What is Kaldereta? A Guide to the Best Versions and Similar Dishes

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Filipino cuisine is known for its many savory, hearty, and delicious stews.

Kaldereta is sometimes also spelled “caldereta”. Since this dish originated in Spain, its original name is “caldereta,” which means “cauldron” or “cooking pot.”

It’s a classic Filipino dish made with meat, potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, tomato sauce, liver spread, and chili peppers.

This dish is usually served during special occasions, parties, or get-togethers because it’s a bit time-consuming to make. But it’s a common celebratory dish.

There are many kaldereta recipes, made with pork, chicken, beef, and goat.

The flavor is best described as rich, hearty, and slightly spicy. The texture is stew-like, and it’s usually served with rice.

Kaldereta is a comfort food that’s perfect for colder weather. However, it can be enjoyed all year round.

What is kaldereta

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Caldereta (Spanish name) is believed to have originated from Spain and was brought to the Philippines during the 300-year-long period of Spanish colonization.

Both the Spaniards and Filipinos cook caldereta, but with different ingredients. The Spaniards usually add paprika, which gives the dish a bright red color, while Filipinos use chili peppers to make it spicy.

The dish was then adapted to suit the Filipino palate and ingredients. The original Filipino caldereta recipe was made using goat meat; later, it was adapted and can now be made with various types of meat.

These days, it’s a popular dish in Filipino households and is often served during special occasions.

The Many Versions of Kaldereta

Beef Kaldereta is the most popular version of this dish. It involves cooking beef with tomato sauce, liver spread, and peanut butter, resulting in a rich and hearty stew. Some recipes add coconut milk to make it creamy, while others use cheese to add a tangy flavor. Beef Kaldereta is usually served during special occasions like Christmas and is enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

Special Kaldereta Versions

Aside from the regular versions of Kaldereta, there are also special versions that involve different ingredients and cooking methods. Here are some of the popular ones:

  • Kalderetang Kambing sa Gata- This version involves cooking goat meat with a creamy coconut sauce.
  • Kalderetang Baka with Peanut Butter- This version adds peanut butter to the beef Kaldereta recipe, resulting in a nutty and savory flavor.
  • Kalderetang Kambing with Cheese- This version adds cheese to the goat Kaldereta recipe, resulting in a tangy and cheesy flavor.
  • Kalderetang Kambing with Bell Peppers- This version adds bell peppers to the goat Kaldereta recipe, resulting in a colorful and flavorful dish.

Cooking Kaldereta

No matter what version of Kaldereta you choose to make, the cooking process usually takes around an hour and 30 minutes. Here are some tips to help you make the perfect Kaldereta:

  • Use the best quality meat you can find.
  • Add liver spread for a richer flavor.
  • Don’t forget to check the seasoning and adjust accordingly.
  • Serve with rice and enjoy every bite!

Cooking Kaldereta: Tips and Tricks

When it comes to cooking Kaldereta, the type of meat you use can make all the difference. While beef is the most traditional choice, pork can also be used to create a delicious and unique flavor. When selecting your meat, be sure to trim off any excess fat to prevent the dish from becoming too greasy.

Prepping the Potatoes

Potatoes are a staple ingredient in Kaldereta, but they can be tricky to cook properly. To ensure that your potatoes are perfectly tender and not falling apart, try parboiling them for a few minutes before adding them to the pot. This will help them hold their shape while simmering in the flavorful broth.

Getting that Perfect Sear

Searing your meat before simmering it in the Kaldereta sauce is essential for creating a rich, caramelized flavor. To achieve the perfect sear, make sure your meat is completely dry before adding it to the hot pan. This will help it brown evenly and prevent it from sticking.

Adding Heat with Chili Peppers

For those who like a little extra kick in their Kaldereta, chili peppers are a great addition. Whether you prefer spicy or mild, there are many different types of chili peppers that can be used in this dish. Try experimenting with different varieties, such as Thai chilies or jalapeños, to find the perfect level of heat for your taste buds.

Exploring Other Variations

While beef and pork are the most common meats used in Kaldereta, there are many other variations to try. Chicken adobo, for example, can be used to create a unique and flavorful twist on this classic Filipino dish. Pinakbet, a vegetable stew, is another popular dish that can be made using similar ingredients to Kaldereta. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new!

Choosing the Best Cuts of Beef for Your Kaldereta

When it comes to cooking kaldereta, choosing the right cut of beef is crucial. Here are some of the most common cuts of beef used for kaldereta:

  • Shoulder: This is an excellent choice for kaldereta as it has plenty of fat and connective tissue, which helps keep the meat tender and juicy. It’s also cheaper than other cuts of beef, making it a great option for those on a budget.
  • Rump: This cut of beef is leaner than the shoulder but still has enough connective tissue to make it a good choice for kaldereta. It’s usually sold in roasts, making it easy to slice into uniform sizes for your stew.
  • Rounds: These cuts of beef are tougher than the shoulder and rump, but they’re also cheaper. If you prefer to buy meat in bulk and freeze it, rounds are a good option.
  • Shanks: These cuts of beef are incredibly tough but have a lot of collagen, which helps them break down during slow cooking. They’re a good choice if you want your kaldereta to have a nice, meaty flavor.

Tips for Cooking Your Beef

Once you’ve chosen your cut of beef, it’s time to cook it. Here are some tips to ensure your beef is cooked to perfection:

  • Trim any excess fat from the meat before cooking. This helps maximize the flavor and ensures that your stew isn’t too greasy.
  • Sear the meat briefly before adding it to the stew. This helps hold in the juices and prevents the meat from falling apart during cooking.
  • If you’re using tougher cuts of beef, partially freeze them before slicing. This makes it easier to get nice, uniform pieces.
  • Simmer your beef for a long time to ensure it’s tender. This can take anywhere from 1-3 hours depending on the cut of beef you’re using.
  • If you’re using shanks, scrape off any skin or fat before cooking. This helps prevent the stew from becoming too greasy.
  • Add potatoes to your stew to help thicken it up and give it a nice texture.

Spicing Up Your Kaldereta

Kaldereta is traditionally made with chili peppers, but you can add other spices to give it a unique flavor. Here are some ideas:

  • Add some cumin seeds to your stew for a smoky flavor.
  • Use smoked paprika instead of regular paprika for a deeper, richer flavor.
  • Add some bay leaves for a nice, earthy taste.

No matter how you choose to spice up your kaldereta, be sure to taste it as you go to ensure it’s not too spicy or too bland. And don’t forget to enjoy every delicious bite!

How to Serve and Store Kaldereta: Tips and Tricks

If you’re not a fan of beef or want to try something different, you can substitute the beef with pork or chicken. Here are some tips on how to substitute meat cuts:

  • For pork, use pork shoulder or pork belly. These cuts have enough fat to keep the meat moist and tender.
  • For chicken, use chicken thighs or drumsticks. These cuts are more flavorful and hold up well to the cooking process.
  • If you’re using a leaner cut of meat, make sure to cook it for a shorter amount of time to prevent it from becoming tough.
  • You can also use a combination of different types of meat to make the dish even more unique.

Convenience Tips

If you’re short on time or want to make the cooking process faster, here are some tips on how to make kaldereta more convenient:

  • Use a slow cooker to prepare the kaldereta. This will allow you to add all the ingredients at once and let it cook for several hours without needing to stir it.
  • Use pre-cut meat to save time on slicing and preparing the beef.
  • Use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones to save time on the preparation process.
  • Use a regular bay leaf instead of a Chinese one if you can’t find it in your local grocery store.
  • Use a sharp knife to slice the onions and beef. This will make the process faster and easier.

With these tips and tricks, you’re sure to make the perfect kaldereta for your next dinner or barbecue. Don’t forget to share your kaldereta creations on Facebook and spread the kaldereta love!

Other Filipino Dishes that are Similar to Kaldereta

If you’re a fan of Kaldereta, then you might also enjoy these other Filipino dishes that are similar in terms of being stewed beef dishes:

  • Beef Pochero- a tomato-based stew with beef, vegetables, and bananas
  • Beef Afritada- a tomato-based stew with beef, potatoes, and carrots
  • Menudo- a tomato-based stew with beef, liver, and potatoes

Other Meat Dishes with Sauce

If you’re looking for other meat dishes with a flavorful sauce similar to Kaldereta, then try these:

  • Chicken Adobo- a tangy and savory dish with chicken marinated in vinegar and soy sauce
  • Pork Menudo- a tomato-based stew with pork, liver, and potatoes
  • Chicken Afritada- a tomato-based stew with chicken, potatoes, and carrots

Other Filipino Dishes

If you’re interested in exploring other Filipino dishes, then try these:

  • Bulanglang- a vegetable stew with fish and shrimp paste
  • Longganisa- a sweet and savory sausage commonly eaten for breakfast
  • Tapa- thinly sliced beef that’s been cured and dried
  • Torta- a savory omelette with meat and vegetables
  • Daing na Bangus- a marinated and baked milkfish dish
  • Kakanin- a variety of sweet rice cakes

Other Ingredients to Try

If you’re looking to switch up the ingredients in your Kaldereta, then try these:

  • Goat meat instead of beef
  • Eggplant as a vegetable addition
  • Bananas as a sweet addition to the stew
  • Avocado as a garnish
  • Mamon or sponge cake as a side dish
  • Almonds as a crunchy topping

Remember, Filipino cuisine is diverse and there are many dishes that are similar to Kaldereta. Don’t be afraid to try something new and experiment with different ingredients and flavors.


Kaldereta is a delicious Filipino dish made with beef, liver spread, and potatoes. It’s usually served for special occasions like Christmas, and enjoyed by kids and adults alike. I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about this special dish and are ready to give it a try.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.