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This Instant Pot brisket is a flavorful protein that you can have on your table with little effort! It’s a great option to feed a group or for your weekly meal prep efforts.
This brisket is so, so good, y’all! The Instant Pot is my go-to during the winter for making soups, stews, and other comforting meals like pot roast, but I think that it REALLY shines in the summer when I’m looking to avoid turning on my oven in this Texas heat. This BBQ brisket is perfect for those days! Thanks to this pressure cooker method, you can have tender, flavorful, fall-apart brisket in a fraction of the time vs. having to grill or bake it for hours. If you’ve never made a brisket before, have no fear – this recipe is so easy and nearly foolproof, and results in perfectly juicy brisket every time.
BBQ Beef Brisket Ingredients
Here’s what you’ll need to make this tender brisket!
- 1, 3-4 pound trimmed beef brisket – When you go to the store to buy your brisket, you’ll see two types – whole brisket and trimmed brisket. Brisket is a large cut of beef, so whole briskets are typically about 10-15 pounds, and you’ll notice that they are very fatty. What you’ll want to buy is a trimmed or flat cut brisket. These come in 3-4 pound packages, have much of the fat cap trimmed off, and are best for making sliced brisket. If you can’t find a trimmed brisket, go ahead and ask the butcher if they can get you one! If they can’t, you can buy a full brisket, trim it yourself, and then freeze what you won’t be using for this recipe.
- BBQ Dry Rub – For this recipe, we’ve made a slightly spicy BBQ rub for the brisket with a combination of chipotle chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, paprika, oregano, and a touch of brown sugar. If you don’t want to make your own spice rub though, feel free to use a store-bought rub!
- BBQ Sauce – You’ll want to have a bit of barbecue sauce for serving your brisket. You can either make your own homemade BBQ sauce or use your favorite store-bought sauce.
How to Make Instant Pot Beef Brisket
Once you’ve rounded up your ingredients, it’s time to get cooking! Here’s what you’ll need to do.
- Cut the brisket. First, you’ll want to cut the brisket into 3-4 smaller pieces and trim any excess fat. Since brisket is a large cut of meat, if you put it into the Instant Pot whole, it won’t fit well, which leads to uneven cooking. By cutting the brisket up into equal pieces, you ensure that each piece is cooked perfectly.
- Season the meat. Next, you’ll season the meat liberally with the dry spice rub, salt, and black pepper. If you’d like, you can do this step the night before, then wrap the brisket pieces in plastic wrap to let them marinate overnight for more flavor.
- Sear the brisket. While this step is optional, I really encourage it if you have time because the caramelization helps build a lot of flavor! For this step, you’ll set your Instant Pot to the saute setting and add about 1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil to the pot. Once it is hot, add 2 pieces of brisket at a time and sear for 3-4 minutes on the top and bottom sides, until browned. Remove from the pot, then repeat for the remaining pieces of brisket.
- Add broth or water. Next, you’ll add one cup of broth or water to the pot. Let it come to a boil, then use a whisk to scrape up the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Turn off the pot, then add the brisket back in.
- Seal and cook. Next, you’ll seal the pot, then set it to cook for 70 minutes on high pressure. Since brisket is a tough cut of beef, this longer cooking time will allow the fat and connective tissue to really break down and become super tender. If you have time, we recommend doing a natural pressure release once the 70-minute timer goes off, but if you’re short on time, you can manually release the pressure by turning the pressure release valve.
- Slice. The final step is slicing your brisket! If you want brisket slices, all you’ll need to do is slice the brisket against the grain. If you’d rather chop it (to use in chopped beef sandwiches, for example) the direction you slice in won’t matter!
How to Serve Brisket
I like to serve my brisket sliced and topped with BBQ sauce, with some of my favorite BBQ side dishes like Creamy Green Apple Coleslaw, Broccoli Crunch Salad, and German Potato Salad. Here are a few other ways you can serve it!
- Chopped BBQ Sandwich – Chop up your brisket into bite-sized chunks, then mix with your favorite barbecue sauce, layer onto bread or a bun, and top with coleslaw.
- Brisket Tacos – Brisket makes for a fantastic taco option, use the meat as-is, or give it a quick sear and top off your taco with our Mexican coleslaw. This is a great option for using up leftover brisket the next day!
- Brisket Bowls – Layer sliced brisket over potato salad or white rice and top with BBQ sauce, pickles, and onions.
Can I make this in a slow cooker?
Yes, this will also work in a slow cooker! Simply sear your whole brisket in a hot pan on the stovetop, then add to the slow cooker with 2 cups of beef broth and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours, until the brisket pulls apart easily with a fork.
Just for You
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For the Dry Rub:
- 2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder use a mild chili powder blend if you prefer less spice
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Brisket:
- 1, 3-4 pound trimmed beef brisket
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
- 1 cup beef broth or water
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
- BBQ sauce for serving
- Whisk together all ingredients for the dry rub until fully incorporated.
- Cut brisket into 3-4 equal pieces, then season the brisket with the dry rub mixture, making sure it’s applied liberally and applied to all sides.
- Add the butter or oil to the Instant Pot and turn to “saute.”
- Once hot, add the beef to Instant Pot in two batches, searing brisket for 3-4 minutes per side until browned, then remove from pot. Note: searing the beef all at once will cause overcrowding and will prevent the beef from browning nicely.
- Once all beef is browned, pour in the broth and scrape the browned bits on the bottom with a whisk, then add the beef back to the pot.
- Close the instant pot, making sure the valve is set to “sealing” rather than “venting.” Set to cook on high pressure for 70 minutes.
- Once the brisket is finished cooking, let the Instant pot release pressure naturally (about 15 minutes) until the lid easily opens.
- Slice the beef against the grain and serve with BBQ sauce. Garnish with sea salt and cilantro, if desired. Enjoy!
HI Cassy! I’m reading and loving your book. I’m trying your crock pot chicken tonight in fact. I read what you said about eating 3 meals a day. I eat a fairly large breakfast but I barely make it to 11am (I eat breakfast at 7am) before I’m starving. What more should I be eating? I’m eating about 3 eggs with lots of broccoli, some fats, fruit. Thanks!
Totally understand about the scanner, I’m an xray tech and even I would have panicked after I had done it!! Like you said though, really nothing to worry about, it’s just that all-consuming “what have I done??” panic that takes over! Welcome to momhood, you’re already amazing!
Holly Nelson says
Tried this recipe tonight and will agree, the flavor is outstanding! I continue to struggle (same challenges with my crockpot) with a dry brisket (or pot roast or pork or … you name it). If the meat is dry did I cook it for too long — not long enough? I’ve had my pressure cooker xl for over a year and continue to be scared away!
Amber Link says
Hey Holly! After some additional testing we’ve actually found that one of the keys to keeping the meat moist in the Instant Pot is letting the pressure release naturally instead of manually. It seems to lock in the moisture just a bit more. I’ve updated the recipe here – hope it helps!
Kerry Hawranek says
I’ve made this several times over the last few months and it’s a great recipe, especially with fresh guacamole! The first time I made it my husband started eating the meat on tortilla chips with guac and it didn’t even make it to the dinner table! Our Trader Joe’s usually has just the right size pieces of brisket for $4.99 a pound. Today I didn’t have any bacon grease, so I just rendered some of the fat cap from the brisket before browning the seasoned meat and that seemed to work just fine.
Amber Link says
That is so smart Kerry! And your husband’s idea sounds awesome – brisket nachos for the win!
Sharon E says
Hi! I’m new to the Instant Pot, and just tried my 2nd meal last evening — the beef brisket. I am confused about the instructions, as I only allowed the pressure cooking “meat/stew” phase to run for 15 minutes, and the meat was completely overcooked … and it was supposed to run for 70 mins. What am I doing wrong??
Amber Goulden says
Hi Sharon! So when you press the meat/stew button you’ll also need to hit the + button to set it to 70 minutes. With tougher cuts like brisket or chuck roast, they need a lot of cooking to become fall apart tender and break down the connective tissue. So while it may technically be cooked through at 15 minutes it will likely be too tough to eat!
Had plans to smoke the butcher box brisket we had in the freezer, but so glad I made this instead! So tender and tasty! Thinking of putting it in one of those Buddha bowls you posted recently will definitely make this again!
Brandi Schilhab says
Great idea! So glad you loved it, Dana!
Hi ladies 🙂
Can this be used for shredded/pulled brisket? Would the cook time be different?
Brandi Schilhab says
You may just need to add a bit more time to make it super shreddable, Allison!
If you only have a 2 I’ll trimmed brisket do you still cook for 70 minutes?