Photo of Slow cooker ropa vieja by WW

Slow cooker ropa vieja

SmartPoints® value per serving
Total Time
8 hr 30 min
30 min
8 hr
If you thought flank steak was only for thin slicing, you were wrong! Named for the way the beef shreds into strands in the rich sauce, this simple Mexican-inspired recipe will wow guests with its sweet and tangy sauce and rich beef. A quick 30 minutes of prep and long slow cooker time means you can start this in the morning and have it ready for dinner with no extra work. Serving a crowd made super simple, the 12 servings here are a fantastic main with rice to soak up the sauce and roasted corn for a pop of color. You can also make this beef into your taco meat for a twist on a dinnertime favorite. Kids will love the apple sweetness and knowing it is a secret ingredient to their new favorite dish!


Fat-free reduced sodium chicken broth

1½ cup(s)

Apple cider vinegar

¼ cup(s)

Ground cumin

1 Tbsp


1 tsp, mild-flavored, preferably smoked paprika

Table salt

1 tsp

Black pepper

½ tsp, freshly ground

Cayenne pepper

¼ tsp, or more to taste

Uncooked lean flank steak

3 pound(s), two 1 1/2-lb steaks, trimmed of any fat

Uncooked red onion(s)

2 medium, thinly sliced into rings

Sweet red pepper(s)

2 large, seeded, cored and chopped

Fresh apple(s)

2 medium, peeled, cored and shredded through the holes of a box grater

Uncooked celery

3 rib(s), medium, thinly sliced

Garlic clove(s)

3 medium clove(s), minced


½ cup(s), leaves, packed, chopped


  1. Whisk the broth, vinegar, cumin, paprika, salt, black pepper and cayenne in a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker. Submerge the meat, then add the onions, red peppers, apples, celery and garlic, making sure the vegetables are under, between, and over the steaks.
  2. Cover and cook on low until the meat is fork-tender, about 8 hours.
  3. Transfer the meat to a cutting board; set aside for 10 minutes. Shred the meat with two forks, pulling it into strands along the grain. Return to the slow cooker; stir in cilantro. Set the slow cooker on warm and serve within 4 hours. Yields about 1 1/4 cups per serving.