Slow-Cooker Carne Guisada


Thanks to a slow-cooker, this stew packs a punch of flavors.

Slow-Cooker Carne Guisada
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis
Active Time:
30 mins
Slow Cook Time:
6 hrs
Total Time:
6 hrs 30 mins

Guisada means "stewed" in Spanish, and variations of this slow-cooked beef in spicy gravy can be found throughout Texas, Latin America, and the Caribbean. It's best served with warm tortillas on the side. Our Slow-Cooker Carne Guisada takes its time (6 hours and 30 minutes, to be exact), but the resulting beef is remarkably tender and succulent.

In this recipe for Carne Guisada, most of the actual cooking happens in the skillet, but the slow cooker then tenderizes the beef and marinates all the flavors, producing a stunning end product. Don't rush the step of browning the beef in the skillet—this renders the fat and produces big flavor that the slow cooker can't replicate.

This beef stew is bolstered by a trio of spices (cumin, chili powder, and oregano) that further accent the rich flavor of the beef. Test Kitchen Tip: Don't throw out those cilantro stems either. Cilantro stems pack just as much flavor as the leaves themselves. Here, we put them both to work, using the stems in the sauce and the leaves as a garnish.


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

  • 3 ½ pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

  • 1 small bunch cilantro

  • 2 cups chopped white onion (from 1 large onion)

  • 2 cups chopped poblano chiles (from 2 large chiles)

  • 4 large garlic cloves, smashed

  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 2 teaspoons ground chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano

  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle dark Mexican beer (such as Modelo Negra)

  • 3 cups beef stock

  • 1 (15-oz.) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • Flour tortillas, warmed, for serving


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add half of the beef to skillet. Cook, turning occasionally, until well browned on all sides, 6 to 7 minutes. Transfer browned beef to a 6-quart slow cooker. Repeat with remaining oil and beef.

  2. Coarsely chop cilantro leaves, and set aside. Finely chop cilantro stems. Add chopped onion and poblanos, smashed garlic, and cilantro stems to skillet. Cook onion mixture over medium-high, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes.

  3. Add all-purpose flour, cumin, chili powder, and oregano to skillet, and stir until combined. Cook, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add beer to skillet, and cook about 2 minutes, stirring and scraping to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet.

  4. Stir in stock, fire-roasted tomatoes, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Let the stock mixture come to a boil. Remove skillet from heat, and add stock mixture to the browned beef in the slow cooker. Stir to combine.

  5. Cover slow cooker; cook beef-stock mixture on LOW until beef is tender, about 6 hours (or cook on HIGH for 3 hours and 30 minutes). Ladle stew into bowls, and sprinkle each serving with reserved chopped cilantro leaves. Serve with warm flour tortillas on the side.

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