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Carne Guisada – Slow Cooker

The first time I had carne guisada I was in third grade. A classmate’s mom brought a big pot of homemade carne guisada along with a stack of flour tortillas. I have no idea why — this was not a regular occurrence — but we ate it, in class, on flimsy paper plates and I was crazy about it. At that moment, it was the best thing I’d ever eaten in my entire life. Her guisada was thick and beige, made with flour, chunks of beef that fell apart when you stabbed them with your fork, and big squares of green bell pepper, cooked until olive green and practically melting into the gravy.

carne guisada slow cooker

After having tried and failed many times to recreate that mother’s milk from so many decades ago, I finally gave up. And that’s when hope walked right back into my life while I was stuffing my face at a potluck. My friend Lela showed up with a big ol’ crockpot of the almost exactly the same carne guisada from my youth. Yippee! She got the recipe from a high school classmate’s mother and it couldn’t be easier or more delicious.

(Edit: A reader since pointed out in the comments that the recipe is originally from Martha Stewart. Indeed, it seems to have been copy-pasted several times along its journey to me and of course attribution was lost on the way. I’ve made a couple of small changes: using fresh tomatoes instead of a can and browning only half the meat to save time while still getting the same flavor.)

I like to serve it as Taco Jesus intended, steaming hot in a bowl surrounded by charred corn tortillas for dipping and rolling up in it. If you like, you can sprinkle fresh chopped onion, cilantro and/or crumbled queso cotija on top but damn, honey, you really don’t need to. Just the tortillas (corn or flour, as long as they are a little blistered) and you’re all set.

Check out my newest cookbook for many more slow cooker recipes!

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Carne Guisada – Slow Cooker

  • Author: Adapted from Martha Stewart
  • Cook Time: 10 hours
  • Total Time: 10 hours
  • Yield: 8-10 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds beef stew meat
  • 4 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large white onion, peeled and cut into about 1” chunks
  • 1 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1” chunks
  • 1 large jalapeño, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (or 1 teaspoon cumin seed)
  • 3/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 114 ounce can diced tomatoes (or 1 pound fresh tomatoes, diced)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over high heat. Add half of the meat in a single layer and sear on one side (about 5 minutes) Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker along with remaining un-seared meat.
  2. In same skillet, add 2 more teaspoons oil, onion, bell pepper, jalapeño, and garlic over medium-high heat, stirring and scraping up browned bits with a wooden spoon, until vegetables are tender, 5 minutes.
  3. Add cumin, chili powder, oregano, and flour and cook 1 minute, stirring.
  4. Slowly pour broth into skillet, stirring until liquid is smooth, scraping up any bits stuck to the pan. Simmer 2 minutes, then transfer mixture to slow cooker, along with tomatoes and bay leaves, salt and pepper.
  5. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Calories: 275

Check out my newest cookbook for many more slow cooker recipes!

carne-guisada-slow-cooker

78 Comments

  1. The Other Randy on November 29, 2014 at 11:43 am

    I absolutely love carne guisada, but have never made it myself. I am once again between slow cookers, so I’ll have to make this in the oven. A couple of hours (maybe 3) at 325 degrees ought to do it, right?

    • Hilah on November 30, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Yep, 3 hours sounds about right in the oven, or you could simmer it on the stove for a couple hours!

    • Joe Owen on December 4, 2014 at 10:42 am

      I actually make this in a pressure cooker, and the whole thing is done in about an hour total….and it’s amazing!!!!

      • Jeff Pack on March 27, 2015 at 9:18 am

        Joe,

        How long did you cook it in the pressure cooker. I just bought one and think this would be a great recipe to try. Any tips for a pressure cooker newbie?

        • Letty Fry on July 21, 2018 at 3:18 pm

          I’m just now trying this in my instant Pot. Going for 30 mins…

      • Maria on July 17, 2018 at 12:28 pm

        How do you do in pressure cooker ?

    • Sharon on April 11, 2016 at 6:40 am

      I made the Carne Guisada yesterday…the flavor was awesome and the meat was very tender…however, the meat was dry…I bought “stew meat” from the grocery store. Is there a special type of meat that would be better?

      • Hilah on April 11, 2016 at 9:52 am

        Hey Sharon! It could the cut, but it may be that your slow cooker cooks faster than mine. Could try next time to reduce the cooking time.

      • Jobaby on February 27, 2019 at 12:47 pm

        I have used a Chuck Roast instead of stew meat.

  2. Sara on November 30, 2014 at 3:18 am

    This looks delicious! Could I make this in a tagine/ tajine instead? (I do not have a slow cooker)

    • Sara on November 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

      *Oops, forgot to rate this recipe! Based on your description, definitely 5 stars!

    • Hilah on November 30, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Hi Sara!
      Yeah, that should work. Probably will take 2 hours simmering stovetop or 2-3 in the oven.

  3. Alex Rodriguez on December 1, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    Carne Guisada is also my ALL-TIME favorite!!!
    My mom used to make it at home… Imagine a pot full, with a stack of flour tortillas sitting there waiting for us to come home from school!! One of my favorite memories!!

    Thanks for the reminder! I’m going to teach my kids how to make it!!

    • Hilah on December 1, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      That’s great, Alex! Your kids will love it, and the experience of making it together. 🙂

  4. Ellen on December 2, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Spectacular results ! A new favorite, very easy and delicious !

    • Hilah on December 3, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Wonderful, Ellen!

  5. sara on December 7, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    Made this for dinner! Perfect meal for a really, really cold night. Just the right amount of spice too. Not too hot, but hot enough to notice. Thanks! This one’s a keeper.

  6. Joanne Stevens on December 18, 2014 at 8:14 am

    Carne Guisada? That’s actually coming from.. Texas, right? I’ve learnt this recipe from a friend of mine last time I was in USA and, coming back to England, I couldn’t wait to introduce it to my family. Frankly, it turned out to be a hit. Though I imagine it what it would taste like with grass-fed Texas beef meat.

    • Hilah on December 20, 2014 at 3:57 pm

      Wow! That’s awesome that this has made it so far around the world, Joanne! Happy your family loved it. Good food is good wherever you are, I guess! 🙂

  7. Ann on January 2, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Oh it looks so yummy! But what if I have no slow cooker but there’s a multi cooker (Redmond m90) with slow-cooking mode? I like cooking stew and soup in it, the consistence is just perfect so I wonder if Carne Guisada will taste nice too

    • Hilah on January 3, 2015 at 9:18 am

      I’ve never used one of those, but if it works for stew, it will work for carne guisada. Enjoy, Ann!

  8. Fraser on January 5, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks Hilah,

    I think this is going in the slow cooker tomorrow. It is deep winter here this week and the stew is just what the doctor ordered.

    Fraser

    • Fraser on January 7, 2015 at 12:48 pm

      Just reporting back – we all thought that it the recipe was very tasty. I upped the flavourings a bit and used two jalapenos, as we like a bit more spice. I did it in the oven for two and a half hours at 315 F and it was great.

  9. Mary G on January 20, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I tend to be a spice wimp. Is the one jalapeno really hot, or just “flavorful”? I hesitate to make a whole pot of something I can’t eat!

    • Hilah on January 20, 2015 at 3:12 pm

      I understand your concern, Mary! It’s not really hot with just one jalapeños (keep in mind it’s seasoning 2.5 pounds of meat) but you can always remove the seeds and white membrane, too. That will get rid of almost all the spice and just leave the flavor. 🙂

  10. Steve on January 20, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    I will be making this on Saturday. Is the flour there to make the sauce thicker? When cooking with flour can I use whole wheat flour in place of white flour? I am not sure how whole wheat flavors things like a sauce.

    I love it when you spotlight your slow cooker recipes. I have your slow cooker book, and I like it so much. So far, the Chicken with 40 Cloves is my favorite.

    I have learned something (new to me) about your site. I can simply paste the URL to your blog post into MyFitnessPal’s recipe tool. (www.myfitnesspal.com) The tool will approximate the nutrition information. It makes it easy to follow your recipes and at least try to stick with my New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. Hence the question about whole wheat flour.

    • Fraser on January 20, 2015 at 11:49 pm

      Steve,

      For what it’s worth i use whole wheat flour, and i do not think you will ever taste the difference. It appears to be used as a thickener in this case.

      Thanks for the tip about the fitness site.

      Fraser

    • Hilah on January 21, 2015 at 7:27 am

      Though Fraser already answered, yes! It’s for thickening and you can sub ww flour, but in my experience it takes a little more ww flour to get the same thickening as all-purpose flour. Just a half a teaspoon more maybe, since some of the volume of ww flour is taken up by bran which doesn’t have thickening power like starch does.
      That’s a great resource! I get that question often and it’s good to have an answer for people looking for nutrition info.
      Thanks, Steve!

    • Jonathan on January 23, 2015 at 11:35 pm

      Thanks for the MyFitnessPal tip. I have been entering these recipes by hand! In fact, I entered this one today and then did the import and it got a different result, but probably more accurate!

  11. Jonathan on January 23, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I made this today and it is very tasty. But, my “gravy” didn’t look anything like yours. Mine was brothy and full of veg and not the brown looking gravy you appear to have. I even floured the meat before browning it.

    • Hilah on January 24, 2015 at 9:57 am

      Hey Jonathan,
      Did you also add the 6 T of flour to the skillet?

  12. Kenny on January 25, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Mine is simmering away as we speak! Can’t wait to try it tonight for dinner! I just realized that I removed the seeds and the white membrane from the jalapeño before I chopped it up (force of habit from other recipes I suppose). I’m worried that it’s not going to have enough spice/kick to it. Any suggestions on what to add while it’s still simmering away? It still have 8 hours to go at this point.

    • Hilah on January 26, 2015 at 12:23 pm

      Probably too late now, but you could have added another jalapeño, minced up with seeds, or a teaspoon of red pepper flakes. Hope you enjoyed it, Kenny!

  13. Victoria O on January 27, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Made it last week and ate the leftovers today for lunch! So delicious! Thank you for the keeper recipe!

  14. John on February 7, 2015 at 11:32 am

    Was curious how this might turn out using a whole pot roast instead of cubed chuck?

    • Hilah on February 11, 2015 at 8:30 am

      I think it would be great, John, but obviously take a couple more hours to cook.

  15. Meagan on February 17, 2015 at 7:51 am

    I am going to make this today! Question: has anyone added potatoes to this recipe? My husband is used to the carne guisada with potatoes slow cooked in.

    • Hilah on February 19, 2015 at 10:39 am

      Hi Meagan,
      I haven’t tried this with potatoes, but that sounds good. My only suggestion would be to cut them up no bigger than 1 inch cubes to make sure they are cooked all the way by the time the meat is done.

      • Meagn on September 27, 2018 at 8:43 am

        I make this all the time and do add potatoes. It’s Delish!!

    • Kenny on February 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

      I added potatoes to mine when I made it and it was great! I cubed them about 1 inch and added them to cook for the last two hours so they wouldn’t completely cook down and dissolve into the dish.

      • Hilah on February 20, 2015 at 8:20 am

        Thanks, Kenny!

  16. Jose on February 22, 2015 at 10:42 am

    Thanks for this amazing recipe hilah. I’m a huge fan of your work. You make beginner chefs feel like pros. My family thanks your for all the delicious dinners we have. I was wondering if you have a recipe for gorditas? Its a stuffed puffy taco. Please let me know. Thanks again!!

    • Hilah on February 23, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Hey Jose!
      So happy to hear you’re enjoyed my recipes. Here’s my gorditas recipe and video.

  17. Claudia on May 30, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t believe your story- this is the exact same recipe from the Martha Stewart website.

    • Hilah on May 31, 2015 at 9:24 am

      Well, that is embarrassing for me. I certainly was not trying to steal a recipe. This was exactly how it was given to me. Adding attribution now.

  18. Mel on October 26, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Is this Martha Stewart’s recipe?

    • Hilah on October 26, 2015 at 11:55 am

      Hi Mel,
      Yes, in the post above I addressed that. Seems my friend’s mom got it from Martha’s site but in the copying and pasting, the attribution was lost.

  19. Diana on January 27, 2016 at 11:48 pm

    This is pretty good. First of all, I cut recipe in half. I used the sirloin strips that my butcher sells as “stir fry,” but they always come out chewey when I stir fry them. In this recipe, slow cooker, they came out succulent.

    The only ingredient I changed was cornstarch (use half of the flour measurement) It thickened perfectly.

    The spices were right on.

    I figured this to be a two day meal, but the three of us scarfed it down with charred corn tortillas. Not even a scrap of meat for the dogs, despite their hopeful eyes. (Besides dogs should not be fed tomatoes). I’m not a great cook, so for me to nail this recipe means it’s a good one.

  20. Maria on February 1, 2016 at 6:23 am

    Made this last night and added carrots. We ate it with corn tortillas, queso freco (La Vaquita), and avocado. The flavor was fantastic! BIG HIT at my house.

    Only note is 114 ounces of diced tomato is a lot of tomatoes! Is that a typo? I only added a 24oz can and it was still to much tomato.

    • Hilah on February 1, 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Hi Maria! That is definitely a typo. Should be one 14 ounce can. I have corrected it. Sorry about that, but glad you liked it! Good thinking to just use one can 😉

  21. Cindy H. on February 1, 2016 at 9:21 am

    I put this in the slow cooker yesterday and it was wonderful! Ate it last night with whole wheat tortillas, guacamole and picante – delicious – and have enough left over for dinner tonight as well. Great recipe!!

  22. Jimmie on February 2, 2016 at 12:39 am

    What would be the cooking time in a Dutch oven

    • Hilah on February 2, 2016 at 1:59 am

      I’m not sure, but I would think about 2 hours on the stove over low heat or 4 hours in the oven.

  23. Pamela on February 8, 2016 at 8:38 am

    I’m a first time slow cooker owner…intimidated by this beautiful addition to my kitchen. Going to try this carne guisada recipe. Wish me luck and thank you for all your help.

    • Hilah on February 8, 2016 at 9:07 am

      You will LOVE having a slowcooker, Pamela. They are so easy to use and only one dish to wash!

  24. Indeka on March 25, 2016 at 11:27 am

    I’ve got everything except the green belle pepper and cummin? Do i really need it? I also wanted to use a new mexico red chile powder. And how much should i use? Im a first timer on this so a little help would be appreciated. Thank you! Cant wait to make it!

    • Hilah on March 25, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      Hi Indeka,
      You can make it without the pepper and cumin. Add extra chili powder to make up for the flavor, use 2 teaspoons of your NM chili powder.

  25. Lisa Crowder on April 24, 2016 at 3:52 pm

    Wish I would have seen this before I cooked mine. However I for sure Will try your recipe the next time. Mine is still cooking but I’ve noticed the gravy isn’t thick really at all. Didn’t know if you could help me out and give me some kind of clue/idea how to thicken it. I do not have corn starch. And I’m definitely going to watch your video’s

    • Hilah on April 24, 2016 at 4:14 pm

      Hi Lisa!
      It might thicken up okay by the time it’s done cooking. If not, chop up a corn tortilla and add it to the broth. It will disintegrate and thicken the sauce a little. If you don’t have one of those, just take the lid off and let it simmer uncovered for 30 minutes just to get some of the extra water to boil off. Hope that helps! 🙂

  26. Xenia on January 9, 2017 at 10:41 am

    This tastes just like the one my mother in law makes in San Antonio. Thank you!

  27. Yolanda on January 26, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Why just cook half of the meat..I want to cook all the n
    Meat at once…

    • Hilah on January 26, 2017 at 9:36 am

      You can do that. Just searing half saves time and doesn’t make a difference in the taste at the end

  28. Ashely on March 30, 2018 at 8:59 am

    So instead of the diced tomatoes I did sub a can of Rotel …. we like it hot lol !!!! It’s on right now and I’m so excited I’m praying that this is the same recipe that my mom used to make us and my dad before he passed away . I have not been able to find anything close to it . My dad always used to tell me not to ask questions it’s his famous hot stuff lol . So I’m taking it that it was top secret hahaha . Praying for an awesome turn out and eating mine with flour tortilla and beans 😉 thank you again

    • Hilah on April 2, 2018 at 8:17 am

      I hope it lived up to your expectations, Ashley! Makes me want some carne guisada now. Maybe I’ll make it this week, too 😀

  29. Carol Rounds on April 17, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    It was wonderful, just the flavor I was looking for.

    • Hilah on April 18, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      So happy to hear that

  30. Deborah Wallace on April 26, 2018 at 11:21 am

    Going to try this on Saturday.my adopted daughter Mari Gonzales gave me recipe and she’s a great cook.can’t wait to try love you Mari Gonzales

  31. Marvin Jackson on May 10, 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Anyone ever add a teaspoon of cinnamon to this? I have and it works really well for that “secret flavor”

  32. Roy Hasty on December 15, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    I live the in South Texas, where excellent Carne Guisada is plentiful. This recipe stands with the best of them. Made it a couple of weeks ago and making it again tomorrow for my daughter to take to their Christmas Party. Thank you! Great recipe!

  33. Michelle on January 5, 2019 at 9:34 pm

    I Am not a cook but I did make this recipe. Only differences were I eliminated the oil and jalapeños threw all the other ingredients in the slow cooker and stirred and cooked for the time mentioned. Basically skipping steps 1 through 4. Turned out amazing!

  34. Misti Miller on February 19, 2019 at 8:47 am

    I am so excited about trying this recipe. I’m doing this for my sister. She absolutely loves it and hasn’t found any that she likes around here since we moved to a town of the population of 3500. So I’m sure you can imagine. But this looks like what she used to get. She will be a surprised.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Hilah on February 19, 2019 at 9:11 am

      I hope this carne guisada is just what your sister is looking for!

  35. Don on September 8, 2019 at 8:14 am

    When you double this recipe for Carne Guisada, You went from 1-14 oz. diced tomatoes to 2-28 oz. cans and when you tripled it your instructions call for 3-42 oz. cans….I’m gonna bet that is a typo and simply double or triple it…on the way to the kitchen in about 5 minutes to get this started…Hope I’m guessing right….;) Thanks for the Recipe…

    • Hilah on September 8, 2019 at 8:49 am

      Hey Don, I don’t supply those numbers – those are computer generated and they are incorrect. Doubling the recipe would just need TWO 14 ounce cans, tripling would be three 14 ounce cans.

  36. Kayla on October 1, 2019 at 12:59 pm

    When making this do you peel the tomatoes before dicing or leave the skin on?

    • Hilah on October 3, 2019 at 9:29 am

      Nope! Just chop em up and throw em in!

  37. Chris on October 30, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Such a great recipe. Made this for the first time and it was so good. Thanks for sharing

  38. Stacey Martin on October 31, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    I made it last night in my slow cooker on low for 9 hours. It was heavenly!!! I’ve made other Guisada recipes and this was definitely the best!!! Thank you!!!

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