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+ servings
A blue-rimmed plate of white rice topped with Bistec Encebollao

Bistec Encebollado (Cube Steak Smothered in Onions)

This Puerto Rican steak is marinated and sauteed in a vinegary onion sauce.
Course Mains
Cuisine Puerto Rican/Hispanic
Keyword onion, steak
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
marinating time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 524kcal


  • small blender or pilón


  • 2 pounds cube steak* pounded to 1/4"
  • 3 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ádobo
  • 1 packet Sazón (optional)
  • 10 black peppercorns (or 1/2 teaspoon black pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 large yellow onions sliced 1/8"-1/4" thick

To Serve

  • 4 cups steamed white or yellow rice


Prepare the Marinade

  • Add the garlic, Ádobo, Sazón, peppercorns, and oregano to a pilón or a small blender.
    Pound the spices until a thick paste forms.
  • Pour the white vinegar into the pilón. Use the pestle to stir the marinade together.  
    Pour the marinade into a large mixing bowl.
  • Add the steaks to the marinade in the bowl, turning them in the marinade a few times to coat them well. 
    Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and marinate the meat, in the refrigerator, for 2-3 hours (or overnight).

Finish the Bistec Encebollao

  • In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Once the oil begins to shimmer in the pan, add the sliced onions.
    Sauté the onions for 5-6 minutes over medium heat, or until they begin to wilt and take on a little color.
  • Once the onions are soft, use a set of tongs to move them from the pan to a separate bowl or platter. 
  • Drain all but a tablespoon of the flavored oil from the pan. Return the pan to the stove and increase the temperature to medium-high.
    Lay the bistecs into the hot oil, then pour the marinade over them in the pan.
  • Sear the meat for 3 minutes on one side.
    Flip the steaks over and sear the meat on the second side for 4 minutes.  
  • During the final minute of cooking, return the sautéed onions to the pan.
    Turn the heat off and- if you have a lid- cover the pan to allow the onions a chance to warm through.  
  • Once the onions are hot, serve the steaks on mounds of Arroz Blanco or Arroz Borracho. A side of Habichuelas Guisadas will complete the meal.  
  • Enjoy your Bistec Encebollao while piping hot.
    Store any leftovers in the fridge for up to two days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top just until warmed through.


* cube steak is any steak- usually from the chuck or round areas of the cow that have been tenderized.


Calories: 524kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 48g | Fat: 32g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 253mg | Potassium: 892mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 73mg | Iron: 4mg