Mexican Beef Stew Recipe

5.0 from 1 vote
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This Mexican beef stew recipe, commonly known as carne guisada, is a regular go to dish in Mexican cuisine. It is made with a delicious tomatillo and chile de árbol salsa that pairs beautifully with tender beef chunks. Accompany it with Mexican fried rice, salad, and even corn tortillas for the full experience. You could also add some delicious frijoles de la olla to balance the flavors, along with the fried cheese! how exciting! There is not a single component you won’t fall in love with. In fact, this is a recipe I always make because of how easy it is and the amazing outcome. The salsa is well balanced with spicy and tangy flavors. Not to mention, The meat is cooked to perfection. This is a must! Truly worth it. 

a person holding a plate with a Mexican beef stew recipe in it

Frying cheese

Frying cheese is very easy to find in Mexican stores. It is sold and labeled as “frying cheese”. I love using it in this recipe because it has a high melting point; does soften, but keeps its shape and it allows you to obtain a beautiful golden brown color on the surface. Let’s talk salt, yes, it’s important we use a lightly salted type of cheese because the salt can intensify while frying. For this step I do like to use a non-stick pan! it works amazing. Other cheese you can use? any semi-hard Mexican cheese that has a high melting point and allows you to brown is fine. Similarly, you could use Panela or queso fresco.

panela cheese being fried on a griddle

How I choose the meat

When making this Mexican beef stew recipe I like to pick a cut with a good amount of marble to ensure a moist and flavorful dish. Even though it’s similar to a stew , this is not a dish that will be cooking for hours. Choosing the right cut prevents you from chewing on tough meat. 

a close up of beef Mexican beef stew

Carne guisada recipe video

video tutorial

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Cooking the meat

Try not to overcrowd the pan when searing the meat because it will cause the  temperature to drop and the juices to release. As a result, you will have steamed meat and that’s not what we are looking for. To brown it, we have to cook it on high heat and in separate batches if needed. The searing process really brings out the flavor of the meat when done right. It’s a step worth mastering. Developing a nice browning at the bottom of the pan is so important because when we deglaze with the salsa, it will add so much flavor to the dish. Make sure the browning does not go to waste. 

Mexican Beef Stew Recipe

Recipe by Villa Cocina
5.0 from 1 vote
Course: EntreesCuisine: MexicanDifficulty: Medium


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Carne guisada (beef stew) is a regular go to dish in Mexican cuisine. In this recipe I’m going to show you the best mexican style beef stew made with a delicious tomatillo and chile de árbol salsa. We will also be adding fried cheese. how exciting! There is not a single thing, you won’t fall in love with. 


  • For the meat
  • 3 lbs chuck eye steak 

  • 2 tsp salt, kosher

  • To taste black pepper, ground

  • For the salsa
  • 1.5 lbs tomatillos 

  • 1/2 lb tomatoes 

  • 2 garlic cloves, large 

  • 1/4 white onion, large

  • 10 dry chiles de arbol 

  • 8 cups water or enough to cook the ingredients for the salsa

  • Salt to taste, kosher

  • To fry the cheese
  • 1 lb frying cheese, block

  • 1 TBSP olive, oil

  • Note: Use Olive oil to cook, as needed.


  • In a large pot place the onion, tomatoes and tomatillos. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Place the pot over medium heat and allow the ingredients to cook until soft. Keep an eye on the tomatillos, we don’t want them to burst (see notes)
  • Meanwhile, toast the chiles de arbol on low heat, just until they turn fragrant. Rinse and set to the side until we need them. 
  • When the tomatillos turn pale green, cooked through and still whole, remove from the boiling water. Allow the rest of the ingredients to soften and finish cooking. Additionally add in the toasted chiles de arbol to soften and rehydrate. Remove the ingredients  from the water when ready and let them cool down. 
  • Pat dry the block of cheese and dice into bite size pieces.
  • Place a non stick pan or griddle over medium heat and add about 1 TBSP of oil. Brown all the cheese until golden. Add oil as needed. Remove from the heat when ready. 
  • Dice the steak into bite size pieces. Season with salt and pepper to taste. I used 2 tsp of kosher salt. Mix to evenly season the meat. 
  • For the salsa: place the cooked onion, tomatoes, tomatillos and chilis in a blender. Additionally, add the garlic cloves and Blend until smooth. (We will add the salt later on)
  • Place a large pan over medium high heat and add about 3 TBSP of olive oil. Once hot but not smoking, add the beef cuts. Make sure you don’t over crowd the pan. Sear and brown the meat on all sides. Remove when ready and do the same with the rest of the meat. Add oil as needed. 
  • When all the meat is done, lower the heat to medium low and pour in the tomatillo salsa. Gently stir as the browning at the bottom releases right into the salsa. Let it cook for about 5 minutes on a gentle simmer, this way it does not reduce too much. 
  • Meanwhile in a large pot combine the meat and cheese. When the salsa has had enough time to cook, stir in salt to taste and combine with the meat and cheese. 
  • Cover and cook on a gentle simmer over medium low heat. During this time the meat will finish cooking and the cheese will soften, (about 5 minutes). Uncover and taste, add salt if needed. Remove from the heat and serve. 
  • You can accompany with Mexican rice and a fresh salad. 

Recipe Video


  • The tomatillos should not burst because it could turn the salsa bitter. It is a sign of overcooking. 
  • When cooked, the entire tomatillo will turn a pale green color except for a green ring around the stem area. Thats fine. The color will even out later.
  • You can add more or less dry chilis depending on how spicy you like the salsa. 
  • Be careful not to burn the chilis because it will turn the salsa bitter. 

🌟PRODUCTS I used for this recipe 

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases)

Le Creuset Stainless Steel Fry Pan  12”

Vitamix A3500 Smart blender Professional grade 64oz

Pfaltzgraff Trellis 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, Distressed White

Johns Boos block cutting board care and maintenance set

John Boos WALNUT wood cutting board 24in x 18in x 1.5in

Pyrex glass bowl set of 3 ; Spider strainer (Deep fry)

OXO wooden spoons ; Chef works apron Memphis

Terracotta 3.5 oz pinch bowls mini ; OXO White cutting board ; OXO 12in tongs

🛒 Feel free to visit Villa Cocina’s Amazon storefront where you can check out most of our tools or visit our shop page.

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