How Long to Cook Beef Shank in an Instant Pot for Fork-Tender Perfection

Beef shank is one of those tough, flavorful cuts that truly shines when slowly braised. With an Instant Pot, you can transform even the chewiest shank into fall-off-the-bone tender perfection in a fraction of the time. But exactly how long should you cook beef shank in an Instant Pot? Follow this guide to take the guesswork out and master tender, delicious Instant Pot beef shank.

What is Beef Shank?

Beef shank refers to the leg of beef consisting of muscles like the gastrocnemius and soleus along with connective tissues It contains bones like the tibia and fibula Common names for beef shank cuts include round shank, foreshank, and osso buco.

This is a collagen-rich, working muscle area, so beef shank needs slow, moist cooking to become tender. The bones add even more connective tissue. Simply grilling or pan-frying beef shank would yield disastrously tough results.

But when properly braised the collagen melts into succulent gelatin delivering incredibly rich, fall-apart texture. The marrow from the bones also enriches the sauce. That’s where the Instant Pot comes in handy!

Advantages of Cooking Beef Shank in an Instant Pot

Pressure cooking beef shank in an Instant Pot has these advantages over traditional braising:

  • Speed – Pressure cooks beef shank in 40-60 minutes instead of 2-3 hours.

  • Convenience – No need to monitor on the stove or in the oven Just set it and forget it!

  • Flavor retention – The closed environment concentrates flavors compared to open braising.

  • Versatility – Can make stews, soups, or shred for tacos, enchiladas etc.

Thanks to the high pressure, your Instant Pot makes beef shank as tender as a slow braise in a fraction of the time. Let’s look at exactly how long to cook beef shank to perfection.

General Instant Pot Beef Shank Cooking Time

For 1-inch thick bone-in beef shank pieces, the ideal Instant Pot cooking time is:

  • 35-45 minutes on High Pressure

Follow with a 10-15 minute natural pressure release.

For 2-inch thick or larger beef shank pieces, cook for:

  • 45-60 minutes on High Pressure

Follow with a 15-20 minute natural release.

This sufficiently softens the tough connective tissues and muscles for fork-tender texture without overcooking the meat.

Factors that Affect Beef Shank Cook Time

Several factors can alter the necessary Instant Pot cooking time for beef shank:

  • Thickness – Double the thickness to double the time.

  • Bone-in vs boneless – Boneless cooks slightly faster. Reduce time by 5 minutes.

  • Quantity – For more shank, just increase the time minimally.

  • Prep style – Browning first intensifies flavor but doesn’t reduce time.

  • Liquid – Use at least 1 cup thin liquid like broth.

  • Pressure – Cook exclusively on High Pressure for best results.

  • Release method – Natural release ensures tender results.

Monitor beef shank at the minimum times and adjust as needed for your exact cut, thickness, and degree of doneness.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Beef Shank in an Instant Pot

Follow these simple steps for foolproof tender Instant Pot beef shank:

  1. Prep the beef shank – Select 1-2 inch thick cuts for the best results. Trim off any excess fat or silverskin. Pat dry well.

  2. Season the beef – Generously season on all sides with salt, pepper, and your choice of spices like garlic powder, paprika, Italian seasoning etc.

  3. Sear the beef (optional) – For better flavor, you can sear the beef shank in the Instant Pot on Saute mode before pressure cooking.

  4. Add cooking liquid – Pour in 1 cup broth, wine, or water along with aromatics like onions, carrots, celery, garlic, tomato etc.

  5. Pressure cook – Lock the lid, seal the vent, and cook on High Pressure for 35-60 minutes depending on thickness.

  6. Natural release – Let the pressure release naturally for 10-20 minutes until the float valve drops.

  7. Check doneness – Once depressurized, open the pot. The beef shank should be fall-apart tender when poked with a fork.

  8. Adjust sauce – For stews or soups, reduce or thicken the sauce using Saute mode as desired.

And your tender, juicy Instant Pot beef shank is ready to enjoy!

Tips for the Best Instant Pot Beef Shank

  • Browning the beef shank before pressure cooking enhances the flavor.

  • Add aromatics like onion, garlic, carrots, celery, tomato, etc to balance the richness.

  • Deglaze the pot with wine or broth after searing to loosen browned bits.

  • Use a flavorful liquid like beef broth rather than just water for more depth.

  • Make sure the liquid covers at least halfway up the beef shank.

  • Allow a full natural release – avoid quick release for tender results.

  • Check larger shank pieces early for doneness to avoid overcooking.

  • Add noodles, rice or mashed potatoes to serve the braised beef over.

With the proper prep and cook times, your Instant Pot can rival the tenderness of a slow oven braise in a fraction of the time.

Common Instant Pot Beef Shank Recipes

Your fall-apart tender Instant Pot beef shank is endlessly versatile. Some delicious recipe ideas include:

  • Beef shank osso buco – Classic Italian braised veal shank adapts beautifully to beef in the Instant Pot.

  • Red wine braised beef shank – Red wine provides incredible depth and richness.

  • Beef shank stew – Pressure cook into a hearty beef stew with potatoes and veggies.

  • Beef shank soup – Make a nourishing soup with barley, veggies and shredded beef.

  • Beef shank ragu – Shredded Instant Pot beef shank makes an amazing pasta sauce.

  • Shredded beef shank tacos – Top tortillas with shredded beef shank, salsa and all the fixings.

  • Beef shank enchiladas – Stuff tortillas with tender shredded beef shank and cheese.

Let your Instant Pot unlock the full potential of this flavorful yet tricky cut of meat. With the proper cook time and preparation, you can enjoy insanely tender beef shank any night of the week with minimal hands-on effort. Pull out your Instant Pot and try one of these delicious beef shank recipes today!

Instant Pot Beef Shank (Osso Buco)


How long does beef shank take to get tender?

Plan on cooking your beef shanks for at least 4 to 6 hours to transform it from tough and chewy to tender and flavorful. (Or try using a pressure cooker to reduce the time.) However, as beef shanks are cooked slowly at a low temperature, the nutritional value of this cut really comes out.

How long does meat pressure cook in Instant Pot?

I like to assume 20 minutes for every pound of meat. So, for my 3-pound beef chuck, I will need to cook at high pressure for 1 hour. After the hour, I release the pressure and shred the tender beef. When the beef is done, you can make our optional gravy.

Does Instant Pot make beef tender?

All Cuts of Meat Can Become More Tender in a Pressure Cooker.

Which cooking method is most commonly used for beef shanks?

Most recipes recommend slow braising beef shanks to tenderize the meat until it is fall-off-the-bone soft. A cross-cut or cross-section hind shank is a portion of the back legs of a cow cut horizontally.

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