Ropa vieja - shredded beef with veggies in a beautiful sauce. Cuban comfort food in your slow cooker or pressure cooker!

Let me start by saying, if you don’t know, that ropa vieja is one of the national dishes of Cuba.  It’s Spanish for “old clothes” and as one story goes, a poor old dude once shredded and cooked his own clothes because he could not afford food for his family. He prayed over the bubbling concoction and a miracle occurred.  His clothes turned into a tasty meat stew.

Is this true?  I’ll let you decide.  But I will tell you what is true…I love ropa vieja.

When I visit Key West, I always hit the Cuban places and get ropa vieja.  Not just one way, but different ways – on a sandwich made with Cuban bread, on plantain chip nachos, and with yellow rice and black beans.  Anyway you give it to me I will eat it.

It’s shredded meat with strips of veggies in a luscious sauce.  What more could a guy ask for?

I’m gonna give you two different ways of preparation – slow cooker and pressure cooker.  Both of these not only provide ease, but they love flank steak, which is the meat we’re gonna use here.  Flank steak is not known for it’s tenderness.  It can be tough if overcooked, stringy, and sometimes just eh.  But both methods yield a super tender meat and it’s so easy!

Here we go!



2.5-3 pounds flank steak, cut in three pieces
1 cup beef broth
1 – 6 ounce can tomato paste
1 – 14 ounce can petite diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon tumeric
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 onion cut into strips
2 bell peppers cut into strips
1 carrot diced
1 cup Spanish olives, drained
1 bay leaf
4 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of chopped parsley
SIDES: yellow rice, plantains, black beans for serving


SLOW COOKER: Sprinkle the flank steak with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in your slow cooker if you have a browning function. If not, use a pan. When hot, brown steak on both sides. Remove to a plate.  In the slow cooker or pan, add the carrot, onion, and bell pepper. Sauté for just 4-5 minutes and add garlic. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

Transfer veggies to your slow cooker if you need to. Turn to low. Add all other ingredients in your slow cooker except the flank steak and combine. Add the meat and its juices to the slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cook on low for 9 hours. When done, shred the meat. Serve!

PRESSURE COOKER: Sprinkle the flank steak with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in your pressure cooker on the sauté/browning setting. When hot, brown steak on both sides. Remove to a plate. In the pot, add the carrot, onion, and bell pepper. Sauté for just 4-5 minutes and add garlic. Sauté for another 1-2 minutes.

Press cancel. Add all other ingredients in your pressure cooker except the steak and combine. Add the meat the its juices to the pressure cooker and cover with the sauce. Hit the meat function if you have an IP. If not, cook on high pressure for 35 minutes. Use natural release method. When pressure has ben fully released, shred the meat with two forks.
Ropa vieja - Flank steak is cooked down with veggies in a luscious sauce! Pressure cooker and slow cooker instructions.
Serve on a nice Cuban bread or over rice or even mashed potatoes!

Ropa Vieja - Slow Cooker & Pressure Cooker! Shredded meat and veggies in a luscious sauce! Click To Tweet

**NOTE: I’m aware that everyone doesn’t like olives. You don’t have to put them if you don’t like them. It’ll be just fine and the dish will not suffer at all.

I live in the south and I find Cuban bread at Publix, in their bakery section in a big white sleeve. I know not everyone has a Publix or can get their hands on Cuban bread. If you want to make a sandwich out of it, a French loaf would be just fine. What I do if I put in on a sandwich, so I can get the true feeling of being back in Key West, is I mayo the bread on the inside, both sides, add pickles and the meat mixture, put it on a hot cast iron skillet. I then put an aluminum foil wrapped brick on top and press it. Deliciousness!

Now on to the plantains! Yay! This is my favorite recipe and it’s super easy! I buy plantains at Wal-Mart so it’s probably something you can find with ease. If not, you can buy them in the freezer section already made up, and they’re good, just not as good as homemade!

Ropa vieja - Cuban shredded meat with veggies. Pressure cooker and slow cooker recipe.

54 thoughts on “Ropa Vieja – Slow Cooker + Pressure Cooker”

    1. I have a 6 quart. I’ve never used a mini, but halving should work as long as you don’t go over your max line. Enjoy!

  1. This is an awesome recipe exactly as is – both slow cooker & pressure cooker worked well for me. My son recently visited Cuba & tried “authentic” Ropa Vieja while there – he sent a text saying that it tasted *exactly like his momma’s*…that would be this recipe!!! Thanks for sharing your excellent recipe 🙂

  2. This looks delicious I love all the different spices and of course the slowcooker prep. Very tempting recipe thanks for sharing it and the tidbit about Cuban food.

  3. That looks absolutely glorious! Thank you so much for sharing with us over at the To Grandma’s house we go link party, I will be featuring you tomorrow when the new party starts 🙂

    1. Oldie but goodie slow cooker…even though you can slow cook in the Instant Pot, I will never EVER rid myself of my slow cooker. You’ll enjoy this.

  4. I love the Old Clothes recipe, I remembered the first time I ate it and have loved it since, amazing recipe! Thanks so much for sharing your post with us at Full Plate Thursday! Have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. It was the first taste of Cuban good I had and from that moment on, I just love it. Thanks for coming by Miz Helen!

  5. Mmmm! I love that you included directions for both the slow cooker and the pressure cooker. Thanks so much for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

  6. I always order this whenever I go a particular Columbian restaurant. Not anymore!! It’s time I learn to make this once and for all!! Thanks for sharing!

  7. This dish looks so amazing and delicious. I love cooking food in the crock pot and mine just broke! I was thinking of buying the Instant Pot for Christmas. If I do buy it I will make some of your recipes for it. Thanks for sharing so many awesome recipes with us all.
    Julie xo

    1. You’re so welcome Julie! I don’t think I’ve lived without a crockpot for over 20 years. Don’t think I could!

    1. It’s great with mashed potatoes Rhonda. I’ve even done whipped sweet potatoes and the sweetness of that and the sauce. They went great together.

  8. This looks delicious, I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks so much for joining us at the To Grandma’s House We Go link party. Join us again next Wednesday! Cheers!

  9. After you posted that video of your 4 minute pasta dish last week, I went out and bought an Instant Pot. I had no idea they existed and I can’t wait to try the pasta in it. Thanks for sharing your recipes with Home Sweet Home!

    1. Sherry, you’ll enjoy it, for sure. Check out my pressure cooker section for some really delicious food and easy too! Man, my mom made all kinds of stuff in her pressure cooker. Good times.

  10. It looks amazing. In Portugal we also have a traditional recipe named like that (roupa velha in Portuguese), but it’s mostly made with codfish. Codfish is a traditional meal on Christmas Day and then you use the leftovers to make the roupa velha on the next day and that’s why it’s called like that.
    Thank you for joining The Really Crafty Link Party this week. Pinned!

  11. Wow, you’ve got that lookin’ good! I know plantains aren’t bananas, but they LOOK like them, so therefore they should taste like them too right?? Don’t you like my logic? All that to say, I can’t imagine eating this with a banana, but to each his own. It looks good enough on its own to melt in my mouth!

    1. I follow you logic, totally! Funny about plantains, if you get them super ripe, they are sweet, not as sweet as a super ripe banana but it’s the texture that gets you. Not banana like at all. No worries Florence, you can slap this on a pile of mashed potatoes or rice! Good stuff.

    1. Lol! It may not be very traditional, I don’t know any Cubans. It may be a cheap way sell the dish – stick it on bread.

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