How To Make Carne Guisada In Crock Pot [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Carne guisada, a traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex dish, translates to "stewed meat" and is known for its rich, hearty flavors. This delectable stew typically features tender beef simmered in a savory, spiced gravy, often served with rice or tortillas. Making carne guisada in a crock pot offers the convenience of slow-cooking, allowing the flavors to meld and the meat to become exceptionally tender. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the step-by-step process of preparing and cooking carne guisada in a crock pot, including essential tips, cooking times, troubleshooting common issues, and more.

Quick Answer: How Long To Make Carne Guisada In Crock Pot

The total cooking time for carne guisada in a crock pot typically ranges from 6 to 8 hours on the low setting. For best results, allowing the meat to cook slowly over a longer period ensures it becomes incredibly tender and allows the flavors to develop fully.


  1. Meat: Select well-marbled cuts of beef suitable for slow cooking. Some popular choices include chuck roast, shoulder steak, or bottom round roast. These cuts are ideal for stewing as they become tender and flavorful when cooked slowly.
  2. Vegetables: Onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and garlic are common vegetable ingredients for carne guisada. Ensure they are fresh and free from any signs of spoilage.
  3. Spices and Seasonings: Essential spices and seasonings may include cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.


  1. Trimming and Cutting the Meat: Begin by trimming the excess fat from the selected beef and cutting it into bite-sized chunks. This allows for even cooking and ensures the meat is easy to serve.
  2. Chopping the Vegetables: Prepare the vegetables by chopping the onions, bell peppers, and garlic into uniform pieces. Additionally, dice the tomatoes to incorporate into the stew.
  3. Measuring the Spices and Seasonings: Measure the spices and seasonings according to the recipe or personal taste preferences. This may include cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  4. Searing the Meat (Optional): While not mandatory, some cooks prefer to sear the beef in a skillet before adding it to the crock pot. Searing can enhance the depth of flavor in the carne guisada.

Crock Pot Cooking Times For Carne Guisada

The cooking time for carne guisada in a crock pot primarily depends on the selected setting and the size of the meat chunks. Here are the recommended cooking times:

  • Low Setting: 6 to 8 hours
  • High Setting: 3 to 4 hours

How To Make Carne Guisada In Crock Pot


  • 2 lbs beef (such as chuck roast), cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Prepare the Crock Pot: Begin by spraying the crock pot with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.
  2. Season the Beef: In a large bowl, combine the beef chunks with the flour, ensuring each piece is well coated. This will help thicken the stew as it cooks.
  3. Sear the Beef (Optional): Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the beef in batches, then transfer it to the crock pot. This step is optional but adds depth of flavor.
  4. Combine Ingredients in Crock Pot: Add the chopped onion, bell pepper, diced tomatoes, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and oregano to the crock pot with the seared beef.
  5. Pour in Beef Broth: Add the beef broth to the crock pot, ensuring all ingredients are adequately covered.
  6. Cook on Low Setting: Set the crock pot to low and allow the carne guisada to cook for 6 to 8 hours, or until the beef is tender and the flavors have melded beautifully.
  7. Adjust Seasoning: Taste the carne guisada and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper according to your preference.
  8. Serve and Enjoy: Once ready, serve the carne guisada hot, garnished with fresh cilantro if desired, and accompanied by warm tortillas or rice.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Meat Not Tender

If the meat is not as tender as desired, it may require additional cooking time. Simply continue cooking on the low setting until the desired tenderness is achieved.

Insufficient Seasoning

In the event the carne guisada lacks flavor, consider adjusting the seasoning by adding more spices and allowing the stew to simmer for a little longer to develop the flavors.

Too Thin Or Thick Gravy

If the gravy is too thin, create a slurry by mixing equal parts of cornstarch and cold water, then slowly adding it to the simmering carne guisada while stirring constantly until the desired thickness is achieved. Conversely, if the gravy is too thick, thin it out with additional beef broth or water.

Vegetables Overcooked

To prevent the vegetables from becoming overly soft, consider adding them to the crock pot approximately halfway through the cooking time.

Crafting carne guisada in a crock pot streamlines the cooking process while allowing the robust flavors to develop through gentle, slow cooking. With the right selection of ingredients, careful preparation, and attention to cooking times, you can achieve a sumptuously tender and flavorful carne guisada that will delight your taste buds and bring the comforting warmth of traditional Mexican cuisine to your table. Experiment with different spice blends and accompaniments to tailor this classic dish to your personal taste preferences and enjoy the rich, satisfying experience of creating carne guisada in your crock pot.

Achieving Perfect Texture

Carne guisada, a flavorful and comforting Mexican beef stew, is a dish that has gained popularity in many households. Traditionally, it is made by simmering beef in a savory tomato-based sauce until it is tender and infused with rich flavors. While it usually requires long hours of slow cooking on the stovetop, using a crock pot can make the process easier and more convenient.

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One of the key elements in a delicious carne guisada is achieving the perfect texture of the beef. The meat should be tender and melt-in-your-mouth without being too tough or chewy. Using a crock pot can work wonders in achieving this desired texture.

To start, it is important to choose the right cut of meat. Generally, tougher cuts of beef such as chuck roast, round roast, or stewing beef are ideal for carne guisada. These cuts have more connective tissues, which break down during the slow cooking process, resulting in tender and juicy meat. Additionally, choosing meat with some marbling can add extra flavor and moisture to the dish.

Once you have selected your meat, it is essential to properly prepare it before adding it to the crock pot. Trim any excess fat from the beef as excessive fat can make the stew greasy. Cut the meat into bite-sized cubes, ensuring they are relatively uniform in size. This allows for even cooking and ensures that all the pieces are tender.

Flavor Infusion

One of the reasons carne guisada is so beloved is its rich and robust flavors. To achieve this in a crock pot, it is important to focus on flavor infusions.

The base of carne guisada is typically created by sautéing onions and garlic. This step is crucial as it not only adds depth to the dish but also develops the flavors of the other ingredients. Heat a skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of oil. Sauté the onions until they turn translucent and begin to caramelize, then add the minced garlic and cook for another minute or two. Transfer this mixture to the crock pot before adding the beef.

In addition to the onions and garlic, a variety of spices and seasonings can be used to enhance the flavor profile of the dish. Commonly used spices in carne guisada include cumin, chili powder, paprika, oregano, and bay leaves. These spices add warmth, earthiness, and a slight smokiness to the stew. It is best to use high-quality spices to ensure the flavors are vibrant and well-rounded.

To further enrich the flavor, you can also add a variety of liquids to the crock pot. Traditional choices include beef broth, tomato sauce, and diced tomatoes. These liquids provide a flavorful base for the stew and help to tenderize the meat. For an extra kick of flavor, consider incorporating a splash of Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, or red wine.


The aroma of a well-cooked carne guisada can be intoxicating. As the ingredients simmer in the crock pot, the fragrances of the spices, herbs, and meat slowly fill the air, making your mouth water in anticipation.

To achieve a tantalizing aroma, the key is to cook the carne guisada slowly and patiently. The low and slow cooking process in a crock pot allows the flavors to meld together and intensify, resulting in a luscious scent that permeates your kitchen.

As the stew cooks, the aroma will gradually become more pronounced. The combination of spices, onions, garlic, and the meat creates a symphony of scents that is hard to resist. Be prepared for your family and friends to gather in the kitchen, enticed by the mouthwatering aroma of your homemade carne guisada.

Cooking Techniques

To make carne guisada in a crock pot, it is important to understand the correct cooking techniques. Properly implementing these techniques will ensure that your meat is cooked evenly, retains its moisture, and has the perfect tenderness.

Firstly, it is important to sear the meat before adding it to the crock pot. Searing the beef in a hot skillet with a little oil creates a flavorful crust and enhances the overall taste of the dish. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a small amount of oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add the beef cubes in a single layer. Allow them to cook undisturbed for a few minutes until they form a golden brown crust. Flip the meat and repeat the process until all sides are seared. This step not only seals in the juices but also adds a delightful caramelization to the meat.

After searing, transfer the beef cubes to the crock pot and deglaze the skillet. Deglazing is the process of loosening the flavorful browned bits stuck to the bottom of the skillet. Add a small amount of liquid, such as broth or wine, to the skillet and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to release the flavorful deposits. Pour this liquid and any remaining contents into the crock pot, as it will infuse the stew with additional flavor.

When cooking carne guisada in a crock pot, it is essential to resist the temptation to lift the lid and check on the progress too frequently. Opening the lid releases valuable heat and steam, which can significantly extend the cooking time. It is best to trust the slow cooking process and allow the crock pot to work its magic. Fortunately, most modern crock pots come with transparent lids that allow you to monitor the progress without lifting the lid.

Crock Pot Tips For Carne Guisada

To ensure success in making carne guisada in a crock pot, here are some additional tips and tricks to keep in mind:

  1. Layering Ingredients: Layering the ingredients correctly can help to distribute the flavors evenly. Start with a thin layer of sauce or liquid at the bottom of the crock pot, followed by a layer of beef, onions, and spices. Repeat the process until all the ingredients are used, ending with a final layer of sauce on top. This ensures that every bite of carne guisada is packed with flavor.

  2. Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh ingredients can make a significant difference in the overall taste of the dish. Opt for fresh onions, garlic, and spices rather than relying solely on pre-packaged options. The freshness will enhance the flavors and aromas of the carne guisada.

  3. Don’t Overcrowd the Crock Pot: It is important not to overcrowd the crock pot with too many ingredients. Leave enough space for the heat and steam to circulate, ensuring that everything cooks evenly. If you have a large quantity of ingredients, consider using a bigger crock pot or dividing the recipe into two batches.

  4. Adjust Seasonings: Remember that different taste preferences may require adjustments to the seasonings. Taste the sauce halfway through the cooking process and, if needed, add more spices or seasonings to achieve the desired flavor profile.

  5. Add Vegetables: While not traditional in carne guisada, adding vegetables can enhance the nutritional value and add extra depth of flavor. Consider adding bell peppers, carrots, or potatoes to the stew for added texture and taste.

  6. Thicken the Sauce: If you prefer a thicker sauce, remove the cooked meat with a slotted spoon and transfer it to a separate dish. Then, mix cornstarch with cold water to form a slurry and stir it into the sauce in the crock pot. Cook on high for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened to your liking. Finally, return the meat to the crock pot and stir to combine.

  7. Garnish and Serve: Once the carne guisada is cooked to perfection and you’re ready to serve, consider garnishing it with fresh cilantro, sliced jalapenos, or a squeeze of lime juice. These additions can brighten the flavors and give a fresh twist to the dish. Serve the carne guisada with warm tortillas or rice for a complete and satisfying meal.

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Creative Crock Pot Carne Guisada Recipes

While the traditional recipe for carne guisada is undoubtedly delicious, there are also several creative variations you can try in your crock pot. These adaptations can add unique flavors and textures to your dish, taking it to a whole new level.

  1. Green Chile Carne Guisada: For a tangy and slightly spicy twist on the classic, try adding green chilies and tomatillos to your carne guisada. In addition to the traditional ingredients, include a can of diced green chilies and a few quartered tomatillos in the crock pot. The result is a vibrant, zesty stew that pairs perfectly with warm tortillas.

  2. Beer-Braised Carne Guisada: Exchange a portion of the cooking liquid with your favorite beer for a rich and malty flavor. The beer not only enhances the overall taste but also contributes to the tenderizing process. Choose a dark ale or lager with a robust flavor profile to complement the beef.

  3. Slow-Cooked Carne Guisada with Bacon: Take your carne guisada to a whole new level by adding crispy bacon to the dish. Cook a few slices of bacon separately until they are crispy, then crumble them and add them to the crock pot along with the beef. The bacon adds a savory smokiness and a delightful crunch to each bite.

  4. Carne Guisada Tacos: Transform your crock pot carne guisada into delicious tacos by adding a few corn tortillas to the mix. Tear the tortillas into smaller pieces and let them cook along with the stew. The tortillas will naturally dissolve, creating a thick, slightly creamy texture to the dish. Serve the carne guisada in taco shells or scoop them up with tortilla chips.

  5. Carne Guisada Chile Rellenos: Elevate your carne guisada by stuffing it into roasted and peeled poblano chiles. After making the traditional carne guisada in the crock pot, carefully slit open the chiles and remove the seeds and membrane. Stuff each chile with the carne guisada and top with melted cheese. Bake them in the oven until the cheese is bubbly and golden, creating a mouthwatering Mexican dish.


Making carne guisada in a crock pot is a convenient and simple way to enjoy this beloved Mexican dish. By carefully selecting the right cut of meat, infusing the flavors, creating an enticing aroma, and utilizing proper cooking techniques, you can achieve a tender, flavorful, and irresistible carne guisada. Whether you stick to the traditional recipe or experiment with creative variations, the crock pot will allow you to create a satisfying meal that will delight your taste buds. So grab your crock pot and let the slow cooking process work its magic, as you savor the tantalizing aroma of homemade carne guisada filling your kitchen.


What Ingredients Do I Need To Make Carne Guisada In A Crock Pot?

To make carne guisada in a crock pot, you will need beef stew meat, vegetable oil, onion, garlic, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.

How Do I Prepare The Ingredients For Carne Guisada In A Crock Pot?

Begin by browning the beef stew meat in vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and garlic, and continue cooking until the onion is translucent. Add the browned meat, onion and garlic to the crock pot along with the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, beef broth, potatoes, carrots, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.

How Long Do I Cook Carne Guisada In A Crock Pot?

Cook carne guisada in a crock pot on low for 8-10 hours, or on high for 4-6 hours. The exact cooking time may vary depending on your crock pot and the size of your beef stew meat pieces, so check the meat for tenderness before serving.

Can I Make Carne Guisada In A Crock Pot Without Browning The Meat First?

While you can skip browning the meat first to save time, we recommend taking the extra step to sear the beef. Browning the meat gives it a delicious crust, and can enhance the overall flavor of the dish.

What Are Some Serving Suggestions For Carne Guisada In A Crock Pot?

Carne guisada can be served over rice or with tortillas, and can be topped with shredded cheese, sour cream, or chopped cilantro. You might also consider serving it with a side of beans or a salad for a complete meal.