Ropa Vieja (Paleo + Whole30) Slow Cooker or Instant Pot

This Paleo + Whole30 ropa vieja has a rich, bold flavor with hints of smoky, savory and sweet. It's our take on the traditional Cuban dish! Make it in your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker. 

Course Main Course
Cuisine Cuban
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 8
Author Justin + Erica Winn | Real Simple Good


  • 3 pound chuck roast
  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 cup beef broth
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz can)
  • 1 can tomato paste (6 oz can)
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5 bay leaves

Add at the end:

  • 3 bell peppers sliced
  • 1 can green olives drained


For the Instant Pot:

  1. Prep onion and garlic as noted. Cut up roast into 2 inch cubes. 

  2. Press the sauté button on the Instant Pot and add ghee. Once hot, add in the cubed roast and brown on all sides (3-4 minutes per side). Press "cancel" button on Instant Pot once beef is browned. 

  3. Add in all remaining ingredients to the Instant Pot with the beef (except bell peppers and olives). 

  4. Secure the lid on the Instant Pot and close the pressure valve. Press "manual" button (or "pressure cook" button) and set the time for 45 minutes at high pressure. Once the time is up, let the pressure naturally release for 20 minutes and then carefully manually release the remaining pressure. 

  5. Shred the beef using two forks if you desire, or leave the beef in chunks (it should fall apart).

  6. Press the sauté button on the Instant pot and add in the bell peppers. Cook for 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the peppers are tender.

  7. Stir in the olives to warm. Serve and enjoy.

For the slow cooker:

  1. Omit ghee. Place all ingredients (except bell peppers and olives) in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 7-8 hours.

  2. Shred the beef using two forks. Add in the bell peppers and cook for 1 more hour. 

  3. Stir in the olives to warm. Serve and enjoy.

Recipe Notes

Cooking time will vary for a larger roast. We did a 3 pound roast and 45 minutes was perfect. For a 4 pound roast cook for 55 minutes and for a 5 pound roast cook for 65 minutes.