Beef Steak with Onions

(Bistec Encebollado)

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Beef Steak with Onions (Bistec Encebollado) is traditionally prepared with thin slices of round steak that are cooked with onions for a juicy, tender and flavorful meat.  The word “encebollado” means “with onions” in English.   However, after vacationing in Puerto Rico for several months, I noticed they tend to use sirloin, which is a more tender cut of meat compared to the round steak.  For this recipe, I will be using the thinly sliced sirloin steaks.

Every time I make this recipe, I have fond memories of my mother preparing this dish.  She would first cut the round steak into thin slices and then pound the steak with a meat tenderizer before adding the marinade.

This dish is usually served with white rice and stewed beans or with tostones (double fried green plantains).  Today, you can ask the butcher to slice your meat as well as tenderize it for you.  This will definitely save you a lot of food preparation time.

Preparing the Slices of Sirloin Steak!

I purchased 2 pounds of top sirloin steaks that were already sliced ¼-inch thick.  I also trimmed the excess fat before rinsing the steaks.

If the butcher is unable to tenderize your steaks, then place the meat on top of wax paper and with a meat mallet, pound each side.  This breaks up the muscle fibers to help soften and tenderize the meat.  Continue this process for the remaining steaks.

Marinating the Slices of Sirloin Steaks!

In a bowl, add the marinating ingredients:  3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 4 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons lite salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon adobo without salt. 

Note:  I purchase the adobo without salt online.

Using a whisk, stir all the ingredients until well blended.

Pour the marinade over the steaks and coat them evenly.  Cover bowl and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Peeling and Cutting the Onions!

This dish calls for plenty of sliced onions.  I normally use 2 to 3 large yellow onions.  Cut off both ends of onion and then cut the onion in half.  Remove the papery skin and the first layer of the onion.   Cut each half into ¼ to ½-inch slices or the thickness of your preference.

Simmering the Beef Steak with Onions!

Beef Steak with Onions

In a caldero (saucepan) or skillet, pour 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil at the bottom of saucepan and then add all marinated steak slices.

Beef Steak with Onions

Cook the steak slices over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, turning them over as they cook.

Note:  The cooking time that I provide for the meat is an approximate time.

Beef Steak with Onions

The steaks tend to release its own juice as they cook.   

We can now add the rest of the marinade that was left in the bowl where the steaks were marinating.  

Beef Steak with Onions

Arrange the onion slices on top of the beef steaks and pour ½ cup of water.   Bring the liquid to a boil.

Note:  My cousin also adds chunks of green pepper to this dish.  She says it gives the natural juices released from the meat more flavor.  I tasted her Beef Steak with Onions (Bistec Encebollado) last month in Puerto Rico and it was delicious.  

Beef Steak with Onions

Once the liquid is boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer the steaks for approximately 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat is very tender and the onions are translucent.  Cover saucepan with lid. 

Note:  Periodically check the amount of liquid while the meat is simmering.  You don’t want your meat to burn.  Add more water if necessary.

Beef Steak with Onions

After 30 to 40 minutes of simmering, check if the slices of sirloin steak are tender.   The steak slices have absorbed all the flavors from the marinade and onions.  The Beef Steak with Onions is ready.

Note:  I normally remove one steak slice from saucepan with a fork to check for tenderness.   In the cooking video below, however, I actually pulled the meat apart with my fingers (clean hands) just to demonstrate to the viewers the steak’s tenderness. 

Serving the Beef Steak with Onions!

Beef Steak with Onions

Arrange the slices of sirloin steak in a bowl or on a plate.  Place the cooked onions on top and pour over the juices released from the steaks and onions.  This dish is usually served with white rice and stewed beans or with tostones (double fried green plantains).  The Beef Steak with Onions (Bistec Encebollado) are so juicy and tender with lots of flavor.  

Click on the button below to watch my YouTube Video on How to Prepare Bistec Encebollado (Beef Steak with Onions)!

Recipe and Nutritional Facts!

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only.  Please refer to our Nutritional Facts Disclaimer for more information.


Beef Steak with Onions

  • Author: Aida's Kitchen®
  • Prep Time: 12 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 Minutes
  • Total Time: 57 minutes
  • Yield: 8 Servings 1x


Beef Steak with Onions (Bistec Encebollado) are thinly sliced marinated top sirloin steaks cooked with lots of onions for a juicy, tender and flavorful meat.



Marinating Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons lite salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon adobo without salt

Main Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds top sirloin steaks, thinly sliced into ¼-inch thick and trimmed of excess fat
  • 2 to 3 large yellow onions, peel and slice into ¼ to ½ -inch thick
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup water


  1. Tenderize the steak slices with a meat mallet.
  2. Mix all the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl.  Pour over the steak slices and coat evenly.
  3. Cover bowl with lid and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. In skillet or saucepan, pour extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add and cook the marinated steak slices, turning them over as they cook.
  5. Pour any leftover marinade and water over steaks along with the sliced onions.   Bring the liquid to a boil.
  6.  Reduce heat to low and cover saucepan with lid.  Simmer steaks for 30 to 40 minutes or until meat is tender and onions are translucent.

  • Category: Meat
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: Puerto Rican

Keywords: steaks, bistec, beef steaks, bistec encebollado

Nutritional Facts Disclaimer

Category: Meat, Recipes

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