This recipe for instant pot steak tacos uses flank steak and homemade salsa verde for a super simple and quick weeknight recipe that’s ready in under an hour. Tangy salsa verde is combined with tender steak that shreds easily for the perfect steak tacos. These can be made gluten and dairy free too!
My Love/Hate Relationship with an Instant Pot
It’s taken me a while to be sold on my Instant Pot. I think a lot of bloggers push it because it’s trendy and it gets great hits on google….I mean, why do you think it did this recipe?! Just kidding. Sort of. Anyway, the reality is that it truly doesn’t save you THAT much time in some cases. This is because of the hidden time it takes to build the pressure and release the pressure, yadda yadda.
There are some items that I think the Instant Pot is totally worth the investment for and that’s stocks and broths like this Instant Pot Chicken Stock. It’s the perfect way to use up a chicken carcass you have leftover and you’ll get about 9 cups of stock or broth from it. It’s simple to freeze and store for later use. I also really love it for things like shredded chicken tinga tacos and these salsa verde steak tacos. These are items that I forget to put in the slow cooker before I leave somewhere and have no way to cook quickly. However, my friend Carrie has a wonderful book of Healthy Meal Prep Recipes for the Instant Pot.
Why I Love Instant Pot Steak Tacos
Besides ground beef, which is probably the easiest kind of tacos to make, shredded beef and chicken requires usually at least 4 hours in the slow cooker. With an instant pot, you’re able to cut that time down to about an hour total. This includes all the yadda yadda pressure release I was discussing earlier.
What’s great about these is they use very minimal ingredients yet come out super flavorful. There’s just a few important steps you have to cover, which is the hardest part.
- Sear the meat by using the “Saute” setting. This heats your instant pot really fast and high. You sear both sides of the meat till it’s nicely browned, just a few minutes. It might be necessary to work in batches depending on how much you make. I had to to work in two batches.
- Because you start with searing, it does heat the pot which I think decreases the amount of time it takes to build pressure. This could totally be made up and in my head, but I swear it’s faster.
- Cover with the instant pot lid and make sure the toggle at the top is turned to be sealed. It should make a fun little noise when the lid is closed properly. Then set the pressure cook button for 40 minutes.
- I like to use a “natural release” which means you basically don’t touch your instant pot for another 15 minutes after the time finishes. This is mainly because I find the spout of hot steam a little bit scary in my smallish kitchen. But I did end up using the manual release a little bit for these because I was in a rush to eat these steak tacos and I did that after 10 minutes.
Slow Cooker Option
You can also make these in the slow cooker, just place on high for about 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.
Toppings & Tortillas for Shredded Flank Steak Tacos
I wanted this instant pot steak taco recipe to be reminiscent of some of my favorite steak tacos in Dallas from La Ventana. Since white onion isn’t permitted on a migraine elimination diet, I chopped up green onions and lots of fresh cilantro.
Some other toppings that would be great and migraine friendly are:
- Queso fresco or grated American cheese
- Chopped radish
- More salsa verde
- Lettuce or shredded cabbage
- Faux sour cream (which is whipped cottage cheese)
For tortilla options I prefer corn tortillas here, but flour will also work. Some safe options for those on a migraine diet are from TortillaLand, HEB/Central Market’s flour and white corn tortillas, and Whole Foods tends to have some local brands in the freezer or refrigerated section. Look for minimal ingredients and know that “trace of lime” is ok in this instance.
Preparing the Tortillas for Tacos
So there’s a few ways I like to soften and warm my tortillas. You can easily do this in the microwave, just cover with a damp paper towel and microwave for about 15-20 seconds until warm.
The second way is to wrap in tin foil completely and place in the oven. I preheat to 350 degrees F and by the time the oven reaches that temperature, they’re warmed through.
Finally, if you have a gas stove or grill, you can get real fancy and place the tortillas directly over the burner. Use tongs to flip them and get them a little charred on each side, about 20-30 seconds. Be very careful if you do this not to light them on fire…I have done this before and while it is kind of fun to feel like you’re carrying the Olympic torch for about 10 seconds, it’s probably not worth burning the house down.
How to Make Salsa Verde
This is one of my favorite recipes and although some people are sensitive to tomatoes, I encourage them to try tomatillos because it actually comes from an entirely different plant.
Tomatillos have a very tangy flavor, which makes up for not using citrus in this recipe.
You just remove the tomatillos from the papery husk and run under warm water to clean them from some of the sticky residue. Then pat them dry with paper towels before you broil. This tangy salsa pairs perfectly with the flavorful flank steak.
Freezing Steak Taco Meat
One of the best parts of this dish is that it’s super easy to freeze and store for later. It will keep around 2-3 months and I just cover with a paper towel and microwave in 30 second increments to defrost. Stir it as it defrosts so all parts get heated through.
If you place in freezer bags and smush them flat, it really doesn’t take up much space and it’s easier to defrost.
I hope you enjoy these tacos and if it’s not exactly what you’re looking for, check out some of these other taco recipes.
Instant Pot Steak Tacos
- Instant Pot
- Slow Cooker
- 1-2 tablespoons high heat oil, like avocado
- 2 pounds flank steak
- 1¼ cup salsa verde
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- kosher salt & pepper
- 4-5 green onions
- 1 bunch cilantro
- corn or flour tortillas
- 6-7 tomatillos
- 1 small shallot
- 2 small garlic cloves, skin on
- ¼ cup cilantro leaves
- ½ jalapeno (optional)
- Preheat broiler to high heat. Peel the tomatillos from the outer paper-like skin and wash them under warm water to remove some stickiness. Remove the top stem and place on a cooking sheet. Add garlic to the sheet with skin on.
- Place under broiler for about 10 minutes, watching to make sure you get a nice char. Turn the tomatillos so they get charred on all sides.Remove garlic from skins and add garlic, shallot, cilantro, and jalapeño to a food processor and pulse till fully chopped. Add charred tomatillos and pulse till desired consistency is reached. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Meanwhile turn your instant pot to the "saute" function and add 1 tablespoon oil. Cut your flank steak into large pieces so it can fit nicely in the instant pot without crowding. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Sear on both sides, about 3 minutes each, until a deep brown crust forms. You will need to do this in 2 batches.
- Return all the meat to the instant pot and cover with the salsa verde (you can save a little extra for the finished tacos if you'd like). Close the lid on the instant pot and make sure the steam release vent is closed. Press "Pressure Cook" and time for 40 minutes. The pressure should build fairly quickly because of the searing.
- Once the 40 minutes is up, allow the steak to do a natural release for 10 minutes and then open the vent to release any extra steam, but watch your hands! Remove the lid and shred the beef with two forks. Serve in warmed tortillas (see post for different instructions) and top with green onions and cilantro.