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Instant Pot Beef Tongue, sliced, arranged, and ready to serve with a drizzle of soy-free soy sauce!

Instant Pot Beef Tongue and Soy-Free Soy Sauce 2.0

My Instant Pot Beef Tongue recipe makes a buttery soft beef tongue AND a top 8 allergen free sauce that you can use as a soy-free soy sauce substitute. 

Course Main Entree
Cuisine Chinese
Keyword beef tongue, cow tongue
Prep Time 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 10
Calories 253 kcal
Author Sharon Wong


  • 1 beef tongue approximately 3.5 pounds
  • 2 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 inch fresh ginger
  • 5 scallions wash and trim
  • 5-6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 onion sweet or yellow
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 cup water*
  • 3 tablespoons molasses*
  • 1 tablespoon salt*
  • 2 cups water to cover the tongue
  • 1/4 cup rice wine


  1. Rinse the cow tongue and place it in a bowl of warm water for about 10 minutes, drain.
  2. Use a sharp serrated knife, cleaver, or large Y peeler to clean and scrape the tongue and to remove the taste bud layer. This usually takes about 10-20 minutes depending on how strong you are, rinse and drain. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all off as the layer can be removed right before serving.
  3. Peel and slice fresh ginger, wash and cut scallions in half.

Instant Pot Cooking Instructions

  1. Set up the Instant Pot and turn on the “Saute” mode and when it’s hot (1 minute), add 2 teaspoons oil and sauté garlic and ginger until fragrant (1 minute, don't let them burn), turn off the Instant Pot.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients, cover the Instant Pot, lock the lid, turn the steam release valve to seal, and set the Instant Pot to “Meat” mode for 45 minutes (add an extra 5 minutes if the beef tongue is larger than 3.5 pounds or is very thick).
  3. Natural release for 20 minutes, then turn the steam release valve to vent (or allow the Instant Pot to natural release until you’re ready to serve and eat).

Stove Top Cooking Instructions

  1. Preheat a large dutch oven or stock pot for a few minutes on medium heat, add oil, and saute garlic and ginger until fragrant. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil on medium high heat. Cover the pot with a lid and turn down the heat to low or low-medium to a gentle simmer and cook for about 3 hours. The tongue is ready when it’s easy to pierce through with a fork.

Soy Free Soy Sauce and Serving Instructions

  1. Use large tongs to remove the beef tongue from the pot, allow the beef tongue to cool a few minutes.
  2. In the meantime, place a large fine mesh strainer in a large bowl and pour the sauce in to strain the solids, then use a spoon to remove the layer of fat on top.
  3. Return the sauce back to the Instant Pot and “saute” (or gentle boil on medium heat on the stove) for 3-5 minutes to reduce the sauce by 50%.
  4. Use a teaspoon to peel off any remaining skin from the cooled beef tongue, slice the tongue into ¼ inch thickness, arrange the pieces in a serving bowl, and add some sauce.
  5. Add a few sprinkles of salt to the remaining sauce and reserve for other dishes by refrigerating it in a glass container for 7 days.**

Recipe Notes

  • *If not allergic to soy, use 1 cup soy sauce instead of 1 cup water, molasses, and salt.
  • **Freeze some sauce in a freezer safe container for later use. If you don't finish the refrigerated portion within 7 days, boil the sauce again and store in a fresh clean container.