Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Slow-Cooked Ropa Vieja

Scott Phillips

Servings: 6

The name of this traditional Caribbean dish means old clothes, partly because of the way the beef shreds into tatters. You’ll get the right texture by cooking the beef until it’s so tender that it quite literally falls apart. Serve it on white rice and black beans with diced avocado as a garnish and corn tortillas and lime wedges on the side.


  • 2 (14.5 oz.) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes with juice
  • 3 medium yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped (about 3 cups)
  • 3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (1-1/2 cups)
  • 3/4 cup chopped pitted green olives
  • 2 Tbs. drained, rinsed, and chopped capers
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 3 lb. flank steak
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 2 Tbs. sherry vinegar


  • In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together the tomatoes, bell pepper, shallots, olives, capers, garlic, oregano, cumin, black pepper, 1/2 tsp. salt, and the bay leaves.
  • Cut the flank steak in half with the grain, then cut each of these halves into thirds across the grain. Nestle the pieces of beef into the sauce.
  • Cover and cook on low for 8 hours, or until the beef can be shredded easily.
  • Discard the bay leaves. Shred the meat in the cooker with two forks, then stir in the cilantro, vinegar, and salt to taste.

Make Ahead Tips

The beef can stay well on a keep-warm setting for up to 3 hours; shred it and stir in the cilantro and vinegar just before serving.


Rate or Review

Reviews (4 reviews)

  • KarinJB | 01/20/2021

    Easy to make and a great alternative to beef stew and it smells good!. I agreed with mommalane and added some pili pili to the pot before cooking which gave just a hint of warmness to the flavor.

  • Krispie | 01/08/2019

    Okay, so we thought this was fantastic. Particularly when factoring in the ease of preparation. Even my kids had multiple helpings! I fill definately be making this again!

  • favoritecabbie | 05/09/2017

    Wow. If you want to do an alternative to the usual BBQ fare, try this dish and add some Carribean drinks and dessert. I would recommend the yellow peppers or orange or red or a combo thereof for their sweetness. And this dish is worth a trip to a good olive bar for the pitted greens. I chose one marinated in garlic that had a meaty texture. This recipe really makes the flank steak shine. And so easy. Just stir everything into crockpot and use your hands to pull up sauce around meat and push in meat until it's all nestled below surface of braising liquid. I actually did get 3 lbs, into a 6 quart crockpot. You could easily do one and a half lbs of steak and same amount of sauce in a 4 quart crock. Has a sophisticated Caribbean flavor. And the aroma when it's cooling is killer. Might be a little sophisticated for kids. (I mean olives and capers for kids?).

  • mommalane | 03/12/2014

    I would give this recipe 5 stars if it had a bit more "punch" of flavor. I don't know if it needed stronger/more olives, more vinegar or more cumin. However it was easy to assemble and did taste very good. I followed it exactly except I cut it in half, used a 1.5# flank steak and cooked in a 4qt crockpot. It was done in the 8 hrs, shredded perfectly and kept warm nicely while I cooked the rice. I will certainly make it again! We have smaller appetites, and as a meal alone, the halved recipe fed the 3 of us with at least 2 servings left.

Rate this Recipe

Write a Review

Delicious Dish

Find the inspiration you crave for your love of cooking

Fine Cooking Magazine

Subscribe today
and save up to 50%

Already a subscriber? Log in.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.

Start your FREE trial