Carne Guisada


5 from 244 votes
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Bring the flavors of Mexico into your home with this carne guisada recipe. It’s so simple, yet the results are perfectly spiced, fragrant, and delightfully rich. This hearty dish will redefine your definition of comfort food!

carne guisada.

I love Mexican food, plain and simple. Lately, I’ve been a bit obsessed with carnitas, quesadillas, pollo asado, and this carne guisada recipe. 

This recipe takes basic stew meat and cranks it up a notch. If you love barbacoa, short ribs, or beef shanks, you will go crazy for this dish. 

Table of Contents
  1. What is carne guisada?
  2. Ingredients needed
  3. How to make carne guisada
  4. Slow cooker and instant pot instructions
  5. Carne de res guisada tips
  6. What to serve with this dish
  7. Storage instructions
  8. More Mexican recipes to try
  9. Frequently asked questions
  10. Carne Guisada (Recipe Card)

What is carne guisada?

Carne guisada is a Latin American dish featuring stewed beef chunks simmered in an aromatic brown gravy with various veggies. What begins as tough cuts of beef are simmered, low and slow, until perfectly tender and juicy.

Similarly to our pollo guisado or carne picada, guisada is a fragrant and savory take on Mexican comfort food. The biggest difference comes down to the balance of veggies and spices used. Guisada also has a thicker gravy, making for a more traditional stew-like texture. 

Why this recipe works

This carne guisada recipe is great if you want something homemade and authentic but quite effortless. A few minutes of hands-on time is needed to get everything going, but most of the time is spent letting the stew simmer away.

  • It’s a one pot dish. Like our oxtail stew, everything gets assembled in one pot. This makes cleanup a breeze!
  • The meat is tender and juicy. Similar to arrachera, the hearty cuts of beef simmer until they are melt-in-your-mouth tender.
  • It’s healthy. Protein-packed beef and tons of tender veggies make this a nutritious weeknight dinner. 

Ingredients needed

No special ingredients or equipment are needed to make this recipe since the balance of spices and the cooking method that makes this guisada so easy.

  • Oil. Just enough to sauté the veggies and beef. Any neutral cooking oil will do.
  • Beef. Look for either “stew beef,” or chuck steak cut into bite-sized pieces. This is the best cut of beef that will cook for hours without becoming tough.
  • Onion. Chopped.
  • Bell pepper. Preferably green bell pepper though other colors will do. Chop into equal-sized pieces as the onion.
  • Garlic. Fresh garlic, minced.
  • Tomato. Diced and preferably fresh.
  • Salt. Can be adjusted to taste.
  • Spices. Black pepper, cumin, and chili powder.
  • Tomato paste. For added richness.
  • Beef broth. To make the gravy, it can be swapped for vegetable broth if needed.
  • Flour. To thicken the gravy.
  • Cilantro. Freshly chopped for garnish.

How to make carne guisada

Making this dish is largely hands-off since lengthy simmering is needed to make the beef tender and to concentrate the gravy.

Step 1- Cook the beef

First, heat the oil in a pot and add the onion. Cook until the onion becomes translucent. Next, add the garlic and cook until fragrant. After a few minutes, add the meat and cook until nicely browned on all sides. Season with pepper and cook for several more minutes until the meat softens. 

carne guisada slow cooker.

Step 2- Build the sauce

Next, add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute while frequently stirring to prevent burning. Then add the tomatoes and cook for several minutes while stirring frequently. Follow this by adding the flour and cooking until it heats up, then pour in the beef broth. 

how to make carne guisada.

Step 3- Simmer the stew

Season the stew with a dash of salt, pepper, cumin, and chili powder, then bring the stew to a boil. Once it begins boiling, lower the temperature and cover the stew. Let it simmer for 2 hours until the meat is very fork-tender. 


Step 4- Serve

Add water, if necessary, to ensure you have a thick but still fluid gravy. Stir occasionally until the meat is fully cooked, then serve the carne guisada warm with a garnish of fresh cilantro.

carne guisada recipes.

Slow cooker and instant pot instructions

Yes! It’s easy to make slow cooker carne guisada or instant pot carne guisada with just a few minor tweaks!

  • Slow cooker. Follow the steps for cooking the onion, garlic, beef, and tomatoes in a skillet. Then, transfer them along with the rest of your ingredients to a slow cooker. Cover the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 2-3 hours.
  • Instant pot. Add the oil to the instant pot. Using the sauté function, cook the onion and garlic, add the beef, and cook until browned. Season the beef and sauté the tomatoes. Then, add the remaining ingredients, close the lid, and cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Let the stew sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Carne de res guisada tips

  • Add extra veggies. You can use carrots, potatoes, squash, or sweet potatoes in this recipe for added richness. 
  • Serve with toppings. Serve your stew with sour cream, sliced avocado, fresh chopped tomatoes, or hot sauce.
  • Bring the meat to room temperature. Let the beef sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking, as this will help speed up the cooking process.
  • Brown the meat. To add depth of flavor to your carne de res guisada, sear the meat in a hot pan until it’s browned on all sides. This will also help to lock in the juices and keep the meat tender.
  • Adjust the seasoning. Taste your stew as it cooks and adjust the seasoning as needed. You may like to add a hit of cayenne pepper, more salt, or even some cumin.

What to serve with this dish

You can serve your carne guisada with the same sides as any beef stew. Of course, rice or tortillas are good options, but here are a few more sides to try.

Storage instructions

To store: Let the stew cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to one week.

To reheat: Transfer leftovers to a pot and cook on medium heat. Stir frequently until it reaches your desired temperature. You can also microwave leftovers in 20-second intervals until fully reheated. 

To freeze: Place cooled stew in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.

Meal prep tip

You can also use the leftover meat from the stew in mulitas, tacos, tortas, or quesadillas.

carne guisada

More Mexican recipes to try

Frequently asked questions

How do you thicken guisada?

The brown gravy in carne guisada can be thickened either by adding flour to the broth as it’s simmering or by making a cornstarch slurry. To make a slurry, combine one tablespoon of cornstarch with ¼ cup of cold water. Mix until thickened, then add to the broth.

What is the difference between carne asada and carne guisada?

Carne guisada is a stewed beef dish, while carne asada is a thinly sliced steak that is cooked by grilling. Carne guisada translates to “stew meat,” while carne asada translates to “grilled meat.”

How can I make my carne guisada spicier?

The level of spiciness in this recipe can vary depending on the amount of chili powder used. You can adjust it to suit your preferences.

What are some topping ideas?

Some common toppings for carne guisada include guacamole, salsa, shredded cheese, or even some sour cream.

carne guisada recipe.

Carne Guisada

5 from 244 votes
This carne guisada recipe features tender beef and vegetables simmered with delicious Mexican spices and perfect for a quick and easy comforting dinner.
Servings: 8 servings
Prep: 1 minute
Cook: 2 hours
Total: 2 hours 1 minute


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons oil
  • 2 lbs stew beef cut into cubes 
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 large tomatoes diced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups beef broth


  • Begin by heating oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add onions and cook until they become translucent. Add garlic and continue cooking until fragrant.
  • Add the meat to the pot and cook until browned on all sides. Then, add peppers and cook for a couple of minutes until they soften.
  • Stir in the tomato paste and cook for an additional minute. Next, add tomatoes to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes.
  • Add flour to the pot and cook until heated through. Pour in the soup and season with salt, pepper, cumin, and chili. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover the pot and let the stew simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Add water as needed to keep the mixture from getting too thick.
  • Once the meat is tender, serve the carne guisada warm and garnish with chopped fresh cilantro for extra flavor.


TO STORE: Let the stew cool, then transfer it to an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to one week.
TO REHEAT: Transfer leftovers to a pot and cook on medium heat. Stir frequently until it reaches your desired temperature. You can also microwave leftovers in 20-second intervals until fully reheated. 
TO FREEZE: Place cooled stew in an airtight container and freeze for up to 3 months.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 235kcalCarbohydrates: 7gProtein: 27gFat: 10gSodium: 602mgPotassium: 635mgFiber: 2gVitamin A: 1130IUVitamin C: 35mgCalcium: 42mgIron: 3mgNET CARBS: 5g
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Author: Arman Liew
Tried this recipe?Give us a shout at @thebigmansworld or tag #thebigmansworld!

Arman Liew

I’m a two time cookbook author, photographer, and writer, and passionate about creating easy and healthier recipes. I believe you don’t need to be experienced in the kitchen to make good food using simple ingredients that most importantly, taste delicious.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I made some adjustments since I have kids with texture issues. I sautéed all the veggies and then blended them into a slurry with the beef broth. Came out perfect and it was kid approved!

  2. 5 stars
    We doubled the spices and added a 4-oz can of green chilies. My husband said it was the best he’s ever tasted!

  3. 5 stars
    If I substitute chicken thighs for the beef, would you suggest a shorter simmering time? Or perhaps to set the browned chicken aside and put it back in after the rest simmers for a while? (To not dry out the chicken)

    1. Yes! I’d recommend the latter. The signature part of this dish is the sauce, so you can add the chicken back later.

  4. 5 stars
    I put this in my multi cooker on slow cook (high) for 4 hours and was very nice and not too spicy