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Instant Pot Brisket – The Real Food Dietitians


If just the word ‘brisket’ and the thought of tender slices of beef smothered in barbecue sauce has your mouth watering but your mind saying, “I don’t have time to make that!” then you’ve come to the right place. Because you DO have the time for this Instant Pot Brisket. It’s so easy to make and you don’t even need a grill or a smoker. 

This post was created in partnership with the Minnesota Beef Council

It’s no secret that we’re big fans of barbecue around here. What we’re not fans of are meals that require a ton of fuss or special talents so it was only natural that we’d have to try our hand at Instant Pot Beef Brisket with the goal of getting our barbecue fix whenever we wanted it. We think you’re going to love this recipe, the total hands-on time is less than 45 minutes and the pressure cooker does the rest. So if you’ve been toying with the idea of trying your hand at making a brisket, this is the perfect way to do so.

We’ve partnered with our friends at the Minnesota Beef Council once again to bring this fantastically easy, family-pleasing recipe. Even if you’ve never stepped foot in front of a grill or a smoker, this Instant Pot version will give you the confidence you need to cook your first brisket with great results.

The ingredient list for this Instant Pot Brisket might look a little long but stay with us here! All of the ingredients are ones you probably already have on hand in your pantry or are easily found at your local grocery store. Why the longer list? We’ve included a recipe for a DIY rub and homemade barbecue sauce which comes together super quick. If you’ve never made your own rub or sauce for a brisket, you’re in for a treat. 

Juicy bbq Instant Pot Brisket in a bun topped with homemade coleslaw

Ingredients for Instant Pot Beef Brisket

  • Beef Brisket Flat – Brisket is often sold in portions labeled ‘whole’, ‘point’, and ‘flat’. For this recipe, we’re using the leaner of the 3 cuts which is called the “flat”. Look for brisket portions labeled ‘Brisket flat’ or ask the butcher to help you choose the right cut for the recipe. 
  • For the Rub:
    • Garlic powder
    • Onion powder
    • Smoked paprika
    • Ground cumin
    • Salt and Pepper
  • For the Sauce:
    • Tomato paste – We recommend using no salt added tomato paste then adding extra salt to taste if necessary.
    • Vinegar – We prefer the natural sweetness of apple cider vinegar for the sauce but white vinegar plus an extra pinch of brown sugar will also work.
    • Dijon mustard – May substitute brown or yellow mustard. 
    • Brown sugar – May substitute maple sugar, maple syrup, or coconut sugar
    • Worcestershire sauce – Choose a gluten-free brand such as Lea & Perrins or Thrive Market, if needed
    • Garlic
    • Spices – Oregano, Chili powder, Smoked paprika
    • Salt and Pepper

Tools You’ll Need to Make Instant Pot Brisket

  • Instant Pot – We haven’t tested this recipe in the slow cooker (yet) so for now, you’ll need an Instant Pot or another brand electric pressure cooker 
  • Tongs
  • Baking sheet 
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Bowls – 1 small and 1 medium 
  • Aluminum foil

Close up of easy Instant Pot Brisket sliced thinly in a deep baking sheet

How to Make an Instant Pot Brisket

Prepare the rub: In a small bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients. Stir to combine. 

Rub the spice mixture over and into the surface of the brisket. Refrigerate for 4-24 hours. Remove the brisket from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before you begin cooking. 

Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 

Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add the oil. Place the brisket in the pot, laying it as flat as possible. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned, turning the brisket once. Don’t worry if you can’t sear all of the edges because of the shape of the brisket – do your best. Press the ‘Cancel’ button on the Instant Pot. 

Pour the sauce over the brisket. Use a tong to lift the brisket so that the sauce gets underneath. 

Lock the lid into place. Flip the vent valve to the ‘sealing’ position. Set the cooking time to 65 minutes at high pressure. When the cooking time is up, allow for 15 minutes of natural pressure release. Flip the vent valve to ‘venting’ to release any remaining pressure then remove the lid. 

Overhead view of inside an Instant Pot with barbecue Brisket cooked down

Transfer the brisket to a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.

Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 12-14 minutes or until the sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1 ½ – 2 cup. (You will want to stir nearly continuously at the end to prevent the sauce from scorching).

Preheat the broiler while the sauce reduces.  Brush the brisket liberally with sauce. Broil for 2-3 minutes on each side. 

Tent the brisket loosely with foil and allow the brisket to rest for 15 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. 

A broil-finished beef brisket on a deep baking sheet

How to Serve Instant Pot Brisket

Choosing how to serve your BBQ brisket is the fun part! How you serve yours will depend on what your family likes and whether you’re catering to any food preferences, allergies, or intolerances or not. 

Obviously, it’s delicious served on a bun and topped with a scoop of our super simply coleslaw (see below for the recipe – you won’t believe how easy it is to make!) but it’s also delicious paired with your favorite barbecue sides like baked beans, corn on the cob, potato, salad or even over a big veggie-filled salad. 

A brisket sandwich overfilled with juicy and tender beef brisket and homemade coleslaw in a large bun

Side dishes that pair well with Instant Pot Brisket

Can Instant Pot Beef Brisket be enjoyed regularly as part of a healthy, balanced diet?

Absolutely! A 3-ounce serving of beef, which is about the size of your smartphone, provides more than 10 essential nutrients including protein, iron, zinc, selenium, vitamins B12 and B6, and niacin. Beef is also a good source of other nutrients such as creatine (which may be beneficial for muscle growth and maintenance), glutathione (a powerful antioxidant) conjugated linoleic acid or CLA (a type of fat that may have various health benefits), and cholesterol (an important building block for hormones). 

Beef can definitely be enjoyed as part of a balanced diet that also includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. It’s a delicious addition to any meal and easy to prepare. Want to learn more about how to choose quality red meat? We wrote a post all about selecting quality beef and you can read more here.  

Can I prep this brisket ahead of time to serve later?

Yes! This Instant Pot Brisket recipe can be prepared ahead of time for serving later. This is an excellent option if you want to serve the sliced brisket and barbecue sauce as sandwiches for an easy weeknight meal. We recommend preparing the brisket from start to finish then allowing it to cool slightly before thinly slicing. 

Sliced brisket can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days and reheated for a super quick family-pleasing meal whenever you need it. 

If you plan to make the optional coleslaw in the recipe below, wait to do so until the day you plan to reheat and enjoy your Instant Pot Beef Brisket. It only needs about  20 minutes or so for the shredded cabbage and dressing to marry so we recommend preparing it while you reheat the brisket. 

Side dishes that pair well with Instant Pot Brisket

A close up view of a thin slice of juicy barbecue beef brisket on a silver baking tray

How to reheat Instant Pot Brisket

Oven: Preheat the oven to 325℉. Remove the leftover brisket from the oven and place it in a baking pan or dish. Add just enough broth or water to cover the bottom of the pan. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through. Sliced brisket will take less time to reheat than whole, unsliced brisket.  

Microwave: Place the desired portion of leftover brisket on a microwave-safe plate. Lightly wet a paper towel and gently squeeze out excess water (the towel should just be damp, not wet). Place the damp paper towel over the meat and microwave on high for 30-second intervals until heated through. 

Stovetop: Place a skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, 1-2 tablespoons of water and desired portion of leftover brisket. When the water starts to simmer, cover and reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook 3-5 minutes or until heated through. 

More Beef Recipes You’ll Love

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Let’s Get Cookin’

Instant Pot Brisket

A mouth-watering family-pleasing brisket without a grill or smoker in under 3 hours? YES, it’s possible thanks to the Instant Pot.

  • Author: Jessica Beacom
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hours
  • Yield: Serves 12 1x
  • Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free
Thin slices of Instant Pot Brisket on a silver baking tray

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds beef brisket flat, trimmed (leaving ¼ inch fat)
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil or olive oil

For the Rub:

  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

For the Sauce:

  • 1 (6-ounce) can no salt added tomato paste
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar (may substitute white vinegar)
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional: ¼ – ¾ teaspoon liquid smoke, to taste

For optional Slaw:

  • 1 (9-ounce) bag coleslaw mix (shredded green cabbage, carrots, and red cabbage)
  • ⅓ cup mayonnaise (such as Primal Kitchen or vegan mayonnaise for egg-free)
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (may substitute white vinegar)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Prepare the rub: In a small bowl, combine all of the rub ingredients. Stir to combine. 
  2. Rub the spice mixture over and into the surface of the brisket. Refrigerate for 4-24 hours. Remove the brisket from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before you begin cooking. 
  3. Prepare the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use. 
  4. Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot. When the pot is hot, add the oil. Place the brisket in the pot, laying it as flat as possible. Cook for 2 minutes on each side, or until browned, turning the brisket once. Press the ‘Cancel’ button on the Instant Pot. 
  5. Pour the sauce over the brisket. Use tongs to lift the brisket so that the sauce gets underneath. 
  6. Lock the lid into place. Flip the vent valve to the ‘sealing’ position. Set the cooking time to 60 minutes at high pressure. 
  7. When the cooking time is up, allow for 15 minutes of natural pressure release. Flip the vent valve to ‘venting’ to release any remaining pressure then remove the lid. Transfer the brisket to a baking sheet and cover loosely with foil.
  8. Select the ‘Saute’ function on the Instant Pot and bring the sauce to a boil. Cook, stirring frequently, for 13-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens and is reduced to about 1½ cups. (You will want to stir nearly continuously at the end to prevent the sauce from scorching).
  9. Preheat the broiler. Brush the brisket liberally with sauce. Broil for 2-3 minutes on each side. 
  10. Remove from boiler and tent the brisket loosely with foil, allowing it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing thinly against the grain. 
  11. Prepare the slaw, if using, up to 3 hours before serving by combining the mayonnaise, vinegar, and garlic powder. Whisk well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Stir in coleslaw mix and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 3 oz. beef + 2 Tbsp. sauce
  • Calories: 210
  • Sugar: 4g
  • Sodium: 635mg
  • Fat: 8g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 25g

Pin it now, Make it later!

Thin slices of Instant Pot beef brisket on a silver baking sheet


This post was made possible by our friends at Minnesota Beef Council. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating great recipes and content for you.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Jess of Plays Well with Butter.

About Jessica Beacom

Jessica is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist living in Boulder, CO with her hubby and two daughters. She’s been described as a ‘real food evangelist’ and loves sharing her knowledge with others to help them break free of the diet mentality and find their own food freedom. In her spare time she enjoys CrossFit, telemark skiing, mountain biking, teaching herself how to play the banjo and camping out under the stars.





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