Recipe for Puerto Rican Carne Guisada Meal

by Melanie Edwards on March 30, 2011 · 48 comments

in Latino Culture, Puerto Rico, Recipes

This is a sponsored post.

When I think of tasty food, I immediately think of the Puerto Rican food I grew up eating. It equals comfort food for me. Of course, I eat other types of food as well, but the food from Puerto Rico that I know and love is first on my list. It’s also the food I know how to cook without needing a recipe. I have my mom to thank for teaching me; thanks mami!

Ingredients for Carne Guisada

A favorite meal of mine is carne guisada (or carne guisa as we Puerto Ricans sometimes say). It’s basically a beef stew, with different flavors than the American beef stew known to most. Puerto Rican carne guisada is normally served with white rice and is definitely a meal that hits home. The great thing about this meal is that it is inexpensive. Even when adding beans and plantains as I did, you still get a meal with a cost per serving of about $1.90!

Latino Foods Aisle in Walmart

Luckily, here in Orlando (as I’m sure is the case in other cities with a high population of Caribbean folks) I’m able to find all the ingredients I need at my local Walmart. This is convenient for me since I can do all of my grocery and household shopping in one stop, without the need for special stops at the local bodega, as my mom used to do when we first moved here.

I’m going to share with you the recipe for each item in the meal I cooked: carne guisada, white rice, red beans, amarillos/platanos maduros (fried ripe plantains), and tostones (fried green plantains). Both the carne guisada and the red beans use sofrito as a base. To see pictures and links for the basic ingredients used in Puerto Rican sofrito, click on over and read 5 Must-Have Ingredients for Cooking Puerto Rican Food. As with previous recipes I’ve posted, I apologize for the lack in detail with the ingredients and the steps, but it is true to how I and everyone in my family cooks. We do not measure and just go along pouring items into the pot.

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada/Guisa (Beef Stew)


  • Beef stew meat
  • Adobo
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sazón
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sofrito or Recaito
  • Olives (use the Spanish salad olives with pimientos)
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 4 medium carrots, peeled and sliced or cubed


  1. Clean the stew meat and cut, if necessary, into smaller chunks. Add the meat to a large pot along with enough water to completely cover the meat. Season the mix with adobo and meat tenderizer. Cook uncovered on low-medium heat for about 40 minutes or until the meat is tender, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  3. Add 1 packet of sazón.
  4. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
  5. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of sofrito or recaito.
  7. Add 5-6 olives with a teaspoon of the vinegar from the olives.
  8. Add potatoes and carrots.
  9. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 20-25 minutes until the potatoes and carrots are tender. Stir occasionally.
  10. Raise heat to medium-high for about 10 minutes to let the sauce thicken a bit, again stirring occasionally.

Arroz Blanco (White Rice) in a Rice Cooker


  • Rice (about 1 handful per person) – Note that this is plain, non-instant white rice.
  • Cooking Oil
  • Salt


  1. Put rice into your rice cooker’s pot and clean the rice. If you’re not familiar with how to clean rice, it just means that you run it under water a couple of times and pick out the dark grains, pebbles, etc. To do this:
    • Fill pot with water and press rice with your hands.
    • Pick out anything that’s not a rice grain.
    • Pour out water, being careful not to lose any of the rice.
    • Repeat a few times until water pours out clear.
  2. Add water to the pot until the water sits just above the rice. (I’ve heard that normally it is a 2-1 ratio: for every cup of rice, you add 2 cups of water. I’ve never cooked it this way, as I don’t measure when I cook.)
  3. Add a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  4. Season with salt.
  5. Stir.
  6. Taste the water. If you feel it needs more seasoning, you can add a little more salt to your liking.
  7. Cover and set the rice cooker to cook.

There will be no need to stir the rice while it cooks, though you certainly can do so once about mid-way through. Your arroz should be done in about 30 minutes or so. You will know it’s done when you taste the rice and it’s neither mushy nor tough.

Habichuelas Rojas (Stewed Red Beans)


  • 1 can of red kidney beans
  • Cooking Oil
  • Sazón
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Sofrito or Recaito
  • Olives (use the Spanish salad olives with pimientos)


  1. Drain and rinse beans from the can and pour into a medium saucepan.
  2. Using the same bean can, fill to top and add to saucepan.
  3. Add ½ a serving-spoon’s worth of cooking oil. Not a tablespoon, but the bigger spoon one uses to stir a pot.
  4. Add 1 packet of sazón.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce.
  6. Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  7. Add 1 tablespoon of sofrito or recaito.
  8. Add 5-6 olives with a teaspoon of the vinegar from the olives.
  9. Cover and bring to a boil.
  10. Once boiling, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  11. Sauce should thicken a bit while cooking.

Amarillos/Platanos Maduros

Amarillos/Platanos Maduros (Fried Ripe Plantains)

You can make amarillos, or maduros as other cultures call them, one of two ways. You can buy ripe plantains, peel, cut, and fry them yourself. Or, you can take a shortcut by buying them already peeled and cut in the frozen section. I’ve done both and normally prefer to buy fresh plantains, but opted for the shortcut version this time around. It really is as simple as opening the packet and either deep or pan-frying them in vegetable oil. A modern twist is to bake them in the oven, if you wish.

Tostones (Fried Green Plantains)

Similar to the amarillos, you can either make tostones from fresh green plantains or buy them frozen. I used to make tostones fresh, but with the busy lifestyle we lead, buying them frozen saves a lot of time.

To make them fresh:

  • Peel the green plantain.
  • Cut into thick slices.
  • Soak the slices in salted water.
  • Fry the slices until half-done. Deep frying works great, but you can also pan-fry them.
  • Remove from oil and press into a flat circle. You can use a tostonera if you have one, or you can use the bottom of a bowl.
  • Re-fry the tostones until golden brown.
  • Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Sprinkle salt on top for seasoning.

To cook frozen tostones:

  • Open the packet and either deep-fry or pan-fry in vegetable oil.
  • Remove from oil and place on paper towels to absorb the oil. Sprinkle salt on top for seasoning.

Puerto Rican Carne Guisada

If you try this meal with your family, I would love to hear how you/they liked it! What are some favorite meals in your home?

Disclosure:  As a member of the Walmart Moms program, I was compensated for this post. As always, all opinions are my own.

Plated meal photo by Justin Edwards
Photo of ripe plantains by Arnold Gatilao
Like what you see? Share with friends!

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Heather Solos March 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm

That looks amazing. Today my writer, Brian, posted on how to make sofrito. It must be in the air. I can’t wait to try.


2 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:02 pm

How incredibly funny! Took a peek at his post and loved that a man is sharing his love for sofrito. 😉


3 Latinaish March 31, 2011 at 5:02 pm

These recipes are sooo bookmarked. YUM.

(And looking pretty, Mel. It was nice to see you again 🙂


4 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

awww you’re so sweet! Hope you enjoy cooking this meal…let me know how it goes!


5 Lisa Perez March 31, 2011 at 5:39 pm

Oh my goodness Melanie, that plate looks absolutely amazing! Great recipe and you are looking good in your video girl.


6 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Gracias! I finally did a good job with the cam. LOL The plate WAS amazing. 😉


7 Johanna March 31, 2011 at 6:00 pm

As we say in Puerto Rico, ¡se me hace la boca agua! Melanie, thanks for spreading the joy of Puerto Rican cooking.


8 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I love our food Johanna! And I know others do too…


9 Andrea(LilKidThings) March 31, 2011 at 6:21 pm

Wow that looks awesome!


10 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:04 pm



11 justicefergie March 31, 2011 at 7:49 pm

delicious! will totally try these. my eldest daughter is a plantain fanatic 😉 question: how is Carne Guisada different from Carna Asada?


12 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Your family will love this meal! Carne Asada is grilled if I’m remembering correctly, while Carne Guisada is stewed. That’s what guisado(a) means…so we also say habichuelas guisada for the stewed beans.


13 Roxana A. Soto March 31, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Dios mio, I’m not even going to show this to my Puerto Rican husband because I’m sure he’ll “demand” I make if for him! Que rico, Mel!!! Thanks for posting this!
Luckily, mi suegra llega next week, so she can take over the kitchen and cook all these delish dishes on a regular basis. I’m mostly looking forward to her flan de queso!!


14 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Sí, no se lo enseñes!!! I was totally thinking about you as I wrote up the recipes. I remembered I owed you a recipe for the beans, so hopefully the one in this post helps you. Flan is something I don’t know how to make! Pero si se hacer tembleque!!! And when you’re here later this month, do you need to take back some ingredients with you?


15 Joanne March 31, 2011 at 10:27 pm

This is one of the first spanish dishes i learned to make and I was able to perfect it. I learned this at the age of 12 and I won’t tell you how old I am but it’s well over 35 years and I still make it and everyone loves it.
It was so nice to see your video and I will tell even people from Puerto Rico don’t always know the correct name for it. That’s so funny.


16 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Joanne, what other names do you know for this meal? You said even people from PR don’t know the correct name, but carne guisada/guisa is the only name I know. Curious… 🙂


17 Rachel White April 1, 2011 at 11:55 am

One of my most favorite comfort foods.


18 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Mine too! Well, anything rice & beans is a comfort food for me. jajaja


19 Norma823 April 1, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I really liked this post. This is my children’s favorite meal that my Mami used to make. Thanks for the memories….

My blog, Platanos, Mangoes and Me! has been lost somewhere in cyberspace and I will be out of commission for about a month. Gone are 14 monthsof hard work and all my followers. I will still be following you and will let you know when I am back.

Hasta pronto!


20 modernmami April 5, 2011 at 2:09 pm

Oh no! So sorry to hear about your blog. 🙁 Do come back and let us know when you’re up & running again!


21 Carol June 20, 2011 at 7:44 pm

Melanie, Reading this post reminded me of a completely different Puerto Rican dish that a co-worker taught me to make at least 15 years ago.

It’s a codfish salad made with dried salty codfish that you have to reconstitute, cook, and shred over casava potatoes, with avocado, sliced green peppers, red onions and a vinaigrette of lemon juice and olive oil. I haven’t made it probably since we had kids, and I’m not even sure I can find that special cod in the Seattle area.

(There were tons of specialty shops where I lived in New Jersey, where you could get ingredients for all kinds of foods – Columbian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, Jamaican – each had it’s own shop.)

Now I’m going to try to find a store here so I can try your beef stew AND make that codfish salad again.



22 modernmami June 23, 2011 at 2:44 am

Ahhh, yes!!! My mami makes a variation of that same codfish salad. Try
amazon for some of the dry ingredients, but not sure where you can find that
codfish. Good luck and let me know how it goes!


23 Ralfmesa March 30, 2012 at 8:15 pm

HI, i like the beef recipe, but i’m planing to cook3 pounds of meat, how much of season do i need for 3 pounds of meat, and what kind of meat tenderizer and how much to use, can you help. thank you


24 modernmami March 30, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Hi there! I honestly don’t use a specific kind of meat tenderizer. I’d look for what you can find at your grocery store. As for how much seasoning, I usually just coat the meat well. Like I said in the post, I don’t ever measure, so just season it well and make sure all the meat is covered. I’d probably use closer to 2 sazón packets, though, since you have more meat. Hope that helps!


25 SRP September 22, 2012 at 11:56 am

It was pretty bland, actually


26 mel November 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but maybe you should us more adobi for taste?


27 mel November 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Meant adobo 🙂


28 Melanie Edwards November 21, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Yes, maybe adding more adobo will help it have more flavor!


29 Odette Del Rio May 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

Perhaps today’s working society prefers it the easy way, but I still make my own sofrito, and aside from Hunts Tomato Paste, I do not purchase canned items to cook from, nor frozen tostones. That must be the ultimate laziness! It’s so easy to peel a plantain and cook it yourself. Making it real is the real tradition! Don’t be afraid to cook.


30 Melanie Edwards May 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

Hi Odette! You’re right that traditionally, fresh plantains are used. I cook tostones both ways, as I said, and definitely enjoy cooking and providing my family with a nice meal – shortcuts or not. Thanks for the comment! 🙂


31 Melania July 3, 2013 at 11:05 am

Looks delicious!! I am going to attempt to make it tonight. I’ll let you know how it turns out!


32 Michelle September 20, 2013 at 6:34 pm

So excited to try these! I made red beans and rice to surprise my boyfriend who is Puerto Rican for his birthday last week. I loved the flavors and can’t wait to try more recipes. Thanks 🙂


33 Melanie Edwards October 1, 2013 at 3:02 pm

That’s so great to hear! I’m sure your boyfriend was super happy with his surprise.


34 Diana October 17, 2013 at 11:23 pm

Do you think this can be made in a crockpot?


35 Melanie Edwards October 22, 2013 at 11:46 am

Diana, I think this recipe would work great in a slow cooker!


36 Heather d October 21, 2013 at 6:14 pm

Attempting to Cook it right now lol hope I do it right my husband is Mexican and my brother in law is Puerto Rican so we love to try Spanish meals!! Thanks for the clear directions I use the green sofrito is that ok


37 Melanie Edwards October 22, 2013 at 11:42 am

Hope it turned out good! Green sofrito should be just fine. 😉


38 Laurie November 11, 2013 at 4:43 pm

How much meat did you use for the Carne Guisada? Just wondering!


39 Melanie Edwards November 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

Laurie, you could use a small pack of meat (1-2 pounds) which will serve 2-3 people easily. Hope that helps!


40 Dennis Alers March 30, 2014 at 9:12 pm

Great recepie


41 Diana January 22, 2015 at 10:01 am

How would this be made in a slow cooker?


42 Melanie Edwards January 31, 2015 at 8:32 pm

Diana, you would add all ingredients to the slow cooker and let it cook on low until beef is tender. You may want to add potatoes and carrots later, though, since they cook faster.


43 Janie August 18, 2015 at 9:47 pm

I never know what kind of sofrito or Adobo to use. They have so many options in the Latin store. Which one did you use for this meal?


44 Melanie Edwards August 19, 2015 at 2:09 pm

I tend to use Goya adobo and Goya sofrito or Goya recaito. For pictures and product info, see this link, Janie:

Good luck!


45 ORLANDO FIGUEROA September 30, 2016 at 12:34 am

I’ve always known how to make Arroz Blanco (my mom taught me ) and the habichuelas coloradas but I’ve always wanted to know how to make Carne guisada CUZ thats been my favorite since forever. Now, thanks to you I can’t wait to try it on my own .I’ll let you know how it turns out. See me hizo last Boca Agua just looking at the pictures. Thank you, when I cook it for the first time I can cross it off my bucket list. LOL!!!!!


46 Melanie Edwards September 30, 2016 at 10:00 am

Yay! I’d love to hear how it goes and I’m so glad you can now make it for yourself! Buen provecho! 🙂


47 Kimberly January 8, 2017 at 12:26 pm

I love this recipe sounds much like my mom do you think it could be made in a slow cooker


48 Melanie Edwards January 10, 2017 at 7:06 pm

Yes, absolutely!


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