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Carne Guisada

carne guisada

Beef Stew is in my top three favorite meals and cumin is in my top three favorite spices (that aren’t salt or pepper) so Carne Guisada is right up my alley. Carne Guisada is beef stew, flavored with cumin, garlic, and chiles.

I believe it’s popular in many Latin countries, and I’m sure they all have their ways of making it, but I only have experience with the Mexican style.

Today I’m sharing my version of it: heavy on cilantro and cumin, thickened with Maseca, and because we like ours spicy, two jalapenos (plus a pinch of ground ghost peppers not mentioned in the recipe).

I served it over rice this time because my counters were full of meal prepping equipment (it was Sunday) and I didn’t have space or the patience to make tortillas, but I need to let you know: it makes the most amazing tacos, day or night.

Grab a flour tortilla and stuff it with the Carne Guisada, some refried beans, and a sprinkle of shredded cheddar or Oaxaca cheese. Or, top the Carne Guisada with breakfast potatoes, scrambled eggs and tomatillo salsa. *chef’s kiss*

Quick Notes:

  • You can substitute a 12 oz can of tomato sauce or a few tablespoons of tomato paste for the fresh tomatoes.
  • Skip the food processor (or blender): use ground cumin and add the chopped and minced veggies to the pot after the beef is browned. They will break down as it cooks.
  • Make it in a slow-cooker: brown your beef in a skillet, toss everything in the slow-cooker (except the Maseca), stir, and cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours. Then continue to follow the recipe below from Step 8 until the end.

Keep scrolling past the recipe for a quick video of me making this Carne Guisada and come back and leave a rating if you try it; I’d love to know what you thought! Also, if you enjoy stews check out my Southwestern Chicken Stew.

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carne guisada

Carne Guisada

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 2 reviews

  • Author: María
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x


Mexican beef stew. Spicy and flavorful.


Units Scale
  • 3 lbs beef roast, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 jalapenos, stems removed
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 C cilantro
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 C Maseca instant corn flour
  • 1/4 C all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp whole cumin seeds
  • 4 C hot water
  • 3 tbsp beef bouillon
  • 3 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Mexican oregano
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp Hot chili powder
  • 2 tbsps vegetable oil, plus more as needed


  1. Add the cilantro, tomatoes, onions, garlic, jalapenos and cumin seeds to your food processor or blender. Process until it’s a smooth blend, then set it aside.
  2. Season your cubed beef with some of the salt, then coat it thoroughly in the flour.
  3. Place a large dutch oven over medium-high heat and coat the bottom with oil. Let it preheat until the oil is shimmering. Dissolve your beef bouillon in the hot water while you wait and set it aside.
  4. Once the oil is ready, add some of the beef in a single layer. Don’t crowd the bottom – if you add too many too close together you’ll prevent them from getting a good sear. Brown the beef on all sides. You’re not trying to cook it through, just give it some color.
  5. Continue until all of the beef is browned, adding more oil between each batch as needed. Once all of it is browned add it all back to the pot, along with the blended aromatics and the dry spices. Stir everything together, then stir in the beef broth. Taste and add salt and adjust other spices as needed.
  6. Allow the stew to come to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cover with a lid. Cook over medium-low heat for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. After 90 minutes test the beef and make sure it’s tender. It should only give a bit of resistance if you try to smash it with the back of a spoon. If it isn’t, let it cook for 15 minutes more and check again.
  8. Remove a few tablespoons of the cooking liquid and into the Maseca with a flat whisk. Make sure to whisk out the lumps before adding more liquid. Continue adding liquid until you have a thick paste, then stir that into your Carne Guisada.
  9. Cover and allow to cook for 15-20 minutes more, stirring every 5-10 minutes. Dassit. Enjoy!


  • You can toast the cumin seeds by sauteing them lightly in a dry pan. 
  • Use less or skip the cornflour all together if you’d like a looser gravy.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 90 minutes
  • Method: Stewed
  • Cuisine: Mexican
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  • Kia
    June 18, 2020 at 12:05 am

    Absolutely delicious! Family loved it, and the meat turned out melt in your mouth tender. This dish will stay in rotation. Thank you!!

  • Kia
    June 18, 2020 at 12:06 am

    Absolutely delicious! Family loved it, and the meat turned out melt in your mouth tender. This dish will stay in rotation. Thank you!!

    • María
      September 2, 2020 at 10:02 am

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you!!

  • María's Favorite Chili • deepfriedhoney
    November 8, 2021 at 10:48 am

    […] I loved braised beef, period, as we’ve discussed before – namely in the post above my Carne Guisada recipe – and chili is something I’m always happy to eat. I’m biased, admittedly and […]


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