Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo -

Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo

In Recipe by Sean44 Comments

Instant Pot Mexican Brisket

With Pasilla-Morita Adobo

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I love tacos. Sorry, let me do that again with a series of links to emphasize my point: I love, love, love, love, love tacos. I mean think about it: they showcase a great central recipe, but they’re endlessly customizable thanks to the accompanying toppings, salsas, etc. They’re also perfectly portable and quick to make.  Perfect. Food.  I’ve been making and writing about this subject a lot lately, in no small part because I’ve had a lot of fun developing Mexican recipes for the Instant Pot. Lots of great Mexican meals take advantage of tough-but-tasty cuts of meat, and these are precisely the ingredients that do really, reallllly well in an electric pressure cooker.  Basically, the options just keep revealing themselves to me.

Now because I love tacos, love my Instant Pot, and love you, dear readers, I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for a while.  But frankly, I wasn’t really sure what to write about.  Long story short: nuts to that.  Today I tossed my hands in the air (metaphorically, anyway – I was holding coffee and my cellphone) and decided it was time to get this baby up.

You see, a little while back a wonderfully witty and funny person named Kashana wrote something on Twitter. I’m going to throw it in some quotes because I’m fancy like that.

Emails just aren’t safe. We should hide state secrets deep in the story parts of recipe blogs.Kashana Cauley

Gotta admit, I laughed.  Ugly-laughed.  So while I personally love writing the lead-ups to my recipes, and about food in general, I get you world.  I’ve got a jump-to-recipe button for a reason.  Sometimes you just want to get right down to it.  And you know what? That’s a good thing.  I want my readers to cook my food, and when you want to get cooking, you don’t need a story.  So let’s just say that today there are no state secrets. I want to share some food, and I want you to make it, so let’s get down to eating some tacos.

Recipe Notes

When I develop a Mexican recipe, I aim for a few key points every time: big flavour, quality ingredients, and respect for the culinary traditions. Electric pressure cookers certainly aren’t a historical part of making brisket tacos, but don’t be tempted to think that this is some sort of bland, over-simplified generic taco recipe. This recipe is a continued tribute to my love affair with Mexican chilies and the wonderful, wonderful things they can do. This is all about turning a tough cut of meat into delectably tender stuff, and about the fantastic flavours of two amazing chilies. Hail to the taco.

Everything here is quite easy to do, but I will strongly encourage you to make sure you get good ingredients, and to make sure your toppings and sides are great. The meat is wonderful, but man does not live by taco-meat alone. Here are some helpful tips.


This adobo is all about two of my favourite chilies, and both play important (and different) roles in the adobo sauce. They’re in the title for a reason, after all.

Morita chilies are a type of chipotle, which is a smoked ripe jalapeno. The (arguably) more familiar chipotle meco is heavily smoked and somewhat bolder, but moritas are nice because they contribute a bold fruity flavour and a moderate smoky punch. You can read all about moritas and chipotle mecos here, including information on finding and substituting them. If you have chipotle meco chilies, you can use them instead, though you might find the adobo comes out a little more boldly smoke-flavoured.

Pasilla chilies (aka chiles negro) are one of the ‘holy trinity’ of mole peppers.  Their name means ‘little raisin’ – an apt description of their fruity flavour and wrinkled appearance.  If you can’t find pasillas, you can use the more readily available ancho chilies.  The flavour isn’t exactly the same, but the character is similar enough to work nicely.

Making Adobo

Alright folks, this treads the line between simple and complicated. Yes, there is a line there. There’s a reason that a lot adobo sauces are bought pre-made, even by dedicated home cooks. Basically, they can be time consuming and a little difficult. But this is no copycat recipe, and you won’t find an adobo like this in stores. What determines whether it’s easy or hard is mostly equipment. If you have a good grill and a good blender, you’re set. The veggies are all grilled, the chilies simply soak, and the blender turns everything into sauce. Easy peasy. Now if you don’t have the gear, don’t worry, you might be all right. The veggies can be roasted under a broiler, though you’ll need to pay bit more attention to the process, and (depending on your oven) possibly reposition things a bit more to get an even char.

The blender is what really makes things easy. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Mexican cooks love their blenders, and for good reason. A good sauce is quickly and easily made with a quality blender. If you don’t have one you can use a food processor, but make sure you puree things long enough to get a smooth sauce.


Tacos are pretty easy to personalize, so you do you.  That being said, I really like how the tart/acidic tomatillo-based salsa verde works with the rajas, beef, and rich, fruity adobo.

Cotija is a great cheese to use here, and a little goes a long way.  If you can’t find it you could use a good mild feta, or go in a different direction with some queso fresco.

The pickled onions are my taco secret weapon (ok they’re probably a lot of people’s secret weapon, but still).  There are a few ways to make them, but a simple mixture of vinegar and sugar, plus sliced red onions and a little salt will get you in the right direction.  Look for a full recipe on Diversivore soon.

Pressure Cooking vs. Slow Cooking

This recipe was designed for an electric pressure cooker, but there’s no reason that you can’t adapt it to a slow cooker, or even the stove-top or oven.

If you’re looking to adapt this to a slow cooker you won’t need to make many changes, but you will (obviously) have to allow for a lot more time. Proceed with all of the other steps leading up to the brisket as shown below, including searing the beef. Then combine the adobo and brisket in a slow cooker on low and leave for 8-10 hours, or until the meat is quite tender.

If you’re adapting this to a stove-top or low oven, you’ll once again want to follow all of the lead-up steps including searing the beef. Combine the beef and adobo in a large, heavy-bottomed pot, cover, and simmer over a very low flame (or in a medium oven) for 6-8 hours, or until the meat is tender. Check on the liquid level in the pot every 2 hours or so, adding a little water if necessary to keep it from drying out too much.

Note: Nutritional Info is shown for a single serving (2 tacos) including tortillas and toppings as shown in the photos.

Nutrition Facts
Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo
Amount Per Serving (2 tacos)
Calories 278 Calories from Fat 108
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 18%
Saturated Fat 5g 25%
Cholesterol 88mg 29%
Sodium 360mg 15%
Potassium 616mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 8g 3%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 2g
Protein 30g 60%
Vitamin A 24.6%
Vitamin C 36.1%
Calcium 3%
Iron 18.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutritional Summary

Loads of protein, yet surprisingly lean, this is a great example of a meat meal that’s also exceptionally healthy.

Not much really, though it’s worth noting that some of the vitamin numbers are going to be a little inflated, as you’re not likely to eat all of the adobo, and that’s where a lot of the Vitamin A comes from (thanks to the chilies).

As with all taco recipes, a lot depends on how you garnish. Don’t go overboard on the cheese.

Ingredient Pages

No ingredient pages have been written yet for any of the ingredients in this recipe.  Like to see one?  Let me know in the comments below or by email.

Pantry Pages

  • Dairy-free
  • Gluten free

Note: the base recipe itself is dairy-free. If you want to keep the servings dairy-free, simply omit or substitute for the cheese.

4.8 from 25 votes
Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo -
Instant Pot Brisket with Pasilla-Morita Adobo
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Resting Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 45 mins

Meltingly tender beef (thanks to the electric pressure cooker) and sweet-smoky scratch-made adobo made with loads of roasted veggies make for a fan-freakin-tastic taco recipe.

Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican, North American
Keyword: adobo, brisket, chilies, instant pot, tacos
Servings: 10 people
Calories: 278 kcal
  • 4 pasilla chilies
  • 2 morita chilies
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 1 medium sweet onion (~250 g)
  • 3 cloves garlic unpeeled
  • 1 tsp piloncillo or brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (preferably Mexican)
  • 1 inch piece cinnamon or 1/2 tsp ground (see note)
  • 1 tsp allspice berries or 1/2 tsp ground
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds or 1/2 tsp ground
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1.4 kg beef brisket fat trimmed (about 3 lbs)
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1 cup stock beef or vegetable, preferably a low-salt variety
  • 1/4 cup pasilla-morita adobo
  • 3-4 medium poblano peppers
To Serve (All optional but recommended)
  • salsa verde
  • cotija cheese or other salty, crumbly cheese
  • pickled red onion
  • corn tortillas toasted, and kept warm
  1. Soak the morita and pasilla chilies in very hot water for 10 minutes. After this time, carefully remove the stems and as many of the seeds as you can manage. Reserve the softened chilies and the soaking liquid.
  2. Preheat the broiler of a stove or an outdoor grill. Roast the onions, tomatoes, and garlic until moderately charred (on an outdoor grill, the garlic took about 2 minutes, the tomatoes about 5, and the onions about 7). See also the instructions for the rajas below.
  3. Place the charred vegetables and softened chilies in a blender, along with all of the remaining adobo ingredients and 1/2 cup of the chili soaking liquid. Blend until the adobo sauce is smooth.
  1. Roast the poblano peppers under a broiler, over a gas flame, or on an outdoor grill (the latter is my personal favorite way to do this). Turn the peppers occasionally until the skins are blackened all over. Place the roasted peppers in a large bowl and cover tightly (a fitted lid or plastic wrap works well). Set aside for at least 20 minutes, and up to several hours.
  2. Before serving, peel, seed, and slice the poblano peppers into long strips.

  1. (Instructions are for the Instant Pot brand of pressure cooker - for other brands, see the notes below). Sear beef. Add beer, then add adobo and stock.

  2. Cook for 1 hour. Let the pressure release naturally, or (if you're pressed for time) let stand for 5 minutes then release the valve manually.

To Serve
  1. Load up a corn tortilla with some brisket, a little extra sauce, and a few raja strips.  Top with cheese, salsa verde, and onions.  Enjoy immediately.

Recipe Notes

Use TRUE cinnamon if possible. If using cassia, use a little less.

If you're using another brand of electric pressure cooker, simply refer to the instructions for that brand before adapting the recipe. Make sure to cook at high pressure, and for approximately the same amount of time. Because there are no presets being used here, it should be fairly easy to adapt.

More Mexican Instant Pot Recipes

Tacos y Sopa
de Pollo Gastado

Instant Pot 'Spent Hen' Tacos and Soup - two meals in one!

Instant Pot Carnitas
con Queso

Instant Pot Carnitas con Queso

Pressure Cooker
Puerco Pibil

Instant Pot (or not) Puerco Pibil (aka Cochinita Pibil)

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  1. Wow, Sean, I love everything about this post. First of all, I’m a native Texan, so craving tacos morning, day and night is something I’ve learned to live with…in a really good way. Brisket tacos are my favorite. I’ve never done them in my Instant Pot, but now feel the need to immediately. And that adobo sauce is killer. Thanks for the wit, inspiration, insight…and amazing recipe. Bravo!

    1. Author

      Thanks Kris! So glad this strikes a chord with you. I feel like brisket is one of those funny cuts – deeply appreciated in certain regions and cultures, and largely ignored everywhere else. It’s a shame too, because you can do so much with it. And I’m sure you’ll have a great time with it in the Instant Pot! Cheers!

  2. I am a huge brisket lover! It’s such a tender juice cut of meat, especially when prepared in an Instant Pot! I hadn’t heard of morita chilies, but I can’t wait to try it. My Instant Pot is used regularly in our house. I can’t wait to dive into this recipe!

    1. Author

      Thanks Brandi! I don’t know if you saw the link to the Pantry Page all about morita chilies, but it’s got all the info you need. They’re one of my favourite chilies to use, as they’ve got the flavour and heat of a chipotle meco, but not quite as much smoke. Hope you get a chance to dive in and work with them!

  3. We LOVE Mexican food. I LOVE my slow cooker….and since I don’t have an Instant Pot….I will adapt to either the crockpot….or regular pressure cooker. I DO have a great blender….so I know the sauce will be fantastic. Time to bring out the tortilla press, corn flour….and cast iron skillet. This would be perfect with homemade soft tortillas!!

    1. Author

      We are 100% in agreement on the homemade tortillas. I love making tortillas, and there’s just nothing like fresh. Have fun with the recipe, and I hope it’s easy to adjust for the slow cooker, though I’m sure it will be. Cheers!

  4. State secrets in the “story parts” of recipe blogs? I love that — because you’re right… when you want to cook… you want to COOK. Now let’s talk about these tacos… I am smitten. I’ve made my own salsas before, but I admit, I’ve never dived down the adobo rabbit hole, but I want to. I think this recipe is happening this weekend, I can practically taste the meld of amazing flavors. Well done.

    1. Author

      Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE me a good read. But sometimes ya just gotta cook. Hah. And as for jumping down the adobo rabbit hole – go for it! I think you’ll be surprised by how doable it is. Enjoy!

  5. Gimme all the tacos! These look so tasty. I am swooning over your adobo recipe. So much flavor!

    1. Author

      Thanks Anna! Honestly I might try my hand at a whole bunch of adobo variations at this point. I love making them!

  6. I read your posts Sean! Lol. And I also looooooove tacos! I’ve never tried making adobo sauce, but I bet the homemade kind is ridiculously good. I need to fire up the grill!

    1. Author

      Aww shucks Sarah, I’m flattered. Haha. And seriously, thanks – sometimes you feel like you’re writing the story part for only a handful of people – but that handful of people are pretty darned awesome. You’ll definitely have to take a stab at adobo. I think you’ll love it, and find plenty of things to do with it!

  7. I am loving everything about this recipe! From the flavors in that incredible-sounding adobo sauce (chilies, cumin, and cinnamon, so good!) to the fact that you made this gorgeous brisket in the Instant Pot. I’m always looking for ways to use my electric pressure cooker that don’t involve the usual soups and stews, and this fits the bill perfectly. (I’ve been playing around with pork carnitas in mine recently.) I would absolutely devour these tacos, especially with the pickled onions. What a perfect finishing touch!

    1. Author

      Thank you Amanda! I hear you about the Instant Pot too. I mean, I love a good stew, but there are so many other things out there that can be done with it. I really enjoy the challenge of coming up with recipes that extend the functionality of a pressure cooker a bit! Glad that you like these, and thanks so much for your wonderful comment!

  8. I love, love, love tacos too, so I feel you! I love that these are instant pot, and the adobo sounds wonderful. Thanks for the great info about the chilies, too! This sounds like the perfect taco tuesday meal, and I cannot wait to gobble these up, and I am sure my family will too!

    1. Author

      Thanks Leah! Glad you like them so much. They’re definitely great for weeknight cooking – especially if you’re feeding a big crew!

  9. We make our own Adobo sauce and love it — you can’t beat homemade. And I’m with you — we do love our tacos because they are so adaptable. Just put anything in there that captures your fancy. And brisket is so daggone good!! I wish I had some of those tacos now.

    1. Author

      You’re so right – can’t beat homemade! Plus you can adapt and modify your recipe in so many ways. Glad you like the recipes – and go team-taco!

  10. You know you have found a friend when they share your love of tacos!
    The right choice of what to include makes for the best tasting tacos. You always have the best selection and explanation of the ingredients. No gimmicks required, just great food!

    1. Author

      Well put! Taco friendships are made to last. Haha. Glad you like the explanations! I’m always hoping to make my recipes as ‘doable’ as possible. Cheers!

  11. I am also a huge fan of tacos, and I love slow cooked meat, so I would love to try this recipe. Especially once I get an Instant Pot. Looks fantastic!

    1. Author

      You’ll love it! Well worth the kitchen real estate. They can do a lot, but honestly they’d be worth it if only for their ability to transform tough cuts of meat so effortlessly and deliciously in such a short period of time.

  12. Haha that quote made me laugh, but also made me a little bit sad!! I definitely need to try this in my Instant Pot… I love tacos, too, but don’t utilize my Instant Pot for them nearly enough!!

    1. Author

      Hey, if you can’t laugh at yourself, what can you do, right? Haha. And I do hope you’ll give it a shot – the Instant Pot is AMAZING for making taco recipes!

  13. My mouth is watering just reading and looking through your photos. Mexican food is a family favorite and I like mixing it up with different recipes to keep it spicy, LOL! This IP brisket looks incredible and I can’t wait to whip out my IP and keep to the Mexican traditions and make this ASAP. I know my family is going to love it!

    1. Author

      I agree with you about the family-friendly-fave aspect of things. Mexican food is so often conducive to that big family experience! The flavours are so wonderfully versatile and variable, and the wealth of possible sides adds that customizable aspect that lets everyone enjoy the dish the way the want it. I hope your family enjoys the recipe! The adobo is a real stand-out, in my opinion! Cheers.

    1. Author

      I think you’ll quickly fall in love with both! Good luck, and thanks for taking the time to comment. Cheers!

  14. This looks delicious! I love a good adobo sauce with brisket! I love that you used the Instant Pot for this – one of my favourite kitchen gadgets at the moment. How many of these do you think I can eat in one sitting without getting sick of it because I have a feeling there won’t be any leftovers!

    1. Author

      I think electric pressure cookers are here to stay! Everyone I talk to seems to be using theirs more and more, or thinking about picking one up. As for how many… I mean, go for small tortillas (no need for filler, right?!) and see if you can break a personal record. Because MMMM, TACOS!

  15. OH my gosh that quote! hahaha! I never know what to write about and LOVE everything else about blogging but the writing. Also, tacos for the win EVERY. TIME. And these ones look SO GOOD! can’t wait to try them!

    1. Author

      I know… I genuinely laughed out loud the first time I read it. I love the writing aspect of this stuff, but it can be a real challenge at times. After all, you want to have SOMETHING to say. Not much sense writing on and on about nothing at all. So yeah, sometimes it’s just worth getting to the food. Glad you like the recipe!

  16. Beef Brisket is certainly an underrated meat cut and I am so glad that you raised it to an epic standard with your Instant Pot Brisket recipe. It looks amazing! Who doesn’t love tacos? It seems to be a hit with every family that I talk to. Thanks for inspiring us to take it up to the next level, Sean.

    1. Author

      Couldn’t agree more Denise! I went years without even thinking about trying a brisket, but the first time I pressure-cooked one I was hooked. Glad to know that the recipe inspired you – hope you have fun with it in the future!

    1. Author

      Thanks Lily! Honestly you could do all kinds of things with that adobo. I’m thinking I’ll have to try a few more variations on it for good measure too. Cheers!

  17. Dudefriend. This is divine! I’ll be making Instant Pot chicken tacos soon and this is just making my mouth water. This will have to be next on my list. And with adobo… mmmm. Smoky goodness. I always love your Mexican dishes, Sean! They boast authenticity.

    1. Author

      Why thank you!! I bet this would work GREAT with chicken (especially with thighs). Cut the ol’ cooking time down quite a bit obviously, but the flavours should be amazing. Glad you like my Mexican stuff Dana – I work quite hard to make them as good as they can be, and I LOVE me some real Mexican ingredients. Cheers!

    1. Author

      I think that if you’ve got a large enough Instant Pot model then it should work with some adjustments. The 8 quart model can accommodate about 5.3 quarts (about 5 liters) of food volume, while the 6 quart model can only accommodate about 4 quarts (about 3.8 liters). If you’ve got the room, then you should be able to adjust the adobo recipe to match as well. I would increase the cooking time in the Instant Pot to about 75 minutes too.

      Hope that helps. Love to hear how it goes!

  18. I did make this recipe for Christmas! I felt that I should have added more adobo, but it was no problem. I simply added done leftover sauce into the cooked meat and the tacos severed exactly as the recipe called for… Phenomenal combination and reminded me of my trips to Oaxaca over the last three years while my husband lived and worked there! The best part, actually, was using the leftovers to make enchiladas! OMG! They were wonderful! I love the adobo sauce and have to find other ways to incorporate it into recipes. It’s a bit spicy, but that smokiness with it… delisioso! 😊

    1. Author

      Oh awesome, I’m so glad it worked out for you Reina! I’m really glad you liked the recipe. And YES to the leftovers in enchiladas! Honestly sometimes the leftovers are the best part of the meal. Thanks so much for coming back to tell me how it went, and for the very kind words.

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