Carne Mechada Puerto Rican Recipe

Carne mechada is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that consists of shredded beef cooked in a tomato-based sauce. Here's a recipe for carne mechada Puerto Rican style. Hope you will like it.

Carne Mechada Puerto Rican

    Carne Mechada Puerto Rican

  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Prep Time:
  • Cook Time:
  • Servings: 8
  • Calories: 400 calories

About this recipe

Where do I start? Carne mechada is one of the most beloved dishes in Puerto Rico, and for good reason!

This hearty and flavorful dish consists of tender, slow-cooked shredded beef in a delicious tomato-based sauce, infused with a variety of aromatic herbs and spices.

To make carne mechada, you start by cooking the beef in a pot or Dutch oven until it's browned on all sides. Then you add a combination of chopped onions, green bell peppers, garlic, olives, and capers to the pot, which infuses the beef with an incredible depth of flavor.

But the real magic happens when you add the tomato sauce, water, and herbs to the pot. As the mixture simmers on the stove, the beef becomes incredibly tender and absorbs all the delicious flavors from the sauce, creating a mouthwatering dish that's sure to make your taste buds dance with joy.

Carne mechada is a popular dish in Puerto Rico that's often served with rice and beans, but it can also be enjoyed on its own or with other side dishes.

This dish is perfect for family gatherings, potlucks, or any occasion where you want to serve up a hearty, satisfying meal that's sure to please everyone.

So if you haven't tried carne mechada yet, what are you waiting for? Grab your apron and get cooking, and discover for yourself why this Puerto Rican classic is such a beloved and cherished dish!

Carne Mechada recipe origin

The origin of carne mechada is not entirely clear, as it is a dish that has evolved over time through various cultural influences in Puerto Rico.

However, it is believed to have roots in Spanish cuisine, which heavily influenced Puerto Rican cuisine during the colonial period.

The word "mechada" comes from the Spanish word "mechar," which means to insert or stuff with ingredients. In traditional Spanish cuisine, "carne mechada" refers to a dish made with beef or pork that has been stuffed or marinated with various ingredients such as garlic, onions, and herbs.

It is likely that Puerto Rican cooks adapted the Spanish concept of carne mechada to include local ingredients and flavors, resulting in the delicious and distinct dish that we know today.

Over time, carne mechada has become a beloved and iconic dish in Puerto Rican cuisine, and can be found on the menus of many traditional Puerto Rican restaurants and home kitchens.

Why make this recipe?

There are a ton of reasons why you should try this carne mechada Puerto Rican recipe, and I'll do my best to convince you!

  • First and foremost, the flavors in this dish are absolutely incredible. The tender and juicy shredded beef combined with the savory tomato-based sauce, aromatic herbs, and tangy olives and capers create a flavor profile that's bold, complex, and delicious. Trust me, your taste buds will thank you for giving this recipe a try!
  • In addition to the amazing taste, carne mechada is a hearty and satisfying dish that's perfect for any occasion. Whether you're looking for a comforting family meal or an impressive dish to serve at a dinner party, carne mechada fits the bill. It's also great for meal prep, as it keeps well in the fridge and can be easily reheated for a quick and tasty meal throughout the week.
  • Another great thing about this recipe is that it's relatively easy to make, even if you're not an experienced cook. The recipe calls for simple ingredients that are easy to find at your local grocery store, and the steps are straightforward and easy to follow. Plus, the slow cooking process means you can set it and forget it, letting the flavors develop over time with minimal effort.
  • Finally, trying new recipes and cuisines is a great way to expand your palate and explore new flavors and cultures. By giving this carne mechada Puerto Rican recipe a try, you'll be immersing yourself in the rich and vibrant culinary traditions of Puerto Rico, and discovering a new dish that you might just fall in love with.

So what are you waiting for? Give this carne mechada recipe a try and discover for yourself why it's such a beloved and cherished dish in Puerto Rican cuisine!

What does Carne Mechada Puerto Rican really tastes like?

The taste of carne mechada Puerto Rican style can be described as a flavorful and savory explosion in your mouth! The slow-cooked shredded beef has a tender and juicy texture that's infused with the rich and bold flavors of the tomato-based sauce.

The combination of herbs and spices such as oregano, garlic, and capers gives the dish a unique and complex flavor profile that's both aromatic and savory.

The sweetness of the onions and the mild heat of the green peppers in the sauce provide a balance of flavors that complement the richness of the beef. The olives and capers give the dish a salty and tangy kick, while the tomato sauce adds a touch of sweetness and acidity to balance it all out.

What is in Carne Mechada Puerto Rican?

  • Beef: Carne mechada is traditionally made with beef, usually a cut that's suitable for slow cooking such as chuck or brisket. The beef is cooked until it's tender and easily shredded.
  • Onion: Chopped onions are a key ingredient in the sauce for carne mechada, providing sweetness and depth of flavor.
  • Green bell pepper: Diced green bell peppers add a mild heat and a pop of color to the dish.
  • Garlic: Minced garlic is used to flavor the sauce and infuse the beef with its pungent aroma.
  • Tomato sauce: The tomato sauce is the base of the sauce for carne mechada, providing a sweet and tangy flavor that balances out the richness of the beef.
  • Water: Water is added to the sauce to help thin it out and create a more soupy consistency.
  • Olives: Pitted green olives add a salty and briny flavor to the dish.
  • Capers: Capers are another salty and tangy ingredient that add a unique flavor to the sauce.
  • Oregano: Dried oregano is added to the sauce to give it an aromatic and earthy flavor.
  • Salt and pepper: Salt and pepper are used to season the beef and the sauce to taste.

These are the main ingredients needed for carne mechada Puerto Rican style. Some variations of the dish may include additional spices or ingredients, but these are the core components that make up the dish.

Equipment needed for this

  • Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot with lid: This is the primary cooking vessel for the beef and sauce. A slow cooker or pressure cooker can also be used as a substitute.
  • Cutting board and sharp knife: You'll need to chop the onions and green bell peppers, and mince the garlic. A good quality sharp knife is essential for safe and efficient chopping.
  • Wooden spoon or spatula: This will be used to stir the beef and sauce as it cooks.
  • Measuring cups and spoons: You'll need to measure out the tomato sauce and water for the sauce, as well as the salt and pepper.
  • Tongs or fork: Used to shred the beef once it's cooked and tender.
  • Serving dish: To present the finished dish.

These are the main pieces of equipment you'll need to make carne mechada Puerto Rican style. If you don't have a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot, a large saucepan or skillet with a lid can also be used. A silicone spatula or wooden spoon can be used in place of a wooden spoon or spatula. And if you don't have tongs or a fork, you can use a couple of forks to shred the beef.

How to make Carne Mechada Puerto Rican

Ready for a new and exciting beef recipe? Try our carne mechada Puerto Rican style recipe! With its flavorful and tender slow-cooked beef, savory tomato-based sauce, and briny olives and capers, this dish is a classic in Puerto Rican cuisine. Learn how to make it and add some delicious Latin flair to your dinner menu.


  • 2 pounds flank steak or beef chuck
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olives, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 1 can tomato sauce (8 oz)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cut the beef into thin strips and season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides.
  3. Add the onion, green pepper, garlic, olives, and capers to the pot. Cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are softened.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, water, and oregano to the pot. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover the pot and simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender and easily shredded with a fork.
  6. Remove the beef from the pot and shred it with two forks. Return the shredded beef to the pot and stir to combine with the sauce.
  7. Serve the carne mechada over rice or with a side of beans.

How do you serve Carne Mechada Puerto Rican recipe

Once you have made carne mechada Puerto Rican style, here are the steps to serve it:

  1. Using tongs or a fork, shred the beef into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Ladle the sauce and shredded beef into a serving dish. Make sure to scoop up some of the olives and capers into the sauce.
  3. Garnish the dish with fresh cilantro leaves or chopped fresh parsley for a pop of color and flavor.
  4. Serve the carne mechada hot with a side of white rice and beans, which are traditional accompaniments to the dish.
  5. If desired, serve with sliced avocado or a simple salad of sliced tomatoes and onions on the side.

Rated: 4.9 of 5.0 from 891 reviews.

Recipe Tags: Carne Mechada Puerto Rican, Carne Mechada Puerto Rican Recipe, Recipe, Top rated, Carne Mechada, Puerto Rican Pot Roast, Pot Roast, Puerto Rican

What to serve with

Carne mechada Puerto Rican style is traditionally served with white rice and beans, which are staple side dishes in Puerto Rican cuisine. The white rice is usually cooked with garlic and olive oil for added flavor, and the beans can be either black beans or kidney beans, cooked with sofrito (a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, and peppers) and sometimes with pieces of ham or bacon.

In addition to rice and beans, some other side dishes that pair well with carne mechada include:

  1. Tostones: Fried plantains that are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
  2. Maduros: Sweet fried plantains that are caramelized and tender.
  3. Ensalada de aguacate: A simple salad of sliced avocado, tomatoes, and onions dressed with olive oil, lime juice, and salt.
  4. Yuca con mojo: Boiled cassava served with a garlic and olive oil sauce.
  5. Arroz con gandules: Yellow rice cooked with pigeon peas and spices.
  6. Plátanos al Caldero: Green plantains that are boiled, mashed, and then sautéed with garlic and olive oil.

My recommendations and tips

  • Use a cut of beef that is well-suited for slow cooking, such as chuck or brisket. These cuts have plenty of connective tissue and fat that will break down during cooking and make the meat tender and juicy.
  • Don't skip the step of searing the beef before cooking it in the sauce. This will give the meat a nice crust and deepen the flavor of the dish.
  • Be patient and let the beef cook slowly in the sauce. This will ensure that the meat is tender and the flavors of the sauce have melded together. You can even let it cook on low heat for several hours, stirring occasionally, to really develop the flavors.
  • Use a good quality tomato sauce for the sauce, as it will be the base for the dish. Look for a brand that doesn't have any added sugar or preservatives.
  • Taste the sauce as you cook, and adjust the seasoning as needed. If it's too acidic, add a pinch of sugar to balance it out. If it's too salty, add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice to cut the saltiness.
  • Don't forget the olives and capers, as they add a nice briny and salty flavor to the dish. If you're not a fan of olives, you can leave them out or substitute them with chopped pickles or caper berries.
  • To make the dish even more flavorful, you can add a spoonful of sofrito to the sauce. Sofrito is a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, peppers, and herbs that is a common seasoning base in Puerto Rican cuisine.
  • Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before shredding it to help retain its juiciness.

Carne Mechada Puerto Rican storage ideas

Yes, here are some tips for storing leftover carne mechada Puerto Rican style:

  1. Let the meat cool down before storing it in the refrigerator. You can store the meat and sauce separately, or you can store them together.
  2. Store the meat and sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Make sure to label the container with the date it was prepared.
  3. You can also freeze leftover carne mechada for longer-term storage. Allow the meat to cool down completely before placing it in an airtight freezer-safe container or a freezer bag. The meat can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  4. To reheat the carne mechada, you can heat it up in a pot over low heat, stirring occasionally until heated through. You can also microwave it in a microwave-safe dish, stirring every 30 seconds until heated through.
  5. If the sauce has thickened too much after being refrigerated or frozen, you can add a splash of water or beef broth to loosen it up.

Potential ingredients substitutes

  • Beef substitute: You can use pork shoulder or chicken thighs as a substitute for beef. However, keep in mind that the cooking time may vary depending on the type of meat you choose.
  • Tomato sauce substitute: You can substitute canned crushed tomatoes or tomato puree for tomato sauce. You can also make your own tomato sauce by pureeing canned or fresh tomatoes in a blender.
  • Sofrito substitute: If you don't have access to sofrito, you can substitute it with a mixture of sautéed onions, garlic, and peppers. You can also add some chopped cilantro or parsley for additional flavor.
  • Olives and capers substitute: If you don't have olives or capers, you can use chopped pickles or caper berries instead.
  • Red wine substitute: If you don't have red wine, you can use beef broth or chicken broth as a substitute.
  • Garlic substitute: If you don't have fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder or minced garlic from a jar. However, fresh garlic is recommended for best flavor.

What additional info do you need

I have treated many great questions about the carne mechada Puerto Rican recipe already in this article, but there is always more to learn. Here are a few additional points that you may find helpful:

  1. The cut of beef used in carne mechada is typically a tougher cut that benefits from the low and slow cooking method. Some popular cuts include chuck roast, flank steak, or brisket.
  2. To add even more depth of flavor to the dish, you can marinate the beef in a mixture of vinegar, garlic, and spices for several hours or overnight before cooking.
  3. In addition to the olives and capers, you can add other ingredients to the sauce, such as bell peppers, onions, or even a touch of red wine, to give the dish even more complexity.
  4. While traditionally served with white rice, carne mechada can also be served with other side dishes, such as black beans, plantains, or a simple salad.
  5. It's important to taste the dish as you go along and adjust seasoning as needed. Don't be afraid to add more salt, pepper, or other spices to get the flavors just right.


In conclusion, if you're looking for a flavorful and hearty dish to spice up your dinner routine, carne mechada Puerto Rican style is definitely worth a try. With its tender, slow-cooked beef and savory tomato-based sauce, this dish is sure to please both meat-lovers and flavor-seekers alike.

Also, with the added briny flavors of olives and capers, it's a unique and delicious twist on traditional beef recipes. So, give it a shot and see for yourself why this recipe is a classic in Puerto Rican cuisine!

Next Post Previous Post

Follow Lofty Recipes on GNews