This recipe for Instant Pot brisket is comfort food at its best. No fancy ingredients or complicated instructions—just simple, perfectly cooked meat and potatoes. Potatoes are optional, though always delicious with brisket. In this recipe, the potatoes are pressure cooked then cooled in the refrigerator while the brisket cooks. Cooking potatoes in the Instant Pot takes less than 20 minutes and the texture is really nice. They don’t turn mushy or watery, like boiled potatoes sometimes do.
Cooling the potatoes increases the resistant starch, a special type of prebiotic that can be beneficial. Once the potatoes are cooled, you have several options: gently reheat the potatoes and top with butter and fresh herbs, sauté the potatoes in the fat of your choice until crispy, or make potato salad.
If potatoes aren’t your thing, that’s fine. Brisket is tasty with any type of roasted root vegetables, or greens sautéed in oil and garlic, or mashed cauliflower.
Consider making this entire recipe the day before it’s eaten. Brisket improves in flavor and texture when it rests for a day. If the brisket isn’t as tender as you’d like, then 24 hours in the fridge and a slow reheat in the oven is often the answer.
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour hands-on, plus 2 hours of Instant Pot cooking
24 ounces Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (peeled or unpeeled) (680 g)
3 to 4 pounds brisket, cut into 3 pieces (1.8 to 2.3 kg)
Recipe Note: Brisket with a nice layer of fat on top and some marbling throughout will be more juicy and flavorful and less prone to drying out. Unfortunately, most brisket is sold with the fat completely trimmed off. You might have to special order a “second cut” brisket with more fat. Chuck roast can also be substituted for brisket in this recipe.
Rub brisket with salt and smoked paprika, ideally 1 hour ahead of time. Set brisket out on the counter to come up to room temperature.
After the brisket is salted, cook the potatoes. Pour ¾ cup water into the pot of the electric pressure cooker (such as an Instant Pot). Add potatoes into the pot on a cooking insert or steamer insert.
Press manual and program the pressure cooker for 5 minutes at high pressure (valve in sealed position). Let the pressure release manually for 12 minutes, and then release the valve.
Transfer the potatoes to the refrigerator to cool. Pour the water out of the pressure cooker; rinse and dry the pot.
Set electric pressure cooker to sauté. Add avocado oil. When hot, add pieces of the brisket in batches and sear until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Add more oil or turn down heat as needed if the bottom of the pot begins to burn. Transfer brisket to a plate.
Add onion and celery. Sauté 3 to 5 minutes, adding more oil if needed. Add garlic. Sauté 1 minute more. Add carrots, bone broth, and thyme. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pot. Add brisket back to the pot.
Cover and cook on high pressure for 80 minutes (valve in sealed position). Let the pressure release naturally for about 20 minutes, then release.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board or plate. Let rest at least 15 minutes before slicing against the grain. The brisket can also be cooled completely and refrigerated overnight, then sliced and reheated in the oven, covered with foil, at 300 ºF/149 ºC until heated through.
The flavorful liquid left in the pot is delicious spooned over the brisket. For a less fatty sauce, refrigerate the liquid then scrape off the fat on top before reheating and serving.