Carne Guisada

5 from 2 votes

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Carne guisada is made by stewing beef low and slow along with a flavorful chili purée and the Holy Trinity of Tex Mex — garlic, cumin, and cracked black peppercorns — to create a hearty and satisfying main dish. The meat becomes perfectly tender and flavorful as it simmers!

overhead closeup: a large serving spoon lifing carne guisada Tex Mex beef stew out of a pot

I’ve spent a lot of time in Mexico over the years and have such an appreciation for Mexican cuisine. The dishes are often hearty, satisfying, and totally packed with flavor. Another cuisine I’ve loved over the years is Tex Mex. My versions of these recipes as my ode to one of my favorite places in the world!

Interesting in researching and trying different version before coming up with my take on it, “Carne guisada,” when translated, literally means “stewed meat.” This Latin dish, originating from Puerto Rico, found its way into Mexican and Tex-Mex cuisines, often adapted with regional variations. Hope you enjoy this one!

closeup: a spoonful of my carne guisada recipe

This carne guisada recipe is just the latest in my flavorful collection of Tex Mex and Mexican beef dishes. I like to think of it as Mexico’s answer to comforting beef stew. Chuck stew meat is browned in a Dutch oven and then simmered to tender and juicy perfection in a tomato-based sauce.

Much of the flavor comes from the Tex Mex Holy Trinity and the chili purée. And I’m teaching you how to create both in today’s recipe!

overhead: ingredients needed for my carne guisada recipe

Tip From Kevin

Tex Mex Holy Trinity

The trio of onion, celery, and bell peppers, known as the Cajun holy trinity, is renowned as the foundation for numerous delectable dishes such as jambalaya and étoufféé. The culinary landscape of Texas boasts its own holy trinity akin to Cajun cuisine: garlic, cumin, and black pepper.

Unlike Tex-Mex, which blends Mexican and American influences, Texas Mexican cuisine emerged from the region spanning south Texas to northeastern Mexico. It originated in US locales like Austin and Corpus Christi, not directly from Mexico.

Termed “comida casera” or home cooking, it reflects the culinary heritage of Mexican-American families present in the region, and the Holy Trinity of garlic, cumin, and black pepper can be found used in every home kitchen.

overhead porcess shot: browning the beef for carne guisada

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions

(Be sure to check the recipe card for a full list of ingredients and quantities)

  • Beef Chuck Stew Meat – This is a carne dish, meaning it’s made with beef. Beef chuck stew meat is your best bet here for tender and flavorful results.
  • Guajillo Chiles Deep and rich, with a bit of a fruity, almost tangy flavor, these dried chili peppers also boast a mild heat. Remove the seeds and stems before using.
  • Chile de Árbol – Spicy and smoky, combine these with the guajillo chiles to make a chili purée. Remove the stem first.
  • Tex Mex Holy Trinity – Remember, this combines garlic, cumin seeds, and cracked blacked peppercorns to create a bold-tasting paste.
  • Vegetables & Aromatics You’ll need white onion, tomato, and green bell pepper for the sauce, as well as some tomato sauce.
  • All-purpose Flour – To create a slurry to thicken the sauce.
  • Vegetable Oil – To brown the beef. I prefer beef tallow or bacon fat, but you can use oil in a pinch.
  • Seasonings Salt, ground black pepper, and Mexican oregano are all you need to season the beef.
extreme closeup: carne guisada in a spoon with meat showing

How to Make Carne Guisada

  1. Make Tex Mex Trinity Paste. Add the garlic, cumin, and black pepper to a molcajete (or a mortar and pestle or small blender) with some water. Mix until a paste forms and set aside.
  2. Blend the Chili Purée. Place the chiles in a small saucepan with water. Bring to a boil, turn the heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes. Let the mixture cool a bit before adding it to a blender. Purée until smooth, strain, and set aside. 
  3. Brown the Beef. Season the beef with salt and pepper. Place in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the oil and brown on both sides for about 10-15 minutes.
  4. Simmer. Add enough water to cover the beef and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  5. Create the Sauce. Add the onion, tomato, bell pepper, tomato sauce, Holy Trinity paste, Mexican oregano, and chili purée to the pot. Simmer for another 30 minutes. While you wait, combine the all-purpose flour with some water to make your slurry. Add it to the sauce and continue cooking for about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serve & Enjoy. When the stew has thickened and the beef is tender, remove the pot from the heat. Serve this carne guisada recipe with some rice and beans, mashed potatoes, pan de campo, or plenty of flour tortillas. Enjoy!
  • Molcajete A traditional Mexican mortar and pestle, my molcajete is a staple in my kitchen.
  • Food Processor – You could use a High Powered Blender instead — as long as it will give you a smooth purée, it works!
  • Dutch Oven – Another mainstay in my house! I use my Dutch oven at least a few times a week. 

Storing and Reheating

Allow leftovers to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

If you’d like to make a double batch of this carne guisada recipe, it will keep in the freezer for up to 2-3 months.

To reheat, place the beef stew in a saucepan over medium and heat until warmed through. If reheating from frozen, let it thaw in the fridge overnight first!

closeup: a plate full of my carne guisada with fresh chopped herbs on top

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do you thicken carne guisada?

This is where the all-purpose flour slurry comes in! I add it after the stew has been cooking for around 30 minutes to help it thicken. You could also use cornstarch or arrowroot powder to keep things gluten-free.

What’s the difference between carne asada and carne guisada?

Carne asada is grilled or seared, marinated meat that’s often served in slices. Carne guisada is stewed beef cooked in a savory, tomato-based sauce until tender. Both are flavorful Mexican dishes — but they’re prepared and served in totally different ways.

Can you make carne guisada with brisket?

Yes, you can make my carne guisada recipe with brisket. I like beef chuck stew meat because it has a rich flavor and tender texture — but so does brisket! Feel free to use either cut.

closeup: my carne guisada on a plate with fresh chopped herbs on top
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Carne Guisada

5 from 2 votes
With Latin origins, my Carne Guisada is a tender beef stew simmered in the Tex Mex Holy Trinity of spices, tomatoes and a delish chili purée!
Servings: 10
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total: 1 hour 30 minutes


Tex Mex Holy Trinity

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • teaspoons cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black peppercorns
  • 2 tablespoons water



Tex Mex Holy Trinity

  • In a molcajete, make a paste out of the garlic, cumin and black pepper adding a tablespoon or two of water to make a paste (you can also use a mortar and pestle, small blender like a Nutribullet). Set aside.

Chili Puree

  • In a small saucepan, combine the chiles with 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Puree the chiles and their liquid in a blender until smooth. Pour sauce through a strainer and discard any solids. Set aside.


  • Season the beef with salt and black pepper. In a Dutch oven or stock pot over medium-high heat add the oil and brown the beef on all sides. Water will release from the beef and steam then subside and the oil will be left to brown, 10-15 minutes.
  • Once browned on all sides add enough water to cover the beef. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
  • Add the onion, tomato, bell pepper, tomato sauce, Holy Trinity and chili puree to beef. Simmer for another 30 minutes.
  • Whisk together the flour and water to make a slurry. Stir into the meat and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, or until the stew is thickened beef is tender.
  • Serve with rice and beans, or mashed potatoes, pan de campo (Cowboy Bread) or plenty of flour tortillas.



Calories: 356kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 723mg | Potassium: 782mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 574IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 50mg | Iron: 5mg

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

Course: Dinners
Cuisine: Tex Mex
Have You Made This Recipe? Let Me Know on InstagramTag @keviniscooking or tag me #keviniscooking!
close up of carne guisada in white bowl


Whether in the kitchen or on the grill, you’ll find me cooking American favorites with a love for BBQ, Mexican and Tex Mex. I’m passionate about making tasty food because life’s too short to be bland!

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  1. 5 stars
    Looking forward to trying this. I am a big fan of pollo guisado. I am a proud Polack so I will probably add some potatoes to this!!