This bistec con papas is total comfort food! A slightly spicy and rich beef stew loaded with potatoes and flavored with a delicious tomato sauce. Made to feed a crowd, this easy dish comes out in just 30 minutes!

Bistec con papas is a popular recipe all over Latin America. It consists of a hearty dish made of beef steak, potatoes, and a flavorful tomato-based sauce.

This is one of those dishes I used to eat a lot as a kid, my mother would make it often because it was budget-friendly, delicious, and could easily feed our large family. Besides, it is also super easy and quick to make in one single pan, so if perfect for busy days!

Mexican Bistec con Papas in a pan.


  • 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 so they will cook faster.
  • Potatoes: You can use any type of potatoes you prefer.
  • 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.
  • Aromatics & seasonings: White onion, 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.

How To Make Bistec Con Papas

Place tomatoes and chilies in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let everything to cool down a bit then peel the tomatoes.

Tip: If you want to tone down the spiciness, remove the seeds and veins of the chilies.

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 at high speed until you have a smooth sauce.

Salsa roja for bistec con papas in a blender.

In a braising pan, heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the steak and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink and there are some juices released in the pan.

Cooking juicy beef bistec on a pan.

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

Mexican bistec fully cooked in a pan.

Pour in the tomato and chili sauce. If needed, 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 the steak is tender.

The salsa roja added to the pan with bistec beef.

Mix in the potato chunks. 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 & Notes

  • Adjust spices to your taste, this is best to do if you use ground spices instead of whole.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • You can also add other types of vegetables to make this Mexican steak and potatoes richer. Think of zucchini, chayotes, carrots, etc.
  • Do you have store-bought Mexican salsas in your pantry? Use it as a shortcut to make this recipe.
  • If you live in a place with a large Mexican community, chances are that you’ll find some carnicerías (butcher shops), so just ask the butcher for thin beef steaks and tell him that you want to make bistec con papas, he will know better and cut the meat properly.
  • By the way, Bistec is a Spanish word derived from beef steak, and papas translates to potatoes.

Serving Suggestions

This dish is amazing served with a side of arroz rojo or arroz blanco.

Blue corn tortillas or corn tortillas are a must. But if you want some bread to pick up that flavorful sauce, try my easy recipe for bolillo rolls.

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.

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

Store and Reheat

Bistec con papas leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days. They can be also frozen for up to 2-3 months.

When ready to enjoy, thaw the stew if frozen (better overnight), then reheat the stew in a pan with a splash of water to loosen it up.

More Mexican Steak Recipes

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Bistec con papas recipe made in one pan.

Bistec Con Papas

4 servings
This flavorful Mexican dish features beef steak loaded with potatoes and simmered in a flavorful tomato and chili sauce. An earthy and low-budget recipe perfect for everyday meals.
prep 10 minutes
cook 25 minutes
total 35 minutes


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


  • Place tomatoes and chilies in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil until tender. Let everything cool slightly, then peel the tomatoes.
  • Place cooked tomatoes and chilies in a blender, add onion, garlic, cumin, peppercorns, and 1 ½ cups 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).
  • Mix in the potatoes. 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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