Carrilladas (Beef cheeks in Red Wine sauce)

Dairy Free · Gluten Free

21 May · Written by Raquel Jones


Whether it's ternera (beef) cheeks or cerdo (pork) cheeks, carrilladas rightfully claims its place among the finest offerings in Spanish cuisine. This exquisite cut of meat, sourced from the animal's cheek, is relatively lean yet incredibly moist. It's a culinary gem found all across Spain, typically prepared through slow braising in a medley of delectable sauces. The result? Meat that quite literally melts in your mouth, requiring no effort from your trusty knife.

Honestly, carrillada is a delicacy that deserves a top spot on your culinary bucket list when exploring Spain. If you want to elevate your experience, I highly recommend trying Carrilladas Iberica, crafted from the finest pork cheeks.

This delightful dish graces tables throughout Spain, with its heartiest renditions found in the main pig-raising regions, such as western Andalusia, Extremadura, and Castilla y León, where the freshest meat abounds.

Speaking of memorable culinary experiences, one of the best carrillada dishes I've ever savoured was in Seville at @bodeguitaromero. It felt like a comforting embrace on a plate!

Another unforgettable encounter was with ravioli-like parcels brimming with meat from carrilleras that I enjoyed at @barajas20tapas, also in Seville. These delightful parcels were served atop creamy mashed potatoes and generously drenched in sauce from the slow-cooked meat. Oh, how I long for the flavours of Spain!

So, why not bring a taste of Spain to your own kitchen with my Carrilladas recipe? It's a perfect choice for a chilly winter day, and I wholeheartedly encourage you to give it a try at home.

Bon Profit! Raquel x

Carrilladas (Beef cheeks in Red Wine sauce)

Serves 4-6 adults


  • 1 kg beef cheeks, cut into large chunks
  • 1 bottle of good quality red wine (750ml)
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 brown onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf, dry is fine
  • Several sprigs of thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly squashed
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Olive oil for the pan
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a large enough dish, which will still fit in the fridge, place beef, vegetables, wine, garlic, herbs and peppercorns and mix well to coat everything.
  2. Leave covered in fridge overnight. When ready to begin cooking, drain the meat and veg - save the wine though, keep aside - don’t discard!
  3. Ready a casserole dish by placing it near the stove top.
  4. Season the meat and veg with salt and pepper, then heat a layer of oil in a separate frypan and fry the meat first, in batches, to brown all over.
  5. Transfer the browned meat to the casserole dish you have ready.
  6. Finally, fry the vegetables for about 15 mins to soften a little, then add to casserole dish with meat.
  7. Pour over the reserved wine and enough beef stock to cover. Note: The liquid should cover the meat and veg, if it doesn’t, you may have too large a casserole dish, or you can try adding a little more beef stock.
  8. Bring to the boil with the lid on, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 2.5 to 3 hours covered until meat is really tender and falling apart when touched with a fork.


My stove top will not be like yours at home! So after approx. an hour, please check the dish and if the liquid level is less than half, move dish to a smaller hob on your stove top and simmer on low heat for another hour before you check it again. 

You don’t want the liquid to reduce too quickly - and you want at least 2.5 hours of cooking time to really concentrate the flavours, and tenderise the meat.

I use asimmer plateto ensure the heat is dispersed and kept low enough for it to tick along slowly, without the liquid depleting too quickly.


Serve with cauliflower purée and a glass ofour shiraz or Reserve Syrah.

You could also try a tapas twist that’s a bit different, but great for a crowd ... serve your Carrilladas alongside regular potato chips (from a packet!) - the meat is so soft that you can fork off a mouthwatering morsel, slather it on a chip and ... enjoy a piece of heaven!

IMPORTANT: You'll need to buy slow cooked potato chips, like Kettle Chips, which are thicker and won't get soggy too quickly.