And if it can make more than one meal at a time – a la slow cooker whole chicken – you know I’m all about that!
Enter Instant Pot Korean beef – it’s super easy, super fast, and SO good!
It’s basically everything you could want when you’re tired of chicken and can’t afford steak and need something the whole family will like.
And if you’re dealing with picky eaters, you know what I’m talking about.
I’m happy to report that Instant Pot Korean beef is picky eater tested and approved. We’ve had this no less than 20 times so far and every time the husband gets seconds, the kids ask for it in their lunches and I’m left scraping the leftover container because I want to make Korean beef migas for lunch.
That’s not a bad thing though, right? I mean, OF COURSE I want more leftover so I can eat it myself, but that’s an easy fix… just double the recipe!
Let’s talk about what makes this Instant Pot Korean beef so amazing, shall we?
Instant Pot Korean Beef
Quite possibly the biggest perk of Instant Pot Korean beef is that it doesn’t matter what cut of beef you use! We can thank the Instant Pot for that, because the high pressure of the Instant Pot turns pretty much anything into something delicious. It’s one of the ways the Instant Pot saves you money!
I’ve made this using chuck roast and tri-tip and both were equally delicious. No matter the cut you use, be sure to trim well.
Apple (or Pear, or Pineapple)
The natural sugars in whole fruit is what gives this dish just the teeniest tiniest hint of sweet. I’ve tested using fresh apples, pears and pineapple and they’re all great, and all slightly different (pineapple was my favorite!).
I’m sure you can use canned fruit as well, or even applesauce if that’s what you have on hand. If you go the canned route, make sure you’re choosing fruit that is canned in natural juices and not syrup!
Coconut Aminos (or Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos)
Our pantry still resembles much of our Whole30 days, so I’ve only used coconut aminos. However, I have no doubt that soy sauce or liquid aminos would work just as well.
I would encourage you to use low-sodium soy sauce though if you go that route, since the level of saltiness can quickly add up in dishes like this.
Garlic / Ginger
Using fresh garlic and fresh ginger really makes the flavors pop, so aim for the fresh stuff if you can. You’ll probably have extra ginger, so either add carrot and sweet potato fritters or egg roll in a bowl or Chinese 5 spice chicken or Thai peanut sauce or Kung Pao chicken to your meal plan too.
Or if none of that sounds good, or if you STILL have leftover fresh ginger, here’s a tutorial on how to freeze ginger.
If you don’t have fresh garlic or fresh ginger, don’t let that stop you from making this recipe. You can definitely go the granulated route here with both spices. I personally think that ground spices don’t add as much of a punch as fresh, so I like to double the quantity.
Vinegar / Fish Sauce / Sesame Oil
A common trio if you make any sort of Asian foods at home, and all three are equally necessary here.
In fact, we tested this recipe without all of the above, and with all of the above, and the WITH version won by a long shot. No doubt whatsoever, you need all three.
So strange, since you only need 1 tablespoon or less of all three, but let me tell you guys – DO NOT SKIP THIS!
Yes, it’s important enough to warrant all caps.
Blender / Instant Pot
I absolutely LOVE that you only need a blender and an Instant Pot to make this dish a reality.
- First you put everything but the meet in the blender. Give it a whiz.
- Then you put that sauce and the meat in the Instant Pot. Set the timer, press go and walk away. Come back later to dinner DONE!
I get asked often about what tools I use in my kitchen, so here you go!
Blender: My husband bought me a Blendtec several years ago for my birthday. It’s a workhorse in our kitchen, currently getting used three times a day! It’s an investment, but considering how long we’ve had it and how much it can do (check out these 45+ awesome ways!), it’s worth every single penny.
Instant Pot: I have this 8-quart DUO Instant Pot and I LOVE it. I don’t always need the full 8 quarts, but it means I can fill up my freezer with a triple batch of this Instant Pot Korean beef without batting an eyelash. This is an investment too, so with both the Blender and Instant Pot, I recommend using Swagbucks to earn gift cards to Amazon to either off-set the cost or pay for it entirely!
And because it’s equally important, let’s talk about what you DON’T have to do with Instant Pot Korean beef:
- No searing the meat first (because if you’re using an INSTANT POT, you don’t have time to mess with that)
- No marinating the meat (again, hello INSTANT POT!)
- No Sweetener. Nope. None of it. Not even honey or maple syrup is needed.
- No beef stock. Sure I have plenty of Instant Pot chicken stock on hand (because it’s easy and free!), but rarely do I have beef stock on hand. Plus I’ve tested both with stock and without and it’s not necessary.
- Buy things you normally don’t keep on hand, like white pepper and sesame seeds. C’mon people, if we’re making something yummy, it needs to work with what we DO have, right?
In case you’re getting to have a baby or just want to make your life easier later, Instant Pot Korean beef freezes great. You have two options:
- Make the sauce + put in a freezer-safe container with the beef raw
- Make the recipe as written and freeze cooked.
You can’t go wrong either way!
- ½ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce or liquid aminos)
- 1 Tbsp vinegar (I used apple cider vinegar)
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sesame seed oil
- 1 apple, quartered (or pear or 20-oz can pineapple, drained)
- 6 garlic cloves
- ½ onion, halved
- 2" fresh ginger
- ½ Tbsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 3 lb beef roast (I used tri-tip)
- cilantro for garnish (optional)
- Combine all ingredients except roast and cilantro in a blender. Blend until the mixture is mostly smooth. Pour the mixture into the bottom of a 6-quart or 8-quart Instant Pot.
- Cut the roast into 3" chunks, trimming the fat as necessary. Place the meat inside the Instant Pot, stirring with the sauce.
- Place the lid on the Instant Pot, lock and turn the knob to "sealed." Cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Use either quick pressure release or natural pressure release to release the steam. Shred the meat with two forks and serve!