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Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo)

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This rich and spicy Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo) is a slow cooking hearty recipe perfect for a cold night by the fire.
4.9 from 7 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
A bowl of Mexican beef stew with lime wedges on the side.

Also known as Caldillo, this rich and spicy Mexican Beef Stew is full of beef, potatoes, and all the delicious flavors of Mexico. It’s a slow cooking hearty recipe perfect for a cold night by the fire.

This recipe for Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo) may not be found on many authentic restaurant menus, but it definitely earns a “Yum” rating. And although it’s not strictly southern, I would definitely say that these kinds of “Tex-Mex” recipes have been influenced by their Texan (certainly southern) places of origin.

A bowl of Mexican beef stew with lime wedges on the side.

This combination of beef, onions, tomatoes, salsas, and potatoes is rich and spicy. Quite spicy actually. I’d rate this as a medium, almost hot, level of spicy heat. If you want to tone it down, substitute plain diced tomatoes for the tomatoes and chilies, and make sure to use mild tomato salsa and salsa verde.

Serve this Mexican stew with warm corn or flour tortillas and wedges of lime to squeeze over each serving. It’ll fill you right up and warm you from the inside out!

💗 Why We Love This Recipe


  • A truly great stew is, first and foremost, satisfying. This one certainly is that!
  • Warms you from the inside. Come in from a day spent in the cold and this Caldillo will bring you back to life.
  • Full of Mexican flavors. The chilies, the salsa, the cumin…it all works together to create something really special.

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING …

What a great twist on a classic! Love the added salsa verde!
— Brenda

🥘 About The Ingredients


Ingredients required for making Caldillo.

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  • Olive oil – Used to saute the meat, onions, and garlic.
  • Beef Stew Meat The beef that you choose for this stew can range from “stew meat” (see my notes about beef stew meat) to chuck roast, to London broil, sirloin, or round. All of these are appropriate for long cooking times. Choose what fits your budget. Regardless of which you choose, it should be cut into bite-sized pieces for cooking.
  • Onions and Garlic Cloves The aromatic vegetables that give depth of flavor to the finished stew.
  • Diced tomatoes with Green Chilies – My preferred brand is Rotel. Choose mild, original, or hot according to your taste.
  • Chicken Broth – If you have homemade on hand, use it! Otherwise, Swanson makes an acceptable canned broth.
  • Tomato Salsa and Salsa Verde – One is salsa with red tomatoes, and the other is salsa made with tomatillos. If you make your own salsas, this is the perfect recipe to highlight them. Otherwise, you might try Pace brand of tomato salsa and Herdez brand of salsa verde.
  • Salt, Black Pepper, and CuminTypical seasonings for this and other Tex-Mex recipes.
  • Potatoes – Use potatoes that won’t cook to mush in the stew. Yukon Gold are perfect!
  • Tortillas and Lime Wedges – For serving. Your choice of flour or corn (traditional!) tortillas.

You’ll find detailed measurements for all ingredients in the printable version of the recipe at the bottom of this post.

🔪 How To Make Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo)


  1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  2. Add the beef stew meat, onions, and garlic. Saute, stirring frequently, until the stew meat has browned and the onions are transparent.

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  1. Add the remaining ingredients except for the potatoes. Stir well.
  2. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  3. Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  1. Stir in the potatoes.
  2. Continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
A spoonful of Mexican beef stew suspended above the cooking pot.
  1. Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges on the side.

Serve Your Stew in These Beautiful Handmade Soup Mugs!

Handmade Pottery Soup Mug Stoneware Mug Microwave Safe
Handmade Pottery Soup Mug Stoneware Mug Microwave Safe

from: Etsy

🔀 Recipe Variations


  • Taco seasoning will enhance the Mexican flavor of the stew without much additional spiciness.
  • To really amp up the heat, consider adding some chipotle in adobo or red pepper flakes. 
  • Add New Mexico roasted Hatch green chilis for a burst of flavor! 
  • Use bacon fat in place of olive oil for a smoky background flavor.

❗ Tips


  • Any vegetable oil will work if you don’t have olive oil for sauteing.
  • Don’t have chicken broth? Beef broth works very well.
  • For a thicker stew, make a slurry of two tablespoons of cornstarch and two tablespoons of water. Stir it in just before serving.
  • Check and stir the stew occasionally during the cooking time to make sure nothing is sticking. Add broth or water if the level of liquid seems too low.
A bowl of Mexican beef stew with lime wedges on the side.

🍚 Storing Leftovers


Allow any leftover stew to cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled stew to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating in the microwave or on low heat on the stovetop.

🍽 Serving Suggestions


Serve the Caldillo with warm tortillas (flour or corn) on the side and lime wedges to squeeze over the stew. Offer toppings of grated cheese, sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro. 

TIP: Dairy products such as sour cream help to temper the heat from the chilis. 

Caldillo pairs well with steamed rice or with salads such as black bean and corn salad or Mexican-style corn salad. Of course, stews naturally partner with bread so something like cheesy green chile cornbread is perfect to soak up all those luscious juices.

❓ Questions About Mexican Beef Stew


Can this recipe be made in the slow cooker?

You can certainly make Mexican Beef Stew in a slow cooker. Start by browning the meat and onions as directed in the recipe. Add the to the slow cooker along with all the remaining ingredients except potatoes. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 12 hours, or on high for 4 to 6 hours. Add the cubed potatoes about halfway through the cooking time.

Just how “hot” is this stew?

The heat level of the finished Caldillo depends entirely on the products you use in the recipe. If you want a very mild version, you could use plain canned diced tomatoes without chilis, mild tomato salsa, and mild salsa verde. If you really want to spice things up, you’d choose from the spicier Rotel options (such as Serrano), hot red salsa, and hot salsa verde plus a bit of chipotle in adobo. Know your ingredients and choose according to your personal tastes.

🧾 More Recipes You’ll Like


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📖 Recipe

A bowl of Mexican beef stew with lime wedges on the side.

Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo)

This rich and spicy Mexican Beef Stew (Caldillo) is a slow cooking hearty recipe perfect for a cold night by the fire.
4.86 from 7 votes
Print It Rate It Save Text It
Course: Soups and Stews
Cuisine: Southwestern
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 8 servings
Calories: 350kcal
Author: Lana Stuart

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 ½ pounds beef stew meat
  • 2 medium onions roughly diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 20 ounces diced tomatoes with green chilies recommend: Rotel
  • 1 cup tomato salsa
  • 1 ½ cups salsa verde
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 ½ pounds peeled and diced potatoes
  • Tortillas and lime wedges for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan or Dutch oven.
  • Add the beef stew meat, onions, and garlic. Saute, stirring frequently, until the stew meat has browned and the onions are transparent.
  • Add the remaining ingredients except for the potatoes. Stir well.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer.
  • Cover tightly and cook over low heat for 1 1/2 hours or until the meat is tender.
  • Stir in the potatoes.
  • Continue cooking for an additional 30 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Serve with warm tortillas and lime wedges on the side.

Notes

  • Choose any type of long cooking beef such as “stew meat, chuck roast, London broil, sirloin, or round. Regardless of which you choose, it should be cut into bite-sized pieces for cooking.
  • Adjust the heat of the finished dish by using your choice of chilis and salsas. Serve with warm tortillas (flour or corn) on the side and lime wedges to squeeze over the stew. Offer toppings of grated cheese, sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro.
  • Allow any leftover stew to cool completely and then transfer it to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. To freeze, transfer the cooled stew to a freezer-safe container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw before reheating in the microwave or on low heat on the stovetop.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1 | Calories: 350kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 1011mg | Potassium: 1196mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 510IU | Vitamin C: 28mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your health care provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Two blue bowls filled with mexican beef stew (caldillo) with lime wedges and tortillas on the side.

— This post was originally published on May 14, 2015. It has been updated with new photos and additional information.

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