For those nights you don’t have time to wait, this Instant Pot shredded beef recipe has your back. After a trip to the pressure cooker, a chuck roast transforms into tender, juicy shreds of beef in a fraction of the time it takes to slowly braise in the oven or prepare in the slow cooker. You’ll get so many uses out of this versatile recipe that it’s sure to find a spot on your regular dinner and entertaining rotation.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
Quickest cooking method: Oven-braised shredded beef requires about three to four hours of cooking time while a slow cooker can take even longer. Although that low and slow braise makes for a delicious beef, you don’t always have that kind of time on your hands. With the Instant Pot, you can make shredded beef in about an hour and a half.
Easy for beginner and expert Instant Pot cooks alike: New to pressure cooking? No worries — this is one easy recipe. Shredded beef might seem more advanced, but you’ll be surprised how this recipe only requires a few simple steps.
Calls for simple ingredients: You can find all the ingredients at your basic grocery store, and I bet you already have most of the spices in your pantry.
Nearly endless uses: Shredded beef adds a rich, filling protein to any dish. Make sure you keep this recipe handy.
Beef chuck roast: Look for a chuck roast with lots of marbling that’s bright red and firm to touch. To ensure the beef roast fits in your Instant Pot, it should be around 2 ½ to 3 pounds. If possible, pick a boneless roast since we cut the meat into smaller chunks.
Seasonings: This is a simple blend of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika.
Beef stock: We always need some kind of liquid with pressure cooking to keep the meat from burning. If you have homemade beef stock, that’s a great option. Otherwise, I recommend making your stock from Better Than Bouillon Beef.
Canola oil: We use this to brown the meat before pressure cooking. Olive oil also works.
Now let's show you how easy it is to make this Instant Pot shredded beef.
Step 1: We begin by covering the chuck roast on both sides with our spice mixture and then cutting the meat in four pieces like so (photo 1). Since chuck roast is such a large cut, these smaller pieces break down better in the Instant Pot.
Step 2: Now we add some canola oil to the Instant Pot and turn the unit to Sauté. When the oil is hot, we add two pieces of the chuck roast to the pot and cook on both sides to brown (photo 2). We repeat with the other two pieces.
Step 3: Once we brown the meat, we remove the chuck roast pieces, pour in the beef broth and use a sturdy wooden spoon to scrape up any little meat bits on the bottom of the pot (photo 3).
Step 4: From here, we place the chuck roast back in the Instant Pot and spread onion slices on top. With the roast ready for cooking, we hit the Cancel button to reset the Instant Pot, seal the unit and cook on the Manual setting for 50 minutes (photo 4).
Step 5: After pressure cooking, we let the unit naturally release for 15 minutes and then flip the valve open to release the remaining pressure. Most of the pressure should have released naturally after the initial 15 minutes. Now we move the meat to a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the beef (photo 5).
Our Instant Pot shredded beef is now ready. Wasn’t that easy?
Note: I tested this recipe in a 6-quart Instant Pot.
Tasty Serving Ideas
This pulled beef is delicious and ready to eat right after shredding, but you don’t just have to eat it on its own. You have so many different ways to serve this juicy, tender meat. Here are a few ways you can put this flavorful beef to use.
- Use for all sorts of Mexican dishes: Think shredded beef enchiladas, nachos, tacos, quesadillas, taquitos, rice bowls, tostadas and burritos. You will get so many uses here. Don't forget to add a squeeze of fresh lime juice.
- Stuff into sandwiches, sliders and grilled cheese: I’m especially partial to stacking these beefy sandwiches with melted smoked Gouda, caramelized onions and some homemade BBQ sauce.
- Add to mac and cheese: Can you imagine how good that tender beef is with a decadent cheese sauce and loads of pasta? You can use my brisket mac and cheese for a little inspiration — just substitute the shredded beef for the brisket.
- Top on a pizza: You can use my favorite pizza dough and swap the pork in this BBQ pizza for the beef.
- Piled onto a baked potato: Add your favorite toppings and dinner is served.
Oh, and let’s not forget our side dishes. If you choose one of the Mexican options, this coconut-lime rice with plenty of chips and salsa is always a favorite. For beef sandwiches, you can’t go wrong with a side of potato salad, baked beans or tortellini pasta salad.
How to Store, Reheat and Freeze Leftovers
For even juicier meat, store the beef with its cooking liquid in an airtight container. You can keep it in the refrigerator for three to four days.
I especially love that it keeps well because that means it's great for making ahead of time. Talk about easy entertaining.
When you’re ready to reheat the meat, you can warm it with the juice on the stove over medium heat. If you’re serving for a party, you can keep the meat warm in a slow cooker or chafing dish.
To freeze, you can store the beef in a freezer-safe container and keep it for up to six months. While you can still eat it after that period, the quality may not be quite as good. You can thaw the meat by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost setting on your microwave.
For best results, use a chuck roast, not a round roast. Chuck has the necessary fat marbling to make a good shredded beef that’s perfectly tender and flavorful. Round roast is too lean. While you can technically shred round roast, it won’t be as juicy.
The pressure cooking time is 50 minutes, but you also want to account for the time to sear the meat, allow the Instant Pot to come to pressure and release the pressure. Here’s the breakdown.
Searing the meat: 10 minutes
Come to pressure: 10 minutes
Pressure cooking: 50 minutes
Natural release: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour and 25 minutes
If the beef doesn’t easily shred, it likely needs more cooking time for the connective tissues to finish breaking down. While 50 minutes is a standard rule of thumb for cooking a 3-pound chuck roast, every cut of beef is a bit different, so it’s good to have a back-up plan just in case. Simply give your roast another 10 minutes in the Instant Pot.
A natural release is when you don’t turn the valve and let the Instant Pot reduce the pressure on its own. A quick release, however, is when you immediately open the valve after cooking. As a general rule, you want to follow a natural release when cooking meat to allow the juices to redistribute throughout the cut.
Substitutions and Variations
- Add extra flavorings to the beef stock, such as Worcestershire sauce or adobo sauce from a can of chipotle peppers.
- Give it a spicy kick and add some cayenne pepper or chili powder to the dry rub.
- Use another seasoning blend. The recommended seasoning is great for making an all-purpose shredded beef, but you can swap that for another spice blend to create a specific flavor profile, such as Cajun seasoning or taco seasoning.
- Marinate your beef first. Instead of a dry rub, feel free to experiment with your favorite wet marinade. I’m especially partial to this jerk marinade.
- Toss the finished beef with your favorite sauce. Besides a good BBQ sauce, a teriyaki sauce would be a tasty option.
Let the roast sit on the countertop before cooking: If you have time, I recommend giving the roast an hour to sit at room temperature. This takes the chill off the meat for more even cooking.
Make gravy from the juice: You can strain the juice to make a roux-based gravy on the stove. Alternatively, you turn the Instant Pot back to Sauté after pressure cooking and add a cornstarch slurry directly to the leftover juice to thicken.
Use the leftover juice for extra moisture: If you don’t make a gravy with your leftover juice, it’s great for making your shredded beef even juicier. Once you shred the beef, you can use a pastry brush to coat the beef with a layer of juice right before serving, or serve the beef and juice together in one pot with tongs.
Discard excess fat: As you shred the beef, you’ll occasionally get a piece of fat. Set those aside.
Brown the beef in two batches: If you overcrowd the pot, the beef will just steam, and you won’t get the proper exterior crust.
Want a beer on the side? A stout is a favorite with chuck roast. The roasted malt pairs nicely with the caramelization we get from browning and the touch of smoky flavor from the dry rub. You also can’t go wrong with a porter or brown ale.
For wine, a cabernet is a classic pairing with chuck roast. This is a big wine that can stand up to the rich chuck roast. We also get plenty of tannins and acidity to cut through this fattier piece of beef.
When you need a big plate of meaty goodness, you’ll come back to this Instant Pot shredded beef over and over again. You’ll just love this easy recipe’s quicker cooking time, versatility and tasty results.
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Easy Instant Pot Shredded Beef
- 6-quart Instant Pot
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 pound boneless chuck roast
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 cup beef stock
- Several slices of yellow onion
- Stir together the salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and smoked paprika. Sprinkle the spice mixture on both sides of the chuck roast and cut the roast into four even pieces.
- Add the canola oil to the Instant Pot and turn the unit to Sauté. When the oil is hot, add two pieces of the chuck roast to the pot and cook on both sides to brown, about two to three minutes per side. Repeat with the other two pieces.
- Remove the chuck roast pieces, pour in the beef stock and use a sturdy wooden spoon to scrape up any little meat bits on the bottom of the pot.
- Place the chuck roast back in the Instant Pot and spread onion slices on top. Hit the Cancel button to reset the Instant Pot, seal the unit and cook on the Manual setting for 50 minutes.
- After pressure cooking, let the Instant Pot naturally release for 15 minutes and then flip the valve open to release the remaining pressure. Most of the pressure should have released naturally after the initial 15 minutes. Move the meat to a large cutting board and use two forks to shred the beef. Discard any pieces of fat. Enjoy!
- Store leftovers in an airtight container with the juices in the refrigerator for three to four days. To reheat the meat, warm it with the juice on the stove over medium heat. If serving for a party, keep the meat warm in a slow cooker or chafing dish.
- To freeze, store the beef in a freezer-safe container and keep it for up to six months. Thaw the meat by leaving it in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost setting on your microwave.
- If the beef doesn’t easily shred, it likely needs more cooking time for the connective tissues to finish breaking down. Every cut of beef is a bit different. Simply give your roast another 10 minutes in the Instant Pot.
- When possible, let the roast sit at room temperature for an hour before cooking to take the chill off the meat. This allows for more even cooking.
- Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.