Instant Pot Beef Cheeks (Served 4 Ways)

Delicious and hearty Instant Pot beef cheeks braised in tomato and red wine sauce until fall-apart tender. Learn how to make this beef cheek recipe in your pressure cooker (stovetop instructions are also provided) and how to enjoy them in 4 different ways: pasta ragu sauce, with mashed potatoes, as tacos or as a beef cheek pot pie.


Ideal for colder weather, braised beef cheeks are a melt-in-your-mouth meat dish, that can be enjoyed in many ways: as a decadent ragu with your favourite pasta, as a stew over mashed potatoes, in a casserole or as a pie filling, and even as tacos. In today’s recipe, we will show you how to cook Instant Pot beef cheeks and how to finish them in four different ways.

 

WHAT ARE BEEF CHEEKS?

Beef cheeks are often overlooked but they are an incredibly flavorful and rich cut of meat that can be super tender when slow-cooked or pressure cooked. This cut is taken from the cheek of the animal and each cheek piece weighs around 12 ounces or 300-400 grams. Being a hard-working muscle, the beef cheek is dense and a little sinewy and requires a long cooking time to break down the fibres and melt the connective tissue. Beef cheeks are very nutritious and perfect for pressure cooking! 

WHAT DO BEEF CHEEKS TASTE LIKE?

Beef cheeks taste similar to other cuts of beef but have a much richer, more savory beef flavor with a super tender texture that is unique to this cut of meat. This comes partially from the connective tissues and marbling in this muscle that are broken down during slow cooking or pressure cooking. They melt and soften the beef pieces with strands of tasty (and nutritious) collagen and gelatin and give them an incredibly rich flavor. 

WHERE TO GET BEEF CHEEKS?

Beef cheeks come as individual pieces of meat and can be purchased at most butchers and many supermarkets. It’s a relatively affordable cut of meat due to its tougher texture and if you see it on sale, stock up the freezer as it cooks great once defrosted. If purchasing from a butcher, ask them to clean off some of this sinew for easier at-home preparation (this might already be done in the supermarket pre-packaging).

 

INSTANT POT BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS

Since beef cheeks require long cooking, they land themselves perfectly to the Instant Pot. You can achieve amazingly tender braised beef cheeks in a fraction of the time you would need for stovetop, oven or Crockpot cooking. This is a very easy beef cheek recipe that you can adjust and adapt for various dishes like tacos or pot pie. See our ideas and notes below the recipe card.

Instant Pot Braised Beef Cheeks

BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS INGREDIENTS

For this recipe, we used 4 large beef cheeks (about 2.5 lb/1.2 kg), which yielded enough meat and sauce to have three meals: three servings of meat with mashed potatoes and green beans, two servings of braised beef tacos, and three servings of pasta with beef cheek ragu (we added more tomato sauce for extra volume). You can freeze cooked beef cheeks in portions if you don’t want to use them all right away. 

The sauce comes together with classic stew ingredients of onions, celery and carrots, garlic, herbs, red wine, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce. Plus, some water and that’s about it. 

What Are Beef Cheeks?

 

HOW TO COOK BEEF CHEEKS IN AN INSTANT POT

We used a 6-quart Instant Pot Duo but you can easily make this recipe in an 8-quart. Find the full recipe ingredients and a nutritional breakdown below these step-by-step photos.

Step 1. Prepare all ingredients before you start cooking as this dish comes together very quickly. Cut the beef cheeks into 2-inch pieces and remove any thick layer of fat (no need to remove all of it as that’s where a lot of the flavor comes from and it will all render/melt during cooking). 

Step 2. Set the Instant Pot to Saute setting on Normal. Add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. Stir a few times. Learn more about all the Instant Pot buttons here.

Step 3. Add diced beef cheeks, herbs, seasonings and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Pour in the wine and stir, then follow by 2/3 cup of water (or beef stock if using). Stir through, scraping the bottom of the pot and press Cancel to stop the saute process. 

How to prepare beef cheeks in the Instant pot - step 1

Step 4. Finally, pour the tomato sauce over the top and spread but don’t stir through (to prevent any burning errors, it will sink through during cooking). 

Step 5. Secure and lock the lid. Set to Manual/Pressure Cook on HIGH pressure for 40 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start building up pressure (should take about 10 minutes) and the cooking will commence. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally. 

Step 6. In the meantime, prepare other sides such as mashed potatoes and vegetables or things you need for one of the other meals. See our ideas below. 

Finish the dish. Open the lid and stir the meat through the sauce. It should be very tender, easy enough to shred with a fork. You can serve the beef cheeks as they are over mashed potatoes or you can use a potato masher to break down and shred the meat to turn this into a ragu sauce to go over pasta. If you like a thicker sauce, you can stir in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of flour and 3 tablespoons of water (known as a slurry) into the stew while it’s hot and it will thicken up. 

How to make Instant Pot beef cheeks steps 2

 

Instant Pot Braised Beef Cheeks (Served Four Ways)

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Instant Pot Beef Cheeks Recipe 4 Ways

Instant Pot Beef Cheeks (Eat Four Ways)

  • Author: Instant Pot Eats
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 70 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 serves 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: Italian
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Learn how to make melt-in-your-mouth braised beef cheeks in the Instant Pot. Cooked with red wine, tomato sauce and herbs, this is an easy beef cheek recipe that you can adjust and adapt to create variations for meals like tacos, pot pie or pasta ragu sauce. Or, simply serve over mashed potatoes with a side of green vegetables.


Ingredients

Scale

2.5 lb / 1.2 kg beef cheeks (4 cheeks), cut into 2″ pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup chopped onions (1 large onion)

1 cup diced carrots (1 large carrot)

1/2 diced celery (2 celery ribs)

1 teaspoon mixed dried herbs or Italian herbs

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cloves garlic, diced

1/2 cup red wine (any dry to medium wine)

2/3 cup water (beef stock or chicken stock could also be used)

1 can tomato sauce/passata (1415 oz / 400 g can)

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

2 bay leaves (optional)

To serve: 1/4 cup chopped parsley + 1 tablespoon lemon zest


Instructions

  • Prep. Cut the beef cheeks into 2-inch pieces; you can cut them into smaller pieces if you like. 
  • Saute. Set the Instant Pot to Saute setting on Normal. Add olive oil, onions, carrots and celery and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften slightly. Stir a few times. 
  • Add meat & bits: Add diced beef cheeks, herbs, seasonings and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Pour in the wine and stir, then follow by 2/3 cup of water (or beef stock if using). Stir through, scraping the bottom of the pot and press Cancel to stop the saute process. Finally, pour the tomato sauce over the top and spread but don’t stir through (to prevent any burning errors, it will sink through during cooking). 
  • Secure and lock the lid. Set to Manual/Pressure Cook on HIGH pressure for 40 minutes. After 3 beeps, the Instant Pot will start building up pressure (should take about 10 minutes) and the cooking will commence. Once the timer goes off, allow the pressure to release naturally. 
  • In the meantime, prepare other sides such as mashed potatoes and vegetables or things you need for one of the other meals. See our ideas above. We love beef cheeks with chopped parsley and lemon zest, also known as gremolata, so you can prepare that as well.
  • Finish the dish. Open the lid and stir the meat through the sauce. It should be very tender, easy enough to shred with a fork. You can serve the beef cheeks as they are over mashed potatoes or you can use a potato masher to break down and shred the meat to turn this into a ragu sauce to go over pasta. If you like a thicker sauce, you can stir in a mixture of 1 tablespoon of flour and 3 tablespoons of water (known as a slurry) into the stew while it’s hot and it will thicken up. 

Notes

Meat & Veg Meal: serve with steamed or boiled green beans and mashed potatoes

Pasta Meal: shred the meat into the sauce and serve over cooked pasta of any kind but particularly good with pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine and grated Parmesan cheese on top.

Taco Meal: scoop out half of the liquid and add a tablespoon or two of taco seasoning to the cooked beef cheeks, shred with fork or potato masher; serve with tortillas, chipotle hot sauce and chopped cilantro and onions, drizzle with lime juice. 

Pot Pie Meal: mix a tablespoon of flour and 3-4 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until smooth, stir into the beef cheeks sauce to thicken it. Add a cup of peas or/and cut up broccoli or kale to the cooked beef cheeks and transfer everything to a deep pie dish. Butter the edges and top with rolled out puff pastry puff pastry. Cook in the oven as per puff pastry instructions.

Storage & freezer: This recipe yields a large batch of beef cheeks which you can divide into portions and store in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze for up to 3-6 months.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 5-6 oz of meat and sauce
  • Calories: 359
  • Sugar: 5.2 g
  • Sodium: 602.4 mg
  • Fat: 15 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 10.7 g
  • Fiber: 2.4 g
  • Protein: 40.8 g
  • Cholesterol: 118 mg

Keywords: beef, beef cheeks, meat, instant pot, Italian

BRAISED BEEF CHEEKS & MASHED POTATO

While beef cheeks are in the pot, make mashed potatoes and prepare vegetables for steaming or boiling.  Serve with chopped parsley and lemon zest, also known as gremolata. Similarly, you can serve this as a stew over rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice for a low-carb/Paleo/keto meal. 

Braised beef cheeks with mashed potatoes

 

BEEF CHEEKS RAGU PASTA

Once cooked, use a potato masher or knife and fork to shred the meat to turn this dish into a rich ragu sauce. Serve over cooked pasta of any kind but particularly good with pappardelle, tagliatelle or fettuccine and grated Parmesan cheese on top. 

Stretch it out: You can enjoy half of the beef cheeks and the sauce with potatoes and veggies and reserve some for the ragu sauce; if you need to stretch out the meat, you can always add more tomato sauce when making the pasta ragu. 

Beef cheeks ragu sauce

Beef cheeks ragu pasta
Image by Sarah Tuck for Dish.co
 

BEEF CHEEKS TACOS

We love using leftover braised beef cheeks for tacos. Add a tablespoon or two of taco seasoning to the cooked beef cheeks, shred with fork or potato masher (we scoop out some of the broth so it’s not too saucy); serve with tortillas, chipotle hot sauce and chopped cilantro and onions, drizzle with lime juice. 

Instant Pot Beef Cheeks Tacos

BEEF CHEEK POT PIE

Another idea is to used braised beef cheeks in a pot pie or a casserole. Mix a tablespoon of flour and 3-4 tablespoons of water in a small bowl until smooth, stir into the beef cheeks sauce to thicken it. Add a cup of peas or/and diced broccoli or kale to the cooked beef cheeks and transfer everything to a deep pie dish. Butter the edges and top with rolled out puff pastry puff pastry. Cook in the oven as per puff pastry instructions. Check out this recipe (pic below) for inspiration.

Beef cheek pot pie

 

MORE INSTANT POT BEEF RECIPES

By Instant Pot Eats

About us: We are a team of Instant Pot enthusiasts, who love good food and cooking. Our blog is dedicated to delicious recipes you can make using your trusted pressure cooker.

PS. This post may contain Amazon affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission for purchases made through these links. 

More about us here »

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