Instant Pot - Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja is one of my favorite Cuban dishes. I love the tenderness of the meat and the tanginess of the sauce. Fun fact - my first job out of college was working for Fisher Price on the toy content. I worked on The Dora the Explorer brand for almost 7 years and one of our best selling items was the Dora Kitchen. If you had this product or your child had it, one of the recipes was for Ropa Vieja! 

Ropa Vieja translates as "old clothes." The reason for this translation is that the shreds of meat, peppers, and onions are supposed to resemble a mess of colorful rags. It is a beautiful, hearty and vibrant dish. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!


2 pounds boneless sirloin steak (cut into large chunks - photo below for example)

1½ teaspoons Kosher salt

¾ teaspoon black pepper

¼ cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced

1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

5 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

2 teaspoons cumin

1½ teaspoons smoked paprika

¼ cup dry white wine 

26.46 oz strained tomatoes

2 bay leaves

¼ cup capers, rinsed and drained

¼ cup chopped jarred pimiento peppers, rinsed and drained

½ cup golden raisins

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar 

ropa vieja final 2.jpg

This is the approximate size you want your steak chunks to be


  1. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Place a large pan over high heat and add the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, quickly brown the meat (in small batches) on all sides. Do not allow to cook, just get it a nice brown. Transfer the meat to a plate.
  2. Add the onion and peppers to the pan and sauté, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and spices and cook for about a minute. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes, until most of the liquid is gone.
  3. Pour the onion & pepper mixture, tomatoes, bay leaves, and meat (with all the juices) into the Instant Pot. Place the lid on, make sure the valve is sealed and set the Instant Pot to "Pressure Cook". Set the timer to 40 minutes. 
  4. Once the timer dings, let the pressure release naturally (15-20 minutes).
  5. When the valve drops, remove the lid and turn the Instant pot off. Transfer the meat to a plate, and shred it with two forks. Remove and discard the bay leaves. Return the meat to the Instant Pot and stir in the capers, pimientos, raisins, and sherry vinegar. Set the Instant Pot to  “Sauté” and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is thickened. 
ropa vieja final.jpg
Pamela LiptonComment