Ropa Vieja

Prep Time
Cook Time
3h 20m
Ready In

"Typically this dish is made with flank steak, which is lean and has long, shreddy fibers, and is how the dish earned the name “old clothes.” It’s the traditional choice, but we find it can be a bit tough, even after it’s braised for a long time. We prefer chuck roast for its fat, tenderness, and richness, but at the end of the day, this will be good with whatever you have on hand. Serve with maduros (fried sweet plantains) and Cuban-style black beans."

Original is 8 servings


  • Serving Size: 1 (386.6 g)
  • Calories 317.6
  • Total Fat - 11.1 g
  • Saturated Fat - 2.9 g
  • Cholesterol - 112.3 mg
  • Sodium - 1979.4 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 13.1 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 3.9 g
  • Sugars - 6 g
  • Protein - 40.2 g
  • Calcium - 89.1 mg
  • Iron - 5.2 mg
  • Vitamin C - 65.4 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.2 mg

Step by Step Method

Step 1

Pat roast dry with paper towels. Heat oil in a large heatproof pot over high. Cook chuck roast, turning occasionally until browned on both sides, 5–7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Step 2

Place a rack in the lower third of oven; preheat to 250°.

Step 3

Cook onion, bell peppers, and salt (plus 2 Tbsp. oil if using flank steak), stirring occasionally, until softened and beginning to brown, 12–14 minutes.

Step 4

To the pot, add garlic and cook, stirring frequently and scraping the bottom of the pan, until vegetables are golden brown, 3–5 minutes. Stir in wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until evaporated.

Step 5

Stir in paprika, oregano, cumin, black pepper, and cayenne until vegetables are coated; continue to cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute.

Step 6

Add tomatoes and coarsely break up with a spoon (they’ll continue to break down as they cook). Bring to a boil and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by half, about 5 minutes.

Step 7

Nestle roast into tomato mixture and tuck in the bay leaves on either side. Cover and transfer to oven. Braise roast and vegetables until meat is very tender and shreds easily, approximately for 2½–3 hours, making sure the meat is tender! Let cool 15 minutes.

Step 8

Skim excess fat from sauce; discard bay leaves.

Step 9

Using a potato masher or 2 forks, tear and smash beef into sauce until it’s shredded and incorporated into the sauce. Stir in olives and vinegar.

Step 10

Divide ropa vieja among plates. Top with cilantro. Serve with rice, maduros-fried sweet plantains, and beans alongside.


No special items needed.

2 Reviews

Mia in Germany

This recipe is fantastic! Wish it was easier to find plantains here, but oven baked sweet potatoes and rice were good as a side, too. Will make this again, thanks for posting! Made for SWT 2019 / Cuba


review by:
(11 Aug 2019)

Chef Potpie

I have been making a version of this dish for a few years now in my crock pot, but no more. This recipe was amazing. Huge on flavor! I did have to adjust the roasting time, 3 hours at 250 just didn't make this meat shreddable. I had to turn up the oven to 325 and cook it for an extra hour. Then it shredded easily and the sauce was so tasty, with a depth of flavor that was to die for. I will use this recipe for my Ropa Veija from now on. Thank you ForeverMama, this is a keeper. I have changed my 4 stars to 5. I now know that my oven was on it's way to giving up when I originally made this, and the longer cooking time was it's fault, and not the recipe!


review by:
(26 Jul 2019)

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