The Ultimate Sabana de Res Recipe: A Flavorful Journey to Mexico

sabana de res recipe

Discover the authentic flavors of Mexico with this simple and delicious Sabana de Res recipe. This thinly sliced beef steak, marinated to perfection, will transport your taste buds straight to a Mexican fiesta.

Imagine biting into a juicy, tender piece of beef that’s been marinated in a blend of citrusy lime juice (3), garlic (3), and traditional Mexican spices like ground cumin and dried oregano. That’s exactly what you get with this Sabana de Res recipe—a flavorful and authentic Mexican dish that’s perfect for any occasion.

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What is Sabana De Res?

“Sabana de Res” is a traditional Latin American dish that features beef as its main ingredient. The name “Sabana” translates to “savannah” or “sheet” in English, and “Res” means “beef.” This name is likely derived from the way the beef is prepared: it is typically pounded to a thin, sheet-like consistency, resembling a savannah’s flat terrain.

In Latin American cuisine, especially in Mexico, “Sabana de Res” is often marinated in a flavorful blend of ingredients, which can include garlic, cumin, paprika, vinegar or citrus, and other spices, before being grilled or roasted. The marination process infuses the meat with rich flavors and helps tenderize the thin steak. Once cooked, it can be served with various accompaniments like rice, beans, and tortillas.

The dish is popular in many Latin American countries and can be found in various forms, with slight variations in the marinade or preparation method depending on the region.

The Recipe

sabana de res recipe

Sabana de Res Recipe

Ryan Yates



  • 1 pound beef steak skirt or flank steak
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp ancho chili pepper ground
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 cup onion sliced
  • 1 cup red sweet pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mushrooms chopped
  • 2 ea garlic cloves minced
  • 1/2 tsp cilantro chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato salsa
  • 1/4 cup Mexican beer or any beer
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter


Marinade Instructions

    Prepare the Marinade:

    • In a bowl, whisk together the lime juice, minced garlic, ground cumin, and dried oregano. This marinade is the heart of our Sabana de Res recipe, infusing the meat with incredible Mexican flavors.

    Marinate the Steak:

    • Place the thinly sliced beef steak in the marinade, ensuring it is well-coated. Marinate for at least 2-3 hours, or overnight for the best flavor.
    • Cooking Method Instructions:

    Grill the Steak:

    • Heat your barbecue or grill pan to high heat. Once smoking hot, add the steak and sear each side for 5-7 minutes, or until your desired doneness is reached.

    Rest and Slice:

    • Allow the steak to rest for 5-10 minutes after grilling. Slice against the grain into thin strips to keep it tender and juicy.

    Meanwhile Make the Sauce:

      Cook the Vegetables:

      • In the same skillet, sauté the onions, garlic, and red sweet pepper with salt and freshly ground ancho chili powder until tender. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to cook.

      Create the Sauce:

      • Pour the beer slowly while stirring constantly. Add the tomato salsa and chicken broth, and simmer until the liquid reduces by half and thickens into a sauce-like consistency.

      Finish the Dish:

      • Gradually add the butter while stirring, then reintroduce the cooked beef. Allow the dish to cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat and top with freshly chopped cilantro.


      • Enjoy this dish with cooked Mexican red rice and wedges of lemon or lime.
      Keyword Carne Asada, Flank Steak, sabana de res, sabana de res recipe, Skirt Steak

      Serving Suggestions For Sabana De Res

      1. Rice and Beans

      2. Salad

      • Why It Works: A fresh, crisp salad with a light vinaigrette can cut through the richness of the Sabana de Res, offering a refreshing contrast.
      • Example: Mix greens like romaine or arugula with cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a simple lime vinaigrette.

      3. Roasted Vegetables

      • Why It Works: Roasted vegetables add both color and nutrition to the plate, complementing the savory meat with their natural sweetness.
      • Chart for Roasting Times:
      Bell Peppers20 min425°F (220°C)
      Zucchini25 min400°F (200°C)
      Eggplant30 min400°F (200°C)

      4. Mashed Potatoes

      • Why It Works: Mashed potatoes are a comfort food that pairs wonderfully with the savory Sabana de Res, as they can absorb the flavorful juices from the meat.
      • Pro Tip: Add a touch of garlic and cream to your mashed potatoes for a richer flavor.

      5. Tortillas or Bread

      • Why It Works: Tortillas or a good loaf of bread are perfect for soaking up the flavorful juices from the Sabana de Res, ensuring that none of the deliciousness goes to waste.
      • Example: Serve with warm corn or flour tortillas, or a rustic loaf of bread.

      Bonus: Mexican Salsas

      • Why It Works: Salsas, such as Pico de Gallo or Salsa Verde, add a vibrant, tangy contrast to the rich and savory Sabana de Res.
      • Pro Tip: Make a fresh Pico de Gallo with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt.

      By considering these serving suggestions, you can transform your Sabana de Res recipe into a complete and satisfying meal. Whether you’re aiming for a traditional Latin American feast or a simple family dinner, these pairings are designed to complement the flavors of the Sabana de Res and create a dining experience that is both delicious and memorable.

      Tips for Preparation of Sabana De Res

      1. Choose the Right Cut of Beef

      • Why It Matters: The cut of beef you choose is crucial. Sirloin, Skirt Steak, Flank Steak, or, if you are feeling lavish, even a Rib Eye are recommended due to their fat and marbling, which contribute to flavor and tenderness.
      • Chart of Beef Cuts and Characteristics:
      Cut of BeefMarblingFlavorTenderness
      Skirt SteakHighRobustChewy
      Flank SteakLowBeefyLean
      Rib EyeHighRichVery Tender
      • Pro Tip: If you prefer a leaner option, go for Flank Steak. For a more indulgent meal, Rib Eye is a fantastic choice.

      2. Marinate the Beef

      • Why It Matters: Marinating the beef not only enhances the flavor but also breaks down the fibers in the meat, making it more tender. A blend of garlic, cumin, paprika, and lime juice is traditional and effective.
      • Example of a Marinade:
        • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
        • 2 tsp of cumin
        • 1 tsp of paprika
        • Juice of 2 limes
        • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Pro Tip: For best results, marinate the beef for at least an hour, but overnight marination will yield the most flavorful results.

      3. Let the Beef Rest

      • Why It Matters: Allowing the beef to rest after grilling or roasting is a key step that is often overlooked. It lets the juices redistribute throughout the meat, resulting in a juicier and more flavorful dish.
      • Chart of Resting Times:
      Thickness of BeefResting Time
      1/2 inch5 minutes
      1 inch10 minutes
      1.5 inches15 minutes
      • Pro Tip: Tent the beef with aluminum foil during the resting period to keep it warm without continuing to cook it.

      These preparation tips for Sabana de Res are designed to guide you through the process of selecting the best cut of beef, marinating it to perfection, and ensuring that the final product is as juicy and flavorful as possible. Each step is crucial in mastering the art of this traditional Mexican dish, promising a Sabana de Res that is truly exceptional.

      Ingredient Substitutions for Sabana de Res Recipe

      Cooking is an art, and sometimes you might find yourself missing an ingredient or two. Don’t worry! Here are some handy substitutions that can save your Sabana de Res recipe:

      1. Mexican Beer

      • Why It’s Used: Mexican beer in the marinade can help to tenderize the meat and add a depth of flavor.
      • Substitutions:
        • White Vinegar
        • Apple Cider Vinegar
        • Red Wine Vinegar
      • Pro Tip: Using vinegar as a substitute will give the marinade a tangy flavor that works well with the beef.

      2. Ancho Chili Pepper

      • Why It’s Used: Ancho chili pepper provides a mild, smoky sweetness that is a hallmark of Mexican cuisine.
      • Substitutions:
        • Regular Chili Powder
        • Paprika (for a milder flavor)
      • Chart of Chili Heat Levels:
      Chili TypeHeat Level
      Ancho ChiliMild
      Regular ChiliMedium
      Cayenne PepperHot
      • Pro Tip: If using a hotter chili powder like cayenne, use it sparingly and adjust to taste.

      3. Cilantro

      • Why It’s Used: Cilantro adds a fresh, herbaceous flavor that brightens up the dish.
      • Substitutions:
        • Fresh Parsley (for those who find cilantro to have a soapy flavor)
        • Dried Cilantro (use in smaller quantities as it is more concentrated)
      • Example: If a recipe calls for 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro, use 1/4 cup of fresh parsley or 1 tablespoon of dried cilantro instead.

      Understanding ingredient substitutions is key, especially when you’re in the middle of preparing a delicious Sabana de Res recipe and realize you’re missing a key ingredient. These swaps are not just about replacing one ingredient with another; they’re about preserving the harmony of flavors in your dish. So, whether you’re out of ancho chili or you’re part of the population that tastes soap when they eat cilantro, these substitutions have got you covered!

      FAQs On Sabana De Res

      What is Sabana de Res?

      It is a traditional Mexican dish made with thinly sliced beef steak that is marinated and then grilled.

      Can I use a different cut of beef?

      Yes, flank steak skirt steak are the most traditional, but other tender cuts can work.

      What can I substitute for lime juice?

      Lemon juice or vinegar are great alternatives.

      How long should I marinate Sabana De Res?

      For the best flavor, marinate it overnight. However, 2-3 hours will still yield a delicious result.

      Can I cook the steak in a skillet instead of a grill?

      Absolutely! A well-seasoned cast-iron skillet over high heat works wonderfully.

      What should I serve with Sabana de Res?

      It pairs well with Pico De Gallo, guacamole, or avocado slices, and is perfect for stuffing into tacos or burritos.

      Savor the Authenticity with Sabana de Res Recipe

      This Sabana de Res recipe is more than just a meal; it’s a flavorful journey that transports you straight to the heart of Latin American cuisine. With its tender, marinated beef and rich, vibrant flavors, it’s a dish that promises satisfaction in every bite.

      Easy to Prepare, Hard to Forget

      Despite its gourmet appeal, this Sabana de Res recipe is remarkably easy to prepare. Whether you are a seasoned chef or a novice in the kitchen, this recipe is designed to be approachable and enjoyable to make. The steps are simple, but the result is a dish that is memorable and sure to impress.

      A Canvas for Culinary Creativity

      One of the beautiful aspects of this Sabana de Res recipe is its versatility. The marinade, which is the soul of this dish, can be a playground for your culinary creativity. Love a smoky flavor? Add a touch more of the ancho chili pepper. Looking for a citrusy zing? Increase the lime juice. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different ingredients in the marinade to find your perfect combination.

      Bringing Latin American Flavors to Your Table

      With this Sabana de Res recipe, you are not just cooking; you are inviting the rich and diverse flavors of Latin America into your home. It’s a wonderful way to explore a new culture through its cuisine, right from the comfort of your own kitchen. Whether you are preparing this dish for a family dinner or a special occasion, it’s a recipe that brings people together, just as it has in Latin American homes for generations.

      A Final Note: ¡Buen Provecho!

      In Spanish, “¡Buen Provecho!” is a way to wish someone an enjoyable meal, similar to “Bon Appétit” in French. As you sit down to savor your Sabana de Res, imagine the warm, bustling kitchens of Mexico, where this dish is a beloved staple. Picture the families gathering around the table, eager to enjoy a meal prepared with love. As you take that first flavorful bite, join in this rich tradition: ¡Buen Provecho!

      This article was reviewed and published by Ryan Yates, an Executive Chef, Restaurant Manager, Professional Mixologist and Level 1 Sommelier. Ryan has over 15 years of experience in the food and beverage industry. With degrees from Le Cordon Bleu in Hospitality and Restaurant Management as well as Culinary Arts; Ryan has managed to successfully grow and manage a variety of establishments, from casual dining to Michelin rated restaurants. Ryan uses his diverse experience to provide a comprehensive and knowledgeable guide on all aspects of the food and beverage industry.

      Ryan Yates

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