Easy Tender Crock Pot Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe

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Cuban Ropa Vieja is also known as Shredded Beef, and this easy recipe is made in the Crock Pot. Seared beef covered with onions, garlic and peppers then braised in a flavorful green chili tomato sauce until it is fall apart tender. The ultimate easy dinner recipe that’s great all year round!

close up photo of crock pot ropa vieja recipe (cuban shredded beef)

Crock Pot Shredded Beef

Y’all, it’s the weekend and I cannot wait to just sit and relax. Life has been absolutely crazy and non-stop lately. Times when I get to just sit and rest with family are precious. Last weekend we watched “Ralph Breaks the Internet” for Cason’s birthday and it was great. I made pizzas and we all ate in the living room just chilling. 

Those are the moments I cherish and always want to remember. Times in the park together, outside in the pool or movies nights when we all pile up together. 🙂 Yeah for family times!

Ok, now… moving on to this delicious mouthwatering recipe, so you have something to wow your family with next week! 

process photos of how to make crock pot ropa vieja recipe (shredded beef)

What is Cuban Ropa Vieja?

Ropa Vieja originated in Cuba, it’s actually one of the national dishes. However, it’s also made in other parts of the Caribbean. Essential it is tender shredded beef cooked in a tomato based sauce with vegetables. Typically it is served with rice, beans and fried yuca or plantains to add some sweetness to the dish. 

The key to maximizing the flavor of this dish is SEARING! Before you braise the meat, season both sides of your meat and then give it a good sear. As in, you want to see that nice brown color and caramelization. That sear is what locks in the flavors and starts your dish off on the right foot. 

What kind of meat do you use for Ropa Vieja?

The best cut of meat to use for this Cuban Shredded Beef is typically flank steak. It’s a cut that holds up well to braising and shreds well. However, you can also use Beef Chuck Roast or Skirt Steak. 

What is Ropa Vieja made of?

  1. Meat – typically beef is used (see above for best cuts to use) however you could also use chicken or pork if desired
  2. Vegetables – onions, garlic, peppers, green chiles and sometimes olives
  3. Tomato Sauce & Tomato Paste 
  4. Spices – cumin, clove, oregano, chili powder, allspice, salt and pepper

All of these ingredients are combined and then braised until the meat is fork tender.

close up photo of crock pot ropa vieja recipe (shredded beef)

How to Make Ropa Vieja in a Crock Pot:

  1. Generously season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  2. Using a paring knife, cut three “x’s” into the meat and stuff each X with a clove of garlic.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.
  4. Add grape seed oil to pan. Place beef chuck roast in the pan and sear (DO NOT TOUCH IT) for 5 minutes, you want it to brown to sear in all the juices. After 5 minutes, flip and sear for 5 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and place in the crockpot.
  5. To the crock pot add in the sliced onions and peppers.
  6. In a small bowl, add sliced garlic cloves, tomato sauce, green chiles, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, oregano, sea salt, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, ground allspice and cilantro. Using a spoon mix everything together.
  7. Pour the sauce over the beef and veggies.
  8. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8-9 hours.
  9. Once cooked, remove meat from the crock pot and shred using two forks. Add the shredded beef back to the crock pot and mix in with sauce.

How to Make Ropa Vieja in a Dutch Oven:

  1. Generously season beef with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  2. Using a paring knife, cut three “x’s” into the meat and stuff each X with a clove of garlic.
  3. Heat a large dutch oven to medium high heat.
  4. Add grape seed oil to pan. Place beef chuck roast in the pan and sear until brown on both sides. (about 5 minutes per side.
  5. Add sliced onions and peppers to dutch oven with the meat.
  6. In a small bowl, add sliced garlic cloves, tomato sauce, green chiles, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, oregano, sea salt, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, ground allspice and cilantro. Using a spoon mix everything together.
  7. Pour the sauce over the beef and veggies.
  8. Cover and simmer for 3-4 hours on stove or place in 300 degree F oven for 2 hours.
  9. Once cooked, remove meat from the crock pot and shred using two forks. Add the shredded beef back to the crock pot and mix in with sauce.

crock pot ropa vieja recipe (cuban shredded beef) in a bowl with rice and beans

Ok, now that you know all the deets let’s talk flavor. Shall we? This dish, while simple to make, has insanely complex flavors. The spices alone will blow your taste buds out of the water. Y’all this meat literally falls apart when you try to get it out of the crock pot to shred, it’s that tender!

But honestly, my favorite part of this dish is the sauce. A rich tomato base combined with the green chiles for that little hint of “spice” just warms my tummy right up. It’s then perfectly complimented by tummy warming spices like allspice, clove and cumin with a tangy punch from red wine vinegar. 

A completely balance mouthwatering meal that your family is guaranteed to love! And they don’t even have to know how easy it was to prepare. It’ll be our little secret. 🙂 Bon Appetit friends!

What to serve with Ropa Vieja:

ropa vieja recipe (cuban shredded beef) in a crock pot with a spoon scooping the beef

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crock pot ropa vieja recipe (cuban shredded beef) in a bowl with rice and beans

Crock Pot Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe (Shredded Beef)

  • Author: Krista
  • Prep Time: 20 min
  • Cook Time: 6 hours
  • Total Time: 6 hr 20 min
  • Yield: 5-6 cups shredded beef 1x
  • Category: Crock Pot, Beef, Low Carb, Gluten Free, Paleo, Keto
  • Method: Crock Pot
  • Cuisine: Cuban

Description

An easy Cuban Ropa Vieja Recipe, Shredded Beef, made in the Crock Pot. Seared beef covered with onions, garlic & peppers then braised in a green chili tomato sauce until it’s fall apart tender.


Scale

Ingredients

Shredded Beef:

  • 1 tablespoon grape seed oil
  • 3 lb. beef chuck roast
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • salt & pepper to season

Ropa Vieja Sauce:

  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 15 oz. tomato sauce (no salt)
  • 4 oz. can of green chiles
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin
  • 2 teaspoons dry oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Generously season beef with salt and pepper on both sides.
  2. Using a paring knife, cut three “x’s” into the meat and stuff each X with a clove of garlic.
  3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat.
  4. Add grape seed oil to pan. Place beef chuck roast in the pan and sear (DO NOT TOUCH IT) for 5 minutes, you want it to brown to sear in all the juices. After 5 minutes, flip and sear for 5 minutes on the other side. Remove from pan and place in the crockpot.
  5. To the crock pot add in the sliced onions and peppers.
  6. In a small bowl, add sliced garlic cloves, tomato sauce, green chiles, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, cumin, oregano, sea salt, ancho chili powder, smoked paprika, ground allspice and cilantro. Using a spoon mix everything together.
  7. Pour the sauce over the beef and veggies.
  8. Cover and cook on HIGH for 6 hours or LOW for 8-9 hours.
  9. Once cooked, remove meat from the crock pot and shred using two forks. Add the shredded beef back to the crock pot and mix in with sauce.
  10. Serve over a bed of rice or with Instant Pot Black Beans.

Notes

Recipe adapted from Little Spice Jar


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/2 cup shredded beef
  • Calories: 191
  • Sugar: 3 g
  • Sodium: 212 mg
  • Fat: 8 g
  • Saturated Fat: 6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 6 g
  • Fiber: 1 g
  • Protein: 25 g
  • Cholesterol: 75 mg

Keywords: crock pot ropa vieja, ropa vieja recipe, cuban ropa vieja, cuban shredded beef, shredded beef recipe, crock pot shredded beef, healthy crock pot recipes, shredded beef recipes, what is ropa vieja, how to make ropa vieja

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Hey There

Krista
Hi! I'm the recipe developer and food photographer behind all these easy healthy recipes! I love food, Jesus, morning lattes, and am obsessed with fantasy football! { more }
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9 Responses
  1. Susan Buckethal

    Hi Krista, I can’t wait to make this wonderful sounding recipe. I would like to comment on how thorough you are when writing out a recipe. I love the fact that you give added instructions on saving food in the refrigerator, freezing food and all the tips you’ve been giving along the way, very well done!

  2. I absolutely love anything I can put in my slow cooker. I just got done making Taco Soup in it tonight 🙂 I have never heard of this dish before, though my foreign cuisine is a lot more limited than I would like. Definitely going to give this a try!

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