Cooking Bulalo in the Instant Pot cuts down cooking time so you can enjoy this Filipino soup dish made of beef shank and that yummy bone marrow center in no time. During the colder months, Bulalo, Chicken Tinola, and Instant Pot Arroz Caldo are my go-to Filipino Instant Pot recipes.
What is Bulalo
Bulalo is a Filipino soup dish derived from cooking beef shanks and bone marrow until the collagen and fat have melted into the clear broth. It typically includes leafy vegetables, corn on the cob, onions, green onions, and fish sauce.
Bulalo VS Nilaga
People might confuse Bulalo to Nilaga, they are both Filipino beef soup dishes but the star of the bulalo is the bone marrow and it typically has corn while Beef Nilaga has carrots and potatoes.
Filipino Soup Recipes
There are 3 Filipino soup recipes mostly cooked in our household: Pork Sinigang Instant Pot, Chicken Tinola Instant Pot, and of course, Bulalo. If you’re traveling to the Philippines, Bulalo is very famous in Batangas so if you’re headed to touristy towns like Tagaytay, make sure to order it – you’ll see Filipino restaurants specializing in Bulalo, one after the other even before you arrive at the town proper.
Cuts of Meat for Bulalo Soup
Bone-In Beef Shank is used for Bulalo Recipe. Shank is found on the leg of a cow, just above the knee or hock. This cut of meat is cut in horizontal cuts (often in 1-inch slices) with a circle of the leg bone in each piece. Inside the bone is the piece of marrow. Don’t confuse it with oxtail that is used for Kare-Kare Instant Pot Recipe, beef shank is bigger and heavier, and with that marrow in the middle of the bone.
You can buy Beef Shanks at Filipino Supermarkets which is where I found mine to cook my Bulalo Recipe. I will separately buy just the bone marrow itself next time and add it to my Instant Pot Bulalo as beef shanks have very little bone marrow in them. I’ve seen Vons Supermarket sell just the bone marrow itself.
The ingredients for Bulalo is very simple and includes bone-in beef shanks, corn, onion, green onion, cabbage or pechay, salt, fish sauce, and whole peppercorns.
- 6 cups water – When using the Instant Pot, you don’t need a measuring cup, the inner pot has measurements in cups and liters.
- 1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2.5 teaspoon salt – I’ve cooked bulalo with a whole tablespoon of salt and it was too salty for my taste so start at 2.5 tsp. and adjust accordingly if you want your bulalo saltier – adding 1/4 tsp. at a time.
- 2-3 lbs. bone-in beef shank – Each piece of the bone-in beef shank is more or less a pound each. You can use 2-3 pieces of beef shank when cooking bulalo or if want more bone marrow, you can buy extra bone marrow separately. I used 2 pieces for this recipe. With 2 pieces of beef shanks, and all the liquid and other ingredients, the total yield of this Bulalo Recipe was at 10 cups when I was done cooking.
- 1/2 yellow or sweet onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 small cabbage (cut into quarters) – To add more color to your bulalo recipe, I would suggest using pechay as it is more green than cabbage but if you are not near a Filipino supermarket, then cabbage will do.
- 4 pcs. sweet corn (cut into 2 or 3) – For this Bulalo Instant Pot Recipe, I used a frozen yellow sweet corn for better color as it was hard to find fresh yellow one on the produce section but I would recommend using fresh sweet corn, you won’t achieve the bright yellow color as only the beige one may be available but flavor-wise, fresh is best.
- 1 bunch green onion (cut into 2″ long) – Only used half or just 2 cuts of the tip.
Bulalo Instant Pot
Cooking Bulalo in an Instant Pot is a 2 step process. First is tenderizing the beef shank and melting the collagen from the beef bone for 45 minutes to help render the bulalo soup its flavor and the second part is cooking the corn and vegetable for 2 minutes in the Instant Pot.
Cooking Bulalo would typically take hours on a traditional stovetop so it would be advantageous to cook Bulalo in a pressure cooker. Bulalo also doesn’t require you to chop a lot of vegetables unlike other Filipino Instant Pot Recipes like Pinakbet so prep time would be less than 5 minutes.
How to Cook Bulalo in an Instant Pot
1. Start out by preparing your Beef Bulalo ingredients by peeling and slicing the half onion into quarters, cutting the green onion into 2″ long, and cutting the small cabbage into quarters. Set aside.
2. To cook bulalo in the Instant Pot, pour 6 cups of water into the inside lid of the Instant Pot. Add the peppercorns, fish sauce, salt, onion, and green onions. Stir. Stirring helps ensure that the salt and fish sauce has been evenly distributed.
3. Add the bone-in beef shanks then close the lid. Put the steam release handle (located on top of the lid on the Instant Pot) to the “SEALING” position.
4. Start cooking by pressing “SOUP” then adjust to normal and set to 45 minutes. I’ve tried cooking bulalo in the Instant Pot for 30 minutes and I find the beef shank to still be a little hard so I’ve increased it to 45 minutes.
5. If using frozen corn for Bulalo Instant Pot, thaw it out now then split it into thirds once thawed. See notes on ingredients, I prefer using fresh corn for bulalo, it is more flavorful.
6. Once the beef bulalo is done cooking, release the steam from the Instant Pot by turning the steam release handle from “SEALING” to “VENTING”. Once done, open the lid then transfer the beef shank, onion, and green onion into a serving dish leaving the soup in the Instant Pot.
7. We now move to the second part which is cooking the corn and vegetable. Place the corn and cabbage in the Instant Pot with the soup then close the lid, move handle to “SEALING”, then press “MANUAL” and set it to 1 minute to cook the corn and the cabbage.
8. Once done, release the steam again by turning from “SEALING” to “VENTING” before opening the lid.
9. Transfer everything to the serving dish or leave it in the pot if you’re not serving it yet. It is best to keep the soup piping hot when serving.
- Kare-Kare Instant Pot Recipe
- Pinakbet Instant Pot Recipe
- Arroz Caldo Instant Pot Recipe
- Pork Sinigang Instant Pot Recipe
- Chicken Adobo Instant Pot Recipe
- Tinola Instant Pot Recipe
- Chicken Curry Instant Pot Recipe
- Chicken Afritada Instant Pot Recipe
- Beef Caldereta Instant Pot Recipe
- 6 cups water
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 2.5 teaspoon salt
- 2-3 lbs. beef shank
- 1/2 yellow or sweet onion (cut into quarters)
- 1 small cabbage (cut into quarters)
- 4 corn on a cub (cut into 2 or 3)
- 1 bunch green onion (cut into 2" long)
1. Prepare your ingredients by peeling and slicing the half onion into quarters, cutting the green onion into 2" long, and cutting the small cabbage into quarters. Set aside.
2. Pour 6 cups of water into the inside lid of the Instant Pot. Add the peppercorns, fish sauce, salt, onion, and green onions. Stir.
3. Add the beef shanks then close the lid. Put the vent (located on top of the lid) to "SEALING" position.
4. Start cooking by pressing "SOUP" then adjust to normal and 45 minutes.
5. If using frozen corn, thaw it out now then split it into thirds once thawed.
6. Once the beef bulalo is done cooking, release the steam by turning the vent from "SEALING" to "VENTING". Once done, open the lid then transfer the beef shank, onion, and green onion into a serving dish leaving the soup in the Instant Pot.
7. Place the corn and cabbage in the Instant Pot with the soup then close the lid, seal the vent to "SEALING", then press "MANUAL" and set it to 1 minute to cook the corn and the cabbage.
8. Once done, release the steam again by turning from "SEALING" to "VENTING" before opening the lid.
9. Transfer everything to the serving dish or leave it in the pot if you're not serving it yet. It is best to keep the soup piping hot when serving.
Pin for later: Instant Pot Bulalo