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Bistec Encebollado

Bistec Encebollado – the Puerto Rican version of steak and onions smothered in its own juices. Serve over rice to soak up every last drop!

Plate of bistec encebollado with rice and maduros

Bistec Encebollado Recipe

Encebollado means “cooked with onions.”

This is a great way to cook steak, especially the less tender cuts of meat, since the juices of the onion help to break down tough proteins.

It’s unfussy enough for a weeknight dinner, but I would also be proud to serve this to guests.

Serve with Puerto Rican beans and tostones or maduros on the side for a really delicious meal!

You might also want to try Yuca en Escabeche which is a fantastic marinated yuca salad.

Other easy sides include French bread, sliced avocado and a salad with lettuce and tomato.

Because the steak typically used for bistec encebollado is not the most tender cut, it’s really important to marinate before cooking, even if it’s only for 30 minutes.

4-8 hours is best which makes this an ideal meal prep dinner if you like to plan out your weekly menu.

Ingredients for bistec encebollado


  • Steak – what kind of steak should you use for encebollado? My top choice is cube steak, but you can also use sirloin, round steak or whatever you prefer. No matter what you use, they should be thinly cut.
  • Water, olive oil, white vinegar – these are the marinating liquids for the juice. The vinegar especially will brighten the flavor of the steak and tenderize.
  • Garlic and onion – I prefer white onion, but you can use your favorite.
  • Adobo, salt and pepper – don’t skimp on the seasonings! Flavor, flavor, flavor.
  • 1/2 packet sazón (optional) – if you think your steak will need extra help tenderizing, or just want some extra flavor, a little sazón will work wonders.
Steak and onions cooking in skillet

How to make Bistec Encebollado

  1. Season up the steak with your spices.
  2. Put everything in a zip-lock bag and refrigerate 30 minutes to 8 hours.
  3. Dump everything in a pan and simmer for about 30 minutes or until the onions have softened down and the steak is tender.

That’s it! Very simple to make with very flavorful results.

Overhead shot of bistec encebollado in skillet

For more color/flavor: remove the steaks from marinade and brown on both sides in a little bit of oil, then dump in the marinade and simmer.

Also, if you want more juice, add additional water and seasonings. If it’s too watery, let it simmer down without a lid for a few minutes.

Buen provecho!

Plate of bistec encebollado with rice and maduros

Bistec Encebollado

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Additional Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

Puerto Rican style stewed steak and onions. Great for less-tender cuts of meat!


  • 1 pound thin cube steak, sirloin or round steak
  • 1 teaspoon adobo
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 large white onion, thickly sliced
  • 1/2 packet sazón (optional)
  • Cooked rice, for serving


  1. Season the steaks generously with adobo, salt and pepper.
  2. Place in a ziplock bag with remaining ingredients and combine. Refrigerate and let marinate for at least 30 minutes to 8 hours.
  3. Pour all contents into a large skillet, cover and simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes or until steak is tender and onions have cooked down.
  4. Taste and season again if necessary.
  5. If you want more juice, add additional water and seasonings. If it’s too watery, let it simmer down without a lid for a few minutes.
  6. Serve with rice.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 510Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 123mgSodium: 156mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 39g

Nutritional information provided is an estimate only. Please consult the labels of ingredients you use for more accurate results.

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If you like Puerto Rican food, also try these delicious stewed recipes…

Chuletas Guisadas (Stewed Pork Chops)
Puerto Rican Carne Guisada served with rice and sliced avocado
Carne Guisada (Beef Stew)
Camarones Guisados - juicy shrimp stewed in a Puerto Rican-style tomato sauce. Loaded with garlic, onions and cilantro, no sofrito needed! | Kitchen Gidget
Camarones Guisados (Shrimp Stew)

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Thursday 22nd of May 2014

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