Main dish Soups Tex-Mex

Carne guisada, Tex-Mex stew

carne guisada Tex Mex stew DSC3573

I receive many emails from y’all, asking when I’ll be writing about a certain favorite Texan food. I’ve had requests for everything from deep-fried pickles to peanut-butter pie. But the most requested recipe is for carne guisda.

Carne guisada, which translates to “stewed meat,” is a slow-simmered dish that varies across the state. Some people make their carne guisada with pork, others with chicken. The most common meat used, however is beef.

Another variable with carne guisada is how the gravy is made. Some people opt to cook their meat with tomatoes, potatoes and sweet bell peppers, while others just simmer the beef in water and chiles.

Carne guisada, Tex-Mex stew | Homesick Texan

You’ll see your carne guisada as a group of distinct cubes floating in a rich sauce. And you’ll see your carne guisada where the meat has cooked so long it’s hard to tell where the meat ends and the gravy begins. My carne guisada, like my chili, deliciously falls into the latter category.

Actually, the way I make my chili is very similar to the way I make my carne guisada. I start with a four-pound beef roast and cut it into one-inch cubes. I chop up my onions, my garlic and my chiles, sear the beef and then throw everything in a pot with some beer and water and let it cook for several hours.

The difference, however, between my chili and my carne guisada is the types of peppers I use. For my chili, I use smoky red chiles such as chipotles and anchos; for my carne guisada I use bright green chiles such as jalapenos and serranos. There are a couple of other differences as well. A tomato will never be seen in my chili, but I don’t mind adding a few to my carne guisada. I would never add a bay leaf to my chili pot, but I like the nuance it adds to my carne guisada. And while my chili making tends to be improvisational, I have a set recipe for carne guisada from which I rarely stray.

Carne guisada, Tex-Mex stew | Homesick Texan

Carne guisada can be a meal in itself, served in a bowl with tortilla chips. It’s also wonderful nestled between refried beans and rice. I like to wrap it up in flour tortillas for tacos, and the leftovers are a hearty topping on a pile of scrambled eggs.

So for all that asked about carne guisada—here is my recipe. Now I have to say that this is my recipe, so it might not be like your grandmother’s recipe because that’s the thing about carne guisada—everybody’s is different all over the state of Texas.

How do you make your carne guisada?
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carne guisada Tex Mex stew DSC3573
4.9 from 28 votes

Carne guisada

Servings 8
Author Lisa Fain


  • 4 pounds chuck or bottom round beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 4 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 jalapeno chiles, seeded and, diced
  • 2 Serrano chiles, seeded and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices or 3 fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 (12-ounce) bottle of dark Mexican beer such as Negro Modelo


  1. Lightly toss the beef with salt and pepper. In a large pot or a Dutch oven, brown the beef on medium high heat in 2 tablespoons of the oil. You may have to do this in batches.

  2. Remove beef from pot, add the final 2 tablespoons of peanut oil and cook on medium heat the onions, jalapeños, and Serranos chiles for about 10 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.
  3. Throw in the browned beef, add the cumin, chili powder, oregano, cilantro, bay leaf, tomatoes, water, and beer and mix everything really well. Add salt to taste.

  4. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil and then turn the heat down to low and simmer uncovered for 2-4 hours, depending on how tender you want your meat. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm. 

Recipe Notes

If you want your meat to be distinct cubes rather than strings, lessen the cooking time. If you cook the stew for less time, you may also need to add some flour to thicken the gravy. Take out a 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, stir into it a 1 tablespoon of flour and then incorporate this back into the stew. Stir until gravy has thickened. Also, I like my meat in big stringy chunks, but if you prefer smaller pieces, cut the meat into 1/2 inch cubes.

  1. Mmmm, I don’t make mine with chiles or beer, but yours sounds delicious. My daughter is always disappointed that Mexican restaurants outside of Texas never seem to have carne guisada on the menu. Thanks for inspiring tonights dinner. Regards, Kathi

  2. Oh sweet girl, I know exactly what I will be making for dinner tonight! And I will be using my fresh cilantro from my garden (can you believe it is still growing?). Alas, I am in North Texas!

    Now, I’ll be checking your blog for a tortilla recipe. Hope you’ve got one.

  3. Brenda in Tx

    This sounds so yummy. I will have to try it
    tomorrow night. We might have freezing
    precipitation so that would be a perfect thing
    to have ready in case the kids are home from
    school. You know how it is in Tx, any kind of
    ice or even the anticipation of it is a big thing. Hey, I missed you last week. Thanks again for all the recipes and for reminding
    me of some I hadnt thought of in years.

  4. Best, Punchy!

    This sounds delicious today. I have my own recipe, but I am soooo going to try yours!

  5. Oh Lisa, this is really taking me back, so far back! I always loved carne guisada and seriously cannot remember the last time I had it. It’s been like 10 years! Thank you for the recipe!

  6. Forgive my ignorance. Is there a difference between carne guisada and carne asada ?

    Interesting to learn you would never add tomatoes to chili. I am not sure I have ever eaten chili made without tomatoes of some sort.

  7. Texasann

    I really think you have ESP. I’ve lost count of the times your post is exactly what I was thinking of cooking. I love CG, but have never attempted it. This sounds wonderful! I’ll use your recipe for my shopping list for next weekend for sure.

    I meant to ask, on your black eyed pea installment, are those your grandma’s beautiful hands holding the peas?

    Thanks again and keep on rockin’ our taste buds!


  8. CraftyCanadian

    This sounds wonderful! I am going to try it SOON. Do you think it would work in a crock pot on high? I would of course sear the meat and get everything started but I love putting things in my crock pot to cook all day while I’m at work. Nothing like coming home to a meal that’s already 95% done 🙂

  9. Miss Meat and Potatoes

    I have never eaten this and feel like a bad Texan! But I’ll be giving it a go when I’m back home (we’re out in LA on production.) Hope it’s not too cold in NY!

  10. Monica, thanks for the lowdown on chili. I knew about the bean thing but the tomato thing has thrown me off. I guess I will need to make some for myself now that I have located several online sources to buy dried chiles. Any type of dried pepper you can suggest ?

    Does real Texas Red have onions or garlic then ?

  11. Paula Maack

    This recipe, and your wonderful photos, look so delicious that I am actually salivating. And, that is a rarity for me at this early hour, here in California.

    Your Guisado is very similar to my Chili Con Carne except you add tomatoes, and my Chili Con Carne has beans. Oh, and the bay leaf, of course.

    I have got to have some!! Now I know what I am doing with the big chuck roast I just defrosted!

    Thank you, Lisa!! I can’t tell you how much I enjoy your blog!!!


    ~ Paula

  12. Tommy,
    True “Texas Red” chili never has tomatos or beans by tradition. Purists can be very fanatical. Meat, peppers, herbs/spices, and water are the sole ingredients. Masa may be added as a thickener to get the stew-like consistency. Individual palates determine the heat or lack there of in a given recipe. I’ve seen this form of chili served with cornbread, or corn/wheat tortillas.vA modified form sometimes has tomatos but never beans. Military style can have both tomatos and beans as it was easier to strech a batch for large groups. Theories are that military and the natural migration of recipes with travelers added the changes to the original recipe source of Texas Red.

  13. Mmmm. Yum. When I don’t have hours and hours and hours, I make ‘Carne G’, a recipe given to me courtesy of the San Antonio Fire Department, of which my brother in law is a lieutenant.

  14. Lisa Fain

    Kathi–I don’t know anyone else that makes it with beer either, but I like the flavor it adds.

    Allie–Wow! That’s great you still have fresh cilantro. I’ve tried to grow it on my fire escape with pretty poor results. But I’m hoping that this year I’ll succeed.

    Brenda–This is a perfect cold-weather dish. And how nice to be missed! My job has been crazy so I took a breather from the blog for a week.

    Best, Punchy–Hope it compares well with your own recipe.

    Matt–Well that’s just too long! You’re very welcome!

    Tommy–Sure, asada means grilled so carne asada is simply grilled meat sans gravy. And true Texas chili should never have tomatoes, though onions and garlic are fine by me.

    Texasann–If you can make chili, you can make carne guisada. And yep, that’s my grandma!

    Paula–This is a wonderful way to use up a big ol’ chuck roast!

    Monica–Thanks for the links!

    Amber–Ha! Carne G sounds like a rapper! And the San Antonio Fire Department should be a fine source for a recipe!

    CraftyCanadian–I have to admit, I don’t have a slow cooker so I don’t know how to cook in one. I know! I know! I should totally get one. But something tells me this would be a wonderful Crock Pot dish.

    Miss Meat and Potatoes–Seriously? You have to try it!

  15. Anonymous

    I grew up in the Austin area and we ate a lot of carne guisada and potato tacos.

    I’ve tried cooking carne guisada in a crock pot and it ends up being too thin. Much prefer the stove top.


  16. Hi; Lisa!

    Haven’t been around in a bit. I went to see family in New Mexico (got my green chile fix on!)

    I am so trying this recipe in a couple of days.

    I promised lasagna for tomorrow.

    Thanks for sharing all you wonderful culinary expertise with us.

  17. M. Housman

    I truly enjoy your blog. I was a “displaced Texan” for two years (stuck in Idaho) and missed BBQ like no other. I left an award for you on my blog.

  18. I get so hungry when I read your blog!

  19. tbsamsel

    ¡Ay chihuahua!
    I first had this as a kid (1955?) at the Moderno in Piedras Negras, Coahuila (across from Eagle Pass, Texas.) That was the closest nice restaurant to where we lived..

    It came with crusty bolillos and was served in a small tureen. I’ve been making it for years, using beef and sometimes, elk or venison..

    I was always amused by the vegetarians who would ask for “carne guisada without the meat..” (chortle!)

  20. tbsamsel

    And you can simplify Lisa's recipe by using Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chiles. A must-have in any pantry..

    and crockpots don't make good carne guisada.. I use my cast iron dutch oven.. Griswolds forever!

  21. wow this looks luscious. thanks for the recipe!

  22. I’ve been waiting patiently for your version of carne guisada, so thank-you! I can’t wait to try it! I have a recipe from an old home town (Port Lavaca,TX)cookbook I’ve always used that doesn’t call for any peppers but BELL! Yours sounds so flavorful. MEANWHILE, I finally found my recipe for the best chili gravy in all of TEXICO, so I’m pretty pumped!

  23. Mely (mimk)

    This sure looks delicious. Living in South Texas some years ago, I loved going out for breakfast Sunday mornings and have warm fresh made flour tortillas with carne guisada.
    The cumin is a most in this recipe.

    Thanks for posting it.

  24. Allie said…”Now, I’ll be checking your blog for a tortilla recipe. Hope you’ve got one.”

    You’re in luck, because the best tortilla recipe in the whole world is on this site. Oh my gosh, they are SO GOOD. I’ve been know to eat the entire batch, literally, in one sitting. And if you double the batch so you have one or two leftover, they ROCK the next day, too. Make them! Seriously!

  25. As soon as I read your recipe, I left for the store and grabbed the ingredients. It’s 3 and half hours into the 5 hours cooking…My house smells wonderful, I cannot wait to try it!

  26. Losferwords

    I always use Shiner Bock for the beer… and Oh My goodness, is there gonna be some cooking going on at my place for Superbowl Sunday. Pintos Refritos, Carne Guisda… and deep fried Jalepenos and Pickles!

    Great Recipe!

  27. Anonymous

    Can’t wait to try this – thank you. But what’s the flour in the ingredients list for …?


  28. This looks so good! If I don’t use the beer, should I replace it with some other kind of liquid?

  29. Danielle

    Thank you sweet angel of Tex-Mex! I will have to try this soon, I’d forgotten how much I missed it until I saw your mouth-watering photos! (as usual)

  30. Oh, It was an absolute hit! I’m always wanting to try new things and this was perfect for the cold weather! I cannot wait to eat it again!

  31. Elizabeth

    This looks so yummy. Perfect for a cold day here in Maine! And being from Texas myself – perfect for my family! Thanks so much for sharing!

  32. Oh man, I haven’t had breakfast yet and I’m thinking that THIS is what I want to eat for breakfast. For Lunch. And Dinner. Forever. And ever. I bet this smelled heavenly while cooking. I’m printing this out to try. YUM!

  33. Sharon M

    I can’t believe I lived in Texas for half my life and didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to put tomatoes in my chili. Oh well, I guess that’s b/c I’m a city girl 🙂
    My husband is now asking for Carne Guisada, so we’ll wait a couple of days until the cold spell hits and get some going. And some of your fabulous tortillas. Thanks again for another delicious-looking recipe!

  34. This would be the perfect thing for tonight and our cold, icy, rainy weather. Although, due to time constraints it will have to wait for a weekend.

    I’m thinking your chile con queso would be another good thing to make for this weekend.

  35. Anonymous

    Wish I had a big helping right now in icy Texas. Love, Grandma

  36. This looks so good I can’t wait to try it, but when you simmer the Carne Guisada for five hours is that with the top on the pot?

  37. TxMominCT

    I’m so glad you posted this!! I feel like this is one of the “true” Texan foods, a lot of people haven’t ever heard of it!

  38. Anonymous

    Sorry to nitpick, but when it’s made with pork or chicken, it’s not carne guisada anymore. It’s either puerco guisado or pollo guisado.

    You can make it in a crock pot, but I agree that the results are far better on the stove.


  39. deceiverofmen

    Hey! I’m making this right now, except I’m making it to share with a cilantro hater. So, I put chopped radish leaves in it. I thought they might add a bit of a kick and the bitternss would stay in the background. Radish leaves are a little spicy. (saving money by using the whole vegetable, always looking for ways to use radish leaves!). I can tell you that 2 hours into it, the broth is so friggin’ delicious! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  40. I’ve been in Texas for 3/4 of my life, but I’ve only eaten carne guisada once–in taco form from Maria’s Taco Xpress on South Lamar in Austin. But it was really freaking good, I have to say. I might just have to try making this myself now. 🙂 Yum.

  41. I just moved from Texas to Minnesota and came across your blog. I cannot tell you how happy I was to find this. The thing I miss the most about our great state is the amazing food. Keep up the great posts!

  42. This stew sounds really tasty!

  43. The pics make me want to lean in and take a bite!

  44. I used to be a homesick Texan living in South FLorida…now I’m happy to say we are back in the great state of Texas!! You and I have a lot of the same recipes. We just got back to Austin after a trip to Del Rio where I had the best carne guisado! I’m making it tonight to serve over rice with a side of refried beans and flour tortillas and probably guacamole. I do add a little tomato sauce to mine

  45. OK, how many jalapenos and serranos do you really use?

  46. Anonymous

    I grew up on the border in South Texas, and I have to admit, carne guisada day was the bane of my elementary school cafeteria experience…

    However, now that I’m living in the frozen north, the thought of it is making me salivate. I think I’ll have to try making a batch! I think I might be able to find slightly better beef than the school cafeteria used…

  47. Made this on Saturday (first crack ever at making carne guisada) and ate a bowl with some tortillas from CM (which were still burn-my-fingers hot when purchased). Oh MY, was it good. 🙂 Thanks for sharing the recipe!

  48. Grafxcowgirl

    Argh! I am in agony now! I am desperate for carne guisada! I don’t think I’ve come across one place here in NYC that serves it! I’d whip up your drool-worthy recipe, but as luck would have it, I’ve got a vegetarian boyfriend and we don’t cook meat in the kitchen, so I have to venture outside of home for my meat fixes! Hmmmm…a trip back home to San Antonio might be in order real soon…

  49. Lisa Fain

    Kkryno–Good to see you again!

    M. Housman–Thank you!

    Jeb–Well, that’s high praise!

    TBSamsel–Mmm, I’d love to try it with elk or venison. And yep, using Rotel is a good shortcut.

    Maggie–You’re very welcome!

    Jocelyn–I know! So many recipes I saw only used bell peppers and I said to myself, “Where’s the heat?”

    Mely–That’s my favorite way to eat carne guisada, too, nestles in a warm, flour tortilla.

    Sarah–Thanks for the plug!

    Audrey–It does make the house smell awesome, doesn’t it? And I’m so glad y’all enjoyed it!

    Loserferwords–Shiner Bock is a wonderful cooking beer–I wish they sold it here!

    Laurie–Oops–it’s fixed now!

    Risa–My mom swears by seltzer and lime if you don’t use beer.

    Danielle–Awww, you’re so sweet!

    Elizabeth–It’s wonderful on a cold day.


    Sharon–Oh, that’s just what I do–I know plenty of Texans who do put tomatoes in their chili, including some Terlingua chili cook-off winners.

    Julie–Carne guisada with chile con queso and you have a feast!

    Grandma–I’ll make you some next time I’m at the farm.

    Gary–Top off the pot.

    TxMominCT–Yep, I’m surprised when people don’t know it.

    Alan–Thanks for the Spanish lesson!

    DeceiverofMen–Brilliant! I’ll have to try that sometime!

    Manders–That’s a lot of people’s favorite–I’ll have to get it next time I’m there.

    Jared–Yep, that’s what I miss the most, too.


    Janelle–Help yourself!

    Holly–That sounds like a most delicious dinner!

    Greg–Ha! Enough to make your eyes water!

    Anon–I should hope you’d find better beef!

    Grafxcowgirl–I’ve never seen it here either. Maybe you could make it lots of chunky vegetables, beans and TVP–not quite the same but perhaps good in a pinch.

  50. Kristin

    This looks fantastic. I love me some carne guisada. I’ve been waiting for an excuse to make this and I finally will have one Friday. I’m going to try it in my new pressure cooker. Wish me luck!

  51. cmjhawaii

    I think I’ll make this, but without the peppers so that my girls can eat it too. Sounds delish! Thank you for the great recipes!

  52. i made some carne guisada based on your recipe. thanks lisa!

  53. Any thoughts on making this the night before actually serving? Re-heating suggestions?

  54. Lisa Fain

    Kristin–Good luck!

    CMJHawaii–You’re very welcome!

    Chappy–Yours looks awesome!

    Jason–It tastes even better the next day. I just add a little water to a pot and throw it in there (it gets a little solid overnight). You could microwave it as well.

  55. Yay! This recipe seems like it just might make the carne guisada that I’m missing. I’m a native Okie, but came to love my time in TX because of the Mexican food. We’ve moved to DC, and I’ve been assured that there isn’t decent Tex-Mex food for hundreds of miles. Now if we could just buy Dublin Dr. Pepper, I’d be set.

  56. Hillary S

    I am originally from Texas and never had carne guisada, maybe I never looked far enough down the menu because I always order the same thing. I made this dish (with minor adjustments – allergic to onions) and wasn’t so sure about the taste but once all the flavors blended together…AMAZING. Can’t wait to make this again and pass the recipe to my grandma!

  57. Carolyn

    Hi! I am a new reader to your blog and very excited to have discovered it. I was born in Texas and lived in the Midwest as a kid but was raised on TexMex. Now I live in NYC where there is no good Mexican to be had. My mom has shared some of her recipes but I have been on the search for more. I made the Carne Guisada yesterday and loved it! I am so excited for the leftovers today. Can’t wait to try more of your recipes! Thanks for sharing.

  58. Mélanie

    Love love love carne guisada , it reminds me mexico . It sounds and looks so yumie

  59. Stephanie

    Hi Lisa

    I just found your blog and I love it.
    I live in san antonio and I make my carne guisada differently also. You might call it the lazy way. Brown meat, add onions, water, tomato sauce, comino, garlic powder and simmer a couple of hours. Oh, I also throw in a slurry(?).

  60. Kristin

    I made this last night for friends and it was FANTASTIC. The flavors were amazing and my guests raved about it. I cooked it for 45 minutes in my pressure cooker on high and it was perfectly tender and falling apart. I added two roasted poblano chilies along with the serranos and jalapenos since Fonda San Miguel puts them in their carne guisada. I served it with tortillas, homemade salsa, pico de gallo, your Mexican rice (I was skeptical about the method on that but it really came out good) and my favorite charro beans. I already want to make the whole meal again and I haven’t even finished the leftovers. I’m going to get started on those now. Thanks for the inspiration!

  61. [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    I can imagine these flavours singing inside a warm flour tortilla. I love this! Will try making this soon. Thanks!

  62. Monique Petersen

    I am a native Texan, from Houston actually, living in Denmark. After living here for 15 months, home sickness for Tex-Mex cuisine is starting to kick in. I am glad I came across your blog and tried this dish in particular tonight. I really enjoyed it, as well as my Danish friends. Thank you so much.

  63. Awesome…a real recipe for Carne Guisada.
    Mexican restaurants in the MidWest never have it.
    I’ll have to add more cumin though.

  64. Anonymous

    I’m a native Houstonian living in Denver and before that I was also a homesick Texan living in NYC. I made your carne guisada today with homemade flour tortillas. It was heavenly. Thanks for sharing this!

  65. CraftyCanadian

    I finally tried this and it was lovely! I started everything last night, simmering it for about an hour before putting it in the fridge overnight. I then put it in a crock pot on low for 6 hours and another 2 hours on high. Thank you for the fabulous recipe 🙂

  66. My mom taught me to make this many a year ago, pretty much the same recipe minus the beer. It was pobably one of the first meals I made for my husband. He loves it!I love your blog, it brings back so many memories of home. It's also nice to have actual recipes. My mom taught me to make many of your dishes, but without recipes.

  67. pennydelossantos

    you're my hero!

  68. purpletexan

    So glad to find your site. Native Texan and by the grace of God I hope to never be homesick. We've just gotten our first cold front (60 degrees here in Rockport) and I' so looking forward to a Sunday afternoon watching the rain, football and smelling up the joint with this awesome looking recipe.

    God Bless and keep up the good work

  69. Do you use fresh or dried oregano? If I use fresh, what amount should I use?

  70. Lisa Fain

    Marti–I used dried. If you were to use fresh, I'd use a few tablespoons to taste.

  71. Nana Joye

    Hi, I am a 69 yr old, born-again Texican ! Moved here 51 yrs ago & love Tex-Mex food. Accidently found your site and just love it.
    Your love, caring for family and gift of cooking comes thru. Today I (for the first time ever) made the Carne Quisada and it is wonderful. My family is sooooo grateful. With 9 grands, 1 g-grand, I appreciate your love for your grandmothers.

    Joye (Nana) Graham
    Smithville, TX

  72. christinamarie.jewell

    Born a Texan I never realized how spoiled I was with food. My mother and Tia would spend hours in the kitchen making delicious foods that I didn't realize others craved and raved about. I was always use to fresh tortillas and beans. That was until 4 years ago when I moved away with the man I fell in love with. We live in Maine. I wish I would have paid more attention to recipes when I had the chance. Today I woke up and craved Carne Guisada I haven't had it in years! I am grateful I found your site! Just wanted to show my appreciation and thanks.

    -Another VERY homesick Texan

  73. Anonymous

    When do you put the tomatoes in? That seems to be left out in the recipe.

    Also, what's the shortest amount of time this can cook? I'd like to make it for dinner tonight but it's only 2-3 hours away!

  74. Anonymous

    A couple of other questions:

    I assume when you cook this for five hours that you cover it, but the recipe doesn't say!

    Anyway, thanks for sharing. I've got it on the stove (covered) hopefully it's ready in time for dinner. otherwise I'll just make some quick tacos and have carne guisada for lunch tomorrow 🙂

  75. Lisa Fain

    Anon–I throw in the tomatoes when I add all the other ingredients. And I cook it uncovered. Check it after two or three hours, and if it's tender enough go ahead and eat it!

  76. Anonymous

    When I was younger, we would go to "barn dances" in the country around McCamey, TX. Price Pool was a cowboy cook who was in charge of making guiso for the dances. Price was missing one eye (poked out by a mesquite thorn) stove pipe boots, big hat, and skinny enough to pull his pants up with his elbows.

    He "gave out" his guiso recipe.

    10 lbs. good quality stew meat
    5 lbs. canned tomatoes
    5 lbs. onions
    2 lbs jalapenos and serranos
    salt and pepper
    handful of comino
    handful chili powder

    Brown seasoned meat in Dutch ovens, add other stuff and some water or beer, cover and simmer till meat falls apart.5 or 6 hours….wrap in a flour tortilla

    So simple, so good.

    Phillip Webb
    San Angelo, Texas

  77. "Guisada" actually means "stewed." So "carne guisada" translates to "stewed beef," not "meat in gravy." You are correct on "asada," which simply means "grilled."

    Carne guisada is one of my fav dishes. I like to get cubed stew beef from a local meet market, its already chopped to the perfect size and is usually tenderized. My favorite way to eat CG is poured over a bowl of Mexican rice, topped with Jack cheese (HAS to be Jack), and scooped up with tortilla chips.

    Also, make sure you're using "chili" vs "chile" correctly! Chili (with an I) refers to a dish made with beans and meat. Chile (with an E) refers to chile peppers. "Chile con Queso" is usually cheese with some type of salsa or at least peppers. "Chili con Queso" is cheese with meat. They're said the same, but understanding the spelling can help avoid a big disappointment when ordering from a restaurant!

  78. This looks wonderful! If I want to add potatoes, at what point would you suggest adding them?

  79. Lisa Fain

    Elaine–About an hour into the cooking, I reckon.

  80. I'm a homesick Texan in Florida and this looks great! Thanks for being the voice of displaced southwesterners. If you have ANYTHING from Ninfas (I hear you have their green sauce) like their chicken enchiladas, I'd be PSYCHED!

  81. Karen - Mommy to four sweeties

    I made this using your recipe and it has been cooking for 2 hours.My house smells so good. My husband is going to be so happy when he comes home to this. I have a question about the cilantro though. When was that added? With the spices?

  82. Lisa Fain

    Karen–Yes, I usually add it then, but you can throw it at any time.

  83. jovannalopez

    I live in NYC i'm from San Antonio, originally. A few of my Texas friends and i got together and had a TEX-MEX night. I use this recipe for the Carne Guisada and i felt like i was home again!!! 🙂 Thanks Home Sick Texan!!!!!!!

  84. I truly miss the Texan foods that were oh sooo good. Unfortunately, the TexMex here in the deep south is not the same. Too much of the southern flare is being added and if you don't know how to cook it yourself, forget it! Fortuately, I do know how to cook carne guisada and will be having it tonight celebrating Cinco de Mayo as I always do.

  85. Your carne guisada recipe is very similar to mine, but I tried adding beer to the gravy last week when making a huge batch for my university class. The class raved over the food and we liked the beer addition. I also made a large bowl of pico de gallo to combine with the meat and tortillas. Success!

    Another homesick Texan,
    Shirl in Hawaii

  86. Mark in L.A.

    You go, girl…this is The ONE I've been looking for. Born and raised in San Antonio, ate at the first-ever Taco Cabana back in the early 80's, have LOTS of adopted comadres with various recipes…and this one KILLS. Thank you.
    A few tweaks that you may want to try, a raging success in my last effort: Tri-Tip for the meat. In a blender/processor, chop the onions, garlic, tomatoes/Rotel, jalapenos & serranos together to make a salsa-like mixture, then add to recipe where requested…it makes the gravy velvety smooth and rich. Your seasoning mix was perfection, and I love the Negra Modelo add. I thought I was back in high school lapping up my senior lunch at one of my fave San Antonio hangs…thanks for the memories.
    Mark in Los Angeles

  87. Texan Trey

    Hey Lisa, Making this recipe right now. I am a native Texan from San Antonio living in San Diego, CA. I love carne guisada and never had tried to make it. Beer was a surprise but threw it in there anyway. Looked at your other Texan recipes and figured you know what your doing. Did not have Modelo but threw in Coors Light. I will let you know how it turns out. Take care. T

  88. Texan Trey

    Hey Lisa, Im am just now getting back to the comment on how it turned out. Excellent recipe and will make it again and again. Thanks and take care.

  89. RMSTrader

    OK Lisa….I'm finally getting around to trying to make my own Carne Guisada and your recipe is my first attempt.

    I am a Carne Guisada loving fool. I've been known to pull over to previously unknown taco stands just to try their Guisada!

    Interestingly enough, the ice house by my house in Bastrop makes a decent Carne Guisada and serves it from their little taco "bar".

    I too like the stringy, falls-apart-in-your-mouth type. So, I'm making this for guests tomorrow.

    Wish me luck.

  90. Jeff Djie

    I followed this recipe of Lisa, and the result was sooooo yummy! I used beef stew meat and beef tongue meat instead.

  91. Elephant Trunk Studio

    I have your carne guisada recipe simmering as I type. Smells AMAZING!!! Can't wait to eat it! Thank you!

  92. Brittany

    My husbands favorite meal ( he is also a homesick Texan stuck
    In Oklahoma) everytime I make it I am super wife, thank you Homesick Texan.

  93. dreamsdestin

    Viva La Tex Mex!

  94. stfitzpatrick

    I am a homesick Texan in…wait, in Texas! Seriously, living in El Paso it is surprising how the food is so different than what I grew up with in San Antonio. This may be surprising to Texans on this, blog, but people in El Paso don't know what Carne Guisada is. how is that possible? I ask about it and they say, "oh yeah we have carne asada," when i say,"no, not carne asada, carne GUI-sada." And then they get a blank stare. Even the couple Taco Cabana locations here have taken carne guisada off their menu because no one knew what it was. Isn't that crazy? Also, you can't get Cabrito to save your life. El Paso really isn't in Texas, though they think they are. Long live guisada! Actually I love lengua guisada as well. do you make that as well? Great blog!

  95. Novelismo

    Thank you, Lisa! and my many congratulations to you on your cookbook, which I will put on my Christmas wish list. I'll recommend El Parillan to you for the next time you're in LA — 1528 West Pico Boulevard. They're friendly, so don't let the bars on the front window scare you off, there's good parking in back.

  96. Novelismo

    Also, I hope you find the Catskills and the Adirondacks if you're still up there in Yankee-land.

  97. Novelismo

    Book tour! Book tour! Please don't miss Richmond, Virginia — we'll put you up, carry you around and fix you dinner … if that suits you … if not, we'll just say hello.

  98. Urbiggestfan

    I've been a lurker on your blog ever since I moved away from Texas. My husband got stationed in Washington State and there is NO mexican food up here aside from Taco del mar and taco bell -_- The guys my husband invites over love the tortillas, carne guisada, chicken fried steak, everything that has come from your blog. Thank you for everything!

  99. Anonymous

    I made this yesterday to eat during the Denver & Pittsburg football game. It was wonderful. The whole house smelled good. Thank you for this recipe.

  100. Anonymous

    I made Carne Guisada today and received the most unsolicited compliments on a Mexican dish in recent history. I was given the Homesick Texan cookbook for Christmas. It is a delight to read.And my first trial recipe was a smashing success.
    Thanks. Paul from Minnesota

  101. Anonymous

    Lord have mercy, girl………this is exactly the way my favie taco place makes theirs. Gotta' love this Tejana stuff!

  102. This is the ONLY Carne Guisada recipe I use. It's absolutely the best, I do omit the beer and replace it with water. Nonetheless it is delicious, my husband loves the spicy kick of the peppers and I love the fact that the comino does not dominate the taste. With a side of spanish rice, charro beans and flour tortillas, I'm in Heaven!!!!

  103. we love to make carne guisada also, missed it after we moved from TX and figured we better learn to make it ourselves. what do you make with your leftovers?

  104. Anonymous

    in refrence to Tommy carne guisada means beef stew, and carne asada means grilled beef

  105. twobarefeet

    I am gearing up to make this for my husband's birthday this weekend and really looking forward to it. However, I wasn't able to get peanut oil. Is the flavor going to suffer noticeably if I use either veggie or extra virgin?


  106. Lisa Fain

    twobarefeet–I'd go with vegetable or canola oil.

  107. Robert Luedeman, attorney at law

    Found your excellent cookbook at the library and this is my first adventure. The house smells wonderful. Is it permitted for yanquis to make this stuff? I mean, I'm guilty, y'all.

  108. Anonymous

    You just made me and the fam very happy. We just PCS'ed to MD from TX and we were missin home so I decided to try this and it turned out awesome. He already told me to go and buy your cookbook for the things that I never learned to cook there :-)- Lyssa

  109. litfan08

    I made this for dinner last night…Great Recipe, great flavor. Thanks

  110. Marilynn Lerum

    How many people does this serves? I have a party of 10 people this weekend and would love to make it.

  111. Lisa Fain

    Hi Marilynn–It makes 6-8 servings. If you're serving a lot of other things, it might be enough, though I'd probably do 1-and-a-half times or even double the recipe just to be safe. It freezes well and makes for great leftovers if you make too much.

  112. Marilynn Lerum

    Thanks! I might double the recipe then. You're right – leftovers of this would actually be wonderful.

  113. Katherine

    Howdy! I found your blog when I was searching for a recipe for carne guisada. My husband and I were eating at our favorite Tex-mex restaurant and carne guisada was the special. My husband asked me what was in it and while I sort of knew I wanted to tell him exactly so I googled it on my phone and found your recipe. I have made it many times and and it is wonderful. I was worried about the beer when I tasted the stew right after I added it… boy I was worried! But after it cooked for a bit I was sure glad I added it. I have to admit the first time I made it I used Bud Light because that was all I had lol (I had everything else on hand and didn't want to rush out to get beer) but since then I use the Modelo… much better! Thank you for sharing your amazing recipes with us! I really want to get your cookbook! Sending warm wishes from Austin, Texas.

  114. Katherine

    PS… I use boneless short ribs because that is my favorite stew meat.

  115. Anonymous

    I made this recipe exactly as described. I was surprised at the heat I got from 2 jalapenos and 2 serranos with 4 lbs. of chuck. I like spicy but it was a touch too intense for me. We reheated the leftovers and ate wrapped in flour tortillas with rice and cheese. The rice and cheese was just the right touch to cool off the spiciness of the meat. Next time i make this (and there will be a next time) I may leave out the serranos or add a few potatoes in the pot. Next up – I plan to try the oven brisket!

  116. Joe Roman

    I did everything almost as your recipe called for. When I shopped at my local United Super Market in Lubbock, TX. (Market Street.)I had to ask the butcher for a 4lbs. package of bottom round. Because all that they had out was a thin cut or a tenderized thicker cut. I asked for him to also cut it into 1 inch pieces for me. I thanked him and headed home to start on it and noticed that on the label of meat it said "GBT RUMP ROAST BONELESS" instead of bottom round. So I'm not sure what the difference is. Of course, The "bottom round" I noticed, was $3.19 a lbs.(before I placed my order)and the meat I was given was $2.47 a lbs. I'm just wondering, if because it was so much less, that it'll be too tough for this dish? I went head and used it anyway, so we'll see. I didn't have peanut oil so I used reg veg. I thought I had a dark beer left at the house, so I didn't pick any up. As it turned out, it was a very strong stout instead.(Old Rasputin, Russian Imperial Stout) Yes, I used it too. Only four more hrs (crying) to go. I hope it turns out OK. I CAN'T WAIT!

  117. Anonymous

    Tommy asked what is the difference between carne asada and carne guisada. Carne asada is grilled beef and no gravy. Carne guisada is beef and gravy

  118. Anonymous

    Made this with leftover pulled pork–one of the best thingsI have ever eaten! Added one potato, and that thickened it nicely and added some starchy creaminess. Great recipe!

  119. uther1974

    I'm in the UK and was recommended this recipe to feed a homesick Texan I know…he lapped it up & now have the rep of being an englishman that can cook authentic texmex just like home! Massive thank you!!

  120. Kimberley Tucker

    I made this last night – A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. It was everything I hoped it would be and more . . . . .Thank you!

  121. sara winston

    I'm glad you suggested round steak. The Mex restaurants used chuck because it was cheaper. They also made a thicker gravy because it would be more filling. In order to same time, they didn't saute the meat but threw everything into a large pot which made the meat steamy and gray. My mother always sauteed the cubes of round steak until they browned like you stated. The brown stuff or "fond" on bottom of skillet make a wonderful sauce. We skip the hot peppers and serve it on the side after it's cooked. That way everyone can add however much heat they want. We never added beer or cilantro or bay leaf it might be interesting. Mom and gma would also crush fresh garlic and cumin seeds in the mocahete bowl (lava rock bowl) and add it to the cooked meat. That bowl became wonderfully seasoned with those ground spices and it just made the guisada so savory. Fresh made tortillas, fresh pot of beans, delicate Spanish rice, fresh made salsa (also crushed in the mocajete) and I was in heaven.

  122. Porfirio

    Thanks for this. Since I am married to someone from New Mexico, sometimes we have a Carne Guisada/Green Chile Stew Hybrid. Your recipe but add flour to ziplock bag and put raw meat in before browning. Then replace other chilies with plenty of Green Chilies and a 28 oz can of Pozole for a Tex/New Mex winner my kids don't get from either grandma. Porfirio

  123. This is awesome!!!! Just like I remember from San Antonio! Thank you for posting this.

  124. Thank you. I brown my beef cubes, then put everything in a crock pot for about 3-4 hours. You have 2 ingredients that I've not tried–beer and bay leaf. Today I added bay leaf to try. Next time I'll get some beer. I learned to make this in Lubbock, Texas, from a friend, Mrs. Velasquez who was an awesome cook. I like it as a taco/tacquito in a flour tortilla with pico de gallo. One of my favorite meals. It's also awesome over rice. I haven't tried the layered with beans–another option.

  125. This dish is known as "guiso" in San Angelo. It is often hit-or-miss when ordering this in a restaurant or taqueria – sometimes the meat is not cooked enough and in chunks that are too large. But when it is on, it is my favorite Tex-Mex. I've always wanted to try making it myself when I could take the time to do it right.

    Thanks so much for posting your recipe. I just finished my first guiso using your recipe and its freaking delicious, probably better than any I've ever had!

  126. I assume this is cooked lid off to allow the liquid to reduce and thicken?

  127. Lisa Fain


  128. Hi Lisa. All you homesick Texans missed a beautiful wildflower season this spring. I've used venison and elk in lieu of the beef and it's fabulous every single time. Also, when my son was in Busan South Korea teaching English, I sent this to him and he made some much missed Tex Mex. I love your site and appreciate you sharing with us.

  129. Anonymous

    It's 5:15 in AZ, I have a 4lb chuck roast thawing, and I'm going to make your recipe tomorrow. As anyone who loves to cook, I'm going to modify it: double the onions, it's Hatch season so it's going to be red (fresh ground dried guajillo, ancho, and arbol) and green based…never tried that before (wish me luck on that marriage)…potato chunks near the end…swap beer for broth…I like the beer in me more than the meat…

    ..and being a fellow SW'er, I've perused your recipes that last year and I like them. AZ cooking is heavily Mex-influenced with AZ flourishes. Tex-Mex is a whole different world that I like. It's not NM, it's not AZ, but it's proud and unique in ingredients. I appreciate the commentary and thought put into them more than I do the recipes. That's a compliment.

    Anyway I have a stupid question. Nowhere in this recipe does it say to cover while brasing/simmering for the 3-5 hours. I have my trusty old cast iron, but I use a loose-fitting cover from another pot. Does this recipe need a cover? Will your 2 cups of water and bottle of beer go the half-day distance with no cover? Or keep adding liquid as we go?

    If you let me know by noon mountain time I would appreciate it! Sorry and thank you.

    My name is Brent but I logged in anonymous because I don't have an account at an of your pulldown menu offerings.

  130. Lisa Fain

    Brent–Thank you for the kind words! It's cooked uncovered on low and that should be enough liquid but if not, you can add more if it gets too low.

  131. Anonymous

    I make this every couple of months with your recipe and this might be the best thing I've ever eaten. haven't decided, but its up there

  132. Anonymous

    Made this today and it was fabulous! Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. Yum! – Holly

  133. Been using this recipe a few years now. Couple of things – I have to deglaze my porcelein cast iron dutch oven once or twice during the meat browning to keep the fond from burning. I toss the deglazing liquid in when the meat beer etc. goes back in. I also use beef stock instead of water, I figure it might bring more flavor to the party so why not

  134. Making this for the second time, absolutely delicious! Just wanted to say thank you because this recipe is so good!

  135. I’m making this today. I have made it a time or two in the past. Truly comfort food at its best. In fact I’ve got your first book on order by way of Avid Reader bookstore. For what it’s worth I guess I’m also part of the greater Homesick Texan Nation, out here in Sac-Town, Ca. Thanks Lisa – your TX cookin’ and photography rocks!

  136. Update…this came out perfect as always. The difference for me was it simmered on low for about 1.5 additional hours, totalling 5.5. Also after about 4 hrs I added a red potato that was peeled and diced down to about 1/2 in. Since I like IPAs and I figured they’d be bitter, I actually found a single called Taco Truck Lager… made to order! Tonight I am taking leftovers and turning ’em into enchiladas. Yum.

    • Lisa Fain

      Jimmy–Taco Truck Lager sounds like the perfect beer for this. I love it!

  137. I love this recipe and make it all the time. However, I recently started eating grain and gluten free. So, now I’m hoping to find a good substitute for the beer without sacrificing the flavor of one of my favorite recipes! In an earlier post you mentioned using seltzer water and lime. How much of each should I use?

    • Lisa Fain

      Elyse–I’d use 12 ounces of seltzer and a tablespoon of lime juice. Gluten-free beer could work in this recipe, too.

  138. John Jackson

    I could do that, but it’s easier to just buy it at my favorite restaurant. I guess I’ll have to gather the ingredients and give it a try though. You never know, it might be my new favorite. It’s great stuff though and I love it when it is spicy.
    By the way, this post has been out a long time, has anyone pointed out that in the 3rd paragraph that you put “meet” instead of “meat”?

    • Lisa Fain

      John–You are the first to notice the typo! Thank you for the correction–ha!

  139. 5 stars
    Outstanding recipe! I love that you can tailor the meat tenderness and liquid thickness to your liking without modifying the flavor. I didn’t have a dark Mexican lager, so I improvised with 6 oz of Corona and 6 oz of Independence Convict Hill Oatmeal Stout (worked okay!). At the point in the recipe where you dump the beer in along with everything else, I would suggest dumping in the beer first and cook for a minute to let the alcohol burn off, then dump everything else in. That also gives you a chance to scrape those succulent and valuable browned bits from the pan. Do not skip that part! I noticed that at no point did the recipe call for the addition of salt, which seemed odd to me. I added a couple generous pinches to the onions and peppers during their cooking step, to build some flavor there. Then, you can season to taste throughout the simmer.

    • Lisa Fain

      Jason–Glad you enjoyed it and thank you for sharing your adaptations!

  140. 5 stars
    Hi Lisa. I’ve been making this dish from your blog for a number of years now, and it’s always a huge hit. I’m in Austin (my wife is a native here), and this is her favorite dish. I’ve got a pot on right now made with shiner bock, and some fresh flour tortillas from the H-E-B bakery just waiting to be filled. I just saw your recipe here for refried beans, too. I can’t wait to try them. Thanks for the great recipes.

    • Lisa Fain

      Simon–Thank you for the kind words! I’m thrilled y’all have enjoyed the carne guide over the years. It pairs very well with H-E-B fresh flour tortillas and refried beans. That’s a fine feast!

  141. Price Pool was my was a joy reading your comment with him mentioned! He was a legend and his stories remind me of the old folk lore and Cowboy poetry..amazing man! Thank you!

    • Lisa Fain

      Trisha–This is so cool! I love that Price Pool was your grandpa. Thank you for sharing!

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