This instant pot birria recipe is not made the traditional way. The cooking time is dramatically reduced by using an electric pressure cooker!
The whole point of Simplified Chef is to take dishes inspired my frequent trips to international markets and local restaurants and make them as simple as possible for the home chef. Once you taste one bite of this juicy tender meat, your cravings for birria will be satisfied.
Birria is a traditional Mexican beef stew that has increased in mainstream popularity over the past few years, mainly because of food trucks. I first tried quesabirria tacos at a local food truck, but now heat and eat birria is carried at Trader Joe's and my local grocery store!
As exciting as that is, you know how often products are discontinued, especially at Trader Joes, so I definitely had to get into recipe development mode and figure out a way to recreate this dish at home.
Traditional birria is made with different cuts of beef, goat or lamb. Instead of using more expensive cuts of meat like goat meat, short ribs or beef shank, I decided to go with chuck roast since it is readily available and typically affordable.
The next task was to simplify the ingredient list because many authentic birria recipes have an extremely long list of ingredients, sometimes with 5 different types of dried chilis. With 3 kids going in three different directions most days, I don't have the time to go to multiple stores searching for the perfect combination of dried chilies to make a more authentic birria de res.
What can I make with birria meat?
Once you have your beef birria meat cooked, you can make more than just instant pot birria tacos.
Here a just a few of the ideas I have for this delicious birria recipe:
- Birria ramen
- Birria quesadillas- check out this recipe from my blog friend Britney
- Birria burritos
- Shredded beef sandwiches
- Birria pizza
- Birria nachos
Once you try one bite of savory shredded meat, you'll come up with lots of ideas too. A decadent grilled cheese sandwich stuffed with tender beef sounds like heaven.
- chuck roast
- salt & pepper
- avocado oil
- Rotel tomatoes with green chiles
- red enchilada sauce
- taco seasoning
- beef broth
See the recipe card for quantities.
Making this Mexican meat stew on the stove top in a dutch oven typically takes 3 hours or longer. The instant pot cuts our cook time and clean up time dramatically.
First season the meat with salt and pepper, then sear it in the pressure cooker pot using the sauté setting.
Add the remaining ingredients to the pot with the browned meat then add the lid and cook on high pressure.
Let the pressure release naturally before removing the lid. Take out the cooked meat and set it aside while you carefully skim off the layer of fat that has risen to the surface.
Once most of the fat has been removed, you can use an immersion blender to puree the birria sauce, or consommé as it is traditionally called, into a smooth sauce. This extra sauce is perfect for dipping if you plan on making the birria taco recipe with the meat. Keep the sauce warm while you shred the meat with 2 forks.
What is birria dipping sauce made of?
Birria dipping sauce is made of beef broth, tomatoes and spices that have been added to the pot while the birria meat cooks. The best part is that the sauce is infused with that beefy flavor you get from the chuck roast. after removing the meat from the pot with a slotted spoon, the cooking liquid is pureed to a velvety smooth consistency to make the dipping sauce.
Can you reuse birria sauce?
Absolutely! You can reheat any leftover sauce and use it to make birria ramen. I like to cook ramen in the sauce instead of boiling it in plain water. It's so much more flavorful this way.
You can also use the sauce as a substitute for pizza sauce if you make birria pizza with any remaining birria meat. If you run out of birria meat before all of your sauce is used up, you can make a quick soup by adding diced chicken, a can of corn and a can of black beans or pinto beans to the remaining sauce.
How do you thicken birria sauce?
Thicken birria sauce by adding some tomato paste to the broth after you have pureed it with a blender. Adjust the seasoning afterwards, if necessary. You can also thicken the sauce by turning your instant pot back on to the sauté setting after you have removed the meat and fat.
Let the birria sauce simmer until the sauce has thickened to your liking. This method will concentrate the flavors of the sauce, so don't add any additional salt until after the sauce is thickened. You likely won't need additional salt anyway.
There aren't many ingredients needed for this simplified instant pot birria, so substitutions really aren't needed. You can however, add some ingredients to the instant pot for additional flavor.
- Bay leaves - just one or two bay leaves is enough to add a distinct, almost earthy flavor to the stew.
- Apple cider vinegar - use 1- 2 tablespoons to balance the richness of the broth with the acidity of the vinegar. Add this to the birria broth after the meat is cooked and removed and the fat has been skimmed off.
- Cinnamon stick - this is found in many of the more traditional recipes and adds an underlying warm note to the sauce. It is barely noticeable to most people, but if you happen to have cinnamon sticks in your pantry, feel free to add them to the instant pot before you put the lid on.
- Spicy - use the hot version of Rotel tomatoes with habaneros if you like extra kick. You can also add 1 or 2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for extra heat.
- Deluxe - have plenty of corn tortillas or crispy tacos shells, sour cream, lime wedges, cilantro, Monterey jack and white onion for serving taco Tuesday style! Be sure to read the separate post on making the birria tacos.
For this recipe, I use a 6 qt instant pot. If you plan on doubling the recipe you will need to sear the meat in batches and use an 8 qt or 10 qt instant pot. You can also make more birria tacos at one time if you use an electric griddle like this one. I use it to make pancakes all the time and you can fit 8 birria tacos on it at one time.
Store the leftover birria meat in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. I have not personally tried freezing the birria meat, but since it is sold frozen at stores like Trader Joes, it can likely be frozen and reheated with good results.
I like to store the meat in as much sauce as possible so it doesn't dry out.
The reason why you don't want to use the quick release feature is that it causes the broth in the pot to boil as the pressure is released. Boiling the broth makes the fat emulsify back into the liquid. The fat should stay on the surface of the birria broth (consommé) as much as possible because you want to skim the fat off and save it for frying the tortillas for the quesabirria tacos.
📖Printable Recipe Card
Instant Pot Birria
- 2 pounds chuck roast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- 1 10 ounce can mild diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel)
- 1 10 ounce can mild red enchilada sauce
- 2 1 ounce packets taco seasoning
- 2 cups beef broth
- Chopped cilantro optional garnish
- Chopped white onion optional garnish
- Cut the chuck roast into two, equal sized pieces and sprinkle all over with the salt and pepper. Rub the salt and pepper into the meat and allow it to set to the side for now.2 pounds chuck roast, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper
- Place the avocado oil in the instant pot and turn on the saute mode, placing about 6-7 minutes on the timer if required.2 Tablespoons avocado oil
- Once the oil has heated to a shimmering heat, place the meat in the instant pot and brown it on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side and then on each edge, about 30 seconds per edge. You don’t need to cook the meat through, just sear it to keep the juices in and get a nice flavor.
- Once the meat has browned turn off the instant pot and add the mild Rotel, red enchilada sauce, taco seasoning and beef broth.1 10 ounce can mild diced tomatoes with green chilis (Rotel), 1 10 ounce can mild red enchilada sauce, 2 1 ounce packets taco seasoning, 2 cups beef broth
- Place the lid on top and seal the instant pot.
- Pressure cook for 50-60 minutes or until the meat is tender and shreds easily.
- Once the meat has cooked, allow the steam to release naturally until the pin drops and then remove the lid.
- Remove the meat from the sauce and shred it with forks.
- Skim from the top, the greasiest part of the sauce and place it in a large, shallow bowl. Reserve the fat.
- Use an immersion blender or food processor to blend the remaining sauce in the pot until smooth.
- Pour some of the sauce over the meat to keep it moist.
- Serve the birria meat as a stew or use it to make birria tacos. Garnish with cilantro and chopped white onion, if desired.Chopped cilantro, Chopped white onion
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