carne guisada Tex Mex stew DSC3573
| |

Carne guisada, Tex-Mex stew

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?
Would you like more Homesick Texan? Well, I’ve started offering additional recipes for paid subscribers to help with the costs of running the site. While I’m not taking anything away, if you’d like to support Homesick Texan and have access to exclusive, never-seen-before subscriber-only posts, please consider becoming a member; annual subscriptions are as low as $25. Thank you for reading, your consideration, and your support!

4.91 from 30 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


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 


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.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 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.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

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

  2. 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?

    1. Lisa Fain says:

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

  3. John Jackson says:

    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”?

    1. Lisa Fain says:

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

  4. 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.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

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

  5. 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.

    1. Lisa Fain says:

      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!