Preparation of Mexican Carne Guisada

A Simple Mexican Carne Guisada Recipe

A traditional Mexican carne guisdada has a complex sauce with a variety of flavorful peppers, herbs and spices, and it cooks for hours on low heat. Many people use a crock pot, or slow cooker, and for faster results, some people use pressure cookers. Do you need a simpler Mexican Carne Guisada Recipe?

The truly special occasion for me to want to go all out with a complex carne guisada recipe has yet to come. My version of carne guisada is simple and easy to prepare for dinner any day. There are a few recipe ingredients that are optional. Adding them will result in more depth of flavor, but if you don’t have these ingredients, you will still have a delicious dish.

Carne Guisada Recipe

Ingredients: (SERVES 2-3)

1 lb beef top round or sirloin tip steak (cut into small cubes, my preference),

1 small to medium tomato, ripe, cubed or chopped,

4 tbs cilantro, chopped,

3 small garlic cloves, sliced, chopped or minced (or ¼ tsp garlic powder),

1 tbsp onion, chopped (or ¼ tsp dry onion flakes),

¼ tsp Season All,

1/8 tsp cumin powder (or indulge yourself with whole cumin seeds, that you roast lightly and grind with your mortar and pestle) 

1/8 tsp black pepper, cracked,

1 tbsp olive oil,

Pickled jalapeno pepper slices (few or many as desired),

Mexican oregano 1/4 tsp (optional)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

chili powder 1/4 tsp(optional)

1 tbsp flour (can omit if you add a thick chunky salsa instead of the jalapeno slices),

3/4 cup hot water,


  • In an a 10” heavy bottom skillet (with a tight fitting lid) heat oil on medium heat.
  • Lower the temperature and add the meat, garlic, onion and other spices, including the optional spices if you are using. Mix well.
  • Quickly break up the meat as it starts to heat up and cover.
  • The goal is to cook the meat with the steam and moisture as long as possible before the moisture evaporates. Stir once or twice during this cooking time.
  • When the liquid has evaporated, uncover pan, stir meat and drippings a few times and remove from the heat. (you are removing only briefly, leave heat on)
  • Pour the flour slowly over 1/3 of the meat and stir to break up any large lumps.
  • (omit this step if not using the flour)
  • On the other side of the pan, add the diced tomato and cilantro and stir it around the rest of the meat that is not covered with flour.
  • Place the pan over the low heat and stir each side separately a bit longer.
  • add the jalapeno (and or salsa) and stir everything together.
  • Add the hot water slowly while stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan until you have the desired consistency. You may or may not need all of the water.
  • Let it simmer for 2-3 minutes on low heat.
  • Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve.

Optional Side Dishes

  • cumin steamed rice,
  • a lettuce cucumber salad sprinkled with lime, or
  • a spicy cabbage and carrot slaw
  • choice of flour or corn tortillas

To prepare the cumin rice simply follow the rice package instructions, and add ¼ tsp cumin to the water or chicken stock before adding the rice. Preparing steamed rice is simpler than preparing Mexican rice, which can be very helpful when you need to save time. It also helps to decrease a few of calories as the recipe does not require oil to prepare.

Dish Variations

You can substitute pork, chicken or turkey to prepare a different version of this guisado. 

You can also prepare vegetarian combinations by substituting the animal protein for a firm vegetable like carrots, potatoes, or cauliflower.  A less firm vegetable like eggplant, or zucchini would also provide a great Mexican guisado for a main course or a side dish. Tofu is also a great option.

I hope that this recipe is simple enough for you to try soon!

Do you know how much raw meat to buy when you are planning to feed a large party? This guide should help you figure it out.