Carne guisada is the ultimate Latin beef stew with chunks of tender beef simmered low and slow with vegetables and Puerto Rican flavors, easy and hearty!
Carne Guisada Recipe - Comforting Latin American Beef Stew
Who's in the mood for a great Beef Stew! I am absolutely ready. Beef stew is such a wonderfully comforting dish that always satisfies. The great thing about beef stew is the endless ways to make it.
You can make it with different cuts of stew beef, vegetables, and especially flavorful seasonings and ingredients to make it your own.
This particular recipe is called Carne Guisada, and it really is the ultimate beef stew recipe. It's a well-known Latin American dish, and with such a large region, you'll find all sort of variations. This is a Puerto Rican Carne Guisada, with all those enticing ingredients, though again, you can very easily customize it to your preferences.
Let's talk about how to make carne guisada, shall we?
Carne Guisada Ingredients
- Beef. Beef is primary component in this dish. The best cuts of meat are the ones that benefit from low and slow cooking, as they will break down and get very tender. I prefer chuck steak, but beef round is good, too. Any stew meat will work.
- Adobo Seasoning. Adobo seasoning is a quintessential Latin American spice blend.
- Oil. As needed. Olive oil or neutral oil.
- Initial Peppers and Vegetables. Use Onion, green bell pepper (or use hotter peppers, if desired), sofrito and garlic. Garlic powder is good, too.
- Seasonings and Sauce. Use dried oregano, tomato sauce (or fresh tomatoes), a bit of water, achiote oil, 1/2 cup or more olives, capers, bay leaves and salt and black pepper to taste. Beef broth is good, too, for a saucier version.
- Root Vegetables. I am using potatoes and carrots for this recipe. You can use others.
How to Make Carne Guisada - the Recipe Method
Trim and Season the Beef. Trim the beef and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Dry the pieces with paper towels. Season the chunks of beef with adobo seasoning and salt and pepper.
Brown the Meat. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to medium high heat or cook on high. Add the beef and sear to lightly brown each side.
Do this in batches if needed so you don't overcrowd the meat. Once it is all browned, remove the beef to a bowl or plate and set aside.
Vegetables. Add the onion, peppers and sofrito, and stir. Cook for 5 minutes to soften it up.
Add the garlic and cook another minute, until you can smell the gorgeous garlic blooming.
The Seasonings and the Sauce. Stir in the oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, tomato sauce (or add tomatoes), water (or beef broth), achiote oil, olives, capers, bay leaves.
Add the seared beef back to the pot.
The First Simmer. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
You can use a slow cooker, though should adjust cooking times for a longer simmer.
The Second Simmer. Add the potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and cook, continue to simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the meat is tender.
The liquid should reduce and concentrate. Stir occasionally.
Looks so good, doesn't it?
Boom! Done! Time to serve up some of this outstanding Carne Guisada! It really is the ultimate beef stew recipe, so huge on flavor, very hearty, and very, very satisfying.
Serving Carne Guisada
Serve as-is in a bowl, or over rice. It's really good over grits. Also, serve them up on homemade flour tortillas for Carne Guisada Tacos! Yes! So perfect. It goes great with many side dishes like rice and beans.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- The Beef. Tougher cuts of beef are ideal for this recipe, but you can make it with leaner cuts. You just won't need the longer simmering time. I recommend a good stew beef, though, as the resulting flavor and texture is unrivaled.
- Simmering Time. Simmer longer for more tender beef. Gauge the recipe based on the tenderness of the beef and the flavor, not time alone.
- Recipe Variations. There are many ways to make a great carne guisada beef stew recipe. This is a Puerto Rican version with lots of those wonderful flavors, like adobo seasoning and sofrito. However, you can make a Mexican version, Cuban version, Caribbean or any Latin American version with your favorite local seasonings and ingredients, like sweet raisins or peas.
- The Root Vegetables. Toss in other root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, rutabaga, squash and more.
- The Heat Factor. This is not meant to be a typical "hot and spicy" dish, though it is HUGE on flavor. It traditionally calls for milder peppers, though you can very easily add in hotter peppers. I almost always toss a few jalapeno peppers into mine.
Storage and Leftovers
Store any leftover carne guisada in airtight containers in the refrigerator. It will keep for up to 5 days. To enjoy again, warm it gently in a pot on the stove, covered.
You can also freeze it. I freeze mine in airtight freezer containers. It reheats very nicely and will last a good 6 months in the freezer.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy your wonderfully hearty carne guisada. It's really hard to wrong with a good beef stew, especially with all those alluring Latin American flavors.
Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you. Keep it spicy!
I've been learning a lot about Puerto Rican cooking from several different cookbooks. Here are links to 2 Puerto Rican cookbooks I highly recommend. They are great. These are affiliate links, my friends!
- Puerto Rican Cuisine in America: Nuyorican and Bodega Recipes, by Oswald Rivera
- Puerto Rican True Flavors, by Wilo Benet
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Classic American Beef Stew
- Pozole Recipe
- Pollo Guisado (Chicken Stew)
- Pernil (Puerto Rican Roast Pork)
- Puerto Rican Arroz con Pollo
- Arroz con Gandules
- Puerto Rican Pique
- Sancocho (Latin American Stew)
- Cuban Sandwich Recipe (Cubano Sandwich)
- Green Chili Pork Stew (So good!)
- Albondigas Soup (Caldo de Albondigas)
- Mexican Birria
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Carne Guisada Recipe
- 2 pounds beef roast use beef round of chuck steak
- 1 tablespoon adobo seasoning or more to taste
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 green bell pepper chopped (or use hotter peppers, if desired)
- ¼ cup sofrito
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 8 ounces tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 tablespoon achiote oil
- ½ cup olives
- 1 tablespoon capers
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 pound potatoes cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 large carrot peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- Trim the beef and cut it into 1-inch cubes. Dry the pieces with paper towels. Season the beef with adobo seasoning and salt and pepper.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Sear the beef in batches to brown all sides. Remove to a bowl or plate and set aside.
- Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, peppers and sofrito. Cook for 5 minutes to soften the vegetables.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute, until you can smell the gorgeous garlic blooming.
- Stir in the oregano, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, tomato sauce, water, achiote oil, olives, capers, bay leaves, and seared beef.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Add the potatoes and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for another 30 minutes, or until the beef is fall apart tender. The liquid should reduce and concentrate.
NOTE: This recipe was updated on 11/18/22 to include new information. It was originally published on 12/7/20.