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Instant Pot Chile Colorado

Instant Pot Chile Colorado is tender beef stewed in a rich, flavorful red chile sauce made easy in the pressure cooker! This easy Chile Colorado recipe is amazing any time you’re craving restaurant-quality Mexican food.

Bowl of chile colorado with Spanish rice and corn tortillas off to the side

If you’ve never tried Chile Colorado, I hope you try it to experience the pure magic of the dish!

The silky smooth, wildly rich chile sauce brings an indescribably flavor to the incredibly tender, mouth-watering beef.

Similar to the Crock Pot Birria Tacos recipe I posted recently, the sauce is made with a combination of dried chiles.

These chiles are truly incredible for those who enjoy making homemade Mexican food as they bring so much depth to a dish. The best part? They are inexpensive and they last for a long, long time in the pantry. 

This authentic Mexican recipe makes for such a lovely meal that is sure to impress!

Let’s dive into the details!

What is Chile Colorado?:

Chile Colorado is a traditional Mexican dish of tender chunks of beef slow cooked in a rich, sweet and smoky red chile sauce. “Colorado” is Spanish for “colored red,” signifying the deep red color of the sauce that surrounds the tender pieces of beef.

But don’t let that fool you. While many dried chiles are involved, the types of chiles used are more sweet and smoky versus spicy and are actually relatively mild, making the dish itself mild (with plenty of opportunity to add heat if you like it). To make the sauce very mild, leave out the arbol chiles.

For the sake of comparison, you could compare it to a mild enchilada sauce.

It is typically served with Spanish Rice (or Mexican rice), corn tortillas or flour tortillas and beans. You can make little chile colorado tacos out of all of the fixings for a perfect bite. You can serve it up with fresh cilantro and limes so that one can squeeze fresh lime juice over everything if desired.

The main feature of the dish is the incredibly rich red chili sauce that engulfs the beef. There’s truly nothing like it!

The stars of the sauce are dried chiles, which can be found in the Mexican aisle of any grocery store (some grocery stores label this aisle “ethnic food”).

If you have a local Mexican grocery store, you can definitely source all of the ingredients you need (including the dried chiles) for this recipe there. 

Close up top down image of chile colorado in a big bowl with Spanish rice and cilantro sprinkled on top

Why Make it in the Instant Pot?:

Traditionally, authentic chile colorado is made on the stove top, but it can also be made in the crock pot or the Instant Pot.

Because meat becomes more and more tender with the amount of time it is cooked, I find the slow cooker or pressure cooker methods to be very enticing. This way, you are sure to achieve incredibly tender and flavorful meat!

While this Instant Pot Chile Colorado recipe only needs about 20 minutes of high pressure cooking in the Instant Pot, I let it fully naturally release for 50 minutes, as it is the natural release process that makes meat so tender and inviting.

This way, you’re getting restaurant-quality Chile Colorado in a relatively short amount of time.

Pressure cooker with a ladle of chile colorado close to camera

Ingredients for Chile Colorado:

For the Sauce: dried guajillo chiles, dried arbol chiles (also known as chiles de arbol), dried ancho chiles, chicken broth or beef broth, dried cumin, yellow onion, dried oregano (I go with Mexican oregano), sea salt. As previously mentioned, these chiles bring a sweet and smoky flavor to the sauce, but as long as the seeds are removed, the sauce is fairly mild. For spicier sauce, include a fresh jalapeno, serrano, pasilla chiles or habanero. 

For the Meat: Beef stew meat, gluten-free all-purpose flour (or regular all-purpose flour), sea salt, and pepper. The beef gets tossed in flour to sear it prior to adding the sauce. 

This is a phenomenal use for stew meat, as the pressure cooking turns the otherwise tough cut of meat into heavenly tender bliss.

For Serving: This hearty stew recipe is typically served with Spanish Rice, tortillas, and beans, but you can incorporate any sides or toppings you enjoy. Some people eat the chile colorado as a stew.

One of the amazing parts about the spicy red chile sauce is it can be used for all sorts of dishes. For instance, you can cook pork shoulder in the delicious red chile sauce or make a pork stew with it.

If you love burritos, use leftovers in a burrito recipe.

The dish becomes even more flavorful the next day, so if you’re planning on making this popular Mexican stew recipe, you’d be doing yourself a favor to make it a few days in advance!

Horizontal top down photo of bowl of chile colorado with Spanish rice

How to Make Instant Pot Chile Colorado:

Make the Chile Colorado Sauce:

Add all of the dried chilies to a saucepan along with the chicken stock or beef broth. Bring the mixture to a full boil then remove it from the stove top.

Add the chopped onion to a blender along with the oregano, cumin, and sea salt. Once the reconstituted chilies are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds (or leave some of the seeds for a spicier sauce) and transfer the chilies and the broth to the blender. Blend until everything is well-combined.

Sear the Beef:

Place the beef stew meat in a large mixing bowl along with the flour, sea salt, and pepper. Toss everything together until the beef is well-coated.

Plug in the Instant Pot and press the Sautee button. Pour in the avocado oil and allow the pot to heat up for a few minutes.

Transfer half of the meat to the Instant Pot, arranging it in a single layer. Allow the meat to brown for a few minutes before flipping it to the other side and allowing it to brown for another few minutes, or until there is a nice golden crust on two sides. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat this process for the rest of the meat.

Put it All Together:

Once the meat is browned, transfer the meat from the plate back into the Instant Pot. 

Pour the chile colorado sauce through a fine mesh strainer into the pressure cooker. Use a wooden spoon to stir it around until all of the liquid has strained into the pressure cooker and the strainer is left with just the pulp. Discard the pulp.

Add the bay leaves to the Instant Pot and give everything a stir.

Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook on High heat for 20 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release (and go into Keep Warm mode) for at least 30 minutes. This process ensures the beef turns out nice and tender. While pressure cooking for 20 minutes will cook it all the way through and make it ready to eat, it’s the natural release process that ensures the beef turns out tender and rich in flavor.

Remove the lid on the Instant Pot and press the Sauté or Boil button. Allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced down a bit and is nice and thick.

Serve Chile Colorado with Spanish Rice, tortillas, and any additional toppings or side dishes such as black beans, refried beans, cheese, etc. 

Bowl of chile colorado with a side of Spanish rice

While there are a few steps to making this recipe, it can easily be made in parts. For instance, you can make the chile colorado sauce up to 5 days in advance and store it in sealable jars until you’re ready to use it.

More Delicious Mexican Recipes:

Enjoy this amazing meal!

Close up top down image of chile colorado in a big bowl with Spanish rice and cilantro sprinkled on top
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4.85 from 13 votes

Instant Pot Chile Colorado

Instant Pot Chile Colorado is tender beef stewed in a rich, flavorful red chile sauce made easy in the pressure cooker! This easy chile colorado recipe is amazing restaurant-quality meal.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time50 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Course: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 589kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

Chile Colorado Sauce:

  • 6 dried guajillo chiles
  • 2 dried ancho chiles
  • 2 dried arbol chiles
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 4 cups beef broth or chicken broth
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp sea salt

For the Beef:

Instructions

Make the Chile Colorado Sauce:

  • Add all of the dried chilies to a saucepan along with the chicken stock or beef broth. Bring the mixture to a full boil then remove it from the stove top.
    Dried chiles in boiling water in a saucepan to reconstitute the chiles
  • Add the chopped onion to a blender along with the oregano, cumin, and sea salt. Once the reconstituted chilies are cool enough to handle, remove the stems and seeds (or leave some of the seeds for a spicier sauce) and transfer the chilies and the broth to the blender. Blend until everything is well-combined.
    chiles in a blender to make chile colorado sauce

Sear the Beef:

  • Place the beef stew meat in a large mixing bowl along with the flour, sea salt, and pepper. Toss everything together until the beef is well-coated.
    Beef tossed in flour in a mixing bowl
  • Plug in the Instant Pot and press the Sauté button. Pour in the avocado oil and allow the pot to heat up for a few minutes. Transfer half of the meat to the Instant Pot, arranging it in a single layer. Allow the meat to brown for a few minutes before flipping it to the other side and allowing it to brown for another few minutes, or until there is a nice golden crust on two sides. Transfer the meat to a plate and repeat this process for the rest of the meat.
    Beef searing inside of an Instant Pot
  • Once the meat is browned, transfer the meat from the plate back into the Instant Pot. 
    All of the beef stew meat in an Instant Pot
  • Pour the chile colorado sauce through a fine mesh strainer into the pressure cooker.
    Strainer of chile colorado sauce hovering over an Instant Pot
  • Use a wooden spoon to stir it around until all of the liquid has strained into the pressure cooker and the strainer is left with just the pulp. Discard the pulp.
    Chile pulp in a strainer from red chile sauce
  • Add the bay leaves to the Instant Pot and give everything a stir.
    Beef and red chile sauce in an instant pot, ready to pressure cook
  • Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and pressure cook on High heat for 20 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release (and go into Keep Warm mode) for at least 30 minutes. This process ensures the beef turns out nice and tender. While pressure cooking for 20 minutes will cook it all the way through and make it ready to eat, it’s the natural release process that ensures the beef turns out tender and rich in flavor.
    Finished chile colorado in an Instant Pot
  • Remove the lid on the Instant Pot and press the Sauté or Boil button. Allow the mixture to come to a full boil. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has reduced down a bit and is nice and thick.
  • Serve Chile Colorado with Spanish Rice, tortillas, and any additional toppings or side dishes such as black beans, refried beans, cheese, etc.
    Horizontal top down photo of bowl of chile colorado with Spanish rice

Notes

*Or regular all-purpose flour, tapioca flour, or arrowroot starch. You will need another 2 tablespoons of flour to thicken the sauce once everything is cooked if you like it thick.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (of 6) | Calories: 589kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 47g | Fat: 37g | Sugar: 4g
This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Chile Colorado Collage

Recipe Rating




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Vicki

Friday 23rd of February 2024

Made this tonight with slight variations and it was very good. Could be thicker but we tend to like soupier sauces. I made jalapeño cornbread to go with and they were awsome together. Will make this again for sure.

Lauren

Friday 9th of February 2024

This recipe did not yield a good chile Colorado flavor. Added additional spices and garlic. Maybe better to add some pureed mix

RICHARD

Thursday 13th of July 2023

Would never pressurize. I even added some water to thin it out. But no-go. Transfered to a different pot, and again it would not pressurize and resulted in a burn error. Tastes great though, and tomorrow I will finish it on the stove. No more Instant pot for this one.

Julia

Thursday 20th of July 2023

Hi Richard! Did you sear the beef in the Instant Pot before adding the sauce? I've found Instant Pot pressure cookers can be finicky if all of the ingredients are added cold without heating up the pot first. In this sense, if the sauce and beef are added together without searing the beef first to warm up the pot, a burn notice is almost a guarantee. I now use a Crock Pot brand electric pressure cooker because of having so many issues with the Instant Pot brand, lol. Nevertheless, I'm sorry the recipe didn't work out for you! Let me know if you did, indeed sear the beef first, in which case I assume a lot of people have had the same issue when using the IP brand. Thanks a bunch for sharing your experience! This is super helpful to others who are trying the recipe. xo

Shannon

Wednesday 10th of August 2022

Thank you, Great recipe! You should join this Instant Pot Tips & Recipes Facebook group. I got a lot of new ideas and recipes. highly recommended! Here is a link to the group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/434020724110015/

Ramya

Wednesday 27th of April 2022

cant wait to make this soon for me for the sauce and beef can i use vegetable broth and mushrooms i never had instant pot chile colorado before perfect for my after office meals love your recipes as always brightens up my day everyday after work

Julia

Thursday 28th of April 2022

I hope you love it, Ramya! It's such a fun recipe to make, and SO unique! xoxo

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