Tender, Melt-in-Your-Mouth Instant Pot Brisket

updated Dec 14, 2020
Instant Pot Brisket

This classic sweet and tangy brisket cooks in a fraction of the time thanks to the electric pressure cooker.

Serves6 to 8

Prep15 minutes

Cook1 hour 30 minutes

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Credit: Olive & Mango

Classic beef brisket, while delicious, is a time commitment: It takes hours for it to turn fork-tender in the oven or slow cooker. Cook it in your electric pressure cooker like your Instant Pot, however, and you can serve the same sweet and sour brisket in a fraction of the time.

Credit: Olive & Mango

Classic Beef Brisket in the Instant Pot

Beef brisket is a staple on the holiday table, and for good reason: Its ample size feeds a crowd, and it’s relatively inexpensive. But what you save in dollars you make up for in hours — brisket is notoriously tough, and takes a long time to tenderize when slow cooked in the oven (or slow cooker). Brisket cooked under high pressure in the Instant Pot, however, is ready in about 1 1/2 hours. You’ll start by browning the beef right in the pot to build the base of flavor, then you’ll soften the onions and add the tangy liquid that will cook the brisket and form a delicious gravy.

What Is Classic Beef Brisket?

Brisket is a hearty cut of beef (requiring time and technique to tenderize) that comes from the rib area of the cow. While you’ll see beef brisket served as corned beef in the spring and smoked down in Texas, the classic holiday beef brisket is braised in a sweet and sour gravy.

You’ll need less liquid for an Instant Pot brisket than what’s required for a traditional braise. Here, we’re combining equal parts beef broth, red wine vinegar, and ketchup to give the brisket its notable sweet and tangy flavor. Don’t be tempted to substitute tomato paste for the ketchup — the classic condiment adds concentrated tomato flavor and sweetness.

Instant Pot Brisket

This classic sweet and tangy brisket cooks in a fraction of the time thanks to the electric pressure cooker.

Prep time 15 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 30 minutes

Serves 6 to 8

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    large yellow onion

  • 1

    (3-pound) beef brisket, preferably flat-cut

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons

    kosher salt, divided

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    vegetable oil

  • 1/3 cup

    beef broth

  • 1/3 cup

    red wine vinegar

  • 1/3 cup


  • 1/4 cup

    packed light brown sugar

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried thyme

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1 teaspoon


  • 3/4 teaspoon

    garlic powder

  • Fresh parsley, for serving (optional)


  1. Thinly slice 1 large onion. Trim off the surface fat from a (3-pound) beef brisket if the fat is more than 1/4-inch thick. Cut the brisket in half if needed to fit in a 6-quart or larger electric pressure cooker or Instant Pot. Season the brisket all over with 2 teaspoons of the kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in the pressure cooker with the highest Sauté function until shimmering. Add the brisket (sear in 2 batches if needed) and sear undisturbed until browned on the bottom, 5 to 6 minutes. Flip the brisket and brown on the other side, 5 to 6 minutes more. Transfer to a large plate.

  3. Add the onion and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt to the pressure cooker and sauté until the onions are tender, scraping brown bits from the bottom of the pot, 4 to 6 minutes.

  4. Stir in 1/3 cup beef broth, 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup ketchup, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder. Return the brisket to the pot, overlapping the pieces if needed.

  5. Lock the lid on and check that the valve is set to seal. Set to cook for 70 minutes under HIGH pressure. It will take 5 to 7 minutes to come up pressure.

  6. When the cook time is up, let the pressure naturally release, 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully open the pressure cooker and transfer the brisket to a cutting board.

  7. Slice the brisket across the grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve the brisket with the onions and gravy. Garnish with fresh parsley, if desired.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The brisket can be cooked up to 3 days in advance. Store the brisket covered with the gravy. Reheat with the gravy in a baking dish covered with aluminum foil in a low oven.

Storage: Leftovers keep well for up to 5 days. Store the beef covered in gravy to keep the meat moist.

Kosher: For kosher cooks, make sure the ketchup is corn-syrup free.

Sauce variation: For a smooth sauce, strain the gravy through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl. Return the onions and garlic to the Instant Pot. Pour gravy into a fat separator, then pour the gravy back into the Instant Pot. Use an immersion blender to blend the sauce until smooth.