This Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is delicious and perfect as a weeknight dinner. My recipe will give you all the tips and tricks to make it perfect every single time. No oven needed!
This Puerto Rican beef stew is full of flavor, tender, and juicy. Seasoned to perfection with a little salt, onion & garlic powder, and sazon.
Carne guisada is one of my favorite Puerto Rican recipes and one of the most popular in the island. While in university I love making a huge caldero of this dish on Sunday with white rice and crispy tostones.
I would pack the leftovers for my weekly lunches and instead of tostones, I’ll take ripe plantains. Let me tell you that the leftovers always taste better the next day!
Best cuts of meats to use
I find that the best cut to use in making carne guisada is a good chuck roast or even chuck steak. You can also use the pre-cut meat label “stew meat” that you find at your local supermarket. I always like picking the chuck roast and cutting it myself because I like the one with a good amount of fat.
- Veggies- In this recipe, we use carrots and russet potatoes. These are both important because they act as thickening agents in our stew.
- Chuck Roast- I use chuck roast or chuck steak. You can also use the pre-cut beef stew meat you find at your local grocery store.
- Oil- I use vegetable oil but you can use coconut, olive, or the oil you usually use for cooking. You can also use achiote oil to add color and a smokey flavor.
- Seasonings- For seasonings you need salt, sazón, onion, and garlic powder. Not a lot of seasonings but when combined with the other ingredients all the flavors pop.
- Sofrito- This is a must-use ingredient for this recipe because it is one of the ingredients that give it that boricua flavor.
- Tomato Sauce- I always use tomato sauce but it can be substituted with tomato paste. If using tomato paste you will only need to use half of what the recipe calls for.
- Beer- This is the secret to making my carne guisada so good. The beer I use is Corona or Modelo. This is simply because I like the taste of this brand. You can use any light-colored beer you like, as long as you like the flavor. You can leave the beer out but it gives the beef an amazing flavor.
- Bay Leaf- I used 3 bay leaves, you can substitute them with fresh thyme.
- Vinegar- Here I used white vinegar and it is a must-have ingredient in this recipe. Not only does it help tenderize your meat but the flavor it gives carne guisada is really good.
One of the reasons carne guisada is so popular in all of Latin America is because of how versatile it is. You won’t go wrong with the veggies.
- Veggies- You can substitute carrots or potatoes or simply add more vegetables in combination. Use yuca, Kent pumpkin, or peas. A great addition is a can of beans. You can add white, pink or black beans.
How to make it
- Step 1: Peel the carrots and potatoes. Cut the carrots into ¼-inch thick pieces and the potatoes into about 1-inch thick.
- Step 2: Cube the meat into about 1 ½ inch thick pieces. You don’t want to cut it too small.
- Step 3: Add oil to a large pan over high heat and sear the meat. This will leave caramelized bits on the bottom of the pan that adds flavor to the broth.
- Step 4: Add sofrito, and tomato sauce and cook for 1 minute.
- Step 5: Now add your beer and cook it for about 6 minutes. I cook the meat with the beer separately so the flavor penetrates better.
- Step 6: Take the bay leaves and half of the vegetables and add them. These vegetables will break down by the time the dish is done.
- Step 7: Add 6 cups of water and cook for 30 minutes. Stir a couple of times.
- Step 8: Now add the seasonings, the rest of the water, and vinegar. Lower the heat to medium heat and cook for 30 min.
- The best way to thicken Carne Guisada is with the vegetables that you already are going to use in the recipe. Adding half of the vegetables at the beginning part helps. These vegetables will release starch and will break down almost completely making your broth ticker. You can also simmer uncover longer to reduce the liquid. You can also use flour or starch slurry to thicken but is not necessary.
Storing and reheating
Storing- You can save it in your fridge for up to 4 days and in your freezer for 6 months. You just need to make sure it is stored in an airtight container. Make sure to cool the beef stew before storing it.
Reheating- I always suggest adding half a cup of water and heating for about 15 minutes on medium-high heat. Make sure you stir a couple of times.
Frequently Asked Questions
The difference between Puerto Rican beef stew and the carne guisada made in Mexico and other Latin countries comes down to the seasonings. The first ingredient that makes the Puerto Rican recipe different is the use of sofrito also sazón seasoning. The Mexican version has flour to give the broth a gravy-like consistency. Sometimes chiles are added to make a base sauce.
The secret to always getting your meat tender is to cook it nice and slow. You want to start with high heat so you can get the perfect sear in your meat. But then you’ll want to lower your heat and cook for at least an hour. Remember that you can make a beef stew in 30 minutes but that doesn’t mean it will be rich and tender. But you can also leave it for 5 hours and it will be hard and chewy.
More Delicious Dinner Recipes
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Puerto Rican Carne Guisada (Beef Stew)
- 1 pound potatoes
- ½ pound carrots
- 2 ½ pounds chuck roast
- ¼ cup oil
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons sofrito
- 2 tablespoons tomato sauce
- 7 ounces beer
- 3 bay leaves
- 8 cups water
- ½ cup white vinegar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 ½ teaspoon sazón or 1 packet
- Peel the carrots and the potatoes. Cut the carrots diagonally into ¼ of an inch thick. Cut the potatoes to about 1 inch thick.
- Cube the chuck roast to about 1 to 1 ½ inch thick pieces.
- In a large Dutch oven add the oil over high heat. Wait for the oil to be hot, add your meat and salt. Sear for 8 minutes. Flip the meat a couple of times. Then add tomato sauce and sofrito and cook for 1 minute.
- Now add the beer and cook for about 6 minutes. Add the bay leaves, 6 cups of water, half of the carrots, and half of the potatoes. Cook for 30 minutes with the lid on. Make sure to stir 2 or 3 times.
- Add 2 cups of water, sazón, vinegar, garlic powder, onion powder, and the rest of the veggies. Lower the heat to medium-high. Stir and finish cooking for 30 minutes. Crack the lid just a bit and make sure to stir a couple of times.
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