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Instant Pot Ropa Vieja

Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

Ropa Vieja translates roughly to “old clothes” because of the way the beef shreds apart into flavorful juicy strips. This is definitely a recipe to double (or triple!) and store in batches in the freezer. It’s incredible for a party spread and is a hit with kids and adults alike. This Instant Pot version is so easy to prep and really speeds up the process.


  • 2 pounds Skirt Steak (or flank steak)
  • 112 teaspoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoons Dried Oregano
  • 112 teaspoons Paprika
  • 112 teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 1 Onion
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • 2 Limes (zest and juice)
  • 1 15-ounce can Diced Tomatoes
  • 13 cup Water (or stock)
  • 1 cup Basmati Rice (White)
  • 2 Bay Leafs

Cooking Instructions


    Set up your pot.

  • 2. CHOP

    Slice the steak into 2 - 3" pieces. Toss with 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and spices (2 teaspoons dried oregano, 1 ½ teaspoons paprika, 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin).

    Mince the garlic. Slice the onion into half-moons. Slice the peppers into long strips. Add all to the pot. Add the zest and juice of 1 lime.

    Add the can of tomatoes and 1/3 cup water (or stock/broth if you have some and prefer to use it).

  • 3. SEAL

    Seal and cook at high pressure for 30 minutes. When the timer is done, allow for a natural pressure release (you can try quick release if needed but the meat will cook a little longer with the slower, natural release and we like that).

  • 4. RICE

    Bring 1 cup white rice and 1 ½ cups water to a boil with ½ teaspoon of salt. Once simmering, stir well and reduce to the lowest heat and cover. Steam for 17 minutes. Turn off the heat and fluff with a fork (add a knob of butter if desired). You can drape the top of the pot with a clean towel and replace the lid; the rice can sit like this for about 30 minutes before serving.

  • 5. SIMMER

    Remove the beef to a casserole dish or bowl. Turn the Instant Pot on to simmer and reduce the juices by about 1/3rd or so. Meanwhile, shred the beef with a fork and return it to the Instant Pot (it’s ok to add it back in while it’s still simmering).

    Taste and add a pinch more salt as needed.

  • 6. SERVING

    Serve over rice or with tortillas. If you have some cilantro you can add it on the top. Serve with the remaining lime cut into wedges.

Check out our new features!


  • STEAK:
    this is a wild sub because ropa vieja is ALWAYS steak, but if you make this with chicken thighs or even a whole chicken in the pot, it will taste amazing
    again, important to the real dish, but if you left them out, it will still taste good
    some recipes call for olives or capers - add them if it makes you happy!
  • RICE:
    great over roasted potatoes or just with tortillas too

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Chop their meat into small pieces if needed; the longer strings can be hard for little kids
  • Roll up in tortillas with some rice and cheese for a familiar setting

For Toddlers

  • Chop meat and peppers up finely so it’s more of a mash. Mix with rice or serve it on the side

For Choosy Eaters

  • If they don’t see you make it, it’s fairly easy to pull the meat out of the sauce and even “dry” it off a little on a paper towel. If they like seared steak at all, you can put a few pieces in a sauté pan which dries it out further and gives it crispy edges
  • Rolled up in or next to a cheese tortilla, it will look familiar
  • Leave some bell pepper slices for nibbling on the side
  • Try with mashed avocado or sour cream/ yogurt on the side

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

  1. Make the dish entirely – it tastes even better the next day
  2. Make the rice ahead and microwave to serve
  3. Leftovers are fantastic for days. Wrap some in a jar or tupperware and freezer it. Defrost in the fridge and reheat in a pot to serve
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