Instant Pot Beef Tips

This recipe definitely can’t be filed under “healthy” or “clean,” but it is filed under “Jeff’s Favorite” in my recipe book, so it’s a staple at our house. It’s also super easy – it only takes about 10 minutes of prep time and hands on cooking, then finishes up in the Instant Pot in less than an hour, which is perfect for a busy weeknight meal.

I had actually never had beef tips and rice until I met Jeff. When we were dating, we lived about an hour from each other. Since we lived so far apart, we didn’t get to see each other every day, but we made sure to make plans on the weekends and I would come see him every Wednesday night for our regular date night. Sometimes we would go out, but usually on that Wednesday night date, I’d cook dinner and we’d watch a movie or go for a walk at the Riverwalk near his apartment. Since Jeff knew that I loved to cook (and he loved to eat), he would often request certain recipes. This was one of his requests and I failed in epic fashion the first few times I tried to make it. I googled recipes and followed them exactly, but he didn’t like it, so I tweaked the recipe a little the next time and he still didn’t like it…and I was extremely upset by the fact that I couldn’t seem to make what he said had always been his favorite meal.

It turns out that he had a specific recipe in mind when he asked me to make this for him. I figured that my beef tips were being compared to someone else’s – like his mom’s or grandmother’s recipe – and I was starting to be really upset that I couldn’t recreate it, so I finally asked him whose recipe it was and fully planned to call that person and get the recipe ASAP. He hesitated before admitting that one of his ex-girlfriends used to make this for him and that her recipe was the best and he had no idea how she made it.

My ego was hurt, for sure. And I definitely wasn’t going to call her up and ask for the recipe. I basically told Jeff to just get used to never eating beef tips, because I was never going to attempt to make them again.

Enter the Instant Pot…

I kept seeing people cook with the Instant Pot on blogs and Instagram and really, really wanted one, but I couldn’t really justify spending $100 on a kitchen gadget for no reason. When I mentioned that to Jeff, he just told me to order the dang thing on Amazon, no special occasion required.

When I first got the Instant Pot, I was a little nervous. I’ve read horror stories of them blowing up on people and I’ve always been a little hesitant about pressure cookers. I read the entire instruction book twice and spent a couple days building up my nerve before I used it the first time. My first recipe in the Instant Pot was this Sweet Potato Chicken Curry recipe, which Jeff loved.

As I started trying to figure out other recipes to make in the Instant Pot, I thought about the problem Jeff always had with my beef tips – they weren’t tender enough and the gravy wasn’t thick enough. It seemed like no matter how long I cooked them, I couldn’t get these two things right. I figured the pressure of the Instant Pot might be what I needed to fix those issues, so I decided to give beef tips one last try. I created my own recipe based on different ones I had found online and came up with this one. The secret, I found, is making sure to get a good coating of flour on the beef tips and getting them really good and browned on the outside before adding the gravy. Flour not only gives a good crust to the meat, but helps thicken the gravy as well.

I don’t know if Jeff knew that my ego needed a boost (but I doubt that, because he’s typically brutally honest with me about my cooking), but he approved of this recipe and told me not to ever change it. He also asks for this meal frequently, so I think he does actually like it and wasn’t just trying to make me feel good.

This is one of Jack’s favorite meals, too, so that’s a win-win at our house: two happy guys and a quick meal for Mama to make and clean up.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of beef tips (sometimes I use stew beef or I will buy a roast and cut it myself, depending on what’s on sale)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 packet of brown gravy mix (I like McCormick’s)
  • 1 can beef broth

Instructions:

  • In a large bowl or a gallon zipper bag, coat the beef tips with the flour, salt, and pepper.
  • Turn your Instant Pot on to the saute feature and add half of the vegetable oil. When the oil is good and hot, add about half of the flour coated beef tips into the Instant Pot. Let them fry in the oil undisturbed for two to three minutes to allow a good crust to form on each beef tip. When they are brown (you know they’re ready when they release from the bottom of the pot easily), flip them over and allow to brown on the other side. Remove the beef tips from the pot and reserve in a bowl for later. Add the second half of the oil and repeat the process for the second half of the beef tips.
  • Once all the beef tips are browned and removed from the pot, add the leftover flour from the bowl or bag into the oil and stir together to make a gravy base. Once the oil and flour are combined, add in the water and continue to stir well (I like to use a whisk for this part, but my mom makes her gravy with a wooden spoon and it always works for her). Add in the cream of mushroom soup, brown gravy mix, and beef broth and stir well. Make sure there are no lumps from the brown gravy mix left in the pot. Once the gravy looks smooth, add the beef tips back into the mixture and stir to incorporate them into the gravy.
  • Place the lid on the Instant Pot and close it. Make sure the valve is turned to the “Sealing” option. Cook on manual for 40 minutes.
  • When the beef tips are finished cooking, turn the valve on top of the Instant Pot to the “Release” option and allow all the steam to release. (I usually give this about 5-10 minutes while I cook some Minute Rice and green beans as our side dishes). When all the pressure has been released, remove the lid from the Instant Pot.
  • Serve beef tips with rice or mashed potatoes or any other side you choose.
  • Top with parsley to serve.

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