Bistec Encebollado (Onion Steak)

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Easy and quick weeknight dinner recipe with strong south American flavors. This is a twist to the boring steak recipe. See how this bistec encebollado can change your steak Friday nights.

bistec encebollado recipe

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What is bistec encebollado?

Bistec encebollado is a piece of soft steak covered with a pungent and strong flavored sauce with sauteed onions. Hence the name, “bictec”, which means steak and “encebollado” with onions.

A pretty straightforward and simple recipe that is part of the daily cuisine in Venezuela.

What kind of steak do you need?

The softest steak that you can have for this recipe is cube steak or swiss steak. It’s basically a piece of shoulder beefsteak pounded with a tenderized to make the meat extra soft.

This is the exact type of beef that I use for Cuban style palomilla or milanesa de res.

It’s so tender that almost melts in your mouth. Nothing ruins the experience of a bistec encebollado more than chewy, hard and inedible steak. It doesn’t matter how delicious the seasoning is.

So, pick a high-quality steak to ensure the success of this recipe.

bistec encebollado recipe

How to make bistec encebollado?

This recipe is super easy. You can make it in less than 20 minutes. It’s one of those recipes that can save you on a busy day when you have no idea what to make for dinner. I’ve been in that exact situation several times and this type of recipe comes in handy.

The first thing is to make the marinade. I mix Worcestershire sauce, with a pinch of cumin and oregano. Then, I mince 2 garlic cloves and slice 2 big onions. Toss them to the marinade and we are set.

I highly suggest you use yellow onions. It comes in bigger sizes, giving you larger onion slices. Also, it withstands better the cooking process without falling apart.

Then, I place my steaks in the marinade and let it sit in there for at least 1 hour in the fridge. My ideal amount of time is overnight. It allows the meat to soak all those flavors. But if you are short on time, 1 hour will do the trick.

Small note: If you live in the US and you are looking to source high quality, grass-fed, organic meat, check Snake River Farms. I love their products and service.

You can assemble this as soon as you are in your home, then go to the gym, watch a bit of tv or read a book while the meat is marinating. Then, it’s just cooking the steaks for 15 minutes and we are ready to serve.

I like to use a cast iron pan for better searing. I heat my pan, pour a bit of olive oil and cook the steaks first — without adding the onions. As soon as one side is seared, I flip the steaks and pour the marinade remains with the sliced onions.

Here is where the magic happens. The marinade transforms into a yummilicious strong-flavored sauce. The onion caramelizes in the sauce and softens up. That it is how you do a great bistec encebollado.

What to serve with this onion steak?

My grandma usually makes bistec encebollado with plain rice. It’s a nice combination but I like to shake things up a bit. Here are some of my favorite side dish ideas for onion steak.

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bistec encebollado recipe
Bistec Encebollado
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Marinating Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 25 mins
Easy and quick weeknight dinner recipe with strong south American flavors. This is a twist to the boring steak recipe. See how this bistec encebollado can change your steak Friday nights.
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: bisctec encebollado, cube steak, onion steak
Servings: 4 people
  • 4 medium-size cube steaks
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 2 big onions (preferably yellow onions)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. In a big bowl, mix the Worcestershire sauce, cumin, oregano, garlic cloves minced and the sliced onions. Try to slice the onions a bit thick.
  2. Add the steaks and let the meat marinade for at least 1 hour.
  3. Heat a cast-iron pan and pour the olive oil. Sear one side of the steaks and then flip. Pour the rest of the marinade including the onions. Cook for 4-6 minutes until the onions are soft and the meat cooked.

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