This Caldo de res recipe is a hearty comfort soup packed with garden vegetables and beef short ribs or beef shank bone in. It's perfect for a cold winter day, easy to make with a bit of patience, and instills me with wonderful memories.
🌟 Why this recipe works
Caldo de Res is a classic recipe with a variety of vegetables, like corn, celery, cabbage, potato, and squash, combined with tender beef short ribs. The soup is flavored with beef bone broth, cilantro, and tomato to give the hearty soup its authentic flavor.
This Mexican vegetable beef soup is perfect for lunch or dinner on a cold winter's evening or anytime you fancy a taste of Mexico in a bowl. One large pot of this soup will easily feed a large family and can also be prepared in a Dutch oven or slow cooker.
A hearty comfort food yet naturally good for you since caldo de res is made with beef bones like beef shank or beef short ribs, plus loads of healthy vegetables.
The soup has a rich and savory flavor from the beef short ribs cooked until it is tender and falling off the bone, infusing the soup with its flavor. The vegetables add freshness and sweetness to the soup. In contrast, cilantro adds a bright, herbaceous flavor common in Mexican cuisine.
This recipe is easy to follow and can be easily adapted to your liking. And as authentic as possible cause authenticity is what you grew up with, so your mom or abuela's home-cooked caldo de res recipe may differ.
For me, the order of adding each ingredient to the pot (as you say) is far more important than whether the meat is browned (or not) or whether the broth is white (or brown, or mildly tomatoey). Or the cut of meat!
If you don't like one of the vegetables listed, feel free to swap it out for another that you prefer. Check the substitutions list and variations of the recipe for ideas.
🍽 Key Ingredients
The key to making this extraordinary soup is adding the vegetables at the right time, so they don't turn into mush and letting the beef bones boil to extract the flavor.
Bone-in beef short ribs - perfect for the soup recipe, as the bone broth beautifully flavors the soup.
- Cob of corn - a traditional ingredient in Caldo de Res
- Carrots - adds sweetness, color, and nutrients to the soup
- Celery - adds a subtle flavor and crunch to the soup
- Green cabbage - a less traditional ingredient, but it adds a lovely color and nutritional value to the soup
- White potatoes - white ones are better, like Yukon gold, as they hold their shape better during cooking and don't turn mush
- Cilantro - brightens up the soup and is a classic Mexican flavor
- Tomato - adds acidity, sweetness, and depth to the soup
- Summer squash - a seasonal ingredient that soft and sweet
If you don't have one of the following ingredients, feel free to use the substitution list below.
- Beef Cuts - You can use beef shank bone-in, beef stew meat, beef chuck roast, chambrete
- Cob of corn - Use 1 cup of frozen corn.
- Zucchini - swap for chayote squash
- Carrots - You could use parsnips or turnips.
- Celery - Fennel has a more robust flavor than celery but is similar.
- Cabbage - You can use white cabbage, kale, or chard.
- Potatoes - Yukon gold, Russet, and even Sweet Potatoes
- Herbs - You can use parsley, basil, or bay leaves.
- Tomatoes - You can use canned diced tomatoes.
🔪 How to make
A good caldo de res soup requires patience and some prep work by cutting all fresh vegetables. Still, after that is done, it's a matter of adding them to the pot at the correct time. The recipe is easy to follow and takes a couple of hours to cook from start to finish.
You'll need what I call a caldo pot, which basically means at least a 6-quart pot for cooking caldo. A large stock pot, dutch oven, crockpot, slow cooker, or any large stove top pot will work perfectly.
Peel and cut the fresh corn cob into quarters.
Wash and peel the carrots and celery, and cut them into small chunks.
Thinly slice the onion.
Dice the tomato into small pieces and place in a bowl.
Coarsely chop the fresh cilantro.
Chop the green cabbage into 2 or 3 wedges.
Wash and chop the white potatoes into small pieces.
Dice the zucchini in pieces.
Plan for about 2-3 hours of cooking time from start to finish. And if you plan to cook this recipe, consider making my Mexican flan for dessert.
Bring a large pot of water (¾ full) to a boil with the beef short ribs.
Reduce to medium-low heat and continue cooking while skimming and removing the foam on the top of the water.
Once the foam is removed, let the soup bones boil for around an hour with the lid ajar to create the perfect broth.
Add corn cob to the soup and cook for 15 minutes.
Next, add celery, cooking for another 15 minutes.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and fry the onions with olive oil for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
Add the chopped tomatoes and juices to the skillet, cooking for 2 minutes, then add the chopped cilantro.
Stir and pour the tomato sauce mixture into the beef soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more water until it's ¾ full.
Add carrots, cook for 15 minutes, then add cabbage and cook for another 15 minutes.
Add potatoes, cooking for 15 minutes, and lastly, add squash, cooking for 10 minutes.
Test the vegetables, so they are all fork tender, and then remove the pot from the heat.
Taste to see if it needs additional salt and pepper.
Serve Caldo de res Mexican beef soup in large bowls.
Garnish with: Additional cilantro, lime wedges for a squeeze of lime juice, and sliced jalapeños for heat.
Serve with: warm corn tortillas or Mexican rice.
💭 Cooking Tips
Don't throw the vegetables in at once!
Following the 15-minute rule when adding vegetables is essential to ensure they are tender and not mushy.
Use stock cubes
Use Knorr bouillon cubes like Caldo de res or vegetable.
Browning the Beef
Traditionally beef is not browned in caldo de res. That being said, it isn't a bad thing either.
It really does make all the difference if you use lemon, cilantro & jalapeños for your garnish & don't forget the corn tortillas 🙂
This caldo de res is one of the best Mexican food recipes, and this authentic recipe is the best version! Although you can switch up the flavors to create tasty variations. Here are a few options to try at home.
Creamy Caldo de Res
To give this vegetable beef soup a creamy texture, add 1 cup of sour cream or heavy cream at the end. Give it a good stir and serve. The creaminess makes it sweeter and more comforting in the winter.
Spicy Caldo de Res
If you want to add some heat to the soup, add 2 or 3 chopped chipotle chiles in adobe sauce or jalapenos with the tomato and onion sauce. You can also add 2 tablespoons of hot sauce to the tomatoes to really enhance the spicy flavor.
Roasted tomato Caldo de Res
This version is even more delicious and has a smokey flavor from the fire-roasted tomatoes. Add 1 cup of diced fire-roasted tomatoes to the skillet with the onions (caramelized), cilantro, and also 3 cloves of minced garlic.
🥗 What to serve with
One of the best pairings for Mexican soup recipes like this Caldo de res is Mexican rice, refried beans, fresh corn tortillas, or green beans.
If you love tasty low-carb food, this cauliflower rice recipe is perfect! It's much better than regular rice as the cauliflower absorbs the seasonings and flavors perfectly. This easy recipe is flavored with cilantro and lime and is amazing with soup.
Baked tortilla chips
You can never have too many tortilla chips! These baked tortilla chips are a healthier option than the fried ones, and they are still super crunchy and delicious. Serve them with the soup or on the side.
While your caldo de res simmers, consider making my Mexican flan recipe for dessert. It only requires 5 ingredients and takes about the same time to prepare. AND it's one of my best recipes and loved by all.
🙋 Frequently Asked Questions
Can I make this Mexican beef soup in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can! Just follow the recipe to the point where you would add the vegetables, then transfer everything to a slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours.
Can I make Caldo de res beef soup with chicken instead?
Yes, although this is called caldo de pollo! When substituting beef shank or beef ribs, opt for chicken legs as they add more flavor. Lastly, you won't need to boil the chicken for one hour like the beef; 20 minutes is plenty for chicken.
🧊 Storing and ♨️ Reheating
This vegetable beef soup can easily be stored and eaten over many days as it uses fresh ingredients.
Fridge - Transfer the leftover soup to an airtight container and place it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Freezer - The best way to freeze the vegetable beef soup is to pour it into a freezer-proof container and freeze it for 6 to 8 months.
Reheating - Heat the leftovers in a pot over high heat until it starts to boil. Alternatively, you can reheat in a microwave-safe container on high for a few minutes, stirring at 1-minute intervals.
🪅 Try More Mexican Recipes
Check out these fantastic recipes if you're having a Mexican-themed party or just in the mood for Mexican food.
👪 Serving size
You can expect to get 4 large servings from this Mexican beef soup recipe. Still, you can easily add more vegetables, meat, and liquid to a larger pot for more servings.
This Caldo de res recipe is the perfect vegetable beef soup to warm you up on a cold winter night. It is hearty and filling but also packed with nutrients and flavor. The best part is that it is easy to make and can easily be tailored to your liking. So whether you like your soup spicy or not, this dish is sure to please.
Caldo de Res (Mexican Beef Soup)
- 1.5 - 2 lbs Bone-in beef short ribs - about 4 ribs
- 1 Cob corn - peeled and cut into quarters
- 2 Carrots - peeled and sliced into chunks
- 2 Ribs celery - sliced into chunks
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil
- ¼ Yellow onion - sliced thin
- 1 Tomato - chopped
- ¼ cup Cilantro leaves - plus more for serving
- ½ Green cabbage - sliced into two or three wedges
- 2 White potatoes - scrubbed and sliced into chunks
- 2 Zucchini - sliced into chunks
- Salt - to taste
- Fresh cilantro - for serving
- Lemon or lime wedges - for serving
- Sliced fresh jalapeños - for serving
- Corn tortillas - for serving
- Peel and cut the fresh corn cob into quarters.
- Wash and peel the carrots and celery, and cut them into small chunks.
- Thinly slice the onion.
- Dice the tomato into small pieces and place in a bowl.
- Coarsely chop the fresh cilantro.
- Chop the green cabbage into 2 or 3 wedges.
- Wash and chop the white potatoes into small pieces.
- Dice the summer squash in pieces.
- Bring a large pot of water (¾ full) to a boil with the beef short ribs.
- Reduce to medium-low heat and continue cooking while skimming and removing the foam on the top of the water.
- Once the foam is removed, let the soup bones boil for around an hour with the lid ajar to create the perfect broth.
- Add corn cob to the soup and cook for 15 minutes.
- Next, add celery, cooking for another 15 minutes.
- Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and fry the onions with olive oil for a few minutes until soft and fragrant.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and juices to the skillet, cooking for 2 minutes, then add the chopped cilantro.
- Stir and pour the tomato sauce mixture into the beef soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and add more water until it's ¾ full.
- Add carrots, cook for 15 minutes, then add cabbage and cook for another 15 minutes.
- Add potatoes, cooking for 15 minutes, and lastly, add squash, cooking for 10 minutes.
- Test the vegetables, so they are all fork tender, and then remove the pot from the heat.
- Taste to see if it needs additional salt and pepper.
- Serve Caldo de res Mexican beef soup in large bowls.
- Additional cilantro, lime wedges for a squeeze of lime juice, sliced jalapeños for heat, and warm corn tortillas.