Ropa Vieja Recipe

The ultimate version of one of Cuba’s most famous dishes, this Ropa Vieja recipe is positively PACKED with flavor!! A myriad of flavorful ingredients and spices come together to make this dish truly unforgettable. Make a double batch while you’re at it and you’ll be glad you have the leftovers!

ropa vieja recipe

Ultimate Ropa Vieja

ropa vieja recipe

This favorite Cuban dish is positively PACKED with flavor!

Prep: 15min

Total: 285min

Yield: 8

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 306 kcal, Carbohydrate 15 g, Protein 25 g, Fat 14 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 78 mg, Sodium 1026 mg, Fiber 4 g, Sugar 8 g, unSaturated Fat 8 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 2 pounds chuck
  • 1 large yellow onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 of each large green (red and yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 16 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large carrot (cut in half)
  • 1 large stalk celery (cut in half)
  • 1 cup green olives (, rinsed and drained (you can slice them if you prefer))
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (, drained)
  • 1/4 cup pimientos (, drained)
  • 2 tablespoons capers (, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley


  1. Pat the beef dry and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  2. Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven over high heat. Once very hot add the beef and brown generously on all sides. Transfer the beef to a plate. (Do not discard the drippings and blackened bits in the pot, they are key to the flavor.)
  3. Add the sliced vegetables to the pot and cook over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until caramelized. Add the garlic and spices and cook for another minute. Add the white wine and bring it to a rapid boil, deglazing the bottom of the pan (scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan).
  4. Add the broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and bay leaves. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Return the roast to the pot along with the pieces of carrots and celery. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 3-4 hours or until the beef is fork tender and falls apart easily. Discard the celery, carrots and bay leaves.
  6. Transfer the beef to a plate and shred it. Return the shredded beef to the pot.
  7. Stir in the olives, roasted red peppers, capers and pimientos. Simmer uncovered to thicken the sauce for 30 minutes. Stir in the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.

Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

ropa vieja recipe

Cuban Ropa Vieja, the popular national dish of Cuba, is made with flank steak braised in a flavorful sauce made with bell peppers, onions and briny pimento stuffed olives. It is then shredded into long strands and served over rice.

Prep: 20min

Total: 100min

Yield: 6

Serving Size: 1 serving

Nutrition Facts: calories 354 kcal, Carbohydrate 9 g, Protein 34 g, Fat 19 g, Saturated Fat 5 g, Cholesterol 92 mg, Sodium 688 mg, Fiber 3 g, Sugar 5 g, unSaturated Fat 12 g, servingSize 1 serving


  • 2 pounds flank steak
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, avocado or vegetable oil, (divided) ( or more if needed)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers, seeded and thinly sliced ( (I used red, green and yellow) 6 )
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth (or more if needed)
  • 1 14-ounces can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 1 celery rib, cut into thirds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup pimento-stuffed Manzanilla olives, drained and sliced
  • 1 4-ounces jar sliced pimentos
  • 2 tablespoons capers, drained ((optional but recommended))
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon (optional)
  • Chopped cilantro or parsley


  1. Season to taste and stir in the cilantro. Serve with rice or rice and black beans and fried ripe plantains.
  2. Cook covered on low for 8 hours hours or on high for about 4.5 to 5 hours until the beef is tender and shreds easily with 2 forks. Return the meat to the crockpot and stir in the olives, pimento and capers (add bouillon if using). Cook on high for 15-20 minutes or until the sauce reduces and thickens a bit. Finish the recipe as instructed above.
  3. Open the lid, transfer the meat to a plate and shred the beef. Return the beef to the pot and stir in the olives, pimento and capers (add bouillon if needed). Turn on the Instant Pot sauté function. Cook uncovered for 5-8 minutes or until the sauce reduces and starts to thicken. Make sure the beef is submerged in the sauce so stays moist.

Ropa Vieja

ropa vieja recipe

There are few dishes as quintessentially Cuban as ropa vieja, which translates to “old clothes” in Spanish. Pair it with yuca hervida con mojo or arroz congri.

Prep: 10min

Yield: Serves 6 to 8


  • 2 pounds beef chuck roast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 16 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup pimiento or manzanilla Spanish olives, rinsed and drained (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • White rice, for serving


  1. [{‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Generously season the beef with salt and pepper.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘In a large pot over high heat, warm the oil. Cook the beef, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘In the same pot over medium heat, cook the onion and peppers, stirring occasionally, for 15 to 20 minutes, until caramelized. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add the wine and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan with the flat edge of a spatula to deglaze.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Stir in the broth and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Return the beef to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for 2 to 3 hours, until the beef is fork-tender.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Transfer the beef to a plate and shred. Return the shredded beef to the sauce.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Stir in the olives (if using). Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes to thicken.’}, {‘@type’: ‘HowToStep’, ‘text’: ‘Stir in the parsley; season with salt and pepper. Serve over rice.’}]

Ropa Vieja | Braised Shredded Beef Brisket | Cuban Recipes | Made To Order | Chef Zee Cooks


What is ropa vieja made of?

Ropa vieja is usually made with flank steak, a lean cut with long, thick strands of muscle fiber that can quickly dry out when overcooked. It’s at its best when briefly seared, then sliced thinly across the grain to minimize the chewiness of those fibers.

What does ropa vieja mean in Cuban?

Shredded beef and vegetables that resemble a heap of colorful rags – that’s Ropa Vieja. From the Spanish term for “old clothes”, this is one of Cuba’s most popular and beloved dishes. So popular in fact that it’s one of the country’s designated national dishes.

What is a good substitute for flank steak in ropa vieja?

In this easy & delicious Cuban staple, beef is braised in a rich, gluten-free tomato & pepper sauce before being shredded into delightful strands & served with rice & plantains. Flank steak is most commonly used, but skirt steak works as well.

What is the difference between ropa vieja and picadillo?

My two standbys were picadillo (made of chopped meat) and ropa vieja (using shredded meat – and meaning “old clothes”).

About the author

Helen is an author and editor at, who has a passion for writing about recipes. She loves to experiment with different ingredients and cooking techniques to create delicious and unique dishes.

Among all the foods, pizza holds a special place in her heart, and she loves exploring different variations and toppings to create the perfect slice. Through her writing, Helen hopes to inspire others to get creative in the kitchen and share their love for food with the world.

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