Cuban Vaca Frita

Viva Vaca Frita

This popular Cuban dish is fresh and juicy. Vaca Frita is very easy to cook. Though it takes some patience.

The Secret is Cooking

The key to Vaca Frita or “fried beef” is slow cooked beef the Cuban way. Quick frying is the second and last step in the preparation.

Good for Two Different Dishes

Our tip: After cooking the meat, keep the cooking water. It’s a delicious broth that you can use to make another dinner. Peel and cut potatoes and root vegetables into the same size: either 1/4 inch for fast cooking or 1 inch for fast cutting. Cook them in the broth to create a Cuban style soup.

  • Substitute beef with chicken breast.
  • Vaca Frita with Mojo Sauce (see recipe below).
  • Add traditional black beans and fried plantains to the dish (see recipe below).
The Vaca Frita Culinary Spice Kit includes the following spices:
[1] Cumin, orange peel, oregano

[2] Chipotle pepper, ancho pepper

Vaca Frita Pizza
Cuban Vaca Frita

Vaca Frita

Cuisine Cuban
Servings 3


  • 1.25 lb skirt steak or brisket
  • 1 green bell pepper quartered
  • 1 green bell pepper halved & sliced
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 1 large onion halved & sliced
  • 2 cups rice
  • 5 cloves garlic or more to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • olive oil
  • salt

Culinary Spice Kit

  • Pouch [1] Cumin, orange peel, oregano
  • Pouch [2] Chipotle pepper, ancho pepper


  • Cook rice according to package instructions.
  • In a POT, add meat, the quartered bell pepper & onion, 2 cloves garlic, salt to taste. Fill with water to cover. Close POT. Bring to boil. Turn heat to low.
  • Cook 2-4 hours until meat is tender.
  • Shred meat into 1/2 inch thick chunks.
  • In a PAN, heat 1/2 cup oil over medium heat. Fry sliced onions and bell pepper with a pinch of salt until translucent. Scoop vegetables out for later. Keep the remaining oil in the PAN.
  • In the same PAN, over medium heat, add meat, 3 cloves chopped garlic, Cuban Spices [1], and Cuban Spices [2] to taste. Fry for about 5-10 minutes until golden brown.
  • Return vegetables to PAN to reheat.
  • Turn off. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
  • Serve with rice. Enjoy!


Recipe changes for variation with Mojo Sauce (spiced fried onions):
  • Step 5: Fry onions and bell peppers separate.
  • Step 6: Don't use Cuban Spices [2].
  • Step 7: Return only bell peppers to the PAN.
  • Step 8: Don't use lime juice.
  • New Step: To mix the Mojo Sauce, place fried onions in a BOWL and season with lime juice and Cuban Spices [2] to taste.
  • Step 9: Top with Mojo Sauce.
Recipe for fried plantains as a typical side:
  • Peel plantains and cut them into 1/2 inch slices.
  • In a PAN, heat 1/4 cup of oil over medium heat.
  • Fry plantain slices until they turn golden on both sides.
  • Season with salt to taste.
Recipe for black beans as another typical side:
  • In a POT, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Add 1 can black beans (rinsed).
  • Season to taste with salt, cumin, and black pepper.
  • Fry beans for a couple of minutes.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the broth from cooking the meat.
  • Cover POT and bring to boil.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes.
Keyword ancho, chipotle