Cuban Food/ Main Course/ Recipes

Ropa Vieja – Cuban Shredded Beef

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

I had this ropa vieja simmering away in my slow cooker yesterday and it smelled so good I thought I’d go crazy waiting to eat dinner! Even my all-American hubby loves it! I actually just had a big bowl full for lunch again today and I’ll probably have it for dinner tonight. Is that excessive? 🙂

If you’re not familiar with Ropa Vieja, it’s a Cuban dish (actually the national dish of Cuba!) and it literally means “old clothes”. I’m guessing it’s called that because the meat is so tender and falls apart so easily! It’s made with a large cut of beef that’s slow cooked in a tomato based sauce and by the end of the cooking time, the meat is so flavorful and tender and shreds so easily. It’s traditionally served with white rice so you can soak up all that extra sauce!Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

This is one of the things that I definitely order if I see it on a menu. It’s not a fancy dish but it’s one that is so hearty and flavorful! And by the way, if you drain some of the liquid off, ropa vieja is amazing in tacos!!

By the way, if you don’t have a slow cooker, you NEED to get one! HERE’S A LINK for some to choose from. It will easily become your favorite kitchen appliance!


Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

4.8 from 5 votes
Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,
Ropa Vieja - Cuban Shredded Beef

Cuban shredded beef in a tomato based sauce flavored with peppers, onions, and garlic and more! 

Servings: 8
Author: Coco and Ash
Ingredients
  • 2-3 pound flank steak (you could also use chuck)
  • 1 tbsp adobo seasoning (if you don't have adobo, use 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1.5 teaspoons of garlic powder)
  • 1 green bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into strips
  • 1 large yellow onion sliced into strips
  • 6 large garlic cloves peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup green spanish olives (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 cup white cooking wine
  • 28 ounce can of tomato puree
  • 6 ounce can of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp each: ground cumin, dried oregano, white sugar, salt
Instructions
  1. Take your flank steak and rub each side down with the adobo seasoning then add it to the slow cooker.

  2. Slice your peppers, onion, and garlic and add those to the slow cooker along with the olives. 

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together your white wine, tomato puree, tomato paste, and seasonings and then add that in the slow cooker. 

  4. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

  5. After the 8 hours, remove just the meat and shred with 2 forks. Ropa vieja is traditionally served shredded very finely so I don't leave any large chunks. Add the meat back in the slow cooker and cook for 20 more minutes. 

  6. During that 20 minutes is when I make my rice using my rice cooker

  7. I serve my ropa vieja over the white rice with a big extra scoop of the sauce on top! 

Coco and Ash

Ropa Vieja, shredded beef, cuban, recipe, slow cooker, crockpot, easy, roast, beef,

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Deanna
    March 7, 2017 at 7:38 pm

    This sounds so yummy!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Luci's Morsels
    March 7, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    This looks so delicious and full of flavor! Yummy!

  • Reply
    Kristine
    March 7, 2017 at 8:15 pm

    This looks like such a hearty and yummy dinner and I love that’s is made in the Crock-Pot aka my favorite cooking appliance ever! 🙂

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 7, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      Thanks Kristine!! Aren’t crockpots THE BEST!? 🙂

  • Reply
    Kristina @ Love & Zest
    March 7, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    This looks great!

  • Reply
    anneline
    March 22, 2017 at 3:08 am

    hi! what kind of green & red peppers do you use?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 22, 2017 at 10:02 pm

      Hi there! Just a regular green and red “Bell” pepper 🙂

  • Reply
    Kim
    March 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe! I’m planning to make it tomorrow. What liquid can I use in place of the white cooking wine?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 23, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Hi Kim! I’m so happy you’re making it! You can definitely use chicken broth. The wine does provide a nice balance so along with the chicken broth you could also add either a little bit (a tablespoon) of white vinegar or just some of the brine from the olives. Just a couple options for ya 🙂 You can definitely just use the chicken broth if you’d like though! Let me know how it goes!!

  • Reply
    Kim
    March 25, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    OMG! This dish is amazing! It was a huge hit and tastes very much like Ropa Vieja that I’ve tried in restaurants. Thank you for the substitution ideas….it worked beautifully!!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      March 26, 2017 at 12:52 am

      I’m so so happy that you liked it!😀😀

  • Reply
    Susana Alsina
    May 14, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Hi! I’m making this today but I won’t have enough time to cook it for 8 hours. Can I cook it on high for maybe 6 hours?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      May 14, 2017 at 9:54 pm

      Hi Susana. I’m so sorry I didn’t get to you sooner! I was not able to get to a computer today. You can cook it for 6 hours and it will be safe to eat but it definitely will not be as tender. I hope it turned out well for you!!

  • Reply
    Rick Waering
    January 16, 2019 at 8:47 pm

    I love this dish! I also add capers to it which I don’t see in any of the recipes, but my Cuban father made it this way and I have his hand-written recipe book. Try it, if you like…

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      January 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm

      Thank you! Capers sound great for this dish! I’ll try it next time 🙂

  • Reply
    Judy
    January 19, 2019 at 10:15 am

    At what point do I add the olives?

  • Reply
    Judy
    January 19, 2019 at 10:16 am

    Oh! I found it! Sorry and thanks!

  • Reply
    Joy Willinger
    January 25, 2019 at 3:08 pm

    Was recently in Havana and tried this dish. I had eaten it before, here in the US, but it was nothing like what we had in Cuba. I can’t wait to try this recipe this weekend!!!

  • Reply
    Lindsay Garrity
    February 1, 2019 at 10:42 am

    Hi! Do you know how to adjust cooking time for the Instant Pot?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      February 1, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      I have never made it in the Instapot. Sorry!

  • Reply
    Teri H
    February 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    Could a brisket be used?

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      February 5, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      I have never made it with a brisket so I can’t say for certain but let me know if you try it!

  • Reply
    Vanessa
    February 21, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    I made this for dinner yesterday and the flavor was amazing. My only complaint is that the flank steak was way too stringy when I shredded it. It made it hard to eat. I’ll try this with a different cut of meat. Over all a great meal that was ready to serve when I got home from work!

    • Reply
      Coco and Ash
      February 22, 2019 at 2:56 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. And yes, it’s traditionally very stringy tender meat. I guess that’s where the term Ropa Vieja or “old clothes” comes from! 🙂
      If you’d like to use a cut of meat that less stringy, use a chuck roast and it will still be delicious 🙂

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