still juicy and flavorful shredded beef, top round roast is a great choice.

closeup overhead photo of a burrito bowl with shredded beef corn black beans lettuce tomatoes diced red onion sour cream jalapeños and avocado sauce on a concrete background with a bowl of avocado sauce in the background

Instant Pot Shredded Beef Meal Ideas

You can use this shredded beef in any dish that you want to add tender, pulled beef to. Because of the tomatoes and spices, it works really well in Mexican-inspired dishes. Here are some meal ideas to get you started! 

  • Tacos 
  • Burritos or burrito bowls
  • Beef and bean quesadillas
  • Enchiladas or casseroles like this Mexican Lasagna
  • Taquitos 
  • Served over lettuce with tomatoes, avocado, and fresh corn
  • Served over rice and vegetables, like grilled corn, zucchini, peppers, and onions
  • Loaded nachos
  • Alongside eggs for breakfast
  • Shredded beef and rice stuffed peppers

You could honestly go six months without eating it the same way twice.

Can I freeze leftover shredded beef?

Heck yes! This shredded beef freezes really well.

Once cool, portion leftover shredded beef into sandwich-sized or half-gallon food storage bags (these silicone Stasher bags are my personal favorite) and lay flat to freeze for up to six months. Once frozen, stack the bags either vertically or horizontally to save space.

To defrost, simply pull out a bag or two from the freezer and defrost in the refrigerator overnight for quick tacos, burritos, and quesadillas, or go all out with some fully loaded nachos.

45 degree photo of a burrito bowl with instant pot shredded Mexican beef corn black beans lettuce tomatoes diced red onion sour cream jalapeños and avocado sauce on a concrete background with a bowl of avocado sauce in the background
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Recipe

Instant Pot Shredded Beef

This easy Instant Pot Shredded Beef is mild in spice yet loaded with flavor and boasts endless meal possibilities. Perfect for a crowd or quick family dinners with plenty of leftovers to freeze.

  • Prep Time:
    10 minutes
  • Total Time:
    1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~12, 4-ounce servings
  • Prep Time:
    10 minutes
  • Total Time:
    1 hour 10 minutes
  • Makes:
    ~12, 4-ounce servings
  • Ingredients

    • 2 ½ pounds top round roast (leaner) or chuck roast (richer)
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 medium onion, diced small
    • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
    • 2 tablespoons chili powder
    • 2 teaspoons paprika
    • 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilis, with liquid (see notes)
    • 2 tablespoons beef base (see notes)
    • ⅔ cup water 
    • Juice from 1 lime

    Instructions

    1. Prepare the meat. Trim meat from excess fat, cut in half lengthwise, and rub with salt and pepper. Set Instant Pot to SAUTE — MORE (HIGH). When hot, add oil to the pot and sear meat on all sides, about 1-2 minutes per side. About halfway through searing,  add the onion and garlic and cook until onions are tender and meat is totally browned on the outside. Press CANCEL to turn off the Instant Pot. 
    2. Add seasonings and pressure cook. Add chili powder, paprika, diced tomatoes, beef base, water and stir well until bee base has been incorporated into the liquid. Set Instant Pot to PRESSURE COOK – HIGH for 55 minutes (65 minutes if closer to 3 pounds). Let the pressure release naturally for 5 minutes and release remaining pressure manually.
    3. Shred and serve. Remove the beef from the liquid and shred on a cutting board using two forks. Return shredded meat to the pot and add lime juice to taste. Stir well and serve. Store leftover beef in an airtight food storage container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 6 months. 

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

    • Diced tomatoes: I personally love fire-roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies in this recipe but regular canned diced tomatoes work well, too! Reminder: don’t drain the liquid.
    • Beef base: My favorite beef base is made by Better Than Bouillon which is available at most grocery stores, as well as Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Costco. You can also substitute 6 beef bouillon cubes in place of the beef base, just stir well to dissolve before pressure cooking.

    Ingredient Prep

    • Trim and season the meat with salt and pepper
    • Measure the spices and seasoning: chili powder, paprika, and beef base
    • Dice the onion and chop the garlic
    • Chop other ingredients you plan to eat with it 

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Measure the spices; open canned diced tomatoes, juice the lime
    • Little Kids: All of the above plus help chop the onion and garlic (closely supervised, of course)
    • Big Kids: Give them the recipe and let them ask for help when needed! 

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information calculated using top round roast (leaner) and full-sodium beef base.

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 1/12 of recipe (~4 ounces)
    • Calories: 189
    • Sugar: 1 g
    • Sodium: 591 mg
    • Fat: 10 g
    • Saturated Fat: 3 g
    • Unsaturated Fat: 7 g
    • Trans Fat: 0 g
    • Carbohydrates: 3 g
    • Fiber: 1 g
    • Protein: 21 g
    • Cholesterol: 63 mg

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    If you make this Instant Pot Shredded Beef, please leave a comment and give this recipe a rating! Ratings and comments help other busy parents discover this recipe and get ideas to adapt it. Plus, I love to hear your feedback and always do my best to respond to every comment.

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    long image of Mexican shredded beef on a black cutting board with cilantro lime and jalapeño and two forks and bottom photo of overhead burrito bowl with shredded beef with title text overlay

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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