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vaca frita cuban flank steak
5 from 2 votes

Cuban Vaca Frita Recipe Card

Cuban vaca frita is a classic dish and you will love the crispy bits of beef that is pan seared to finish the flavorful beef dish.  This is season, slow cooked and tenderized with all the aromatic flavors and then seared. This is truly one amazing Latin American dish! 

Course Main dish
Cuisine Cuban
Keyword authentic, flank steak, pan fried steak, slow cook
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings: Change to adjust-> 5 servings
Calories 324 kcal


  • 2 lbs flank steak
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-8 springs cilantro tied with kitchen twine
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup onion thinly sliced
  • 1 lime cut into wedges



  1. Season flank steak with all the seasonings and allow to rest for about 1 hour.
  2. In a large skillet saute the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the seasoned flank steak and brown lightly on both sides (about 2 minutes per side.) Add enough water to cover the meat.. Add bay leaves, cilantro sprigs and peppercorns.
  3. Simmer on low heat until tender (about 1.5 hours)
  4. Remove the meat from the liquid, place on a cutting board covered and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
  5. Slice across the grain into several pieces (about 6). Pound each piece of steak with a meat mallet until it is about half the original thickness.
  6. Strain the liquid, and add the solids back in the pan with a little olive oil. Fry the steak pieces until slightly brown on both sides. Squeeze lime over meat. Rice and black beans are a great sides.
Nutrition Facts
Cuban Vaca Frita Recipe Card
Amount Per Serving
Calories 324 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 4g25%
Cholesterol 108mg36%
Sodium 565mg25%
Potassium 712mg20%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 39g78%
Vitamin A 90IU2%
Vitamin C 7.2mg9%
Calcium 68mg7%
Iron 3.6mg20%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.