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Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

Ropa vieja is a Cuban dish loaded with shredded beef and vegetables that traditionally takes hours to cook, but in an Instant Pot, is ready in just over an hour! 

A dish of Cuban Ropa Vieja with lime wedges for garnish

Being a household with two working parents, and a school-aged kid with activities (and a more active social life than his parents!), the Instant Pot has been a lifesaver for us. I was skeptical at first. It was probably two years after it became the "it" appliance that I finally caved and bought it. But now I'm a huge fan. It's really easy to use, and allows us so many more options for dinner that would normally take too long to cook on a weeknight. It's also mostly hands-off cooking, which means I can spend more time with my family.

Ropa vieja (Spanish for "old clothes" because of the "raggy" appearance of the shredded beef) is a Cuban dish that normally takes hours to cook to make the beef tender enough to be shredded. In the Instant Pot, however, it takes just over an hour! Another thing I like about the Instant Pot is that, in most recipes, all of the cooking can be done right in the pot, because it has a saute setting. So, I can sear the meat, and saute the veggies before turning on the pressure. No extra dishes to wash!

A bowl of ropa vieja in front of a dish of rice

You can even cook the rice for this recipe in your Instant Pot! If I want rice with my meal, I usually cook that first (even up to a day ahead of time!), transfer to a serving dish, rinse out the inner pot, then cook the main recipe. When the main recipe has finished cooking, I reheat the rice in the microwave.

This is a really flavorful (but not spicy, as long as you remove all of the jalapeno seeds and membrane from the pepper), delicious, comforting stew. To mix it up, you can serve over black beans instead of rice (or a mix of rice and beans).

Ropa vieja being ladled on a serving of rice.

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A dish of ropa vieja over rice with lime wedge garnishes

Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Ropa vieja is a Cuban dish loaded with shredded beef and vegetables that traditionally takes hours to cook, but in an Instant Pot, is ready in just over an hour! 


  • 2 tbsp canola oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 lb chuck steak
  • ½ sweet bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips
  • ½ large yellow onion, peeled and cut into half-moons
  • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 14 oz diced tomatoes in a can, with their juices
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups hot cooked rice
  • Fresh lime wedges, for serving


  1. Turn your Instant Pot to saute, and add 2 tbsp of canola oil. 
  2. Season both sides of the chuck steak with salt and pepper, and saute for 4 minutes on each side, then remove to a plate. 
  3. Add more oil to the instant pot, if needed, then add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeno pepper. Saute for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook another 30 seconds. Add the canned tomatoes and their juices, the broth, capers and brown sugar. Return the beef to the pot and nestle as far down in the liquid as possible. 
  5. Place the lid on the Instant Pot, and set the pressure cooker timer to 70 minutes, and make sure the valve is set to sealed. 
  6. When the timer is done, carefully vent the steam. Once the steam is done venting, remove the pot and use two forks to shred the beef. 
  7. Divide the rice into 4 serving bowls, and top each with the ropa vieja and lime wedges. 
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: serving (ropa vieja + ½ cup rice)
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 481Saturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 77mgSodium: 494mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 2gSugar: 11gProtein: 26g

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Adapted from Foodie with Family

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Wednesday 11th of December 2019

Thank you so much for this recipe! I read a lot of recipes that call for 2 or 3 lb of chuck steak. In Europe it's quite expensive meat and besides we are not that big meat eaters! Nice to see a more balanced recipe that one could easily increase if he wanted.


Thursday 12th of December 2019

Thanks for your comment, Mark! I had the same problem, and we're a family of just three (and the kiddo won't eat anything remotely spicy). Enjoy!

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