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.

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 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

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

  5. Can I make this in the instant pot?

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. Delicious and easy to prepare.

  9. 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

  10. 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!

  11. 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.

  12. 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! 

  13. 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?

  14. Absolutely delicious! I adapted to make it in the instant pot. I had stew meat in the freezer so that is what I used. Left the seeds in 2/4 of the jalapeños. Sautéed the onions in the Instant Pot and then just dumped in everything else plus a cup of beef broth. Cooked on high pressure for 20 minutes with quick release at the end. Served over white rice. Definitely will make this again! Had a great amount of heat for us. We like medium-hot spice. People who prefer mild would just leave out the seeds like Gina suggested. Easy and delicious!

  15. This was AMAZING! My family says this is definitely a keeper! I used Chuck Roast and just cooked it longer than the original directions so it would get nice and tender. Absolutely DELICIOUS!

  16. My husband enjoyed but I thought it was kind of bland (esp for the amount of time it took with the meat sitting and then simmering it all, etc,) though he’s more of a ‘stew’ person than I am. I did add some garlic powder and some pureed chipotle pepper (maybe 1-2 tsp) that I had in my freezer but didn’t do much. Served over spanish rice.

  17. This has become one of my family’s favourites! So delicious and easy to make.

  18. Tried this last night with instant pot mexican rice & it was DELICIOUS! As previously recommended by one reviewer, I added a little garlic powder & smoked spanish paprika.
    Definitely a keeper!

  19. I don’t have a cast iron Pan or Dutch oven…can I use a regular pan?

  20. This was SO enjoyed in our house! It’s so easy and hearty; a new favorite for sure.

  21. Hi! I have boneless ribeye steaks…can I use these?

  22. Wow is this good. I used very good chuck round “stew” meat 1 pound 12 oz and browned in skillet with onions etc as recipe says-then added it to a slow cooker for 7 hours and it fell apart tender. Flavor is excellent. A favorite.

  23. Could I substitute poblano peppers for the jalapenos?

  24. Could I use a roast, cut up into chunks, instead of steak?

  25. Could this recipe be made in a crockpot with a less tender piece of beef?

  26. This recipe was very good, even my picky eating kids loved it! This will be a keeper in my household! 

  27. Amazing flavor for a short time on the stove. Don’t forget to start it a littler earlier because you have to salt the beef and let it sit for an hour. I served it with rice, gluten free wraps, pickled jalapenos and a little sour cream. Chef’s kiss. Thanks for making me look like a good cook, Gina!

  28. Oh man. I just made this tonight and it was so FREAKIN delicious! I cut the recipe in half because it’s only me. I cannot wait to have the left overs from it tomorrow. Those are going to be even better. Thanks for the recipe!

  29. This was delicious! Very easy to make and the entire family enjoyed it. Will definitely be putting it on the weekly rotation. 

  30. This is so good! We added two potatoes the second time we cooked and it was even better!

  31. Can you make this in the crock pot?

    • I thought the same thing. I think cutting the beef chunks bigger and popping it in for 5-6 hours on low would do the trick.

    • Has anyone made it in the crockpot?

      • I did today! Did not alter it, just threw all the ingredients in and turned out great. 8 hrs on low (6 would do but I was at work all day). I browned the chunks of beef and sautéed onion first (I use the slow cooker feature in my IP so I can sautée and slow cook all in one) but you don’t have to. 

  32. This recipe caught my eye not only because it looked delicious and healthy but also because I used to live walking distance from the restaurant the recipe was adapted from. 
    Next time , I will use a higher quality meat as mine was a bit tough. The flavor was totally there! We ate an entire 8 pack of corn tortillas heated over open flame with this meal. So good! Thank you! 

  33. WOW! I made this recipe yesterday, planning lunches for the week. It’s just simply not going to last that long.

    I made a couple of minor edits, adding 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, and using less oil (I used real olive oil spray, and it was about a tsp). This recipe is incredibly simple, is mostly hands-off, and is packed with flavor. I served it over rice, however I could see this over creamy polenta or potatoes – something to soak up some of that flavorful juice. Even though it calls for a lot of jalapenos, it’s not spicy unless you leave the seeds and membranes on the peppers. I only left 2 with some membranes and seeds, to get a mildly spicier dish, and it was perfect.

    Thanks Gina!

  34. This. Was. Delicious. Wouldn’t change a thing!! I will never make regular beef stew again!

  35. Hello!

    This looks delish. Is it freezable? Thanks for sharing your recipes with us.

  36. Does the sirloin get tough after cooking that long?

    • Mine did. I was following recipe exactly and was tough already halfway through so I turned it off. Flavor was still really good just disappointed it overcooked and wasn’t tender 

  37. Having this for dinner right now… so good! DH loves it too.

    Question… could this stored in the freezer?

  38. This recipe is a real winner. Used fire roasted tomatoes as I didn’t have any regular diced tomatoes. Definitely in the rotation as it made an easy, delicious meal. Leftovers even better. Thank You, Gina, for another winning recipe. 

  39. I’m writing this review while eating it. It’s soooo good! Flavorful and good and filling and just amazing!
    I’ve made many of your recipes and they’re all great!!!

  40. We made this tonight for dinner in our cast iron pain. It was absolutely delicious and such a quick meal to throw together.

  41. I’m definitely going to try this recipe. This would be a wonderful meal prep for work lunches. However, I absolutely do not like cilantro. What can I sub for it?

    • I would just leave it out and up the other spices just a bit. I don’t love cilantro either.

      • The cilantro doesn’t add that much flavor to it and only when you eat the cilantro directly. I absolutely LOVE cilantro! For that reason, I’m not a huge fan of mixing it into hot items, because it tends to lose it’s flavor when it’s heated/cooked or when it’s dried. Plus, it’s a different flavor profile, so adding more of the other spices would just be overkill, IMO. Because it’s basically just for a little enhancement, I’d just leave it out. It will not change the outcome of the dish.

    • I am also one of those people that has a palette where cilantro takes likes soap. I also use parsley instead!

  42. Can you do this with Flank steak?

    • I made it tonight with flank steak because I had it in the freezer and it was super good. I love this recipe!

  43. Hi Gina! 

    I just made this! I was at first skeptical at the time of cooking, but then I realized that you need to cut the meat into tiny pieces and that helps with the tough meat/cooking time. That took me awhile, like an hour, to get the pieces cut up  But that’s ok! I wanted to make sure I got each piece cut precisely because I used stew meat (around here that’s what sirloin is). I followed your recipe exactly and wow! It’s delicious! We added fresh lime squeezed to our portions. Muy deliciousoso! 

    Also I am wondering if the next time I make this if I could try adding hominy. I love hominy and I think it’s underrated. It might add another taste for those that are lazy that do not want to wait around for grilled corn tortillas aka my husband.

    Thank you so much for another great recipe!

  44. I made this today and it was just delicious. I served it with white rice. I’m going to adapt it to my slow cooker next time for convenience but it’s so tasty for so few ingredients!! Thanks again for so very many fantastic recipes. 

  45. Could this be done with Pork instead? My husband suffers from gout so avoids all red meat.

  46. Hi Gina,
    This sounds amazing! My question is could it be done in Slow cooker or instapot?
    I’m older and have major back problems so I try to use these methods to save standing time. Thank you

  47. I’m investing in a nice Dutch oven. Which size would you recommend for most of your recipes? 

  48. Gina..can this be done in a slow cooker using chuck roast?
    This looks amazing!

    • I’m going to do it tomorrow with a chuck roast because it’s what I have – I’m thinking that I’ll start it on the stovetop, then cover and cook in the oven on low heat for a few hours. I’m so excited to try this! 

    • I used a chuck roast when I made it. I made it in a Dutch oven on the stove top. It did take longer than 45 minutes (about double the time) to get the pieces tender, but the stew was DELICIOUS, and the chuck was amazingly flavorful and tender! I do like MAMA PELL’s idea of roasting it in the oven!

  49. Can you make this in the slow cooker or instant pot?

  50. Hi Gina – How would you alter the cooking to use in an Instant Pot?

  51. Could you do this in a crockpot? what should be the time adjustments?

  52. Hi Hina do you think I could do this in the crock pot after the browning of the meat?

  53. Hi Gina – I see you have 53g of carbs for this recipe. Does that include the rice/tortillas, even though you have them marked as optional? Otherwise I don’t see where all of those carbs are coming in to play… I’d like to try this one but I’m following a low carb diet and just want to make sure I’m not missing something.