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    Carne Guisada (Latin Beef Stew)

    Stew nights… One of my absolute favorite eat till you drop nights. Let me give you the biggest flavor bomb out of the Caribbean, Carne Guisada, Puerto Rican style.

    So much flavor in every single tender meat chunk. Why not? There is plenty of their famous flavor enhancers like sofrito, Sazon, adobo, and olives. Yes, olives.

    All of these are huge game changers for your stew night. Try my version of Carne Guisada tonight and I know you are going to bookmark this for life.

    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.

    I have been cooking this Carne Guisada for years now, after I stumbled upon the “Guisada” name on YouTube some years back. Later, during my trip to Puerto Rico, whenever I spotted Carne Guisada on a menu I simply have to order it. There’s just something about the rich flavors and tender meat that keeps me coming back for more.

    We have a lot of Latin stews on GypsyPlate. Pollo Guisado, Asopao de Pollo, Pozole Rojo, and Carne Adovada are all loaded with big flavors. Go through all our Stew Recipes from all around the world and you will be amazed how many varied tasty flavors are there to explore in your kitchen.

    What is Carne Guisada?

    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.

    Carne Guisada is a Latin meat stew. Carne in Spanish means “meat” and Guisada is “stewed”, so it literally translates to “Stewed Meat”.

    Tough and chewy cuts of meat are braised or simmered in flavorful sauce for hours till they melt in your mouth. That’s the whole idea, like any other stew.

    But what makes this stew different than others is the use of their flavorful ingredients. Now depending on the country , these flavor enhancers can vary greatly.

    The way a Puerto Rican makes a Carne Guisada could be way different than a Guisada you will find in some Mexican or Dominican household.

    What’s the Difference Between Mexican and Puerto Rican Beef Stew?

    I found out that the main difference in creating the stew is the use of sofrito in Puerto Rican dishes, while in Mexican stew it’s mostly an onion and tomato based sauce with their favorite type of chilis.

    Sofrito is a cooking base used in Puerto Rican cuisine made of vegetables and herbs like bell peppers, onion, cilantro, culantro and garlic. I have a great recipe for sofrito on GypsyPlate that we always make in bulk for all my Puerto Rican dishes.

    You MUST have sofrito in your kitchen if you’re planning any Puerto Rican dish… period.

    Another prominent difference is use of olives in Puerto Rican stews, which is not the norm in Mexican stews.

    Puerto Rican Beef Stew

    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.

    Carne Guisada Puertorriqueña, as locals lovingly refer to it, is undoubtedly one of their most popular meat dishes. It’s a hearty beef stew with carrots and potatoes, and sometimes other veggies like peppers and onions.

    Additionally, it’s flavored with a cooking base of sofrito, adobo, sazon, bay leaves and olives. It’s typically cooked for a few hours to blend the flavors and to tenderize the meat.

    Puerto Rican food is a hybrid of many cultures like the indigenous Taino people of the Caribbean, the Spanish colonizers, and African slaves.

    Popular meals in Puerto Rico have various roots from numerous ethnic groups that immigrated to this country long ago from places in Africa, Europe and other Central and South American countries.

    These amazing flavors come from their liberal use of special seasonings.

    To create this Puerto Rican style beef stew, these 3 ingredients are inevitable… and a MUST:

    1. Sofrito: Sofrito is a cooking base used in a variety of Puerto Rican dishes like Arroz con Gandules, their famous rice and pigeon peas, their bean dishes like Habichuelas Guisadas, and the rest of their stews and soups.

    This herbaceous base is made by blending green bell pepper, sweet peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro and culantro (an herb with a similar taste and aroma to cilantro).

    You can buy sofrito in the Latin aisle of your grocery store or online. But there is nothing like fresh, vibrant homemade sofrito. Please go through our detailed post for Sofrito and keep it ready in your freezer. You will be amazed how much of a flavor bomb it is.

    sofrito in a black bowl

    2. Adobo Seasoning: Adobo is Latin seasoning salt. It is a blend that typically includes kosher salt, black pepper, dried oregano, garlic powder, and ground turmeric. This is another staple easily found in your grocery store. I like Goya Adobo seasoning.

    3. Sazon Seasoning: This blend is a Latin favorite for flavoring rice, soups, and stew. Additionally, with its ground annatto seeds, it adds beautiful color to many dishes. Look for Goya brand Sazon Con Culantro Y Achio (with Coriander & Annatto) in your grocery store.

    Other Ingredients Needed

    • Beef – I love a marbled, fattier cut of chuck roast for any kind of stew. Cut it into bite sized chunks.
    • Spices – cumin, oregano, bay leaves.
    • Tomato sauce
    • Veggies – carrots and potatoes.
    • Flavor enhancers – garlic, cilantro, olives.
    • Flour
    • Oil

    Carne Guisada Recipe

    1. Brown the Beef: Making this stew is pretty straightforward. I start by seasoning the beef with cumin, oregano, adobo, and flour. Then, I heat up some oil in a Dutch oven or a large stew pot and brown the beef on all sides. It’s important not to overcrowd the pan, so I work in batches to make sure everything browns nicely without steaming. Once the beef is browned, I take it out of the pot and set it aside.

    2. Get the Flavors Started: In that same pan, I add in the sofrito and sauté it for a couple of minutes until it’s nice and fragrant. Then, I toss in some chopped garlic and cilantro and sauté everything for another 2-3 minutes to really build those flavors. After that, I add in some tomato sauce, sazon, cumin, and oregano, and give it all a good mix until everything is well combined.

    Beef added into the pot.

    3. Simmer for a While: I add the browned beef back into the pan along with 3-4 cups of water, bay leaves, and bring it all to a boil. Then, I reduce the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. After that, I add in some carrots and olives, cover it again, and let it simmer for at least an hour, or until the meat is melt-in-your-mouth tender. I make sure to give it a stir occasionally to make sure everything cooks evenly. While it’s simmering, check out our roundup of favorite Puerto Rican recipes.

    4. Finalize the Stew: I add in some potatoes and let them simmer in the stew for the last 20-25 minutes until they’re tender. Then, I give the stew a taste and adjust the seasoning as needed, adding a bit more salt or adobo if necessary to suit my taste. If I want a thicker stew, I let it cook uncovered for a bit towards the end to allow some of the liquid to evaporate. It’s all about getting that perfect balance of flavors and textures!

    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.

    Serving Suggestions

    In Puerto Rico, it is typically paired with rice, Tostones (fried plantains), or an avocado salad. You can also make their popular rice, Arroz con Gandules for a special Latin night.

    I personally am perfectly happy with a plateful of white rice covered generously with this rich and hearty beef stew.

    Carne Guisada is served with tortillas in Mexico, and American states closer to Mexico.

    Alpana’s Tips

    • Browning the Beef: I always make sure to sear the beef chunks in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. This way, each piece gets a chance to develop a beautiful, caramelized exterior, which adds so much depth to the flavor of the stew.
    • Use a Heavy Pot: I prefer using a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven. These pots distribute the heat evenly and help keep the temperature consistent throughout cooking
    • Simmer Slowly: The key to tender, flavorful Carne Guisada is slow cooking. Allow the stew to simmer gently, rushing this process can result in tough meat.
    • Thickness of the Stew: If you prefer a thicker stew, remove the lid during the last 20-30 minutes of cooking. This allows excess liquid to evaporate. For a thinner stew, add a bit more water.
    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.

    Get these Latin flavors going with one of the best comfort foods from the Caribbean. Get amazed how beautifully olives go in your pot of stew.

    Start making sofrito, fry some tostones, and enjoy this melt in your mouth beef stew over a plateful of rice.

    Puerto Rican Carne Guisada, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!

    bowl of carne guisada atop the Gypsy Plate.

    Try these other great Latin dishes!
    Puerto Rican Picadillo
    Bistec Encebollado
    Pollo a la Plancha
    Caldo de Pollo
    Ropa Vieja
    Birria Tacos

    Featured image for carne guisada post.

    Carne Guisada (Latin Beef Stew)

    Yield: 5-6 servings
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 50 minutes

    Carne Guisada is a Latin flavor bomb of a stew. Melt in your mouth tender chunks of beef along with veggies and plenty of flavor enhancers.


    To Season Beef

    • 2-2.5 pounds chuck roast, cut into bite sized chunks
    • 2 tsp cumin
    • 2 tsp oregano
    • 1.5 tsp adobo
    • 2 Tbsp flour

    For the Stew

    • 2-3 Tbsp oil
    • 6 Tbsp sofrito (see note 1)
    • 2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
    • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 cup tomato sauce
    • 1 packet Sazon, culantro y achiote
    • 1 tsp oregano
    • ½ tsp cumin
    • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
    • ½ cup olives
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 7-8 baby potatoes, halved (or 1 large potato cut into chunks)
    • salt or adobo to taste


    1. Season the beef with all seasonings and flour
    2. Heat oil in a pan and sear the beef until brown on all sides. Work in batches not, overcrowding the pan. Plate the beef chinks out.
    3. In the same pan, add sofrito and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add in chopped garlic and cilantro and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
    4. Add in tomato sauce, sazon seasoning, cumin, oregano and combine well.
    5. Add in beef along with bay leaves and 3-4 cups of water. Bring this to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and cook for 10 minutes.
    6. Add in carrots and olives and keep on simmering, covered, for an hour or more, until the meat is melt in your mouth tender. Stir occasionally.
    7. Add potatoes for the last 20-25 minutes of cooking time. If you want thicker stew, cook it uncovered towards the end.


    1. For a quick sofrito, blend 1 green bell pepper, 1 cubanelle pepper (optional), 1 small onion, 5-6 garlic cloves, 1 cup of cilantro, 4-5 leaves culantro (optional) in a blender.
    2. Leftovers: Make a big batch and enjoy this delicious stew for a few days, as it keeps on getting better. Store it in an air tight container up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator. This freezes beautifully too, up to 3-4 months. Simply thaw and reheat it on the stovetop, adding a dash of water or beef stock if necessary.
    3. Crockpot Method: Season the beef with seasonings and sear it brown on all sides. Add in beef pieces, potatoes, carrots, sofrito, sazon, chopped garlic, chopped cilantro, tomato sauce, cumin, oregano, bay leaves, olives and 3-4 cups of water in a crock pot. Cover and cook for 7-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high, until the meat is melt in your mouth tender. Taste for salt and adjust according to your taste.
    4. Instant Pot Instructions: Season the meat and sear it brown using the Saute feature in your Instant Pot. Plate the meat out. Add in more oil if necessary and add in sofrito and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cilantro and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add in tomato sauce, sazon, cumin, oregano and combine well. Add in beef along with 3-4 cups of water and bay leaves. Cover pressure cooker. When the lid is locked, cook on high pressure 45 minutes. Quick release. Add the potatoes, carrots and olives. Cover and cook on high pressure about 8-10 minutes, or until tender. Quick release and serve. This way, the potatoes and carrots don't turn to mush when the stew is ready.

    Nutrition Information
    Yield 6 Serving Size 1
    Amount Per Serving Calories 509Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 18gCholesterol 126mgSodium 668mgCarbohydrates 16gFiber 3gSugar 3gProtein 41g

    Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

    Did you make this recipe?

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    Picture of Alpana, blogger and recipe developer at GypsyPlate

    Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.

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