Bisteces a la Mexicana (Mexican Style Beef Stew)

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Bisteces a la Mexicana is a flavorful Mexican-style beef stew that cooks on low heat with tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, herbs and spices.

Mexican Beef Stew
Bisteces a la Mexicana (Mexican Beef Stew)

I make Colombian beef stew all the time (Carne Guisada) but wanted to try a Mexican version. Mexican beef has similar ingredients but uses jalapenos, which Colombian beef stew never uses. In Colombia, this dish is usually served with rice and potato or yucca. In Mexico, they serve it with rice and tortillas, plus pickled jalapeno on the side. You make also like this Carnitas recipe, if your prefer pork.

Mexican Beef Stew with a ladle.

What does “Bistec a la Mexicana” mean?

In Spanish, “bistec” means steak, and “a la Mexicana” means that the dish will have the colors of the Mexican flag, which it gets from the tomatoes, white onion, and jalapenos.

I made this recipe from the cookbook Nopalito: A Mexican Kitchen (affil link) by Gonzalo Guzmán and Stacy Adimando. This book highlights “100 recipes for regional Mexican food from the popular San Francisco restaurant” of the same name. There’s so many delicious recipes in this cookbook that I can’t wait to try. Everything from Toasted Corn with Crema, Tamales, and Queso Fresco to cocktails and agua frescas.

Here’s an excerpt from the authors about this bistec recipe:

“Because in my village, and other smaller villages in Mexico, beef was scarce and expensive, you would rarely if ever serve a whole steak. That is why Bisteces a la Mexicana is traditionally cut into small pieces, perfect for sharing. As with many large-batch meat dishes in Mexican culture, this one is meant to be scooped up with tortillas – or, better yet, tortillas filled with a little white rice and eaten with your hands.”

I really loved how this Mexican beef stew turned out. To make it mild I removed the seeds and membrane from the jalapeno, so it wasn’t spicy, which was perfect for Madison. If you like it hot, just leave the seeds in or use serrano peppers.

sirloin for beef stewhow to make Mexican Beef Stewhow to make Mexican Beef StewMexican Beef StewBistecas a la Mexicana

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Bistecas a la Mexicana
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Bisteces a la Mexicana (Mexican Style Beef Stew)

227 Cals 24 Protein 5.5 Carbs 11.5 Fats
Prep Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 55 mins
Yield: 8
COURSE: Dinner, Lunch
CUISINE: Mexican
Bisteces a la Mexicana is a flavorful Mexican-style beef stew that cooks on low heat with tomatoes, jalapenos, onion, and Mexican herbs and spices.


  • 2 pounds top sirloin, diced into 3/4 inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large white onion, sliced 1/4 inch thick sliced, halved (2 cups)
  • 4 jalapenos, stemmed and sliced (remove seeds for mild, leave in for spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups petite diced tomatoes and their juices, from 2 cans
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Optional for serving:

  • warm soft corn tortillas
  • cooked rice
  • pickled jalapenos


  • Season the beef with salt and let it sit 1 hour.
  • In a large cast iron pan or Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat. When hot add the meat and cook, stirring 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion, jalapeno, oregano, and cumin, and cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender, 10 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low, add the tomatoes and cook, covered stirring every 5 minutes to prevent sticking, until the meat is tender, about 45 minutes. Add the cilantro.
  • Divide the meat and serve family style with warm tortillas, rice and pickled jalapeno on the side, if desired.



Serving: 1cup, Calories: 227kcal, Carbohydrates: 5.5g, Protein: 24g, Fat: 11.5g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Cholesterol: 52mg, Sodium: 465mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g
Keywords: beef stew recipe, beef tacos, mexican beef stew

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  1. I made this recipe and it was delicious.  Instead of using top  sirloin, I used tri tip.  This was better than the restaurants.  I recommend to make this super delicious dish

  2. I got all the recipe ingredients together to make this today and realized that the instructions are to “brine” the meat for an hour in salt. I’m wondering what the purpose is? Wouldn’t that take a lot, if not all of the moisture out of the meat?

    I’m going to follow the instructions as written but I would appreciate someone to enlighten me.

  3. Absolutely wonderful! Used left over roast beef! First with rice and second as quesadilla’s! Tomorrow taco’s! Talk about wonderful meals with one roast beef! Four tasty meals thanks to your wonderful and easy recipe! We love it! Thanks so much! Nummers!

  4. What can I say others have not?  This is so good!!  I make it in the crockpot and chop my meat very small. I just love it.  I add garlic only because I love garlic.  Love your meal plans and recipes. Thank you

  5. This was delicious! I will try it w flank steak as well and shrewd it! 

  6. Can I make this in the instant pot?

  7. I made this dish and it was so good. I did add some extra spices to it. I added garlic (I add garlic to everything), crushed red pepper (just a small amount), black pepper, and paprika. I love cumin but the taste can be overwhelming so I added some distracting flavors to it. I used poblano peppers because I just cannot wrap my tongue around jalapeño peppers at all. I served it over brown rice and it was delicious. I will be making this one again. Thanks I love your recipes.

  8. I’ve been trying to cut back on beef and pork so I made it with chicken thighs. I added garlic, chicken bouillon, and about 1/2 cup of water and cooked in the Instant Pot for 8 min. Then I added two limes’ worth of lime juice and additional cilantro and adjusted the seasoning. It’s so good.

  9. Delicious and easy to prepare.

  10. I used a Dutch over and followed directions. 4 mins after putting in the vegetables and stirring constantly, the bottom of the pan burned so bad. Still cooking. I hope it’s salavagable

  11. Made this in the crockpot and it was delicious! 6 hours on low.  Sautéed meat first, then added onions, jalapeños and spices for 10 minutes.  Once finished, added it to the crockpot with tomatoes, etc.  Adjusted for seasonings at the end.  Delish!

  12. This was fantastic, it had great flavor and was loved by my husband and kids. I did add fresh garlic with the onion and jalapeños (steamed for six minutes and seeded). We served it over cilantro lime rice. Although time consuming, it’s  a very easy recipe that was loved by all.

  13. This was AMAZING! I added some garlic and paprika as mentioned by other readers. This had so much flavor!!! My husband who is very picky thought this was awesome. He mentioned frying an egg and making some hash browns and throwing it in a burrito in the morning. Haha! 

  14. Neither my husband nor I like spicy food and avoid cooking with peppers. Is there something else I can use in place of the jalapeño pepper? A spice perhaps?