Arianna Foster
Published by Arianna Foster
Last Updated On: August 31, 2023

During the decade I’ve been on a carnivore diet, I’ve tried all kinds of meat, or at least I thought so. It wasn’t until a year ago that my friend introduced me to ancho beef.

I fell in love with this meat and spent a year trying different ancho beef recipes.

Today, I’ll explain what ancho beef is and give you my two best ancho beef recipes.

Quick Summary

  • Ancho beef is an aromatic variety of dried chili pepper combined with meat derived from cows.
  • Ancho chiles are mild, so they aren’t very hot.
  • You can make chili, stew, or tacos with ancho beef.

What Is Ancho Beef?

A top view shot of ancho beef with lime slices and corn salsa on top

Ancho beef is an aromatic variety of dried chili pepper combined with meat derived from cows [1]. It’s commonly used in Mexican dishes.

You need a steak to prepare ancho beef. Both boneless and bone-in versions are commonly used. The meat should be marbled with fat, which results in a tender and flavorful cut.

You can buy ancho beef steaks commonly in supermarkets, but I recommended getting a custom slice from a butcher.

Packaged cuts are usually thin and are best for grilling or frying. Thicker steaks are better for stews and tacos.

Related Articles:

Ancho Beef Chili Nutritional Value

One serving of ancho beef has 280 calories. You can expect to get around 24 grams of protein, 8 grams of fat, and 30 grams of carbs in one serving.

Of course, these amounts can vary slightly based on other seasonings used in individual recipes.

Ancho Beef Tacos Recipe

Four pieces of ancho beef tacos

Shredded beef prepared in an ancho pepper sauce is a common dish in the northeastern part of Mexico. Here’s how to make it.


  • 20 oz flank steak
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 onion
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12/ teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 cup lettuce


A person checking the boiling pot with meat for ancho beef
  1. Put the meat into the pot. Add onion, garlic, and bay leaf. Cover with water and close the pot. 
  2. Mix the ancho chili powder, cumin, and oregano for taco seasoning.
  3. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pot and put it in a large container until it’s cool to handle. Shred using forks.
  4. Warm vegetable oil on medium-low heat in a frying pan. Cook for five minutes and lower the heat to low. 
  5. Add the meat and season with salt and pepper. Add the taco seasoning and cook for five minutes.
  6. Serve in tortillas with tomato and lettuce.

Recipe tips:

  • Use ground turkey or chicken for a leaner option.
  • If you aren’t watching your calories, add some cheddar cheese on top.
  • Add beef stock if you want a saucier mixture.
  • Season the meat while it cooks so the fat soaks in all the spices and the flavors can come out.
  • Add vegetables or beans during the cooking if you want a nutrient-dense meal.
  • You can cook the beef in an instant pot and finish drying it in a frying pan. Or, use a regular pot, but keep in mind it’ll take an hour and fifteen minutes to cook. You can also use a slow cooker and cook for six hours if you have the time.
  • Ancho peppers are mild, so this isn’t a very spicy dish. Add other peppers to make it spicy.
  • Store the tacos in airtight containers. Make sure they are cool. You can freeze the tacos for up to two months or keep them in the fridge for four days. Let it thaw in the fridge for a day or two before reheating it on the stove.

Also Read: How to Thaw Meat Fast?

Ancho Beef Stew Recipe

A close up shot of ancho beef stew dish


  • 2 lbs beef shoulder, boneless
  • 2 dried ancho chilies
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cans tomatoes
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • Toppings


  1. Prepare the chiles. Discard the stems and remove the seeds. Pour boiling water over the chiles and leave for 20 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the chiles soften. Drain the water, but leave 1/2 cup of liquid. 
  2. Put the chiles with the liquid, flour, and salt in a food processor and process until smooth. 
  3. Coat the beef with cumin. Heat one tablespoon of oil over medium heat until it becomes hot. Brown half of your beef. Repeat with the rest of the oil and beef. 
  4. Remove dripping from the beef and return it to the pot. 
  5. Add the ancho mix and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for an hour to an hour and a half.
  6. Add sweet potatoes to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot, and cook for about half an hour. You’ll know the stew is done when the beef and potatoes are fork-tender. 
  7. Serve hot with toppings.

Recipe Tips:

A man cutting the ancho beef on a wooden board
  • Make sure to cut the beef shoulder into 1-inch thick pieces.
  • You can use any toppings you like, for example, red onion, lime wedges, fresh cilantro, sour cream, and more.
  • Make sure to wash your hands with soap and water before cooking and after touching raw meat. Also, ancho is mildly spicy, so make sure not to touch your eyes.
  • Cook the meat until it reaches 145 degrees. You can use a meat thermometer to check the temperature.
  • You can refrigerate the leftovers in an airtight container for about three to four days and keep them in the freezer for three months.
  • Ancho beef stew is a good source of protein, niacin, iron, and vitamins, but you can add more vegetable toppings to make it even more nutritious. 

Also Read: Instant Pot Shredded Beef Recipe


What Cuts are Used for Beef Ancho?

Different beef cuts are used for beef ancho, both boneless or bone-in. The most common beef ancho recipes are tacos, stew, and chili.

What Is Ancho Sauce Made of?

Ancho sauce is made of dried poblano peppers, or as they are also called, ancho chiles. The sauce has a somewhat smoky flavor and isn’t too spicy, as the chiles are mild.

What Can You Do with Dried Ancho?

You can make ancho sauce or use dried ancho in a stew, tacos, tamales, chili, carne asada, and other recipes.

How Do You Cook with Ancho?

You cook with ancho by removing the stems and seeds. These are the spiciest parts of the chiles, so you can leave them if you like extra spicy flavor. You can toast the dried chiles and cook with them or make a marinade.

What is Ancho Flavor?

Ancho flavor is raisin-like, often connected with Texan-style chili dishes because they are often made with ancho chile peppers. The peppers have mild heat.

Is Ancho Seasoning Spicy?

Yes, ancho seasoning is spicy but mild spicy. Ancho chiles have mild heat. On the Scoville scale, which rates heat levels, ancho chiles rated 1,000 to 1,500 units [2]. This is up to eight times less spicy than jalapenos.

Should You Try Ancho Beef?

Ancho beef is delicious, nutritious, and isn’t too spicy, so the whole family can eat it. You can make different recipes with ancho chiles. Try ancho beef tacos, ancho beef chili, or ancho beef stew.

No matter which recipe you opt for, you need quality meat. Ever since I started making my own ancho, I’ve used the cuts ordered from ButcherBox, which sells sustainably sourced cuts.

They only sell grass-fed and grass-finished beef. The animals are allowed to roam and aren’t raised in caged or pens, which results in flavorful meat.

Their meat is antibiotic and hormone-free, ensuring top quality in every order you place.


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