Pressure cooker
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Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shoulder Tacos (Cordero Guisado)

I don’t use my pressure cooker much during the summer. Pressure cookers are best at soups, stews, and braises – food that warms me up during cold winter months.

A hot summer day at the Wholly Frijoles Food Truck changed my mind. Three Corona braised beef tacos, washed down with a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola, were the perfect dinner on a July evening.


DSC_0096I was rummaging through the freezer, planning our meals for the week, when I saw the lamb shoulder chops I bought a few months ago from my friends at Sherman Provision. Beer braised tacos immediately came to mind, and the pressure cooker was the easy way out for a weeknight meal.


My goal was guisado style, with shreds of meat in a thick sauce. This meant shredding the cooked meat, blending the cooking liquid, and then putting them back in the pot to simmer and thicken. The extra work was worth it – this is saucy, meaty taco filling, and was a big hit with the family.


Recipe: Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shoulder Tacos (Cordero Guisado)


  • 4 quart or larger Pressure Cooker (I use a 6 quart electric Instant Pot)
  • Blender (I love my Vitamix, but you don’t need that much power – any blender will do.)
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Pressure Cooker Braised Lamb Shoulder Tacos (Cordero Guisado)

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 1x


Pressure Cooker Lamb Shoulder Chops with a Mexican sauce.


  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 medium white onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Guajillo chile powder or Ancho chile powder (or a chili powder blend)
  • 1/2 cup beer (or 1/2 cup homemade chicken broth, or 1/2 cup water)
  • 3 pounds lamb shoulder chops, 1/2 inch thick, outside fat trimmed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 14.5 ounce can tomatoes with green chiles


  • Tortillas
  • Salsa
  • Minced onions
  • Crumbled or shredded cheese
  • Shredded lettuce or cabbage


  1. Saute the aromatics and deglaze with the beer Heat the vegetable oil in the pressure cooker pot over medium heat until the oil is shimmering. Add the onion, garlic, salt, and chile powder. Saute until the spices are toasted and the onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in the beer, scrape the bottom of the pot to loosen any stuck bits of onion, then wait for the beer to come to a simmer, stirring occasionally, about 3 more minutes.
  2. Add the lamb and vegetables Add the lamb to the pot, sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of salt, then stir the lamb chops to coat them with the onions and spices. Pour the can of tomatoes and green chiles on top of the lamb, but don’t stir.
  3. Pressure cook the lamb Lock the lid on the pressure cooker and bring it to high pressure. Pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes (20 minutes for an electric pressure cooker), then turn off the heat and let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes. Quick release any remaining pressure in the pot.
  4. Puree the liquid, reduce the liquid, shred the lamb Remove the lamb to a platter (it should fall apart as you’re removing it from the pot), leaving as much of the vegetables behind as possible. Pour the cooking liquid and vegetables into a blender or food processor, and blend until completely pureed. (To keep the blender from overflowing with the hot liquid, remove the center cap from the lid and hold the lid on with a kitchen towel.) Pour the puree back into the pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While the liquid is simmering, shred the lamb using a pair of forks, discarding the bones and any large pieces of fat.
  5. Simmer to thicken Add the shredded lamb to the simmering liquid in the pot, and simmer until thickened, five to ten minutes. Taste the braised lamb, and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the tortillas and accompaniments.
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: Mexican



  • Pureeing the hot liquid: Hot liquid plus a blender can lead to blender overflows. Why? Because steam trapped in the liquid is released by the blender. “Released” is an understatement – it practically explodes, pushing the lid off the blender and spraying liquid all over the kitchen. Removing the cap from the lid gives the steam somewhere to escape, and holding the lid down with a towel keeps the steam from pushing the lid off.
  • This recipe is even easier if you can get boneless lamb shoulder – no bones to worry about while you shred. Replace the lamb shoulder chops with 3 pounds of boneless lamb shoulder cut into 1 inch cubes.
Please don’t explode…

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Cochinita Pibil (Yucatecan pit cooked pork)
Pressure Cooker Mexican Short Ribs
Click here for my other pressure cooker recipes.

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Filed under: Pressure cooker


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Ophio says

    Vita mix and Ninja’s are great! My Immersion Blender does just as well with less mess and danger of pressure disruptions. I like the recipe more garlic is good, green fresh green chilies and tomatoes from the garden. I used the recipe modified with the recipe from Sunsets Mexican Cookbook for Carnitas

    Never thought of Lamb tacos, which is amazing because I ike Goat tacos, go figure

  2. Just set the time on the cooker, subbed leg of lamb in chunks!!

  3. Lorri says

    Could you just use an Immersion Blender in the pot instead of using a regular blender?

  4. Heather says

    What type of beer do you recommend? Just simply saying “add beer” leaves much to interpretation and there is such a wide variety!

    • Whatever beer you have available. If you are at the store, a Mexican beer will match the theme of the recipe, but almost any beer will do.

  5. Rachel says

    What do you think about increasing the quantities? Ok to do in the 6 qt Instant Pot? We made this tonight with the 3 lbs of lamb and it was delicious!!! Thank you!!!!

    • I’d say you can go to 5 to 6 pounds of lamb in the 6 quart IP (or any other 6 quart pressure cooker)

  6. Jalal Elhayek says

    This sounds great. I have about 1.5lbs lamb shoulder chops. Would the recipe work with that cut if I halved everything else?


    • It would work if you cut the liquid in half – just don’t cut the beer (or chicken broth or water); the pressure cooker usually needs at least a half cup of liquid to come to pressure.

      • PS: But… I would leave the liquid amounts as they are, if I could. The pressure cooker always works better with more liquid, and there’s nothing wrong with extra sauce in this recipe – it will just be extra-soupy. I’d make the same amount of sauce, and eat the leftover sauce with tortilla chips.

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