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Cuban Breaded Steak recipe - Receta de Bistec Empanizado


Cuban breaded steak

If you've ever had deep-fried steak from an American restaurant, you will find Cuban breaded steaks to be a bit different. The popular bistec empanizado is marinated, coated in crushed crackers, and then pan-fried until golden.

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes

  • Cook Time: 15 minutes

  • Total Time: 30 minutes



4 sirloin steaks (1/4 inch thick)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/4 cup bitter orange juice

1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs, beaten well
1 cup finely ground crackers

salt to taste



In a shallow non-reactive dish, bowl, or container, sprinkle steaks with chopped onion, garlic, sour orange juice and salt. Rub garlic into meat. For best results, marinate in the refrigerator for an hour or two.


Before removing steaks from the fridge, beat eggs in a medium sized bowl. In a shallow bowl, mix the ground crackers with a few dashes of salt. To make coating the steaks easier, you can transfer the ground crackers to a plate.


Remove steaks from refrigerator. Brush off any excess onion and garlic pieces from the meat, and dip each steak into the beaten egg mixture. Make sure that each steak is fully coated. Then dip each steak into the ground crackers until the meat is completely covered on both sides.


Add the cooking oil to a large skillet and place over medium-high heat.  Once the oil is hot enough, fry the steaks until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes on each side depending on how rare or well-done you want them. Remove steaks from heat and serve hot. This recipe serves 4.

Cooking Tips & Suggestions


This recipe calls for bitter orange juice, sometimes called "sour" orange juice. You can usually find it sold as "naranja agria" marinade in bottles at most Hispanic grocery stores. It is also sold through online Latin food websites.  Real naranja agria works best, but if you can't find any, you can use a half-and-half mix of orange and lime juices.


For the breading, most store-bought crackers should work fine. But if possible, use finely-ground Cuban-style crackers. Gilda, Rika, and Yeya are all popular brands of Cuban crackers made in Florida.  They're harder to find in Latin grocery stores outside of areas with Cubans, but you can also buy them online.

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