Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip

5 from 2 votes

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Juicy and succulent Instant Pot Tri Tip is one of the easiest, most delicious pressure cooker dishes you can make! The beef is seasoned with garlic, cumin, and pepper and doused in salsa. It shreds so easily and makes a delicious protein in any of your favorite Tex Mex recipes.

Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip in a dish

Nothing has saved me time in the kitchen quite like my Instant Pot. A great pressure cooker yields great results, so I’m always quick to jump on the chance to shorten some of my favorite recipes with it – especially large cuts of meat!

Making tri tip in my Instant Pot is quick and painless. The meat soaks up the delicious cumin, onion, and garlic flavors while I’m free to make my side dishes or all the fixings for my nachos, burritos – whatever my Tex Mex cravings are at the moment.

Leftover Instant Pot tri tip can be refrigerated for up to 4 days, so you can get plenty of great meals out of it! I like to use it as the protein in chimichangas, fajitas, empanadas, or quesadillas

bowl with Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip


  • Tri Tip Steak – A relatively inexpensive, tender, yet lean bottom cut of sirloin. While it’s the best cut for this tri tip Instant Pot recipe, any thicker sirloin cut makes a fine substitute.
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper – Larger-grained seasonings are best for dry rubs. Kosher salt, such as pink Himalayan or sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper are preferred.
  • Garlic Powder – Minced garlic works as well, but it will have to be applied separately from the other dry seasonings. 
  • Ground Cumin – This spice adds a nice hearty, citrus flavor to the meat. Coriander would be the best substitute, while paprika is a nice alternative if you want to add a bit of smokiness. 
  • Red Salsa – If you have an extra 15 minutes or so, I really recommend making my homemade fire roasted salsa to go with your Instant Pot tri tip. Otherwise, something store bought will do. I recommend a 32 ounce jar of Mateo’s gourmet salsa. 
  • Yellow Onion – This onion is mild and caramelizes well, adding flavor to the meat while cooking as well as the salsa afterward. White onion is the best substitute, but red is also suitable. 
ingredients to make Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip


  1. Season the Meat. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic, and cumin. Generously coat the whole surface of the tri tip. If desired, you can quickly sear the meat in a skillet with a bit of oil over medium heat – this traps the juices and seasonings.
  2. Fill the Pressure Cooker. Add the trivet to the pot and layer the sliced onions. Lay the seasoned meat on the onions and pour the salsa over top. 
  3. Cook. Cover, seal, and cook on either the Manual or Pressure cook settings. Set cook time to 20 minutes per pound for a total of 40 minutes. 
  4. Shred. Allow the cooker to release naturally – this takes roughly 10 minutes. Release the seal and carefully transfer the meat to a plate and shred. 
  5. Add the Salsa. Transfer the salsa and onions left in the pot to a blender (or use an immersion blender) and puree until smooth. Pour ½ of the salsa over the meat and toss to coat. Save the rest for serving or as a delicious soup base. 
  6. Use or Save. Use the shredded meat right away in nachos, tacos, or other Tex Mex dishes. Otherwise, store in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge.

Does tri tip get tender the longer you cook it?

Generally. However, every meat has its limit, and it will eventually overcook. If you plan on slow cooking a tri tip steak for maximum tenderness, then lower the temperature appropriately.

shredding meat with forks

Can you overcook tri tip in an Instant Pot?

It’s possible to overcook anything, even in a pressure cooker. That’s why it’s important to follow the recipe exactly when making tri tip in an Instant Pot.

Per this recipe, set the Instant Pot to cook for 20 minutes per pound. As I used a 2 lb cut, it took 40 minutes. Pay attention to the weight of your cut and adjust appropriately. If you find it’s not so easy to shred, pop it back in the IP for another 10-15 minutes.

How do you cook tri tip so it’s tender?

Letting the dry rub on its own sit on the meat for a couple of hours will season and seal in the moisture. Or, to turn the tri tip Instant Pot dry rub into a marinade, simply add it to a base of oil and a bit of something acidic – lemon juice or vinegar, ideally.

But the pressure cooker on its own will make steak tender! Marinating is absolutely not required to get a flavorful, tender batch of shredded Instant Pot tri tip.

dish with cooked Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip
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Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip

5 from 2 votes
Instant Pot Tri Tip yields 2 lbs of tender, flavorful steak in just an hour! Make this simple Tex Mex recipe for easy meals all week.
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 50 minutes
Total: 1 hour



  • Mix together the salt, pepper, garlic powder and ground cumin. Season tri-tip all over with blend. Optionally, at this point you can sear the meat all over in a skillet over medium high heat with a tablespoon of vegetable oil if you prefer to seal in the juices.
  • Add the trivet to the Instant Pot pot and lay the sliced onions on top. Transfer the seasoned tri-tip on top of the onions and pour the salsa over.
  • Cover and seal the Instant Pot. Hit Manual or Pressure cook and set the cooking time to 20 minutes per pound. This would be 40 minutes total. Let the pressure release naturally (about 10 minutes).
  • Release seal, remove beef and shred meat. If you find it's not so easy to shred, pop it back in the IP for another 10-15 minutes (depending, all cuts of meat may differ). Pour cooked salsa and onion in blender or use immersion blender to puree until smooth.
  • Shred meat and toss with 1/2 cup pureed salsa. Save balance, great for soup base or as an enchilada sauce.

Slow Cooker

  • Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until the meat is tender, and pulls apart easily with a fork.



  1. I either use my Fire Roasted Salsa, or for something quick, use a 32 ounce jar of Mateo‘s gourmet salsa, or use whatever salsa you prefer.


Calories: 452kcal | Carbohydrates: 18g | Protein: 50g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 150mg | Sodium: 1753mg | Potassium: 1350mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 1091IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 128mg | Iron: 4mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
ready to serve Tex Mex Instant Pot Tri Tip


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    I have a chuck roast I need to cook up so for today I’m going to replace the tri-tips; I’ll use Picante sauce rather than a salsa. I’ll cut a round parchment paper down to fit on the trivet before I put the onions (and peppers, some rather hot, some sweet) under the meat.
    It’s a bit different but also the same. I’ll put the finished meat into a wrap or fried burrito.
    Thank you for the idea!!!

    1. Excellent Renee! As a matter of fact, I have a Chimichanga recipe post coming up next (Thursday) as another use for this recipe! Good minds think alike… 🙂