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22 February 2019

This beef vindaloo recipe is always a popular curry dish. My version is wonderfully spicy, though you can easily adjust the heat and spice to your preference.

We’ve been going crazy for curries in the Chili Pepper Madness household, and any sort of “vindaloo” recipe is usually a first choice.

My wife, Patty, has really developed a taste for it and you don’t know how happy that makes me. It’s gotten to the point where she actually requests it for special meals.

BONUS! Because I LOVE a good Vindaloo!

I’ve shared with you recipes for Chicken Vindaloo and Lamb Vindaloo, and now I have for you a version made with beef that gets huge flavor from my Vindaloo marinade. It cooks low and slow in the pan until the beef is fall-apart tender.

It has loads of flavor, a nice level of spice, and plenty of HEAT because I’m also using ghost pepper powder to season things up. You can skip the ghost peppers if they’re too spicy for you.

Or add extra! I know how crazy you are, my chilihead friends!

Beef Vindaloo, in a pan with extra spices

“Vindaloo” is very often made with pork, though  any meat is good for vindaloo. Try it with pork, goat, beef, chicken, even potato and/or chickpeas for a vegetarian version.

It’s all good!

A Brief History of Vindaloo

“Vindaloo” originally was a meal of meat marinaded in wine and garlic. It comes from the Portuguese dish, “carne de vinha d’alhos, which translates to “meat in garlic wine marinade”. Portuguese sailors brought it to India, where the locals adopted it and transformed it with local ingredients, including the addition of dried chili peppers and other spices.

As Vindaloo spread to other regions, it continued to change as locals adopted new spices.

Even though it has transformed in its travels around the world, most styles still offer that spice level and flavor we all crave.

Let’s talk about how we make this Beef Vindaloo, shall we?


Beef Vindaloo in a pan, ready to serve

Preparing Beef Vindaloo (Recipe) – The Marinade

The marinade is a very important part of this dish. It offers an immense amount of flavor that all of us spicy food lovers crave.

Vinegar is hugely important, as is garlic. Then we add in all of our pungent spices to make this dish top notch, including paprika, ginger, coriander, turmeric, mustard powder, cumin, cinnamon, and a healthy dose of spicy red chili flakes.

I’m also using ghost pepper powder from ghost peppers I grew in my garden. I dehydrated them then ground them into powder. It’s very hot this way. You can skip them if ghost peppers are too hot for you. Learn how to dehydrate chili peppers for making chili powders.

You can use this blend to make your own Vindaloo Curry Seasoning to use anytime you’d like.

Vindaloo curry powder in a bowl and on a measuring spoon.

Whisk all of the seasonings together with the vinegar and fresh garlic, like so. Garlic powder works, too.

Vindaloo marinade in a bowl

Next, pour the Vindaloo marinade over the beef in a bowl, or use a sealable plastic bag. Add the meat and marinade.

Refrigerate the beef for at least 1 hour, though you’ll get better results if you let it marinate overnight.

Marinating the cubed beef in our Vindaloo marinade

More marinade time = more flavor.

You can very easily prep this recipe together the night before and let it sit in the refrigerator until dinner time the next evening.

When you’re ready to cook, just pop it out of the fridge and get cooking. Super easy weeknight meal.

How to Make Beef Vindaloo (Recipe) – The Method

Making Beef Vindaloo is simple once your beef has marinated. First, heat some olive oil in a large pan to medium heat. Any vegetable oil is good, too. Ghee is more traditionally used.

Next, add the onion and peppers and cook them down a few minutes to soften them up. I used spicy serrano peppers here, though you can use milder peppers for a version with less heat. Jalapeno peppers are always a great option.

Cooking down onions and serrano peppers

Next, add the marinated beef and stir. Cook it for about 5 minutes, stirring here and there. You want to brown the beef all over.

Browning the beef

Add in the tomato paste and give it a quick stir, along with about 1/2 cup of water or chicken broth to form a sauce.

Also add in salt and pepper to taste.

Reduce heat and let the whole pan simmer at least 30 minutes, until the beef cooks through and the flavors develop.  You can let it simmer longer if you’d like. I usually go 40 minutes or longer.

The main thing is to let the beef soften up to your personal taste.

If the sauce becomes too thick, just stir in a bit more water or broth until it reaches the consistency you prefer.

Simmering the Beef Vindaloo in a pan


Serve it up over rice with some fresh herbs and extra spicy chili flakes. Spice it up, my friends!

Recipe Variations

Some cooks like to include a bit of sugar in the seasoning blend if you’d like, either white or brown sugar, though I didn’t use them this time.

Other popular ingredients with Vindaloo seasonings are garam masala, mustard seeds, ground black pepper or ground cloves. Feel free to include those if you’d like.

You can also adjust the seasonings ratios to your own preference.

Adjusting the Heat and Spice Levels

As mentioned, this is an extra hot recipe because of the ghost peppers. Even without ghost peppers, vindaloo spice mix can be pretty spicy for some.

If you’d like to keep the heat to a minimum, omit the ghost pepper powder and go easy on the cayenne. Cayenne has a decent level of heat.

If you’d like to up the heat factor a bit, you can add more cayenne. You can also experiment with amounts of ghost pepper powder or flakes to your own preference.

If it gets TOO spicy, serve it alongside this Traditional Indian Raita recipe, which is made from spiced yogurt. It has a nice cooling effect.

Patty’s Perspective

I really do love vindaloo. I’ll take it any way I can, with chicken, lamb, beef, even vegetarian. I just love all the spices and the flavors. Don’t forget the naan. Better than any Indian restaurant.

Try Some of My Popular Curry Dish Recipes

Beef Vindaloo in a pan, ready to eat

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.

Beef Vindaloo Recipe
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4.95 from 18 votes

Spicy Beef Vindaloo – Recipe

This beef vindaloo recipe is always a popular curry dish. My version is wonderfully spicy, though you can easily adjust the heat and spice to your preference.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Marinating Time1 hr
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Indian
Keyword: curry, ghost pepper, one pot, recipe, spicy
Servings: 6
Calories: 357kcal


  • 2 pounds beef chuck cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or use ghee (more traditional)
  • 1 small onion chopped
  • 2 serrano peppers chopped, or use Indian peppers if you can obtain them
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • ½ cup white wine vinegar
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoon spicy red chili flakes I used ghost pepper flakes for an EXTRA kick
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

OPTIONAL OTHER SPICES: 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon black pepper, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

    FOR SERVING: Cooked rice, fresh herbs, extra chili flakes


      • Add the beef to a large bowl.
      • Mix your marinade by whisking together the vinegar and all of the seasonings. Pour it over the beef and rub it into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Longer is better, such as overnight.
      • Heat a large pan to medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the onion and peppers and cook about 4-5 minutes, until they soften up.
      • Add the beef along with the marinade and cook another 5 minutes to nicely brown up the pieces.
      • Add the tomato paste and cook another minute, stirring.
      • Add the beef stock (You can also use chicken or veggie stock, or just water) and stir until the mixture thins out and becomes a sauce. You can add more broth or water if needed. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 30-40 minutes, until the beef is cooked through and tender.
      • Serve as is or over rice with fresh herbs and sprinkled chili flakes. Make it rain!



      This is definitely a hot and spicy dish. Some would say very hot, though you can dial back the heat by using milder chilies and going easy on the red chili flakes. If you're looking for an even HOTTER version, go with habanero peppers, or fiery ghost peppers, which will REALLY heat things up.


      Calories: 357kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 104mg | Sodium: 370mg | Potassium: 824mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1075IU | Vitamin C: 4.4mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 4.5mg