Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)


Ropa vieja, a juicy and tender shredded beef stew, is braised in the most flavorful, umami-rich tomato-based sauce. 

Ropa Vieja

This recipe for ropa vieja is so easy to make – it’s a dump and cook recipe, which is basically the best kind of recipe there is. There’s minimal prep too. The hardest part about this recipe is waiting for it to finish cooking. If you use a slow cooker, it’ll take all day, but if you cook this in an Instant Pot, then you’ll only have to wait a couple of hours. Still a long time, I know, but it’s all hands-off time.

Ropa Vieja literally means “old clothes.” Kind of an odd name for a dish, but if you squint, this big juicy pile of meat and colorful bell peppers does kind of look like a pile of laundry, right? I mean… if your wardrobe happens to include a lot of brown. I guess that’s probably not the imagery I should encourage here? Don’t worry, y’all; this dish tastes nothing like laundry (and that’s something I never thought I’d write…).

Ropa Vieja

While this Cuban dish typically calls for flank steak, I suggest using beef chuck roast instead because it has more fat, more flavor, and, most importantly, it results in tender, juicy meat when cooked for a long period of time. I’d rather have melt-in-your-mouth shredded beef vs. tough and chewy shredded beef so if you agree, get the chuck roast, please.

Ropa Vieja

Want to keep things authentic? Then serve this savory stew with white rice, black beans, and fried sweet plantains. And don’t forget to top the ropa with something briny. I suggest pimento-stuffed green olives, but if olives aren’t your thing, you can always use capers for a hit of briny tang. I like capers, but I actually have an oral allergy to them (it’s so random, I know. they make my mouth itchy… 🤷🏽‍♀️), so I opt for olives.

Another tasty way to use all this meat: in tacos, a burrito bowl, or enchiladas. These are just a few ideas, of course.

My personal favorite way to eat ropa vieja is in a bowl, like stew, but with all the toppings! I top it with plenty of diced onion, diced jalapeños, avocado, chopped cilantro, and a big squeeze of lime. I know that’s Mexican-style, but the flavors go so well together.

This is also important but not crucial to the dish – do use different colored bell peppers if possible. Not only do they look great in the dish, but yellow and red bell peppers are sweeter than green, and that sweetness really complements the whole stew.

Alright, go make this! And while the stew simmers, go ahead and fold that laundry that’s lying around. 😉

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)

Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja (Instant Pot and Slow Cooker)

4.88 from 62 reviews
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Servings 10


  • 1 3 – 3 ½ pound chuck roast
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves

Add Later:

  • 3 bell peppers I use a combo of green, red and yellow, sliced
  • Green olives with pimentos garnish


Instant Pot:

  • Add all of the ingredients (except the ones listed under add later) to an Instant Pot.
  • Secure the lid, close the valve, and cook for 90 minutes at high pressure.
  • Naturally release pressure.
  • Shred the beef using two forks.
  • Press the sauté button, add the bell peppers and cook for 4-5 minutes, or until tender.
  • Stir in the green olives.

Slow Cooker:

  • Add all of the ingredients to a slow cooker.
  • Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  • Remove the lid and use two forks to shred the beef.
  • Stir in the bell peppers and cook on low for another hour.
  • Serve with green olives.


  • I suggest waiting to add the bell peppers until the end so they don’t get too mushy and dissolve into the stew.
  • I also recommend using different colored bell peppers. Yellow and red bell peppers are sweeter than green and the sweetness complements the stew.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Ropa Vieja

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Roxana says

    I made this recipe because I was looking to use Instant Pot so I didn’t have to stay long in the kitchen and came out great.
    Made some changes to adapt to my usual recipe.
    I usually make Ropa Vieja with chuck or corned beef.
    For this recipe I used Corned beef with its spices in a cloth bag so I can remove later.
    For liquid I added water and cheap Merlot wine until meat was covered (mostly wine).
    Left the drained diced tomatoes to be added later with lightly sautéed julienned 1/2 onion and julienned mini sweet peppers.

    • Lisa M. says

      Apparently, the large piece of beef and the tomatoes add enough liquid. I didn’t have a problem. I also make a pork chile verde recipe which only includes meat, tomatillos, and peppers and that recipe also doesn’t call for any liquid. Good luck if you decide to make it!

  2. Lara D says

    5 stars
    Fantastic flavour. Made using a pot roast from frozen in the instapot (90 minutes for 2.5 lb frozen pot roast). It took about 20 minutes to reach pressure and another 40 minutes for natural release. Total time 2.5 hours. I Put peppers in with the onions and used an immersion blender for the sauce when I took the meat out to shred it. Served over baked rice. Amazing. Thank you for the recipe!

  3. Robert J DiPietro says

    5 stars
    This came out fantastic (in the Instapot)! I, too, was worried that the ingredients looked too dry at the beginning so I threw in some chicken stock. Not necessary! I’ll not do that next time. I might increase most of the spices (except the salt) next time, though. Otherwise, this recipe is a keeper! Thank you.

  4. April says

    5 stars
    Absolutely amazing! I was afraid it would burn so I added 1 cup water and it turned out a bit soupy but still was fabulous. Next time, I’ll stick to the recipe. I can’t wait for leftovers tonight! My vegan brother wants to try to tweak the recipe using soy curls.

  5. Susan says

    5 stars
    This was superb! My chuck roast was slightly smaller than what the recipe called for, but I used the measurements given for all other ingredients. I have a stove top pressure cooker so I just shaved 15 minutes off the timing given to compensate for that and the smaller piece of meat I was cooking. Easy to make and the flavors were complex. We especially loved the pop of the olives

  6. Sheri says

    5 stars
    I’m a huge fan of this recipe. When I’m searching I look for something using a good variety of spices because most times that equals yumminess and this is one of those recipes. I was lucky to find ground cloves in my cabinet as it’s one of those flavors you don’t wanna leave out if the recipe calls for it. I used my instant pot for this and free styled a little by adding one cup of beef broth (no burn alert) and a can of green chilis for a little more umph. This was delicious and I’ve bookmarked for the future. I’m looking forward to browsing around here for more! Thanks!!

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