Pork Barbacoa (Instant Pot Recipe)

This Barbacoa Instant Pot pulled pork is a delicious way to prepare shredded meat that can be made used in tacos, burritos, wraps, over rice, salads and in casseroles. It’s fuss-free and you can meal prep a big batch of moist, shredded pork to enjoy over a few days or to freeze for later.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork (Barbacoa-Inspired Recipe)

One of our favourite recipes to make in an Instant Pot is pulled pork. It’s fuss-free and you can make a big batch of it to use up in multiple meals. In today’s recipe, we want to share a delicious Barbacoa-inspired Instant Pot pulled pork.

This recipe is paleo, gluten-free and Whole30 friendly (omit the honey).


Barbacoa actually refers to a method of slow-cooking meat such as beef, pork or lamb over an open fire, or more traditionally, in a hole dug in the ground covered with special maguey leaves. These days, barbacoa meat is often steamed until tender or slow-cooked in a crockpot or over a barbecue. Barbacoa is often associated with Mexican and Caribbean cuisines, but it’s often more about the flavours and spices used than the cooking method itself.


This is a simple recipe but it does call for a few common spices to get that famous Barbacoa flavour. You should be able to get them easily and might already have them in your pantry. Let’s talk about two key ingredients in more detail.

Pork Meat

We like using the shoulder or leg of the pork for pulled pork. We generally buy diced pork shoulder or pork steaks and then cut them into smaller pieces. You can use pork, beef or lamb for this recipe.

Chipotle Chili 

We used chipotle chilli flakes, which add smokey flavour and a little heat to the dish without making it too spicy. You can use a whole dried chipotle chili or tinned chipotle chili. Alternatively, you can use a teaspoon of smoked paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of regular chili or cayenne pepper.

Making instant pot pulled pork - ingredients


This barbacoa pulled pork is juicy, tender and full of gorgeous flavours. You can serve it on a bed of white rice with a side salad and guacamole or hot salsa.

You can also use this pulled pork in tacos, burritos, nachos, with fried plantains or sweet potatoes, as a topping over baked jacket potatoes, or as a protein on top of a salad. It’s great to add to casseroles and pasta bakes.

You can freeze pulled pork to use up later on or refrigerate it for up to 3 days. 

Instant Pot Pulled Pork With Rice & Salad


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Barbacoa Pulle Pork - Instant Pot Recipe

Barbacoa Instant Pot Pulled Pork

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 mins
  • Yield: 4-5 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Mexican


Make a batch of this tender and juice Instant Pot pulled pork to use up in multiple meals: tacos, burritos, salads, wraps, casseroles or serve with rice and salad. It’s a Barbacoa inspired recipe.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion,
  • 700 g / 1.5 lb diced pork (shoulder)
  • 56 garlic cloves, roughly diced
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seed powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chili flakes (see notes above)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon allspice powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • A handful of fresh chopped cilantro, for garnish (optional)


  1. Press the Sauté key on the Instant Pot. Add the oil and once hot, add the onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Add the pork, stir and cook for 2 more minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and spices, stir and then add the rest of the ingredients. Cancel the Sauté function by pressing Keep Warm/Cancel button.
  3. Place and lock the lid, make sure the steam releasing handle is pointing to Sealing. Press Manual (High Pressure) and adjust to 20 minutes. After 3 beeps the pressure cooker will start going.
  4. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release for 3-4 minutes and then use the quick release method before opening the lid.
  5. Using a potato masher, press down the meat and flake it into shreds. You could do this with a fork, but I find that the masher works really well. Press Sauté key again and cook the shredded meat in its broth for 7-8 minutes, stirring a few times. This will evaporate some of the liquid and thicken the sauce.
  6. Serve the pork with extra lime wedges and fresh cilantro.


  • Serving Size: 150 g of meat
  • Calories: 319
  • Sugar: 6.7 g
  • Sodium: 767.1 mg
  • Fat: 10.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 12.9 g
  • Fiber: 1.8 g
  • Protein: 42 g
  • Cholesterol: 106.8 mg

Keywords: Barbacoa, Tex Mex, Pork, Tacos, Meal Prep


Instant Pot Recipes
By Instant Pot Eats

About Instant Pot Eats: Published by a seasoned food blogger and cookbook author, Irena Macri, and a team of cooking experts and enthusiasts, this blog is dedicated to delicious Instant Pot recipes. We love sharing all food including our favorite stovetop and oven dishes.

More about us here »


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  1. This recipe is great. I have the version with 3 times the ingredients, and I have cooked 2.5 pound Boston shoulder very successfully. Can’t recommend this dish, with pico de gallo, enough in tacos, but as a base for any Mexican dish. Freezes well.

    A couple more recipes like this, and someone could open a successful SoCal Mexican place.

  2. Way better than slow cooker pulled pork. Amazing flavor – I doubled the lime second time I made it and liked it a bit more, but that’s a preference thing. Almost didn’t try this bc it had no reviews, but I’m glad I did anyway!

    1. Thanks, Nicole! Really happy you liked it and thank you for the rating and comment 🙂 Now, hopefully, even more readers will try it.

  3. I am a busy work from home mom who hasn’t been able to cook dinner in the last three nights bc work is taking over my life. I pulled out some pork stew chunks I had last night and made it this morning using this recipe. I didn’t have lime so i used lemon, also didnt have chipotle chili flakes, but i did have a few chipotle chilli powder blends, so i mixed those in instead. My house smells delicious and it taste AMAZING. We will eat it over whote rice or in tortillas. Wonderful, easy recipe.

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