This Mexican caldo de res recipe is loaded with beef meat, marrow bones, and tasty vegetables. A comforting, nutritious, and budget-friendly soup perfect to warm you up on chilly days!

Caldo de Res is a hearty Mexican soup made of beef meat, bones, and vegetables. This soup has some variations in Mexico that depend on the region and family traditions. In sope places is called cocido or sopa de res, but both names refers to the same dish.

Today I want to show you one of the most popular and traditional ways to make Mexican caldo de res. It is easy and you really don’t need much to make this recipe, the key is finding the right cut of beef because that is where the flavors come from!

Once cooked and your kitchen fills with the amazing aroma of this hearty soup, you can serve it with the traditional sides, such as tortillas, rice, and salsa.

Two bowls with caldo de res placed on an enamel tray with a bowl of salsa and lime wedges on the side.

Ingredients

  • Beef meat & bones: The traditional recipe calls for soup bones, marrow bones, and beef shank (known as chamberete). But you can also use beef chuck and some cuts with fat; I often use ribs, but you need to ask your butcher to cut them into 3-4 inches pieces.
  • Vegetables: You have plenty of options when it comes to vegetables, in Mexico, the most common are calabacitas (Mexican squash), chayotes, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, ejotes (green beans), tomatoes, and corn on the cob. Feel free to swap some of those with other veggies like leeks, zucchini, peas, etc.
  • Herbs & aromatics: Garlic, onion, and cilantro were the ones my mother always used and I still make it that way, but in many parts of Mexico they add other fresh herbs and it tastes equally delicious, for example, epazote, marjoram, bay leaves, and thyme, among others.
A enamel tray with various cuts of beef meat, such as bones and beef chuck to make caldo de res.
Type of beef cuts to use for your caldo

How to Make Caldo de Res

Wash the meat very well and let it soak for half an hour in water. Discard the soaking water and transfer the meat to a large pot.

Cover with water for about 2 inches (5 cm). Add a tablespoon of salt, garlic, and onion.

Beef meat and bones in a stockpot with onion, garlic, and salt.

Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat. With a spoon, discard the foam that will form during the first half-hour of cooking.

Top Tip: Removing the foam helps to clarify the broth and results in a cleaner, more appetizing appearance.

Removing the foam from the surface with a slotted spoon.

Set the heat to medium-low, cover the pot, and cook for about an hour and a half.

The time of cooking will depend on the type of meat you use, though cuts will take longer, so adjust times accordingly.

Meat and bones cooking in a large stockpot.

While the meat is cooking, prepare the vegetables that you want to add. Wash them, peel them, and cut them into chunks more or less about the same size.

When the meat is nicely cooked and tender, add the vegetables, cilantro, and tomato paste. Stir to combine and push the vegetables to immerse them in the broth.

The vegetables added to the pot with meat.

Continue cooking for another 20-25 minutes or long enough for the vegetables to cook perfectly.

Caldo de res in a pot and already cooked.

Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat, and serve in bowls. Read below my suggestions for serving this traditional soup.

Tips & Notes

  • Make sure to use soup bones and marrow bones because those are the ones that give this caldo its amazing flavor.
  • I recommend soaking the meat and bones in water, for about 30 minutes because it helps to loosen any debris, dirt, or residual proteins, making it easier to skim off impurities during the initial stages of simmering.
  • Cut the vegetables into chunks more or less the same size, so they will cook evenly.
  • Use a large pot to make this recipe, you will need lots of room for the bones and vegetables.
  • I prefer cooking my caldo de res in the stovetop because it allows the flavors to develop slowly as the soup simmers for longer. It can take a couple of hours or more to fully cook, but I love the depth of flavor achieved.
  • However, if you’re short on time you can always use an Instant Pot to make this recipe.
  • If you want to cut down on calories, allow the caldo to cool down and store it in the fridge overnight. The next day you can discard the fat that has solidified on top and reheat.
  • Use large bowls to serve this recipe, you need room for all those veggies, meat, AND the delicious broth!
Caldo de res, also known as cocido, in a large pot.

How to Serve Caldo de Res

You can serve caldo de res any time of the year! Let me share the traditional sides you can make to accompany this dish:

Growing up in a coastal state where the weather is hot all year round, you might think my mother will rarely serve this dish to us, but she —like many Mexican moms, used to serve this hot soup even on the hottest days!

My mother will always use large bowls with plenty of vegetables and broth, then serve the meat on top of another bowl with rice. She won’t allow us to eat the rice and meat until we were done with the veggies and broth…oh well :)

Caldo de res, aka cocido, served on a white ceramic bowl with another bowl of red rice on the side.

Caldo de res is one favorite among us, Mexicans. Along with mole de olla (which is similar but with a tasty chili broth) and caldo de pollo (chicken soup), this recipe has a special place on our hearts.

Store & Reheat

This recipe is perfect to make ahead as it tastes even better the day after! I like to make a double batch and divide them into portions (just for me and my husband), then just reheat when we crave it.

Let me share with you my tips for storing caldo de res leftovers:

  • Allow everything to cool to room temperature. Remove from the stove so it will cool faster.
  • Place leftovers in a large airtight container or use separate containers for the liquid and solids. I usually store everything together.
  • Place in the fridge and store for up to 3-4 days or freeze for up to 2-3 months.

Reheating

  • If frozen, transfer the container to the fridge and allow the dish to thaw overnight.
  • Place everything into a stock pot and heat it up on your stove over medium-low heat.
  • You can also reheat it in a microwave-safe container at 2-3 minutes intervals.

More Mexican Soups

Video

Mexican caldo de res recipe.

Caldo de Res

6 servings
This caldo de res recipe is loaded with beef meats, bones, and vegetables. It is hearty, deliciously comforting, and perfect to serve along with homemade tortillas, salsa, and a good squeeze of lime.
prep 20 minutes
cook 3 hours
resting time 30 minutes
total 3 hours 50 minutes

Equipment

  • 1 large stockpot

Ingredients 

  • 2.2 pound beef shank
  • 1.5 pound marrow bones
  • 2 fresh corn ears (cut into 3 pieces each)
  • 2 large potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • 3 medium carrots (peeled and cut into chunks)
  • ½ small cabbage (cut into quarters)
  • 4 medium zucchini (cut into chunks)
  • 1 Tablespoon tomato paste (optional)
  • 7 oz green beans (trimmed)
  • 1 medium onion (halved)
  • 2 cloves garlic (skin on)
  • 1 small bunch cilantro
  • salt (to taste)

Instructions
 

  • Wash the meat and bones under cold water, place in a large bowl and cover with water. Let them soak for 30 minutes.
  • Discard the soaking water and place everything in a large stockpot covered with 2 inches of water.
  • Add a spoonful of salt, garlic, and onion.
  • Bring to a boil and cook for 30 minutes, discarding the foam that forms on the surface.
  • Set heat to medium, cover the pot, and cook for about 1 hour and 30 minutes, making sure the ingredients are always covered with liquid. If necessary, add more water to the pot.
  • Once the meat is cooked and tender. Add all the vegetables, pushing them down with a spoon to immerse them into the broth.
  • Cook for 20-25 minutes or until all vegetables are nicely tender.
  • Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat, and serve with tortillas, salsa, and rice.

Notes

  • Make sure to use soup bones and marrow bones because those are the ones that give this caldo its amazing flavor.
  • Cut the vegetables into chunks more or less the same size, so they will cook evenly.
  • Use a large pot to make this recipe, you will need lots of room for the bones and vegetables.
  • Caldo de res lasts up to 3-4 days in the fridge and up to 2-3 months in the freezer.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 480kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 22g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.002g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 141mg | Potassium: 1654mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 5814IU | Vitamin C: 80mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 6mg
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You can also find the receta de caldo de res in Spanish on this blog.

Maricruz Avalos Flores is a Mexican cook and photographer living in Italy where she shares authentic Mexican & Italian recipes that can be easily made at home using easy-to-find ingredients.

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Recipe Rating




28 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I was craving a comforting soup, so made this soup for dinner last night. It was perfectly comforting and warmed me to the core!

  2. 5 stars
    This looks so hearty and satisfying, and I love all the veggies that you included for a healthy & balanced meal! Can’t wait to try it soon!

  3. 5 stars
    Enjoyed this for dinner tonight and it was a savory success! Hearty, bold and delicious; the perfect recipe for fall!

  4. 5 stars
    I thought this would taste like bulalo but it was different. Still it was so delicious and comforting. Saving this for my next meal plan.

  5. 5 stars
    I appreciate this site as I always find new and authentic recipes to try – and this recipe for Caldo de Res is one of my new favs. It’s a satisfying dish and I know we will make this often.

  6. 5 stars
    This caldo de res is the perfect comfort food! Loaded with beef, marrow bones, and veggies, it’s hearty and warming. Simple, nutritious, and my go-to on chilly days!

  7. 5 stars
    Very! Very! Very! Good! Lime and a couple of jalapenos are a must,
    there is no heat until you break open the peppers. I like using short ribs the best. Thanks so much extra for the tips.

  8. 5 stars
    Thank you, I used beef shank as you suggested. I didn’t have bones and couldn’t buy some so I went without.

    It was delicious! One of the most amazing soups out there. I also made red rice and salsa btw :)

  9. 5 stars
    Made this last night and it was so delicious! I totally fell in love with this Mexican soup! Thanks a lot for sharing the recipe