Bistec Encebollado Recipe {Puerto Rican Cubed Steak}

by Melanie Edwards on September 23, 2010 · 20 comments

in Recipes

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Bistec Encebollado

Photo by Penny (pengrin™)

Earlier this year, I wrote about how my family is comprised of meat lovers. In that post, I shared a story from when my husband and I were newlyweds and I made the mistake of serving him dinner with no meat. The recipe I included in that post was for Bistec Encebollado (Puerto Rican Cubed Steak), which has been a popular recipe, but I felt it got a little lost in the post due to the giveaway I held at that time. So, I decided to share the recipe with you again.

As I shared before, we often ate beef growing up in a Puerto Rican house. From carne molida to bistec encebollado to barbecuing steaks at parties, many meals I grew up eating – and some of my favorites – involve beef. One of my all time favorites is bistec encebollado.

Cubed Steaks

Image from CSU Meat Sciences

The key to making bistec encebollado is that you have to use cubed steak. If you can’t find it pre-packaged, just ask the butcher to run a piece of beef through the machine and it’ll come out cubed for you. Then, you really only need some onions and the basic ingredients for making sofrito – a staple when cooking Puerto Rican food.

Bistec Encebollado

Image from Puerto Rican Recipes Online

Bistec Encebollado Recipe {Puerto Rican Cubed Steak with Onions}


  • Cubed Steak
  • Onions
  • Cooking Oil
  • Adobo
  • Meat Tenderizer
  • Black Pepper

Cooking the Steak

  1. Season el bistec with adobo, black pepper, and meat tenderizer.
  2. Cut your onions into nice ring slices.
  3. Using a large covered pan, heat a bit of cooking oil.
  4. Put your steaks in and drizzle a little water under to help create steam.
  5. Cover the pan and cook on low-medium heat.
  6. When the steak is tender and nearly done, add your onions on top of the steaks.
  7. The steak will cook slowly on low heat and the onions will wilt creating a perfect combination of steak and onions.
  8. I highly suggest you serve over white rice and red beans with a side of tostones. Heaven!

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.

Have you ever had bistec encebollado before? If you try this recipe, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Monica September 23, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for the recipe, Melanie. It looks delicious. I’ll have to try this sometime…


Young And Fabulous September 25, 2010 at 3:49 am

OMG, that looks so good, it made me hungry! I don’t like measuring too, when I cook, I use approximation and just adjust according to taste. But I’m really craving for Bistec Encebollado right now! lol!


Erica September 26, 2010 at 6:33 am

That looks SO good. I’m literally drooling over it.. Although, I’m in love with black beans.. so I’d have that instead of red.. And also, what are tostones b/c they sound delish…


OfeliaNJ September 27, 2010 at 12:06 am

Bistec encebollado is always a favorite for me – I’ll even ask for extra onions and let the juices soak into the rice, yuca, platanos … you get the idea!


Eren Mckay September 27, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Thanks so much for the step by step instructions, Melanie. I only like to cook when the recipes are detailed and your is really well explained so I’ll be able to make this.
All the best,


Debbie@Invisible Heartstrings September 29, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Mmm. Nothing like starting your day with a delicious sounding recipe. Just looking at that Adobo spice this week and wondering what you would put it on.


lisa renata October 2, 2010 at 12:28 am

MMMM That looks really good. I must try. Thanks for the recipe.


Rachel White October 2, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Yummy this sounds delicious!

Reply October 12, 2010 at 10:55 pm

My favorite Bistec Encebollado dishes are from Guavate and Rice & Beans Restaurants in East Orlando!


Adal Gutierrez February 11, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Melanie, this looks so GOOD… and the instructions are so detailed, thanks!


modernmami February 15, 2011 at 6:36 pm

I’m so glad you find the instructions are easy to follow and detailed! I
always worry since I don’t measure when I cook. You have to try it, it’s


Gaby D July 30, 2011 at 1:22 pm

You are missing two very important ingridients!!  The bistec trade mark flavor, at least here in PR, is the tangy vinegar and oregano. You need to marinate the meat with salt and pepper, much oregano, maybe a powder sazon if you like, some beef boulion and 2 to 1 ratio of olive oil + vinegarand of course lots of white onion rings. If you let all this ingredients marinating overnight  the flavor will be heavenly. When cooking just throw all in the potm let it boil ten lower to simmer for 40 mins aprox.  


Deb February 12, 2012 at 8:26 am

my hubby loves the juice from this on french fries –so we usually do up the steak, red beans and rice — and FRIES!


modernmami February 12, 2012 at 9:08 am

Yes! I know many people who add fries to their rice & beans! I’ve done it before too! 🙂


Jessica November 17, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Just like Gaby D, I like to marinate in a little vinegar and it makes the bistec really tender. Also the juice has a little more zig and it tastes heavenly on the fries!!!!!


Melanie Edwards November 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

That’s a great idea!


Ara Morenberg July 17, 2015 at 8:09 pm

I plan on making this soon. It sounds delicious. Do you add lime juice to the onions/steak when cooking?


Melanie Edwards July 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

No, I don’t!


Yarikza Alexander August 24, 2016 at 8:05 am

I love bistec encebollado, growing up in Puerto Rico, we ate it almost once a week. I have my own little twist when I make it. I let the cub steak marinate in the adobo and onions for at least 30 minutes, then I dump it in a pot and I add more onions and a beef bullion and let it cook at med-low heat till is done. I love to eat it with white rice, tostones and avocado.


Melanie Edwards August 24, 2016 at 12:41 pm

That sounds delicious, Yarikza! I love the onions so extra onions sound great! 🙂


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