Authentic Cuban Ropa Vieja

Spanish for 'old clothes' thanks to its shredded appearance, this flavorful Cuban Ropa Vieja dish is made with lean beef and makes for a healthy, hands off dinner.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Keyword ropa vieja
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 35 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 676kcal
Author Erica


  • 3 pounds beef roast trimmed and cut into 1/2 lb. chunks
  • 10 cups water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced, seeds included
  • 1 poblano pepper sliced, seeds included
  • 1/2 large onion sliced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro plus more for garnish
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 tablespoon salt or more to taste
  • 1 pork or beef bouillon packet
  • 15 ounces can diced tomatoes and chiles
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • white rice steamed
  • 1 lime quartered


  • Set a large stockpot over medium heat, adding the water, vinegars, peppers, onion, garlic, cilantro, and seasonings. Bring to a boil.
  • Trim any visible fat from the roast, and cut it into ½ pound chunks. When broth is boiling, add meat. Allow it to boil uncovered until the liquid is reduced by half, 80-90 minutes.
  • Removed beef from pot and allow to cool slightly. Using 2 forks or your fingers (careful!), pull the beef into thin strips. Return to pot.
  • Reduce heat to low. Add the bouillon, tomatoes and chiles, and tomato paste, stirring to combine.
  • Allow to cook another 50-60 minutes, reducing the liquid by half once more.
  • Serve over white rice, garnish with cilantro leaves and freshly squeezed lime juice.


This dish is quite spicy! To reduce the heat, leave the seeds from the poblano pepper out, or simply use a green bell pepper in its place.
Pork bouillon can be found in the ethnic food/Hispanic food aisles at most grocery stores. We use Goya Concentrated Ham Flavoring. (<--affiliate link)


Calories: 676kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 67g | Fat: 39g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Cholesterol: 234mg | Sodium: 2331mg | Potassium: 1538mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1325IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 142mg | Iron: 9.2mg