Richly flavored, meltingly tender Instant Pot beef rendang has the complex flavors of a long-simmered dish, but it’s made in a fraction of the time. In this spicy, creamy coconut milk-based recipe, the beef is flavored with a blend of bold spices and cooked to tender perfection. [Oven instructions are also included.]
Serve this Instant Pot Beef Rendang with jasmine rice, basmati rice, or brown rice.
Table of Contents
Beef rendang is a rich, spicy coconut-flavored braised beef dish that’s popular in Indonesia and Malaysia. The beef is cooked in a fragrant, richly spiced sauce and is fall-apart tender.
Rendang originated in Indonesia but it was brought to Malaysia by Indonesian settlers. The Malaysian version has some Indian influences including coriander, cumin, and cardamom.
Although it’s often referred to as a “curry” and many restaurants serve a wet rendang with gravy, it’s traditionally not a saucy recipe.
Rather, in an authentic beef rendang recipe, the beef is cooked over a long period of time (hours) until the beef absorbs all the complex spices and coconut flavor. The slow cooking results in a very tender beef.
It was a challenge adapting this recipe to the Instant Pot, because the dish is supposed to be dry, and the Instant Pot requires a good amount of liquid to come to pressure.
In order to get the beef to be dry and not saucy, I reserved most of the cooking sauce and sauteed the beef with just some of the sauce.
The reserved sauce was so tasty that I used it to cook a delicious chicken and potato curry the next day. So with this recipe, you get two-for-one!
Learn more about your Instant Pot…
- Natural vs Quick Release: What are the different types of steam release and when should you use them?
- Instant Pot Tips and FAQs: What are some of the most commonly asked questions about the Instant Pot?
- Instant Pot Not Sealing: Why is your Instant Pot not sealing and what can you do to fix it?
- Common Instant Pot Problems: What are the most common problems encountered by Instant Pot users and how to solve them.
- Instant Pot Sous Vide: If you have a Sous Vide button on your Instant Pot, learn how to use it for perfectly cooked foods.
Making beef rendang from scratch is time-consuming and require specialty ingredients and whole spices that are ground into a fine paste in a blender or food processor.
To save time, I like to use a premade spice mix and that makes the recipe so much easier to make.
It was a challenge to find a spice paste that was perfectly spiced. I wasn’t pleased with all the spice mixes I tried but one of them stood out over the rest.
But the spice mix I liked best ended up being super spicy, so I had to tinker with the recipe to get the optimal flavor, without making it unbearably spicy. I think you’ll be very pleased with the end result!
What I like most about this recipe is how easy it is. Just add all ingredients to the Instant Pot and start pressure cooking. That’s it!
More Instant Pot beef recipes…
- Indian Beef Curry is a South Indian coconut milk-based curry with carrots and potatoes, reminiscent of a creamy stew.
- Korean Beef is an Instant Pot adaptation of Korean beef bulgogi that tastes amazing with vegetables over rice!
- Massaman Curry is a hearty and flavorful creamy Thai beef curry with wonderful flavor.
Tips and Substitutions
If you’re making this recipe in the Instant Pot, it’s best to use fattier and tougher cuts of meat because they cook superbly in the Instant Pot. I like to use beef stew meat because it’s pre-cut and easy.
Beef chuck can be cut into thick 1 1/2 to 2-inch chunks. And trim off as much fat as you can. Short ribs will need to be pressure cooked on high pressure for 40 minutes.
Boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch pieces can also be used and they can be pressure cooked for 4 minutes on high pressure.
Store Bought Beef Rendang Paste
I’ve tried many different brands of rendang curry paste: Tean’s Gourmet, Indofoods, and Bamboe are the best. My family felt that Tean’s is by far the tastiest, but it’s also the spiciest!
The Tean’s paste is a Malaysian-style spice mix and I think that’s why I like it better, due to the Indian influence in Malaysian recipes.
My recipe has been written for Tean’s spice paste. If you’re using something other than Tean’s, you might need to add more spice paste.
This recipe is quite spicy, so please taste the spice mix while you’re sauteing it with the coconut milk and adjust the quantity as needed.
Homemade Beef Rendang Paste
If you want to make your own beef rendang paste, here’s a recipe I’ve used in the past:
- 6 to 12 dry red chilis *
- Hot water (enough to cover chilis)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 2 stalks of lemongrass, trimmed and chopped
- 1-inch piece of galangal, peeled and chopped
- 4 lime leaves
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 2 Tbsp tamarind paste
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 3-inch cinnamon stick
- Salt to taste
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Soak the chilis in hot water for about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and reserve the soaking water.
- Add all ingredients to a mini food processor or blender and blend until you have a smooth paste, the consistency of pesto. Add just enough of the soaking water to get things moving, but don’t add too much!
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the blender ingredients and fry for a few minutes until fragrant and raw taste is gone. Use a splatter screen as needed.
* The number of chilis will be dependent on their spiciness and your tolerance for spice.
This recipe may be more than you’ll need. You can store any leftover rendang paste in the refrigerator for up to a week, or freeze it for later use.
The individual spice powders I add to the curry are to make up for any flavors lost to pressure cooking and due to the reduced quantity of spice paste (to make the dish less spicy.) If you can’t find one of the powders or don’t have it on hand, you can omit it.
Whole spices can be used instead of powders:
- Cinnamon stick (1-inch piece)
- Whole cloves (2 pieces)
- Cardamom pods (a couple of pods)
If you have any of these ingredients on hand, feel free to add them:
- Star Anise – 1/2 to 1 piece
- Kaffir lime leaves (aka makrut) – two leaves, thinly sliced
- Toasted unsweetened grated coconut (aka kerisik, available at Asian stores) – 1 1/2 tablespoons
Brown sugar can be substituted for palm sugar. You can reduce the quantity of sugar or omit it. I like the balance the sugar provides. You can substitute palm sugar with granulated sugar or honey.
Tamarind paste can be made from slabs of tamarind pulp that you can find at East Asian or South Asian stores. This is my Instant Pot Tamarind Paste recipe (try and make it ahead of time). Tamarind paste adds tartness to dishes.
If you use a purchased tamarind paste, the quantity required varies. If using Indian tamarind paste such as Tamicon, you should start out with a smaller quantity (about 1/2 teaspoon mixed with some hot water) and taste before you add more.
If using Thai tamarind concentrate, use about 1 teaspoon. If you don’t want to use tamarind at all, you can substitute 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of lime juice or omit it altogether.
Separating the Fat
When the beef is done cooking, you may notice fat in the liquid that remains in the inner pot. If you want to remove the fat, here are a few ways to do this:
- Skim the fat off the top with a large spoon.
- Use a fat separator.
- Refrigerate the liquid until the fat solidifies and remove the fat from the surface.
Reducing the Sauce
As I mentioned in the introduction, authentic beef rendang does not have a sauce. However, many people try this recipe at restaurants where it’s served with a gravy or sauce.
I’ve made the recipe both ways and they’re both very good. The way the recipe is written, you remove the beef and some of the sauce and reduce it. The remaining sauce is then used to make another curry.
You can also just serve the beef with the curry sauce. It tastes great, and is definitely quicker since you don’t have to heat it on Saute mode. I recommend you try it both ways and see which one you like better.
Yes, you can cook a larger piece of beef and shred it after it has pressure cooked, and before sauteing to reduce the sauce. Fatty cuts of beef do best in the Instant Pot. Pressure cook a 2.5 to 3 lb slab of beef chuck for about 60 minutes, with a natural pressure release.
You could add sambal oelek, sriracha, or some cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper flakes.
Reduce the quantity of rendang paste if you want a milder flavor. You can also add more coconut milk.
Yes, you can double the recipe. Keep the cooking time the same.
Yes, this recipe can be frozen. Freeze it in gallon Ziploc bags for up to three months.
Pressure cook the beef ahead of time and don’t separate the sauce until you’re ready to saute and reduce the beef. The beef tastes even better the next day.
Instant Pot Beef Rendang – Ingredients
- Tamarind sauce
- Rendang paste (Tean’s)
- Beef (stew meat)
- Brown sugar (optional)
- Coconut milk
More details in the recipe card at the bottom of this post
How to Make Instant Pot Beef Rendang (Step by Step Instructions)
- Saute spice mix
- Stir in beef and coconut milk
- Pressure cook and release pressure
- Saute beef to thicken
Saute spice mix
- Press the Saute button and heat the Instant Pot up. Add vegetable oil, olive oil or coconut oil to the inner pot when it’s heated up. Saute onion, garlic, and ginger.
- Add spice paste and spice powders.
- Stir spices with the onion mixture.
- Add some coconut milk.
Stir in beef and coconut milk
- Saute spice mix until thick and bubbly and the oil separates from the spices.
- Stir in the beef cubes.
- Add coconut milk and water to the inner pot.
- Stir all ingredients together.
Program the Instant Pot and release pressure
- Close the lid.
- Program the Instant Pot to pressure cook on high pressure for 15 minutes.
- The display will go from On to 15:00. The float valve will go up after a few minutes. The display will count down to 00:00.
- Let the pressure release naturally. The float valve will go down and the lid can be opened.
If you’re new to the Instant Pot and aren’t familiar with how to use it, you might find it helpful to first read one of the following guides and then come back here to learn how to make this recipe.
- Instant Pot DUO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot ULTRA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO EVO PLUS Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO NOVA Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO GOURMET Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot DUO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO Beginner’s Manual
- Instant Pot PRO CRISP Beginner’s Manual
Reserve the liquid and saute the beef
- Stir up the beef rendang.
- Remove the beef and set aside. Drain the sauce and set aside.
- Return the beef to the Instant Pot and cook on Saute mode for 5 to 10 minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of sauce whenever the beef has absorbed the sauce or is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Save the remaining sauce for another day, to make a curry with your choice of meat and/or vegetables.
Instant Pot Tips and Tricks
Learn about how to use the Delay Start feature, which allows you begin pressure cooking at a future time.
Pot in Pot
Find out how to use the Pot in Pot cooking method, which allows you to cook multiple foods together.
Find out how long to cook any type of food in the Instant Pot and what method of pressure release to use.
How to Make Beef Rendang on the Stove
- Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Saute the onions, garlic, and ginger until the onions are translucent.
- Add the spices and saute briefly. If you find the spices sticking to the bottom of the pan, deglaze with some broth or water.
- Add the coconut milk and saute until the spice mixture is thick and bubbly.
- Add the beef, remaining coconut milk, and water. Bring to a simmer.
- Turn the flame down to low heat, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is really tender and the sauce has dried up.
See the recipe card below for detailed instructions.
Instant Pot Beef Rendang
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 cup onions chopped
- 1 Tbsp ginger minced
- 1 Tbsp garlic minced
- 4 to 6 Tbsp rendang spice paste or to taste (less than 1/2 package) *
- 2 tsp coriander powder
- ½ tsp cumin powder
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
- ¼ tsp cardamom powder
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- ¼ tsp turmeric powder
- ¼ tsp fennel powder
- 1 tsp tamarind paste or to taste
- 14 oz. coconut milk (1 can) full fat, preferably Aroy-D or Chaokoh brand **
- 2 lbs beef stew meat or beef chuck, cut into pieces
- 2 tsp palm sugar or brown sugar, optional
- ½ cup water or chicken or beef broth
Instant Pot Instructions
- Select the Saute function. Once the Instant Pot is hot, add oil and let the oil heat up. Add onions, ginger, and garlic and saute, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent.
- Add the rendang spice paste, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, fennel, and tamarind paste.
- Stir the onion mixture until the spices are blended. If the spices begin to burn, press Cancel to let the Instant Pot cool down and then turn it back on.
- Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and stir until mixture is bubbly, about a minute or two. Use a splatter screen, if necessary, to prevent splatters.
- Stir in beef, palm (or brown) sugar, remaining coconut milk, and water (or broth).
- Close the lid and pressure cook for 15 minutes at High Pressure.
- Allow the pressure to release naturally (NPR), press Cancel and open the lid. [Read More: The Different Pressure Release Methods.]
- Remove the beef to a large bowl using a slotted spoon and set aside. Transfer the sauce to another large bowl, and return the beef to the Instant Pot.
- Turn on Saute mode and saute the beef for 10 minutes, adding a couple of tablespoons of sauce at a time until the all sauce is absorbed, before adding more.
How to use the Reserved Sauce
- The sauce can be refrigerated for a couple of days. Add 2 lbs. of boneless skinless chicken thighs and 2 cups of cubed potatoes. Simmer on medium heat until the potatoes are cooked, about 20 to 25 minutes.
- Heat vegetable oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat.
- Saute onions, ginger, and garlic, stirring frequently until the onions are translucent.
- Add the rendang spice paste, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, turmeric, fennel, and tamarind paste. Stir until the spices are blended.
- Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and stir until mixture is bubbly, about a minute or two.
- Stir in beef, palm (or brown) sugar, remaining coconut milk, and water (or broth) and bring to a simmer.
- Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the beef is really tender and the sauce has dried up. While the beef is cooking, if it appears to be too dry, add some extra water or broth.
- * I prefer to use the packaged rendang spice paste. If you want to make your own, please refer to the tips section for a recipe.
- ** The curry paste is spicy! If you find the rendang to be too hot, add more coconut milk and next time, reduce the quantity of spice paste!
- Prep time does not include steps that are already accounted for in the ingredient list, e.g. minced garlic, cubed meat, etc.
- If you get the Food Burn or Burn error messages with this recipe, you may need to add an additional 1/4 broth.
- Nutrition information is for the beef and reserved sauce.
- See the blog post for more detailed recipe tips.
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I am not a certified nutritionist. I provide my best estimate of nutritional information merely as a courtesy to my readers. If you depend on nutritional information for dietary or health reasons, I suggest using your favorite online nutrition calculator to confirm the nutritional value of this recipe based on the actual ingredients that you use.
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How much of the liquid do you add to the last step, it’s says to add a little at a time before adding more, do you repeat this step until all the liquid is added?
Paint the Kitchen Red
Hi Leigh, the more liquid you add and reduce, the more concentrated the flavor is (including spice). So I suggest 2 to 3 tablespoons and then taste it and add more only if needed.
I have made your beef rendang twice and my family raves about it!
Paint the Kitchen Red
Vanessa, I’m so happy that you enjoyed the recipe. I too, get rave reviews for that recipe!