Bistec Ranchero (Steak Ranchero)

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
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Strips of beef and potatoes are simmered in a spicy ranchero sauce until tender for this bistec ranchero recipe. This juicy and flavorful steak ranchero will be the star of all your Mexican-themed dinners!

Why I Love This Steak Ranchero

Craving authentic Mexican flavors? Wait until you try this spicy bistec ranchero! It checks all of the right boxes (just take a peek at those bullet points below to see what I mean). We first cooked this up for Cinco de Mayo a few years ago and since then it’s become a favorite beef recipe of ours! While we don’t make it as often as we’d like because the kids are pretty sensitive to spice, we do love preparing it when we’re entertaining our friends or having a little at-home date night. Check out why we’re so obsessed:

  • What Is Bistec Ranchero? A northern Mexican-style dish, bistec ranchero consists of tender, thinly-sliced beef that’s browned and simmered in a spicy tomato-based sauce.
  • Easy: The “hardest” part about this steak ranchero recipe is waiting for the potatoes to become tender and then letting everything simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Versatile: Served with rice, beans, tacos, or tortillas, there are plenty of options to enjoy this bistec ranchero with before you get tired of it.
  • Prep-Friendly: Blend the sauce in advance so all you have to do is brown the beef and simmer the dish right before dinner.

Looking for more Mexican themed dinners? Try these slow cooker carnitas, juicy Mexican picadillo and this homemade birria recipe!

Ingredients for bistec ranchero recipe, from top to bottom: garlic, oil, potatoes, mexican oregano, cumin, salt, pepper, tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, garlic powder, paprika and sliced beef.

Key Ingredients

Thankfully this Mexican dish uses easily found ingredients at just about every grocery store! Scroll down to the recipe card below for the full ingredient list and exact amounts!

  • Tomatoes: Roma tomatoes are best as they are meatier and less juicy. Heirloom tomatoes work for the tomato sauce too, if you remove most of the seeds and pulp.
  • Jalapeño: Leave the seeds in for extra heat. Or, use serrano peppers for even more heat.
  • White Onion: You can use yellow onion instead.
  • Garlic: No garlic powder for this, please! You want fresh garlic for the correct flavor.
  • Mexican Oregano: Mexican oregano has a citrus undertone to it and it flavors this sauce perfectly. Don’t use Italian oregano if you can help it!
  • Ground Cumin: If you don’t love cumin, swap it for paprika or even cayenne pepper.
  • Potatoes: Feel free to use your favorite kind, I used golden potatoes so I did not have to peel them.
  • Beef: I prefer beef tenderloin, strip loin, or skirt steak, but any thinly sliced cut of beef will do.
Juicy bistec ranchero in a bowl with refried beans and yellow rice with a fork ready to take a bite.

How to Make Beef Steak Ranchero

Bistec ranchero is a simple 5-step recipe you’ll add to your meal rotation in no time. Below is a quick recipe overview, but please scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of this post for full instructions.

  • Sauce: Add all of the ranchero sauce ingredients to the blender. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  • Potatoes: Add the potatoes to a large skillet over medium-high heat and cook them until slightly browned. Set aside.
  • Beef: Add the steak and sear until browned. Add the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Return the potatoes to the pan.
  • Combine: Return the potatoes to the pan. Reduce the heat and pour in the sauce. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until tender.
  • Serve: Remove from the heat and serve immediately. Freshly chopped cilantro is the perfect garnish!
Cooked steak ranchero simmering in a skillet with spicy ranchero sauce and potatoes.

Chef’s Tips for Success

  • Blacken it: Charring the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic under the broiler before blending the ranchero sauce will give it more depth and smokiness.
  • Add more veggies: You can add sliced onions, poblano peppers and diced carrots can make this dish even heartier. Sauté them with the potatoes.
  • Make it cheesy: About 10 minutes before it’s done cooking, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded melty cheese like Chihuahua or Manchego cheese.
  • Use a different protein: While bistec ranchero is traditionally a Mexican beef dish, thinly sliced pork – or chicken – make great substitutes!
  • Use leftover salsa: Feel free to add leftovers of my restaurant style salsa or salsa ranchera to reduce food waste and increase the flavor in your sauce.
Steak ranchero served in a bowl with a side of yellow rice and refried beans.

What to Serve With Bistec Ranchero

This steak ranchero recipe is typically served with a side of Mexican rice and refried beans. If you aren’t a refried bean fan, you may enjoy my soupy frijoles de la olla or charro beans instead. If you’re serving it on its own, don’t forget the corn tortillas to dunk them into the sauce. Here are a few more ideas:

Strips of juicy and tender bistec ranchero with potatoes cooked in a spicy red ranchero sauce.
Spicy and tender Bistec Ranchero with potatoes served in a large serving bowl with fresh cilantro on top.
5 from 2 votes
Print Pin Recipe
Yield: 6 servings

Bistec Ranchero

This bistec ranchero with potatoes is a northern Mexican dinner simmered in a spicy tomato sauce you'll love. It's easy, hearty, and healthy!
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time50 minutes

Ingredients

Ranchero Sauce:

  • 4 large Roma tomatoes
  • 1/4-1/2 small jalapeño, seeded and stemmed
  • ¼ small white onion
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • ½ teaspoon Mexican oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Beef:

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ large potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ pounds thinly sliced beef, cut into 1/2″ thick strips
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Instructions 

  • Add all of the sauce ingredients to the blender. Process until smooth. Set aside.
  • Add the oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and spread them out. Let them cook for 8 to 9 minutes or until slightly browned, stirring occasionally. Remove the potatoes and set aside.
  • Add the thinly sliced beef to the skillet. Sear it for 5 to 7 minutes, until browned. Add the garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Reduce the heat to medium. Add back the potatoes and pour in the blended sauce. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until beef is tender.
  • Remove it from the heat. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Taste and season with more salt, to taste. Serve as desired and enjoy!

Notes

Store: Once fully cooled, refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reheat: To reheat it, pop it into the microwave for up to a minute or until warm. You can also heat it on the stove over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes.
Freeze: Transfer to a freezer safe container, press all the air out and freeze for up to 3 months. Transfer to the fridge to thaw overnight before reheating.
Blacken: Charring the tomatoes, onion, jalapeño, and garlic under the broiler before blending the ranchero sauce will give it more depth and smokiness.
More Veggies: You can add sliced onions, poblano peppers and diced carrots can make this dish even heartier. Sauté them with the potatoes.
Cheesy: About 10 minutes before it’s done cooking, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded melty cheese like Chihuahua or Manchego cheese.
Pork: While bistec ranchero is traditionally a Mexican beef dish, thinly sliced pork – or chicken – make great substitutes!
Leftover Salsa: Feel free to add leftovers of my restaurant style salsa or salsa ranchera to reduce food waste and increase the flavor in your sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving, Calories: 435kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 30g, Saturated Fat: 11g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g, Monounsaturated Fat: 12g, Trans Fat: 0.03g, Cholesterol: 79mg, Sodium: 462mg, Potassium: 855mg, Fiber: 3g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 444IU, Vitamin C: 25mg, Calcium: 32mg, Iron: 4mg

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Jessica
For the past 15 years, Jorge & Jessica have loved getting to share their families' favorite recipes with all of you. They live in Florida with their 3 kids.