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side view of a serving of Cuban Ropa Vieja made in the Instant Pot served on Rice

Recipe for Cuban Ropa Vieja - Instant Pot

Try my quick and easy Instant Pot Version of an authentic Cuban recipe for Ropa Vieja with tender beef braised in a rich tomato base with onions, peppers, olives, raisins and capers.  Tastes best served with plantains and rice. Dairy-free, low carb & Gluten-free. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Caribbean, Cuba
Keyword Cuban ropa vieja recipe, Instant Pot Ropa Vieja, recipe for ropa vieja
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6
Calories 450 kcal


  • 1 kg Chuck roast, sirloin tip roast or flank steak cut into chunks - / 2 1/2 pounds
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup ghee or avocado oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 bell peppers any color, sliced into thin strips
  • 1 tbsp sugar or sweetener - if using sweetener, add in the end of the cooking time, not now
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/4 cup white wine or red wine
  • 1 28 once can diced tomatoes fire roasted
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp capers + 1 tbsp liquid
  • 1 cup jarred pimento peppers with some liquid
  • 3/4 cup olives
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoon olive pickle juice


  1. Season the beef on all sides with salt and pepper. If you want, you can dust it with some flour - this makes for an especially nice and thick gravy. Put the avocado oil in the Instant Pot and push “Sauté”, then push “Adjust” to increase the heat to high. When the ghee is hot, add beef and brown for ten minutes, turning the pieces halfway through. Transfer the beef to a plate that allows for juices to gather.

  2. Reduce heat and add the onion and peppers and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until softened and reduced in volume. Add sugar and caramelize.

  3. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and spices apart from paprika and cook for about a minute. Add tomato paste. Pour in the wine and let it bubble away for 2-3 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.

  4. Add the tomatoes, paprika and bay leaves, and press “Keep Warm/Cancel”. Return the beef to the pot along with any juices on the plate, and stir to combine.

     Place the lid on the Instant Pot, making sure the valve is turned to “Sealing”. Push “Manual” and use the plus button to increase the time to 40 minutes. Cooking will begin automatically.

  5. Let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. This is important as a forced steam release affects the texture of the meat. 

  6. Carefully remove the lid, transfer the meat to a plate, and shred it with two forks. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return shredded meat to the pot along with olives, capers, pimientos, some of the pickling juices mentioned, the raisins, and stir. Push “Sauté” and cook for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened.

Recipe Notes


  • Don't skip the pickling juice - it adds a briny taste and a bit of acidity you will LOVE! 
  • To keep this low carb, skip sugar and add stevia or a keto/low carb sweetener of your choice. 
  • Raisins are optional. If you skip them, add a bit more sweetness, in the end, to balance out the acidity.