Vaca frita is cooked flank steak shredded and fried until crispy. A Cuban classic meal that’s super easy to make at home!
If you were looking for an authentic vaca frita recipe, look no further! This dish is packed with flavor and makes the best leftovers. Other Cuban favorites include ropa vieja and bistec encebollado. If you’re wondering what “vaca frita” means, it means “fried cow” in Spanish. Although it has a silly name, you will definitely love this dish!
Why You’ll Love It
- It’s cooks in the instant pot in just 40 minutes, so no need to boil the flank steak for hours on the stovetop.
- You can serve it with fluffy white rice and Cuban black beans for a restaurant-quality meal.
- It’s super garlicky and citrusy.
- Requires only 7 ingredients!
Vaca Frita Ingredient Notes
Flank Steak – You’ll need 2 lbs of boneless flank steak.
Sazonador Total – It’s a blend of spices that can be found in the Hispanic aisle at your local supermarket.
- If you can’t find sazonador total, use a combination of cumin, garlic power, and oregano. Or you can use your favorite spices.
- Flank steak is super tender and the best cut of meat for this recipe.
- If you don’t have an instant pot or pressure cooker, simply boil the flank steak in water until tender. This could take a few hours.
- Allow the flank steak to cool a bit before shredding.
- You can adjust this recipe to your liking, if you don’t like it too citrusy, add less lime juice. Also, make sure you season with salt and pepper!
- When it comes to Cuban cuisine, there is no such thing as “too much garlic” but if you’re not a fan of garlic, reduce the amount or simply omit it.
What Is The Difference Between Vaca Frita And Ropa Vieja?
Just like vaca frita, ropa vieja also has a silly name. Ropa vieja means “old clothes” in Spanish. Both dishes are made with shredded flank steak. However, ropa vieja is shredded beef simmered in a tomato-based sauce while vaca frita is citrusy and crispy.
Place any leftovers in an air-tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
More Cuban Recipes You’ll Love
- Cuban Red Beans
- Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup
- Enchilado de Camarones – Cuban Shrimp Creole
Tried this recipe? Please leave a star ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page. And consider following me on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- Instant Pot
- 2 lbs boneless flank steak
- 2 limes juiced
- 4 garlic cloves finely minced
- 1 tbsp plus 2 tsp Sazonador Total
- 2 onions finely sliced
- 1/2 green bell pepper
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 cups water
- Cut the flank steak into 4 pieces and then place it in the instant pot sleeve along with 8 cups of water, 1/2 onion, 1/2 green bell pepper, and 1 tbsp sazonador total.
- Seal the lid, press the "pressure cook" function, and cook for 40 minutes. Once the 40 minutes are up, remove the flank steak from the instant pot and shred it using two forks. Discard any fat.
- Place the shredded flank steak in a bowl and set it aside.
- Combine the juice of two limes, garlic, and 2 tsp of sazonador total.
- Pour the lime juice over the shredded beef and season with salt and pepper.
- Heat about 1/4 cup of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the shredded beef, spread it in a single layer, and fry for 4-5 minutes or until crispy.
- While the beef cooks heat some olive oil in a separate skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt.
- Serve the vaca frita with the sauteed onions and enjoy!
Leave a Reply