This bistec con papas is total comfort food! A slightly spicy and rich tomato salsa simmers with potatoes and beef until everything is perfectly fall-apart tender. Serve along with arroz rojo and tortillas for a truly Mexican eating experience! 

Bistec con papas en salsa roja served on a plate with Mexican red rice on the side.


Bistec con papas is an earthy, budget-friendly, and delicious Mexican recipe made with beef and potatoes braised in a tomato and chili sauce.

Bistec or Bistek is a Spanish word derived from the English words ‘beef steak’; and papas stands for ‘potatoes’.

So, in this case, the recipe is made by braising beef steak bites in a tomato and chili sauce (salsa roja) and then adding potatoes to the mix.

Almost every country in Latin America has its own version of this recipe, and it includes the ingredients that are available in each place.

In Mexico, bistec can be made in various ways, for example, cooked with onions to make tacos de bistec or with vegetables to make bistec ranchero.

When cooked with red chili sauce, this dish takes the name of bistec con papas en salsa roja, meaning Mexican steak and potatoes in red chili sauce.

Mexican Steak And Potatoes Recipe


  • Beef steak: Any cheap steak is a good option if you want to keep this recipe in the low-budget range. Just remember to ask for thin slices, then cut them into small pieces as they will cook faster.
  • Potatoes: You can use any type of potatoes you prefer, even sweet potatoes for a low-carb version of this dish.
  • Tomatoes: Use fresh ripe tomatoes (jitomates, in Spanish) or substitute with canned tomato sauce, 2 cups would be enough.
  • Chilies: Use any type of fresh or dried chilies you prefer, we recommend jalapeño or serrano, but if you want to add more color use chile guajillo.
  • Onion: You can add them to the blender to make the sauce or if you prefer some texture, slice them and cook them along with bistec.
  • Spices & seasonings: Garlic, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, and salt. You can use whole spices or ground spices.
  • Oil: I prefer to use olive oil, but feel free to use your favorite type of cooking oil.
Raw beef steak (bisteces) sliced and placed in a plate.
Thin slices of beef steak (bisteces).

How To Make Bistec Con Papas

Place tomatoes and chilies in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool slightly. You can now peel the tomatoes if you want or add them with the skin on.

Tomatoes and chilies boiled in a saucepan.

Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, peppercorns, cumin, and a cup and a half of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.

Salsa roja for bistec con papas in a blender.

In a braising pan heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meat and cook, allowing some juices to release until you will see the meat is no longer pink.

Cooking juicy beef bistec on a pan.

Keep cooking, stirring constantly, until there are no juices left and the meat is nicely browned.

Mexican bistec fully cooked in a pan.

Pour in tomatoes and chili sauce, and add water until the meat is well covered.

Season with salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and set the heat to medium-low. Cook for 10 minutes or until meat is tender.

The salsa roja added to the pan with bistec beef.

Next, add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer until the potatoes are cooked through. If you see is need, add a little bit of water to the pan, so the potatoes won’t stick to the bottom.

Adding water to bistec con papas.

Once the potatoes are nicely cooked, adjust the salt to taste. Turn off the heat and serve bistec con papas as suggested below.

Tips and tricks

  • Adjust spices to taste. For me is all about flavor and some spices can be a little bit overwhelming if you’re not used to them. Add a bit of everything, then taste and adjust later.
  • Leave spiciness out. If you’re not into spicy food or you want to serve bistec con papas to kids, leave the chilies out and roast your tomatoes instead.
  • Adjust cooking time. If you using a cheap beef cut you might need a little more time for cooking, so just add more water and cook longer until the meat is nicely tender.
  • Sneak in vegetables. You can also add other types of vegetables to make this Mexican steak and potatoes richer. Think of zucchini, chayotes, carrots, etc.
  • Use shortcuts. Do you have store-bought Mexican salsas in your pantry? Use those for a quick and easy dinner.
  • Where to find bistec de res: If you live in a place with a large Mexican community, chances are that you’ll find some carnicerías (butcher shop), so just ask the butcher for thin beef steaks and tell him that you want to cook bistec con papas, he will know better and cut the meat properly.

How Serve Mexican Steak And Potatoes

Serve this delicious Mexican steak and potatoes with arroz blanco or arroz rojo on the side or also refried beans or frijoles e la olla.

Blue corn tortillas or corn tortillas are a must. But if you want some bread, try our easy recipe for bolillo rolls.

And don’t forget the fresca! Those flavored and refreshing beverages are perfect to serve with this dish, so try our agua de piña or agua de fresa.

Now, the recipe is pretty much delicious with whatever you decide to serve it. Steamed rice, plain noodles, and even a green salad on the side are all amazing options too.

Close-up of bistec con papas en salsa roja.

Store and Reheat

If you have leftovers (I really doubt it!) you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Then just reheat the stew in a saucepan with one or two tablespoons of water to loosen it up.

Bistec guisado con papas is a perfect prep meal that freezes wonderfully too. So, double the recipe and divide it into containers or bags, then freeze for up to 3 months.

Similar Recipes

Watch How To Make It

Bistec con papas recipe in a pan.

Mexican Bistec Con Papas

4 servings
Bistec con papas is a mexican dish made with beef and potatoes braised in a tomato and chili sauce. An earthy and low-budget recipe perfect to everyday meals.
prep 10 minutes
cook 25 minutes
total 35 minutes


  • 1 ½ lb steak (sliced thinly and cut into small pieces)
  • 1.1 lb potatoes (cut into small cubes)
  • 1 lb tomatoes
  • 2 jalapeño or serrano chilies (optional)
  • 1 small onion (cut into chunks)
  • 1 garlic clove (peeled)
  • ¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt (to taste)


  • Place tomatoes and chilies in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let them cool slightly.
  • Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, cumin, peppercorns, and 1 ½ cup of the cooking water. Blend until smooth.
  • In a braising pan heat the olive oil, add meat and cook until slightly browned.
  • Pour in the tomato sauce, season with salt, and bring to a boil.
  • Cover the pan, set heat to medium-low, and cook for 10 minutes (read notes).
  • Add potatoes and mix well. Cover the pan and simmer until potatoes are cooked through (about 15 minutes), adding more water if needed.
  • Adjust salt to taste, turn off the heat and serve.


Make sure your meat is sliced thinly, thicker slices take longer to cook. But, if your meat is not tenderized after 10 minutes of simmering in the sauce, just add more water and keep cooking until it is slightly tender, it will finish the cooking with the potatoes.
Nutrition Information
Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 42g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 204mg | Potassium: 1443mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 1073IU | Vitamin C: 43mg | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 5mg
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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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